Volvo CE creates pipelayer conversion kit for excavators

volvo pipelayer
Unlike a standard side boom pipelayer this Volvo-patented solution with rotating superstructure has no side boom, so can work in tight areas without positioning issues, especially useful when pipelaying in urban areas.

Volvo CE has developed a rotating pipelayer attachment kit that allows a 14-ton excavator to work as a pipelayer.

The pipelayer kit was created as a solution for users who don’t want to buy a dedicated pipelayer and are using conventional excavators for the work.

Volvo CE developed the kit in response to customers’ need for a simple solution to lower pipes into trenches. Now they can easily switch from a use-anywhere excavator to a dedicated pipelayer — and back again.

“The pipelayer attachment kit is aimed at customers placing pipe in cities and municipalities where space is at a premium. Our 14-ton excavators are the right size for this type of work, so pairing the kit to these machines made sense,” said Todd Cannegieter, product manager of attachments and special applications at Volvo CE.

“If you’re not lowering in pipe regularly, it can be hard to justify the investment in a dedicated pipelayer or side boom. We wanted to give customers another option.”

The rotating pipelayer kit fits Volvo CE’s 14-ton the EC140EL and ECR145E crawler excavators.

Pipelayer conversion

For the conversion, the pipelaying boom attaches to the main boom of the excavator, converting from excavator to pipelayer (or vice versa) in about one hour.

The pipelayer components are robust and can safely handle pipes up to 508 mm, with a rated load of 3.3 tons. The maximum working height is 7.3 metres, with a maximum working depth of 15.24 metres.

When it comes to transport, excavators with the pipelayer kit can be ready for transit within minutes. No crane or extra people are required, saving time, money and hassle. Getting all of this versatility in a single machine means operators can get the job done easier, quicker, safer and at a lower cost.

Unlike a traditional side boom pipelayer, Volvo’s rotating superstructure solution means the machine is more maneuverable, as there is no need to constantly reposition its tracks. The short-swing radius ECR145E can perform pipelaying work on busy two-lane streets, while leaving one lane open for traffic, making it ideal for pipelaying in urban areas.

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The pipelayer configuration also gives the ECR145E the same lifting capacity as its standard excavator sibling, the EC140EL.

Unlike a side boom, the operator will always face the load, helping to reduce fatigue. An excavator-based pipelayer will also be more familiar to most operators, which could help with recruitment, training and productivity.

Operators are further supported by Volvo’s unique Load Moment Indicator, which ensures safe operation up to a 10-degree slope. The system monitors load weights and sends audio and visual alerts. It also includes a standard anti-two-block system.

There are maintenance advantages with the kit, as well, according to Volvo CE. The pipelayer configuration has almost all components in common with a standard 14-ton excavator, so it’s simple to find parts and keeps maintenance costs low.