An Excavator On the Moon? A First Look at Yanmar's Electric Excavator Prototype

What happens when a construction equipment manufacturer teams of up with JAXA's Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center? Let's find out!

yanmar excavator on the moon

A New Dawn in Construction Equipment

Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd. (Yanmar HD) has taken a giant leap in construction equipment technology. For the recent Construction DX Challenge 2023, they unveiled a state-of-the-art electric work machine prototype. This event, hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, marked a significant milestone in construction machinery evolution. 

Yanmar ViO25 mini-excavator

Collaborative Innovation: Yanmar and JAXA


Yanmar Series Elastic Actuator
Series Elastic Actuator (SEA)

In an exciting collaboration with JAXA's Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center, Yanmar HD has developed the large Series Elastic Actuator (SEA). This technology is at the heart of their next-generation work machine, crafted under the ambitious Moonshot Research and Development Program. The prototype boasts a unique force control capability—a feat challenging to achieve with conventional hydraulic systems.

Transforming Construction Sites

The prototype, an electric mini-excavator, uses the SEA—comprising an electric motor, reducer, and spring—to automate delicate manual tasks. This innovation aims to alleviate labor shortages at construction sites by mechanizing tasks that were previously manual. Looking ahead, Yanmar plans extensive testing to integrate these advanced machines into real-world construction settings.

Towards a Greener Tomorrow

Yanmar's commitment to sustainability shines through this development. Aligning with their YANMAR GREEN CHALLENGE 2050, the company underscores its dedication to decarbonizing the construction industry. This initiative is a part of their broader vision to foster a sustainable society through electrification and other cutting-edge technologies.

Excavator Specifications: A Closer Look

The prototype, based on the Yanmar ViO25 mini-excavator, is a zero-emission, 3-ton class machine with a 209kg rated load during lifting and an impressive 210-degree operating range for its arm. This design integrates an articulated motor, expanding its range of motion and enabling high-altitude operations like ceiling work.

Yanmar ViO25 mini-excavator
Schematic of the new Yanmar joint motor.

Excavators in Outer Space: A Possibility?

The collaboration with JAXA's Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center hints at an intriguing possibility: could these advanced excavators be used in outer space? While this idea may seem far-fetched, the technological advancements in Yanmar's prototype, such as force control and zero emissions, align with the requirements for extraterrestrial operations. This opens a new frontier for excavators—potentially aiding in lunar or planetary "earth" moving in the future.

More information, check out this press release about the Yanmar ViO25 mini-excavator or the Series Elastic Actuator (SEA).

Find Your Next Excavator at My Little Salesman

For those in the commercial equipment operation industry, this development marks an exciting era. If you're looking for the latest in excavator technology, including Yanmar's innovative models, you're invited visit My Little Salesman's online marketplace. Discover a wide range of excavators for sale that meet your specific needs and stay ahead in the industry with cutting-edge equipment.

Check out the latest excavator models for sale.

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About Ken Lane
Ken’s affinity for the heavy equipment industry was fostered as a curious youngster—becoming happily lost on his grandfather’s tractor sales and service lot (his favorite color is still Allis-Chalmers Orange). Since then, he’s perfected the art of turning black coffee into helpful buyer resources and marketing materials for My Little Salesman.
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