Zahn R230 Establishes a New Standard of Power and Versatility

Updated Oct 1, 2010

PERRY, Oklahoma – The Ditch Witch organization, the company that introduced the first compact trencher in 1949, announces the release of a new family of trenchers featuring an unprecedented combination of power, speed, versatility, visibility and maneuverability. The new ZahnTM series consists of three power units and a set of compatible front ends designed to provide dedicated performance. With up to 30 horses of power, articulated steering and unmatched ground speed, the Zahn series promises to be a breakthrough for the trenching industry. 

Among the power units is the Zahn R230, a machine that company CEO Tiffany Sewell-Howard says is the greatest 23-hp trencher ever made. “The Zahn R230 is more powerful, more productive, and faster than any machine in its class,” says Sewell-Howard. “But it is more than just a great trencher. The Zahn is a radical new concept, a new way of thinking abut trenching equipment.” 

The Zahn R230 power unit includes a 23-hp Kohler® gas engine, operator’s console, and articulation joint that enables the front end to perform like a dedicated unit. The two-wheel-drive R230 powers two types of front-end trenchers, while its four-wheel-drive InterChange counterpart accepts up to seven types of front ends: trencher, plow, dumper, tiller, backhoe, stump grinder, and a tool carrier that can drive more than 40 quick-change attachments.  

“What makes the Zahn so revolutionary is its multi-function ability,” says Kevin Smith, Product Manager for Compact Utility. “In the past, when customers bought versatility or a machine with attachments, they expected to give up performance. But not with the Zahn.”  

The InterChange connection is just one of the many innovative features of the R230. Its articulation joint and fully hydraulic, articulated steering provide unmatched maneuverability, enabling the operator to easily trench a curve around trees, swimming pools, and other obstacles that utility workers and landscapers inevitably come across. At only 36 inches (914 mm) wide, the compact Zahn R230 enables the operator to get in, out, and around the tightest jobsites with ease. Options like dual wheels and 20-inch (508 mm) urethane-filled, flat-proof tires make the Zahn R230 slightly wider but more productive and stable. The Zahn R230 has an exclusive traction-assist feature that provides extra torque on demand, enabling it to push more, pull more, and traverse soft ground with minimal tire slippage. 

The roomy, ride-on platform of the Zahn R230 is designed to absorb shock, minimize fatigue, and keep the operator out of dirt, mud, and debris. Standing on the platform, the operator faces an exceptionally well-designed operator’s console, with soft-touch, color-coded, ergonomic controls that are easy to grip, easy to learn, and provide smooth, easy operation. The platform is elevated to give the operator an unobstructed view of the work, resulting in accurate installations and increased productivity. 

Productivity is further enhanced by the Zahn R230’s ground speed, which is up to twice that of any pedestrian trencher, and faster than any mini skid steer on the market. Selectable ground drive speed ranges enable the operator to choose the optimal speed and controllability for different applications. The Zahn R230 also comes standard with cruise control, which locks in the ground speed and minimizes operator fatigue. 

The weight of the R230 is distributed to maximize the efficiency of trenching, backfilling, plowing, and any task it is given. And it can perform any task for hours on end, thanks to its large, 11-gallon (41 L) fuel tank.  


                        Features and Benefits of Zahn R230 Front Ends



The power, compact size, and superior articulating ability of the Zahn trencher enable the operator to trench a curve around a swimming pool, building or garden as easily as it can trench a straight line.  


¢ Design concentrates weight on the digging chain so it penetrates the ground easier, enhancing overall stability and productivity.  

¢ Hydraulic drive eliminates maintenance of chains, belts and linkages, and allows the use of a reversible digging chain that helps dislodge rocks and other debris easily.  

¢ Two-wheel-drive model accepts chains up to 8 inches (203 mm) wide, while the 4WD model accepts up to a 12-inch (305 mm) chain, so you can dig trenches for virtually any application. 

¢ A hydraulic auger that runs independent of the headshaft is standard equipment on 4WD trenchers and optional on 2WD trenchers; this feature reduces the amount of carryover, increasing productivity.  

¢ Optional Roto Witch® enables boring under sidewalks and other obstacles, reducing jobsite restoration.  

¢ Remote grease fittings are located in one easily accessible spot, minimizing maintenance and downtime. 


Vibratory Plow 


The Zahn vibratory plow’s exceptional power, articulating ability and lightweight, compact size enable the operator to install utility and communications cable and conduit in tight spaces, around troublesome obstacles, and under delicate turf.  


¢ Variable blade pitch allows operator to change the angle of the leading edge of the blade to be more or less aggressive to match soil conditions.  

¢ Accepts standard Ditch Witch vibratory plow blades, possibly eliminating the need to purchase new blades.  

¢ Optional sod cutter and skid shoes provide greater versatility and minimize restoration.  

¢ Optional reel carrier provides more efficient installation of cable.  


Tool Carrier 


The front-end tool carrier is one of the most versatile members of the Zahn family. Both the high- and low-lift tool carriers are capable of driving more than 40 quick-change attachments.  


¢ The high-lift-arm’s 73-inch (1.85 m) hinge pin height provides the flexibility to perform an extensive range of tasks.  

¢ 4-bar linkage on bucket curl increases the high-lift-arm’s rollback and dump angles so it can move materials more efficiently. 

¢ Kickstand provides quick and easy attachment to and removal from the power unit, increasing productivity. 

¢ Standard mini skid steer-type attachment plate (optional with low-lift model) provides maximum versatility by enabling the tool carrier to accept more than 40 quick-change attachments. 

¢ The high-lift-arm’s optional hydraulic self-leveling kit- an exclusive feature in this class- ensures that the attachment remains level, so work can be more accurate and efficient. 




Both the small and large Zahn dumpers feature durable, all-steel tubs that can handle rock, gravel, concrete and demolition debris.  


¢ Large dumper’s 20-cu-ft (0.57 m3) capacity and 3000-lb (1360 kg) payload means fewer work cycles and outstanding productivity; ideal for open construction sites where moving large amounts of debris is required. 

¢ Small dumper’s 12-cu-ft (0.34 m3) capacity and 1800-lb (816 kg) payload is ideal for small to medium construction tasks in tight jobsites.  

¢ Optional self-loading capability reduces labor and cycle times and increases productivity. 




The highly productive Zahn backhoe features a flat bottom depth of more than five feet (1 m), so it can do the work of a mini excavator while working in tight spaces, and with greater mobility.  


¢ Controlled from the operator’s station, which minimizes operator fatigue and improves visibility.  

¢ Integrated backfill blade and stabilizers provide outstanding stability and simplify restoration. 


Stump Grinder 


The Zahn stump grinder can get into position fast and make short work of stumps of up to 24″ (610 mm) high and 36″ (914 mm) in diameter.  


¢ Low-maintenance hydraulic wheel has no belts, gears, or pulleys to adjust, minimizing maintenance and downtime.  

¢ Reversible wheel can dislodge stump debris easily, further reducing downtime. 

¢ Kickstand provides quick and easy attachment to and removal from the power unit, increasing productivity. 

¢ Solid wheel and tooth design gives you the ability to plunge cut, increasing productivity. 




At only 36″ (914 mm) wide, the Zahn tiller can easily pass through a standard yard gate and maneuver in the tightest spaces.  


¢ Hydraulically driven tiller minimizes maintenance and downtime.  

¢ Reversing capability helps dislodge rocks and other debris easily, further reducing downtime. 

¢ Tiller’s offset capability enables the operator to confidently till right next to a fence or wall. 

¢ Optional, adjustable-depth skid shoes enable operator to vary tilling depth, increasing the unit’s versatility. 


The Ditch Witch organization specializes in the design and manufacture of high-quality underground construction equipment. The company is a one-stop source for trenchers, vibratory plows, pneumatic piercing tools, backhoes, electronic tracking and locating tools, horizontal directional drilling systems, drill pipe, downhole tools, vacuum excavation systems, excavator-tool carriers, and mini skid steers.  

All of these products are recognized around the world for their advanced design, rugged construction, long-term durability, ease of use, and reliability. This product line represents the most complete range of equipment for installing utilities underground. 

The Ditch Witch name is one you can trust for your equipment and financial needs. Ditch Witch Financial Services (DWFS) is a full-service provider, offering a wide variety of finance and lease options to meet your individual requirements.   

For more information about the Zahn R230, please call 800-654-6481 or visit

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