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A commitment to rail

Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the rail sector in Australia with a strong range of equipment on offer.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCA) is reaffirming its commitment to the rail sector with the belief much of its offerings are well suited to the industry. The company was founded in 1910 by electrical engineer Namihei Odaira and has since grown to more than 320,000 employees working globally in a number of sectors.

Rail Express spoke with Nitin Khanna, who is the general manager at HCA to learn more about the company’s commitment to rail in Australia.

“We wanted to be present in this segment for the customers that we already have working in this space,” he said.

“We do have a product line that can create a difference to our customers. We have a lot of exciting products coming out of Japan that are well suited to rail.”

These machines include Hitachi’s wheeled excavators and mini excavators, both suitable for narrow rail corridors.

The ZAXIS wheeled excavators have been designed to offer versatility and can be used with a number of attachments. They have seen the lifting capacity increased by seven per cent. A new power boost function increases the digging force by 6 per cent for up to eight seconds when needed.

The wheeled excavators are well suited to supporting the rail industry. IMAGES: HITACHI

The front speed of the new models has been enhanced by the HIOS III boom recirculation system – pressurised oil is circulated in the boom cylinder when lowering the boom, allowing pressurised oil from the pump to be used efficiently to increase the speed of the arm.

Khanna explained that while the new developments are exciting, Hitachi has a strong focus on maintaining its reliability and safety standards.

“We have an integrated engineering team in Australia, which works on the design aspects and requirements for the Australian market,” he said.

“We have seamless communication with Japan to make sure that all compliance around safety and reliability is being met. A lot of OEMs will just manufacture a machine and send it down here, that is not what we do.

“It is actually the other way around. We do the groundwork and research and then communicate that with Japan. The machines are then tested in Japan and then further tested here to stand up to our local needs.”


Hitachi has placed an emphasis on improving its electric offerings. It recently provided a ZE85 electric excavator to Anric Group. The machine is 100 per cent electric and is well suited to the Australian market.

“Our electric machines align well with the government’s net zero commitment by 2050,” Khanna said.

“It’s an important sector and we need to keep up with the needs of the industry and that includes bringing the electric range to Australia for a solution here and now that allows us to make the right steps forward.”

Khanna explained that the feedback on the machines has been good.

“The machines are quiet and energy efficient,” he said.

“You have quick charging in 30 minutes and a run time of five and a half hours when running on three batteries, or you have the option to upgrade to a four-battery pack.

“This machine is one of the most tested products before launching and was heavily tested in Japan. Anric Group has had nothing but positive feedback around these machines.”

Khanna said that many of the machines have the benefit of quiet operations. Rail corridors where the machines work can often be in residential areas, so removing the instances of a dull diesel engine operating can be beneficial.

While much of the electric infrastructure is catching up, Khanna detailed that the industry still has a while to go but it will go on the journey with its partners.

“I think moving forward you will see more and more electric machines coming onto construction sites, so it is important we provide that support,” he said.

“That is why every OEM including Hitachi is at the forefront of research and development and delivering a product for the future.

“The infrastructure around this is still lacking a little but you will see it improve more and more on site, and more electric machines will be used.”

The main feature of the two- and 13-tonne excavators is the combined use of battery power and a commercial electricity supply while maintaining the same workload as engine-powered models. Long operating hours are achieved by this use of battery power in conjunction with a commercial power supply. Additionally, the two-tonne class prototype has the same outside dimensions as an engine-powered mini excavator of the same class and can work efficiently in confined spaces due to its short rear-end swing design.

The ZE85, a compact and agile 8.5-tonne electric excavator, is built on the foundation of the highly efficient Hitachi ZX85USB-5.

With a 40kW output, the ZE85 meets the same performance standards as its diesel-powered counterpart, but with zero emissions. In contrast to machines powered by combustion engines, the electric powertrain demands no maintenance, minimising downtime.

Backup support

Hitachi has an established national support network for its users. With almost 30 branches across the country, the company is well set up to support Australia’s rail market.

“We have our local engineering team but also our sales reps across the country,” Khanna said.

“We don’t sell our machines through dealers, we have our own representatives who work with our customers directly. They work with them day in, day out and understand their needs.

“We have a huge amount of infrastructure built around providing aftersales support to our customers. This includes a 24/7 hotline for our customers to call.”

Khanna explained that the organisation has committed resources, infrastructure and stock around its aftersales support locally.

“For our customers we have decades of experience in Australia and that knowledge and know-how around supporting the local industry,” he said.

“That knowledge has been built on over decades and is something that we rely heavily on when supporting our existing customers.”