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The Increasing Demand for Air-conditioned Excavators


Open and closed cab excavators are often an optional addition for many brands, although in some markets the variable weather conditions may lean towards closed cab as the default. The trend is towards not only closed cabs, but also to higher levels of comfort, better ergonomics, and to full climate control. Excavator models can now come with air-conditioning systems that can keep the operator cool in summer extremes and tropical climates, and provide heating for cold winter climates. This article looks at the popular Rippa range of air-conditioned excavators that can keep the operator comfortable in all conditions.

Table of Contents
Weather is getting more extreme for the operator
The need for climate-controlled excavator cabs
Overview of the Rippa range of air-conditioned excavators
Final thoughts

Weather is getting more extreme for the operator

It is normal for many parts of the world, especially in the USA and northern Europe, to experience seasonal temperature variations throughout the year. These typically bring hot summers that can often exceed 30° C / 85°F, and cold winters that can drop well below zero.

According to the United Nations Meteorological Organization (WMO), 2022 has brought the first ‘triple La Niña’ on record, described as three northern hemisphere winters (southern hemisphere summers) running consecutively. The temperature effects of these La Niñas, together with the increasing impact of global warming, are creating even more extreme conditions, with dangerously hot summers and super cold winters. Some places can hit temperatures over 40° C / 104°F or drop to below -20° C / -4°F. 

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data showed that July 2021 hit the Earth’s hottest average temperature on record, going back 142 years. Only a few months before that, in February 2021, the U.S. hit one of the coldest temperatures for the month for the past 127 years.

The need for climate-controlled mini excavator cabs

Open and air-conditioned versions of Rippa mini excavators

The excavator’s working environment is typically a dirty, muddy place, digging trenches and holes, creating dust clouds from demolition work, and operating in both hot and dry or rainy conditions. These are all good reasons for the operator to prefer a closed cab, yet it is common to see worksites operating with both open and closed cab excavators.

The comfort of the excavator operator is an important factor in their productivity, and just because the work site is messy, that doesn’t mean the operator’s cab needs to be. The operator will feel more comfortable and protected from the working environment with a closed cab, plus outdoor noise and vibration is greatly reduced. A closed cab with climate control, air-conditioned in a hot climate and heated in a cold one, gives the operator a clean and comfortable work space to focus on the job.

Aside from the operator’s comfort, the potential buyer may want to consider the disadvantage that air-conditioning will also require maintenance. Work sites are rough and dusty areas that can easily lead to broken units, leaking hoses and dirty components. Some typical issues to watch for include:

  • Leaking hydraulic oil from hydraulic hoses can easily get on to the air conditioner condenser and affect the unit’s ability to dissipate heat.
  • Refrigerant leaks and poor air flow will affect the unit’s ability to cool effectively.
  • Dirty construction sites can quickly clog the air filter. This prevents fresh air from circulating to keep the operator alert.
  • Keeping the circulating air fresh will also prevent windows from fogging. Restricting the operator’s vision can lead to accidents. 

Overview of the Rippa range of air conditioned excavators

The air-conditioning panel in the Rippa large machine range

The Rippa range of excavators, supplied by the Shandong Rippa Machinery Group, is a popular choice for buyers seeking quality machines. Rippa excavators come in a range of sizes from the 1-ton mini excavators up to more than 50-ton heavy earthmovers, and most sizes have air-conditioned options. Rippa machines have plenty of cab space and use an air conditioning unit that has simplified functions for cool and warm.

Mini excavators

The 1.5 ton R325 mini excavator with air-conditioning

These mini excavators are available in the 1-5 ton range with optional air-conditioning, which can be seen as the added unit on the cabin roof. Mini excavators are popular for their compactness and ability to rotate in tight spaces. Therefore to keep their ability to fit into small sites, the air-conditioning unit is attached on the roof so that it doesn’t increase the turning circle or impede the boom and attachments.  Mini excavators are used in residential projects, landscaping and farming, and heavy construction, so can be exposed to a wide range of climates and conditions.

Mid-size excavators

Alt text: a Rippa 6-ton small excavator

Above the mini range into the 6-15 ton range there are several options with air-conditioning units, including tracked crawler trench diggers and wheeled versions. In this size range, the models take on many of the tasks that mini excavators handle, but add more power and have a wider rotation arc. They are used in many conditions and climates, and the air-conditioning unit is usually included as an optional extra.

Large excavators

Alt text: the Rippa 25 ton large excavators

There are a number of large size machines from the 15-ton to 30 ton machines. These are large excavator and diggers and are typically used on mid to large construction, trenching and land clearing projects. Their air-conditioning units are also large, and can be seen located on top of the main diesel engine housing.

Giant excavator

60-ton Rippa large excavator

The Rippa brand includes much larger machines in the 50-90 ton range. These are giant excavators with massive power and digging capabilities. These monster machines take on the biggest construction and earthmoving projects and are exposed to rough conditions and all climates. The air-conditioning units are large, but fit easily above the powerful engine cowling.

Final thoughts

As weather patterns change, summers get hotter and winters get colder, the demand has grown for excavators that provide better operator comfort and a climate-controlled environment. Air-conditioning is no longer a nice-to-have extra feature, but an essential requirement for the operator to work at a reasonable temperature. The Rippa range of excavators have air-conditioning as a standard fitting in most of its medium to large machines and as an additional option on the smaller range. For more information check out the full range at alibaba.com

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