Su­mit­omo SH210 ex­ca­va­tor

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Front Page -

If you are an earth­mov­ing con­trac­tor there are def­i­nitely some things you must learn to un­der­stand and ac­cept: firstly, you can’t do ev­ery­thing with one ma­chine and one op­er­a­tor; and se­condly, be pre­pared to go to the mar­ket and seek out­side as­sis­tance.

Re­cently, Float­ing Ex­ca­va­tors had been brought back to com­plete some work in Stan­thorpe, south-east Queens­land, af­ter last year’s un­for­tu­nate sink­ing of the Hek­ing HK 150 SD float­ing ex­ca­va­tor (while I was at the con­trols).

Reg­u­lar read­ers will know I was com­plet­ing a re­view and shoot­ing a video on the safe op­er­a­tion of am­phibi­ous ex­ca­va­tors when I hit a sub­merged rock in deep wa­ter and turned the Hek­ing over. It took bit of sort­ing out to get it re­floated and back to shore but an un­der­stand­ing in­surance com­pany and a very com­pe­tent re­pairer in ShawX Man­u­fac­tur­ing had it back on the wa­ter fairly promptly with no on­go­ing is­sues.

To get the Hek­ing back to shore, a cou­ple of Su­mit­omo ex­ca­va­tors – an SH235 LCR and an SH210 – were brought in to as­sist with the sal­vage (see Earth­movers & Ex­ca­va­tors is­sue

Ron Horner grabs hold of a high-hours 20-tonne Su­mit­omo SH210 ex­ca­va­tor to help get a creek run­ning at Stan­thorpe in south-east Queens­land

335), so when sec­tions of the cur­rent pro­ject were deemed more suited to a ‘land lub­ber’ than a float­ing ex­ca­va­tor, one of the Su­mit­o­mos was called on to lend a help­ing hand once again.


Float­ing Ex­ca­va­tors had been con­tracted to re­move some 2km of 4m-high weed and un­der­growth from a 50-100m-wide river flat and rock gully sec­tion of the Quart Pot Creek lo­cated in beau­ti­ful down­town Stan­thorpe.

In do­ing so, it was hoped that the creek would be re­ha­bil­i­tated back to its orig­i­nal shape, width and depth, al­low­ing com­mu­nity ac­cess to this once beau­ti­ful sandy creek which now looked more like a Vi­et­cong jun­gle fortress.

In ap­proach­ing the task, about nine months ago Float­ing Ex­ca­va­tors cut a swathe some 6m wide and 2m deep to drop the wa­ter ta­ble sig­nif­i­cantly and al­low ac­cess to com­plete the next stage of clear­ing and re­shap­ing the creek bed and banks.

Now, while the Hek­ing cov­ers most of the bases in or on the wa­ter, when it comes to bat­ter­ing, stock­pil­ing and shap­ing some 16,000 cu­bic me­tres of sand ex­ca­vated from the creek bed and banks, well, that’s an­other story. En­ter stage left the Su­mit­omo SH210 hy­draulic ex­ca­va­tor owned by Adrian and Ma­ree Jo­han­son of Stan­thorpe.

Like a cou­ple of cousins re­united at Christ­mas time, the Hek­ing and the Su­mit­omo im­me­di­ately felt at ease in each other’s com­pany – af­ter all, it was the Sumi that helped to pull the Hek­ing safely to shore about a year ear­lier af­ter its un­for­tu­nate sink­ing.


The job re­quired a ma­chine with a large and solid trim­ming or bat­ter bucket for this work and, as Adrian had his 30-ton­ner on an­other job, we had to set­tle for the 20-tonne SH210.

The Su­mit­omo SH210 is by no means a new ma­chine and has been work­ing in the Gran­ite Belt for more than half its life … it’s not easy up here.

The old girl had a few scratches and small dents show­ing the wear and tear of a ma­chine with close to 8000 hours on the clock, some wear on the walk­ing gear, a cou­ple of small hy­draulic leaks and a few mi­nor is­sues that could be all ti­died up

in a day in the work­shop … but hey, some­times those nig­gling lit­tle things have to wait when there’s work to be done.

The dig­ger’s job was to bat­ter the creek banks to grade, stock­pile the many thou­sands of tonnes of gran­ite-based sand and tidy up the stock­piles of ex­cess ma­te­ri­als. This was no job for a prima donna so for­get about bring­ing in a new ma­chine; it’s rough coun­try and it re­quired a tough ma­chine to com­bat the many ground con­di­tions en­coun­tered here while ex­e­cut­ing its du­ties ef­fi­ciently and with­out fear of a ma­jor break­down in some awk­ward, dif­fi­cult-to-ac­cess con­di­tions.

A huge plus on this job was the fit­ting of a ro­bustly fab­ri­cated and well-de­signed Ir­ish bat­ter/trim­ming bucket that held more than enough ma­te­rial to put the Sumi on its nose if you weren’t care­ful. This was one of the best buck­ets I have had to work with, per­fectly suited to the ma­chine and the ap­pli­ca­tion on hand.


A quick look around the cab and you re­alise it has just come off a job. The only way to have equip­ment is to work it – Adrian doesn’t have a prob­lem in that area.

The Sumi is a typ­i­cal late-model Ja­panese-made ex­ca­va­tor with a few in-cabin mods that are wor­thy of note.

The dial-up throt­tle con­trol is ideal as it has three clearly iden­ti­fi­able work modes ... nice and easy to un­der­stand and op­er­ate.

The Su­mit­omo fac­tory in Chiba City in Ja­pan is where all the ex­ca­va­tors are as­sem­bled and en­gi­neered, so you know that with the Ja­panese qual­ity con­trol the ma­chine is go­ing to be good.

This one cer­tainly does not dis­ap­point. The dash lay­out is easy to un­der­stand and re­late to with no uni de­gree re­quired … ha, suits most of us old blokes, that’s for sure!

The af­ter­mar­ket fit­ting of the big, heavy-duty front screen pro­tec­tion cover is a must when in this type of coun­try.

As Adrian says, the ma­chine reg­u­larly un­der­takes a lot of clear­ing and un­der­growth/ vege­ta­tion work. This screen goes a long way to giv­ing the ma­chine and op­er­a­tor plenty of pro­tec­tion dur­ing this type of work and in these sim­i­lar con­di­tions.

Vi­sion is on par with most other brands of ex­ca­va­tors built in this era so there are no sur­prises for me here … plenty of ‘gen­tly gen­tly does it’ times whilst edg­ing our way through the 4m-high weeds in an at­tempt not to fall into the creek and deep washouts prior to clear­ing our pas­sage­way to the wa­ter’s edge and be­yond.

A cou­ple of things stuck out for me dur­ing the time I had in the op­er­a­tor’s seat – one good and one not so good.

The JB ro­tat­ing hitch is a beauty, solid as, and per­formed ad­mirably in the tough con­di­tions (we would have been lost and put an­other few days onto the job over­all with­out it). How­ever, the con­trol levers house the sen­sors that ac­ti­vate

This was the first time I’d spent a long pe­riod of bum-sit­ting in a Su­mit­omo and I must say for its age and con­di­tion I was pretty im­pressed.

the left or right tilt op­er­a­tion and are merely a pim­ple-sized but­ton in­cor­po­rated into the left or right con­trol arms.

Per­fect when op­er­a­tional but these ones tended to stick, and frus­tra­tion soon set in when stuck with the bucket locked in a se­vere an­gle when want­ing to cut a neat level-graded bat­ter.

Given a few min­utes the sen­sors would come good, how­ever suf­fer­ing from arthritic fin­gers due to teenage on-field punch ups an­other life­time ago cer­tainly re­minded me of a sim­pler way of en­gag­ing the tilt­ing head.

The other good thing I found on this ma­chine was the power of the track drive mo­tors.

Now, maybe I felt this be­cause I had been used to some smaller ma­chines with less power or maybe it was be­cause the Sumi just pow­ered through ev­ery­thing I could throw at it and in all con­di­tions. What­ever the rea­son, it was per­fect for this job.


The ac­cess to the en­gine bay and side pan­els is pretty darn good. At ground level you can ac­cess the bat­tery, iso­la­tor switch, ra­di­a­tor and oil cooler from the left-hand side whereas the hydraulics, pump, etc can be ac­cessed via the right-hand side with ease.

It has a lock­able fuel cap, and re­fu­elling ac­cess is a breeze ei­ther from the side step, the tracks or the top of the cover. The en­gine bay is also ac­cessed from the high side.

Fall-ar­rest­ing handrails are af­ter­mar­ket-fit­ted for your safety and the near-160hp Isuzu diesel en­gine sup­plies am­ple horse­power to drive the hy­draulic pumps to get this girl up and mov­ing oh so ef­fort­lessly.


This was the first time I’d spent a long pe­riod of bum-sit­ting in a Su­mit­omo and, I must say for its age and con­di­tion, I was pretty im­pressed.

The old girl never missed a beat, moved about 16,000 cu­bic me­tres of ma­te­rial over­all, and sev­eral hectares of weed and vege­ta­tion re­moval with ease.

A lot of con­trac­tors would not look at a ma­chine with 8000 hours on the clock, but in my hon­est opin­ion if you are in the mar­ket for a used ex­ca­va­tor, do your­self a favour and go and in­spect some­thing like this rig.

For sure, it’s not go­ing to be your ev­ery­day 12-months-a-year go-to ma­chine, but it will pro­vide you with a good, steady cash flow pro­vided you in­spect the gear prior to pur­chase and do the sums on the why, where and how you want to work it.

With reg­u­lar main­te­nance, fre­quent fa­tigue and wear rate in­spec­tions, and a bit a ten­der love and care you will be sur­prised at just what you can earn out of a rig like Adrian Jo­han­son’s Su­mit­omo SH210 ex­ca­va­tor.

A cou­ple of thumbs up to Su­mit­omo from me on this one … job well done.

The Sumi just pow­ered through ev­ery­thing I could throw at it and in all con­di­tions.

5. Ever-re­li­able Air Ride seat­ing 6. The sim­ple dash lay­out works well 7. Ground-level ac­cess to the hy­draulic pumps 8. There is also groundlevel ac­cess to the air fil­ter, bat­ter­ies, oil cooler, ra­di­a­tor and bat­tery iso­la­tor 9. The Sumi made light...

1. There were plenty of rocks, sand and vege­ta­tion for the 20-tonne Su­mit­omo SH210 ex­ca­va­tor to get stuck in to 2. About 16,000 cu­bic me­tres were moved to cre­ate the creek 3. The Ir­ish-de­signed and -fab­ri­cated bucket won Ron’s ap­proval 4. Eas­ily...




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