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Side shift backhoes benefit from smaller footprint

CASE Construction King models available with centre-pivot or side shift

A backhoe loader digs a hole on a job site
Side shift gives operators the ability to work closer to the obstacles with better visibility. CASE Construction Equipment

Backhoe loaders are natural multitaskers, handling a variety of tasks in construction and utility work. A backhoe feature found on many machines outside North America makes these versatile machines a better fit for digging in increasingly tight urban job sites.

When CASE Construction Equipment announced an expansion of its backhoe line with the 580SV, 695SV, and Utility Plus models in 2023, it also included two models featuring side shift booms. 

I caught up with George MacIntyre, who has been product manager for backhoe loaders with CASE since 2022, to discuss the new models and the addition of side shift. He says the goal behind the backhoe loader line expansion is to give contractors more choice in machine sizes and features.

"We know the CASE customer is very happy with the backhoes we've offered, such as the N Series which we launched around 2010, but we were looking for ways to appeal to customers that have not bought CASE in the past," MacIntyre says.

Side shift allows for work in tight spaces

Contractors often find themselves in tight spots - working within a road lane next to active traffic, for example, or up against the side of a building. CASE has introduced two backhoe models with side shift to provide options that work for close-quarters digging.

Side shift backhoes are popular in Europe where they are regularly used in narrow streets and alleys. Side shift has historically been less popular in North America, but the benefits of a machine that can set up and dig quickly in small urban spaces have led CASE to introduce side shift versions of both the 580SV and 695SV. 

On centre-pivot models, the backhoe is equipped with outrigger stabilizers that fold out from the sides of the machine to provide a sturdy platform for digging. Side shift machines have vertical stabilizers that move up and down within the footprint of the machine, reducing the overall width and making it easier to operate in tight spaces, MacIntyre explains. Side shift is best for close-in work. For example, digging up against buildings and foundations, as well as trenching.

Once in position, the press of a button in the cab moves the boom from side to side, which allows the operator to precisely position the bucket where it can dig the most efficiently. That might mean digging straight trenches along either side of a buried utility or excavating a rectangle, both of which can be done by shifting the boom, rather than repositioning the machine. This pairs well with CASE ProControl anti-damping, which allows higher precision placement over the trench and reduces spillage from the bucket thanks to smoother movements.

In addition, shifting the boom provides better visibility into the excavation, MacIntyre notes. It also allows the boom to be stowed more closely to the machine for a smaller footprint when roading.

The 695SV Construction King features four equally sized tires and has the steering capabilities of a wheel loader. CASE Construction Equipment

Construction King models offer buyers added choices

The new models carry a familiar branding: Construction King. CASE previously sold backhoes, tractor loaders, and rough-terrain forklifts under the Construction King name starting in the 1960s, and carried on through the 1990s, so the brand has history and name recognition, MacIntyre says. Moving forward, as N Series backhoes are updated, they too will take on the Construction King brand.

The new models carry forward many N Series features, but the 695SV is unique in its design compared to the other machines. It features large, equally sized tires all around and is fitted with four-wheel steering, making it drive much like another construction site stalwart, the wheel loader. In fact, MacIntyre says, it can replace a wheel loader on the job site.

"It has the capabilities of a wheel loader, but the great thing is you have the backhoe on the rear end. So, you have a machine that has the ability to do stockpiling or truck loading, and at the same time you're able to do trenching work," MacIntyre says. "From a utility standpoint this will be a great machine for larger projects . . . where you need to move a lot of dirt, whether for backfilling or stockpiling." 

Four-wheel steer on the 695SV adds maneuverability and three different steering styles. Traditional two-wheel front steer is joined by crab steer, allowing the backhoe to move parallel with four tires in the same direction at an angle. In circle steer, the operator is able to reduce the turning radius of the machine by nearly 50 percent, making it more efficient for loading.

The Utility Plus is a backhoe aimed at users who need a basic, high-performance machine. A 74-hp machine with a large cab, good visibility, and easy operation, the Utility Plus provides a base on which buyers can expand through various options if they desire.

The 580SV Construction King centre pivot and Utility Plus models have been available since 2023, and are now joined  by the 580SV side shift and both versions of the 695SV.

While it may not be a familiar sight on North American job sites yet, the side shift boom is an addition that gives backhoe loaders the ability to take on new roles on various job sites. The Construction King side shift models give buyers one more choice that can make their multi-purpose machine even more versatile.

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