Getting more from mini-diggers

Excavator Forklift, a family-run business based in Northern Ireland, has developed, CE marked and is now manufacturing a new range of lifting attachments that transform mini-diggers into maxi-lifters.

Primarily designed with landscape gardeners, groundworks contractors and builders in mind, the attachment can be used by anyone who needs to lift heavy loads like pallets of blocks, bags of sand or aggregate or indeed other heavy loads. The attachments are made to fit popular mini-diggers from 0.8-3.5 which can access side-returns to gardens that are inaccessible by larger equipment. This makes the EFL attachment and digger combination a compelling alternative for limited access sites.

Attached and detached in a minute, the clever design (owner and designer James is a Chartered Civil Engineer and Member of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland) takes the hydraulic power of the excavator that is normally directed to digging and harnesses it – within the attachment structure – to produce a vertical lift.

The vertical nature of the lift means that the overturning tendency (which otherwise limits mini-diggers lifting capacity) is significantly reduced. The wheel support on the attachment and the self-righting nature of the attachment mast ensure stability, even on uneven ground. In terms of stresses on the digger, note that when the attachment is lifting, the forces exerted on the digger itself are much less than those generated when digging. The digger provides ballast, hydraulic power to the attachment rams and it is needed to steer and propel the combined load.

The attachment can lift loads on pallets (to 20 cm or c.2 m) or (perhaps of most interest to arborists) suspend them (at 2m).

The precise weight that can be lifted depends on the excavator model, but most mini-diggers (+EFL attachment) can be expected to lift up to 3-4 times what the excavator can lift alone. To give context, a 1.1 tonne Bobcat E10 + attachment can lift an impressive 1.0 tonnes to 1.6 m!

Category winners in the Catalyst Invent 2021 competition awarding innovation in Northern Ireland.

Designed by James Russell (M.I.E.I.)