Product feature: Dempsey Wood Civil adds Kobelco excavators

By: Steve Atkinson , Photography by: Michiel Rensen

Dempsey Wood Civil, a well-known civil construction company, recently purchased the latest Kobelco SK140SRLC-7, SK75, and SK210LC-10 excavators

Dempsey Wood Civil Ltd operates a sizeable business over a large swath of the Upper North Island, with its latest acquisition — the Kobelco SK140SRLC-7 (long carriage/short radius) 16-tonne excavator — assigned to a development in South Auckland.

Tasked with varied responsibilities, the new green machine was carrying out excavation duties on the day of our visit.The job of excavating for a soon-to-be people-populated precinct normally isn’t all that awkward of an undertaking, but the moisture-laden clay that sits not far below the dry surface adds an unwanted dimension.

The purchase of the SK140SRLC-7 includes a 2-year/3000-hour Full Machine Warranty and a 4-year/6000-hour Major Component Extended Warranty

It’s nothing that an operator hasn’t experienced before; in fact, it’s just another day at the office. Like other civil construction businesses, Dempsey Wood Civil often seeks versatility when purchasing excavation equipment, and having a machine like the Kobelco SK140SRLC-7, especially with a short radius tail swing, means operators can confidently use it in a variety of work situations.

Compact power and versatility

The minimal-sized footprint of the SK140SRLC-7 can provide advantages even when on a large site, but that compact form doesn’t necessarily translate to minimum anything else when it comes to the build of the machine.

The excavator doesn’t compromise on power, weight, ease of servicing, or operator comforts.

Even fitted with a dozer blade, the machine’s stature can appear something like an optical illusion to the average Joe and is a design feature that puts the machine firmly in the category of all-rounder, allowing it to not only do smaller tasks but also feel right at home with large excavations, such as the one being undertaken on the day of our visit.

In standard configuration, fitted with a 2380mm standard arm (2840mm arm available) and a half cubic metre bucket, the machine has an operating weight of 16,200kg, depending on the grouser width set-up.

With the A2 wide bucket and sibling Ram-Tilt coupler, one would expect the actual weight sitting on the ground to be close to 17,000kg, which is impressive considering the relatively small area the machine can operate in, if required.

However, the clever design doesn’t end at getting all that steel and components into a space that 10- and 12-tonne machines once occupied.

Dempsey Wood Civil team: Poini Palu, Khalil Alboutros, Clive Forrester (Kobelco sales rep), and Jonathan Moreno

Behind the controls

For Dempsey Wood operators, the height-adjustable controls offer comfort and convenience, allowing them to work efficiently from a spacious cab. A Grammer-brand seat is fitted as standard for those big workdays and air-conditioning vents are optimally placed around the cab.

Thoughtful touches, such as the cup holder, the smartphone holder with USB port, and AM/FM radio with Bluetooth connect ability nod towards the requirements of today’s modern operator.  Conversation on that evening’s dinner plans can be carried out hands-free without interrupting the work being carried out.

At the operator’s fingertips — or glove tips if he’s wearing them — is a jog dial, which integrates multiple functions, allowing the easy navigation of the machine information on the large 10-inch colour monitor, which can operate in multiple screens mode, if required.

For those early morning starts, the LED backlighting on switches and dials gives the cockpit a premium automobile feel. An interior light automatically operates when the door is opened, providing an additional level of safety in darkness.

Safety takes a step further with left, right, and rear cameras, which can be customised to operate in numerous different modes. An ‘Eagle Eye’ view can also be activated and can be invaluable when working in confined areas.

Like other in-cab functions of the SK140SRLC-7, the cameras are easily accessed and intuitively controlled via the jog dial.

Powering the business end

Compared to previous models, engine output is significantly increased, which shortens cycle times substantially

However, all the creature comforts of a machine are not worth their salt unless there’s the power and functionality to back up the rest of the package, and as one would expect, Kobelco doesn’t intend to let their people down.

Powering the business end of the SK140SRLC-7 is a 78.6kW(95hp) @2200rpm Isuzu engine. In New Zealand and Australia, buyers have the option of either Tier 3 or Tier 4 variations.

The SK140SRLC-7 has a digging force of 105.4kN

Translating that engine power to the end of the digger arm, the operator will have 105.4kN of digging force at the bucket, although, in reality, it’s probably a fraction less, taking into account the tilt-coupler set-up on the machine.

Nonetheless, the minor breakout loss is academic considering the machine will never need full digging force unless its owners decide to put the excavator into a quarry situation, which is highly unlikely.

Make it flow

Back to the job at hand, the short radius of the SK140SRLC-7 will come in handy once the stockpiled clay begins to encroach further into the work area of the machine. The closer the operator can pile the material to the excavator, the less fuel burns, so every millimetre of space is valuable to the owner of the machine.

Also, assisting in reducing fuel usage are the different mode and flow rate settings the excavator can operate in. As the Kobelco SK140SRLC-7 comes fitted with auxiliary piping, the flow rate modes of the bucket, breaker, nibbler, and rotating grapple are set by Kobelco before delivery and modes for other attachments can be easily added or changed.

The high-power engine in the SK140SRLC-7 does not require DPF or AdBlue

Owners can elect to use Kobelco’s Geoscan remote monitoring system, which provides numerous data sets, such as operating hours, location, fuel burn, and maintenance status — all accessible remotely.

Operating hour data is broken into different categories, so owners can differentiate between income and non-income producing hours. Additionally, warning alerts are available as are security alerts — all sent to a computer or smartphone.

Although the job on the day of our visit was kicking up relatively little dust, Kobelco has put clever thought into the design of air filters and pre-filter dust collection to prevent clogging and ensure the longevity of the engine and components.

Likewise, servicing points are all grouped into easy-to-access areas, which means the need to climb atop the machine is reduced, although, the excavator has been fitted with the requisite barrier for additional safety.

Return on investment

Finding an excavator that can be used as an all-rounder can sometimes prove to be a difficult proposition. More often than not, a machine will come with ‘this’ but not ‘that’, but in the case of the Kobelco SK140SRLC-7, the designers have put together a package that’s hard to beat.

For excavator owners such as Dempsey Wood Civil, placing hard-to-find experienced operators in machines that are powerful, comfortable, and intuitive to operate represents a good return on their investment in both equipment and people.

Kobelco SK140SRLC-7 specifications

Operating weight 16,200kg

Isuzu 4JJ1XDJA
4-cylinder turbocharged


@ 2200rpm gross

Max torque 365Nm@1800rpm gross
Emission system Tier 3
Main pumps Two variable displacement piston pumps and one extra gear pump
Max oil flow

2 x 130L/min, 1 x 20L/min, and extra gear pump
1 x 60L/min

Bucket digging force 105.4kN
Machine width (600mm shoe) 2490mm

Max reach at
ground level

Max digging depth 5520mm
Max dump height 6750mm
Min ground clearance 400mm  

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