Five Tips for Choosing Excavator Attachments
Five Tips for Choosing Excavator Attachments

Five Tips for Choosing Excavator Attachments

In the current economy, you need to figure out how to take full advantage of the versatility built into your excavator. Attachments and couplers are one way to accomplish multiple tasks with a single machine, resulting in more bid opportunities, increased productivity and reduced operating expenses.

Keep these five tips in mind when selecting attachments.

1. Know before you go.

Help out the attachment experts at your equipment dealer or rental store by coming with the information they need to make solid recommendations. Be prepared to talk about the type of material you’ll be working in (bring a sample if you can) and cycle time requirements. Know the specs—equipment model numbers, configuration, tipping load, lift/weight capacities, counterweight size and any other basic information—for all machines that may work with the attachment. Also make note of each machine’s optional, retrofit or specialized features (e.g., changes to hydraulics, tires, engine, etc.).If your attachment requires hydraulics, know your machine’s hydraulic flow (gpm) and pressure (psi) output capabilities and understand the auxiliary hydraulics. Not all machines have a third or fourth hydraulic function capability, but many attachments require this. Finally, if you have a quick coupler, know the brand and model—and bring the serial number and a photo for reference if available.

2. Check out the flow specifications for the hydraulic circuit.

Hydraulics not only provide power to the ground, but also enable lifting and tilting and run the auxiliary circuit, which drives attachments.The criteria for “high-flow” or “standard-flow” may differ from one manufacturer to another, so know what’s required and how your machine is equipped. Typically, high-flow circuits exceed 26 gallons per minute and 3,300 psi. High-flow machines designated “XPS” (33 gallons per minute at 4,050 psi) are capable of maintaining maximum pressure, regardless of attachment speed or working conditions, at low or high idle. The typical flow for a standard-flow machine is 22 gallons per minute.


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3. Match the attachment configuration to the machine.

Equipment manufacturers may offer a tool in a variety of configurations. Direct drive or planetary drive augers, for example, are available for standard hydraulic flow machines. These configurations help maximize the capabilities of the hydraulic circuit in medium-duty applications. A high-flow planetary-driven auger on a high-flow hydraulic machine is appropriate for extreme-duty applications. The high-flow configuration is designed for maximum torque, and the hydraulic hoses and seals are built to withstand the additional pressure and maintain a leak-free connection.Generally, a machine with high-flow hydraulics can operate attachments designed for standard-flow machines, but the reverse (high-flow tools with a standard-flow machine) is not recommended. A standard-flow machine’s hydraulic system can’t supply the flow needed to operate the tool properly.
4. Consider a quick coupler for fast, easy attachment changes.

Quick couplers that allow you to change buckets or attachments from the cab are an ideal productivity booster. For example, the Cat® Pin Grabber coupler allows you to:
  • One excavator can move rapidly from task to task, and a fleet of similarly equipped excavators can share a common work tool inventory.
  • Change bucket sizes or switch to other attachments in seconds without ever leaving the cab.
  • Pick up buckets in reverse position to clean out and square corners, then turn them back around for digging.
  • Confirm the attachment is coupled from the operator’s seat using visual and audible indicators.

One excavator can move rapidly from task to task, and a fleet of similarly equipped excavators can share a common work tool inventory.

5. Not sure what you need? Work with your dealer.
When in doubt, work with your dealer to determine the best attachment option for your operation. Or, you may find new ways to configure a machine to utilize more attachments by increasing the size of the counterweight or using a different boom and stick combination. You may also discover that a single machine with multiple tools costs less than two machines on the job.
Next Generation Cat Excavators offer you a wide range of attachments and bundles that can help you get the most versatility and biggest returns from your excavator investment.

Check in with your Cat dealer or visit here to download a free Cat Attachments for Next Generation Excavators brochure.