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Wacker ET65 vs Kubota KX057. Bucket Breakout Comparison with Pin Grabber Coupler

Tags :  competitive-comparison  |  kubota  | 

Neil Messick here to do a little truth in advertising here with you today. Nothing grinds my gears more than when I look at the back of a glossy spec sheet and see a bunch of numbers back there that aren't usually the machine that you are buying. That is the case with this Wacker ET65 Excavator and it's advertised industry-leading breakout force from its bucket. We're going to talk a little bit about this machine today, very specifically, it's pin grabber quick coupler, and why the number on the back of that spec sheet is not the number that you're going to get when you're out putting this machine to work.
When a company's marketing department gets a hold of a machine and starts to develop the spec sheets that are used to justify their price point, they're going to go through and they're going to set the machine up in the most desirable configuration to get as much power out of it as possible. In terms of things like excavators and backhoes and loaders, usually that involves the best-case scenario with the bucket that's going to be used on that machine.
In an excavator, that means a pin-on bucket. There are configurations of this machine where you can go and get the bucket pinned directly onto the dipper stick here without this quick coupler here in the middle. What you should know though, is that literally nobody buys an excavator without a quick coupler. You'll be really hard-pressed to find any machine out there that's actually using that pin-on bucket for digging, wacker here included.
If you go and google online, check their website, all the marketing photos are out there, you will never find one, basically, that's going to have the bucket pinned on. You're always going to see this pin-grabber coupler here sitting in the middle. Why that is a bit of an issue is because every company's system for their quick coupler is different. Not all of them are pin grabbers, and they're going to have some pros and cons. You do not see on the back of that spec sheet how well the manufacturer has designed that coupler system in order to optimize the machine's breakout force. In terms of this one, it hurts it quite substantially.
The reason why the pin grabber coupler takes away so much of the machine's power is because of the added distance that's put between the coupler here and the top of the bucket. If we take our tape measure here and we measure between the pin-on point here in the bottom of the tooth, it's 29 inches. Here in the front, we move up to 37. We've added 8 inches to that pivot point. Here in the rear, this is a little harder to measure directly, but I'm at about 33 inches to the tooth. and up here to the top I'm at about 40. Again, right about 8 inches is added.
We talk about this a lot with the geometries on a lot of machines. Just like when you're lifting something, the further away you are, the more power it takes in order to lift, or in this case, rotate that with the hydraulics, and that 8 inches is going to have a significant impact on this machine's performance.
I throw a lot of hate at the pin-grabber coupler here. I should be clear, we do sell these. There is a good reason in order to use this coupler. It is the most universal that you can get to a coupler on an excavator. If you run a fleet of mixed equipment, the pin grabber can pick up many brands of buckets allowing you to share them across a mixed fleet of excavators.
It also allows you to run the buckets in reverse. You could flip the bucket around and run it the other direction. It might help you to, say, reach underneath of a sidewalk or something or to dump stone into the far end of a trench. There are good reasons to use this style of coupler. It has a lot of functionality, but we need to realize the performance here that it takes and again, that impact on the specification sheet.
Kubota does things a little bit differently than what a lot of the rest of the industry does. You may have noticed this on some of their other equipment by now. When they put numbers out there, they tend to be a lot more truthful than what some other companies are going to use. Kubota does offer pin-on buckets for their machines and just like everybody else in the industry, you basically never will sell a pin-on bucket on an excavator. You're always going to want that ability to swap your buckets back and forth easily.
The one thing that is a little bit different though is that when this quick coupler is installed, it does not change the geometry of the buckets. They rotate around exactly the same points on the boom. Your breakout force for your machine is going to be what it says it is on the spec sheet without that huge loss by introducing a quick coupler in the middle. There are more options for these couplers here today than what there have been in the past.
You can get these in hydraulic grabber variants now where you can switch the buckets from the cab of the machine. We do offer a pin grabber as well. When we're selling Kubota machines into mixed fleets, we do periodically install this pin grabber-style coupler. However, it is the minority of machines. You will jump in 95% of the machines that are sold here out of Messick's and find a bucket breakout force at the end of this boom that matches the spec sheet.
This is our test setup. I'm using a larger excavator here as ballast and to it I have attached this S-shaped load cell with a chain looped over top of the teeth here on the bucket. This meter here is going to tell us how many pounds of force we're able to pull against that load cell when curling. This is going to give us a good test setup to be able to see just how much power is lost to this coupler design.
Our test here is pretty straightforward. I've got my excavators, a ballast here. I've got my chain hooked around my bucket teeth. The trick here is that I need to pull this thing straight back in without dropping the chain off. We're going to pull this back in here and then take this bucket, tension the chain, and then curl the bucket around. You see it overcomes the boom there a little bit, but then it does stop. That's 100% curl coming out at 9,250 pounds.
I'm going to repeat this here a time or two and just change my bucket geometry just a little bit to make sure my number's actually accurate. We try this again, curl it back around, overcomes the boom circuit, and then we get right there where we're pulling on just the bucket. I was 7,800. I'm a little less when I get further into the bucket arc.
Now, I don't want to lift. Same deal there. We overcome the bucket 9,200 pounds again, but we moved it. 9,250 is our result. You could see the huge impact that this has on the machine's performance, taking away nearly 20% of its bucket breakout force. At that point, that makes this machine about 10% less capable than the Kubota, and about the same capacity as Kubota's next smaller machine, the KX040, can actually out-dig this thing because of the coupler geometry. It's really interesting how these numbers can be impacted.
You're going to see a lot of machines out there with pin-grabber couplers. Particularly when you get into higher weight classes where you've got so much bucket breakout force, you can afford to give this away. When you're talking these small excavators, particularly under 15,000 pounds or so, you need that capacity in order to work productively and giving it away to a pin grabber coupler, in my opinion, just should be part of your equation.
Can you give up the flexibility for grabbing buckets, maybe digging backwards for that performance? I don't know. It's a trade-off that you need to be aware of. You should also be aware of how it impacts that glossy brochure because once again, they can be a little less than truthful sometimes. If you're shopping for a piece of equipment and we can help, or if you have parts of service needs for a machine you've already got, give us a call at Messick's. We're available at 800-222-3373 or online at Messicks.com.

 

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