Sumitomo SH210 excavator
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.
ON THE JOB
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.
IN THE CAB
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.
UNDER THE HOOD
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.
THE BOTTOM LINE
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...