Advancements like machine control and GPS have created new levels of accuracy without physically changing equipment, but what about technology reinventing the machine itself without requiring a futuristic multimillion-dollar purchase? Imagine a wrist between the stick and bucket of an excavator allowing for infinite 360-degree rotation and 45 degrees of tilt either direction. Unlimited combinations of bucket control are no longer farfetched thanks to engcon, a Swedish tiltrotator manufacturer. By leveraging social media and small contractors like Ryan Goodfellow of Rock Structures Utility & Excavating, they’re demonstrating to US companies how beneficial and effective their product is.
Saying engcon’s product is revolutionary isn’t an exaggeration. The ability to rotate and angle the bucket is a complete game-changer when grading and trenching. The system works in three parts — the quick coupler with EC Oil, the tiltrotator with EC Oil, and the attachments. Engcon attachments are wide-ranging from different buckets, to compaction tools, to sweepers. The genius of the system extends to its flexibility and ease of use. If the tiltrotator gets in the way, say while digging or loading trucks, it’s not a problem. With the push of a button inside the cab, the entire unit is disconnected and set aside, and a bucket of hydraulic equipment is attached to the end of the stick without touching a single hydraulic line. “I can drop the tiltrotator and go right to the attachments on the end of the stick,” says Ryan.
Thanks to engcon’s EC Oil technology, both the quick coupler and tiltrotator have built-in oil blocks that connect the hydraulic lines automatically. The system can go from tiltrotator with bucket, to bucket-only or any other hydraulic attachment in a few short moments. Ryan takes full advantage of the flexibility, removing and reattaching his tiltrotator and attachments all day long as he works on different aspects of a project.
After ConExpo in 2017, Ryan decided the purchase price was well worth the benefits, and he ordered the engcon EC226 tiltrotator for his John Deere 210G excavator. The new engcon came with 24”, 48”, and 67” buckets along with a grapple for placing rock. He’s also retrofitted his compaction wheel, hoe pack, and ripper to the engcon, extending the total number of attachments to seven. Engcon sent a two-person team from the US and Sweden in early 2017 to complete the install.
Learning the tilt and rotate features took a few weeks to master, but the benefits of the engcon were immediately apparent. 90-degree angles and fine grading basements from a single location without moving the machine is now possible, and the benefits when trenching are even greater. “When I’m digging utilities, I can slope the sides of the trench so it’s safer for the guys,” Ryan explains. “I can also dig underneath utilities sideways instead of having laborers hand-dig underneath, saving time and reducing their time in the trench.”
“I think tiltrotators will become standard on excavators, a lot like machine guidance is currently becoming,” Ryan says. Keep an eye out — engcon tiltrotators may soon be commonplace on all small excavators in America, just as they already are in Europe.