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Technology-ready Link-Belt excavators ease the uptake of machine control

X4S lineup includes new machines sizes with updates that aid operation and productivity

An excavator digs a hole on a job site
The Link-Belt X4S excavator line features six models that are ready for installation of machine control systems. Link-Belt Excavators

Link-Belt has made machine control readiness a design feature of its newest excavators. The X4S line is technology-ready, making it easier for owners to incorporate machine control into their operation.

Contractors are facing tighter timelines for completing jobs and are being called on to improve productivity. This, combined with the assistance that technology can provide newer operators as experienced ones retire, is driving greater interest in machine control.

Brackets and wiring pre-installed for machine control systems

Installing machine control on an excavator that isn't prepped for it can be tedious and expensive. Systems require multiple brackets for sensors, radios, receivers, and other components – plus the wiring to go with it. 

Darren Hoskins, manager, product and innovation with LBX Company, told me that Link-Belt has made it easier for users to add machine control to their new excavators by preparing the machines for technology right from the factory, whether that means Link-Belt's own Precision Grade 2D machine guidance and machine control offerings, or third-party systems.

"When we designed the X4S models, we looked at preparing the machine for Precision Grade and combined it with the new monitor and options in the cab for greater operator comfort," Hoskins says.

Brackets on the bucket dog bone, the boom, and the stick are already welded in place to hold components, reducing costly installation time. Wiring is also already run from the factory, allowing owners to incorporate a variety of vendors' machine control systems.

Inside the cab, an updated 10-inch touchscreen monitor provides operators with the necessary machine control features and settings and can be customized. A new joystick has reprogrammable controls to match up with individual preferences and needs.

Machine control, combined with a comfortable and more customizable operator experience, means that owners facing skills shortages can put newer operators into the excavator with good results, Hoskins adds.

Along with making the X4S series ready for machine control, Link-Belt has added other new technology. A new feature, Custom Flow Balance, allows the operator to customize the way the hydraulics react from the monitor. The system prioritizes hydraulic flow for specific tasks, improving productivity.

"If the operator is going to be trenching, for example, you can set your flow more to the boom and arm, or if you're loading trucks you can prioritize the flow so you have more swing," Hoskins explains.

A tilt feature allows the controls and seat to angle downward, providing better visibility down into the trench for safer work around the machine.

Operators can also use Link-Belt's WAVES, or Wide Angle Visual Enhancement System, which is standard on the X4S excavators, to spot potential danger. "Operators want to see everything they possibly can to improve safety," Hoskins says. "WAVES gives you a 270-degree view of what's around you and object detection as well."

Continuing the technology theme, Link-Belt has added new modems to the X4S series for improved access to its RemoteCare telematics system.

The smallest machine in the line, the 170 X4S, has two counterweight options available. Link-Belt Excavators

Six models include new options for size and power needs

The six models in the X4S series run the gamut from 39,500 to 78,700 pounds in operating weight. The two smallest models, the 170 and 190 X4S, are equipped with Yanmar engines producing 120 hp. The 190 is a new size for Link-Belt and features an upsized undercarriage compared to the 170 for increased lifting and stability. Multiple counterweight options give customers the ability to customize the 170 for their digging needs.

Isuzu engines power the 220, 260, 300, and 355 X4S models, which range from 160 to 205 hp. Added technology features are available on the 220 X4S, including payload, height, and depth alarms, a digital level, and dynamic stability control. The 355 X4S is Link-Belt's largest minimum swing radius machine.

All of the X4S machines are built with durability in mind. High-quality metals, from the undercarriage to the sheet metal, are used to ensure the machines are capable of operating in rugged conditions.

With a year of operation since release, the X4S series has received good reviews from buyers. Hoskins says that customers report better fuel consumption and productivity, as well as satisfaction with the machines' balance and digging power.

"Everything we're hearing out there, around the Precision Grade technology, the mountings for machine control systems – it's all been very positive."

Company info

2004 Buck Lane
Lexington, KY
US, 40511


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