The next step in mining excavator design?

Mining is now in a state of evolution, and the machines that are a common sight on site now may not be recognisable in the future.

Volvo has released a number of design concepts of what the future of excavators will look like.

Its SFINX concept machine takes the excavator in a different direction, making the machine lighter, and more adaptable to the surrounding landscape.

However we are fairly certain that operators would not be required to wear full body spandex suits – we hope.

It has some unique features such as bucket cams, independent and variable track contact area, virtual safety belts, active counterweights that automatically adjust, detachable cabs, and a high speed mode as well.

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Last year it also released a new design concept, at ConExpo in Las Vegas, for the GaiaX, which it describes as the “compact excavator of the future”.

The tablet-controlled machine’s body takes a different approach to its build, using a single folded sheet of metal for the entire body.

Instead of the traditional cab there’s only a steel guard rail, with the machine tramming on two tracks instead of the typical four.

Oddly enough it also has a wooden seat.

The HMI is what really sets it apart, however, with the remote control capability being taken in a new direction utilising innovative tablet technology.

JCB’s backhoe has also been reimagined, looking to nature for a new style as part of the company’s Project 120, which asked for a design for the machine for the year 2073.

The machine’s design is based around the scorpion, and features an omni-directional ‘scorpion tail’ rear backhoe.

It features a six wheel drive with independent suspension and swinging half-axles for increased traction.

These are just a few of the concepts for the excavator of the future.

How likely do you think they are, and what do you think the future may bring for this humble piece of machinery.