Volvo unveils ‘next generation’ of excavator in Las Vegas

VOLVO Construction Equipment is showcasing a prototype of its new EC500 crawler excavator at CONEXPO 2023 in Las Vegas.

The model is described as heralding a ‘new generation’ of excavator, with improvements across cab design and operator interface, safety and productivity.

A successor to the Volvo EC480E, the EC500 is a 50-ton digger designed for a range of tough applications. It will be available in regulated markets including Europe, North America and Korea.

Stephen Roy, president of Volvo CE North America, said, “We’re excited to share the first look at our next generation excavator. A pre-production model, there will be some differences to the appearance of the EC500 that will be available to our customers, but it gives an insight into the future, with enhanced safety, operability and productivity.

Stephen Roy, Martin Lundstedt and Melker Jernberg with the EC500

“At Volvo CE we continue to proactively develop intelligent solutions to improve safety and avoid accidents on the jobsite, so the addition of Volvo Smart View with Obstacle Detection is another important step towards our vision for zero accidents.”

The manufacturer said the biggest change can be seen in the cabin design and styling, with new layout and features including high-definition co-pilot screen, keyless engine start, wired and wireless smart phone charging, and new work mode switch.

With Volvo Smart View with Obstacle Detection, operators benefit from a 360° view thanks to an improved camera system and new radar detection system which provides automatic alerts when the excavator approaches any obstacle, identifying and classifying them as an object or human, and allowing the operator to take remedial action.

Safety features include three-point access guard rails and a foldable top handrail for transportation.

The excavator is set up to access a range of machine options to boost operators. These include the operator coaching app, Volvo Dig Assist – a suite of tools designed to help deliver accuracy by eliminating the need to manually mark out a site and check depths and grades – and Volvo Lift Assist, all accessed via the Co-Pilot screen in the cab. Volvo Active Control, an automated grading system and part of the Dig Assist tools, will also be available for the first time on an excavator of this size.

New electric joysticks give operators more control over the hydraulic system. The hydraulic pumps can be operated together as well as virtually disconnected, allowing the operator to control the boom without affecting track speed.

Comfort Driver Control allows the operator to move forwards, backwards and steer with the joysticks. Each user can set up their own settings based upon their preferences and the application they are working on and save them in Co-Pilot so they can be quickly accessed for future sessions.

Increased cooling capacity means the EC500 can handle extreme weather conditions and the excavator also benefits from longer service intervals – from 2,000 to 3,000 hours – for the hydraulic oil and filter.

Manufactured at Volvo’s crawler excavator plant in Changwon, Korea, production of the EC500 will begin in Q4 2023.