Smith Power Equipment has introduced the new Kubota U17-3, a 1,7-tonne compact excavator that punches above its weight with greater power and smooth performance in space-restricted working environments.
Since the initial introduction of Kubota mini-excavators in South Africa in 2015, the range has proven why the Japanese OEM is the global leader in compact excavators. Replacing the predecessor U15 model, the new Kubota U17-3 further entrenches Kubota as the ‘pick of the bunch’ and an unquestionable first choice for tackling jobs in the tightest of spaces.
While the machine is similar to the U15, Michele Cicognani, national product & sales specialist at Smith Power, says the U17-3 “packs a bigger punch” with more power under the hood to handle a variety of tasks as well as better ground breaking force, excellent digging depth and reach.
“One of the key selling points is the Kubota 16 hp engine, delivering superior horsepower and performance, as well as low noise, vibration levels and exceptional fuel efficiency,” says Cicognani. “With a working performance of 15,2 KN, 2 310 mm digging depth and 3 900 mm digging radius, the U17-3 has the power you need, when you need it most.”
The HMS hydraulic system also ensures greater operational performance. Kubota adopts a 3-pump system, which uses three independent pumps for boom, arm and swivel to make the cooperation of bucket, boom and swivel as smooth and efficient as possible. It allows the high capacity control valve and hydraulic variable pumps to realise superb excavating and loading performance.
The Kubota U17-3 particularly excels in tight working spaces. The zero-tail swing means that the operator can rotate the cab of this 1,7-tonne excavator in any direction without any part of it going over the tracks. This makes it a perfect choice for working in tight, enclosed areas where bigger excavators can’t get to. “The zero-tail turn, combined with the 2 310 mm maximum digging depth, means the Kubota U17-3 is a versatile excavator that can be deployed across applications in farming, plumbing, fibre trenching and construction contracting,” says Cicognani.
With the U17-3, Kubota also paid particular attention to operator comfort, which is critical to overall productivity on site. The work station is more spacious than the predecessor model and features a selection of enhancements to make long days more comfortable. The deluxe high-back seat provides optimal comfort for any size operator and the wide foot area is spacious and reduces operator fatigue.
To further reduce operator fatigue, the 2-speed travel switch has been relocated to the dozer level, opening up the floor and creating more space, while also being convenient and quicker to access and operate. Also fitted for the operator is the digital panel, which accurately displays diagnostic readings and routine maintenance alerts, as well as engine RPM, temperature and oil levels.
Meanwhile, the variable track width can be adjusted from 990 mm to 1 240 mm at the touch of a single lever. “With the touch of a single lever, you can reduce the track gauge to navigate narrow spaces or increase it to improve functionality. Changing the blade width is as easy as removing two pins by hand,” explains Cicognani.
To reduce maintenance costs and improve site efficiency, the Kubota U17-3 has an improved maintenance layout and access points, making it quick and easy for service technicians to access and maintain or repair key components in the excavator. With no bolts to unscrew, the under-deck hydraulics are also quick and easy to access for routine maintenance.