Arguably, skid steer and other forms of compact loaders are the most popular type of small size construction equipment to be found in action on today’s sites, working both in and out of doors, invariably moving and/or processing the waste that arises from site activities.
A trend has been identified suggesting that the compact tracked loader (CTL) is finding favour in some European countries, adding to the options that are available. John Chattaway, Bobcat’s product manager for compact loaders in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, said that although the CTL concept was not new, it had started to expand the normal compact loader customer base in some European countries and industries.
He said, “The CTL is now replacing wheeled loaders in some applications and opening up new applications for others. Although the different rates of economic recovery make the market expansion inconsistent, the trend is clear enough to be able to identify. From the CTL industry peak in 2007, the European market recovery has been slow as the southern mainstay markets continue to be depressed.”
He added that customers nowadays more clearly understood the CTL’s advantages over different types of wheeled loaders.
“This includes how the CTLs offset the initial higher purchase price and marginally increased maintenance costs. Additionally, the reduced downtime by not having punctures, and the cost savings associated with not needing to keep spare wheels in stock, is appealing to rental suppliers and contractors alike,” said John.
He explained that the CTL’s basic benefits of high flotation allowed work to continue on poor ground and in bad weather. “This is now also joined by the understanding that the high flotation allows work in applications that require less ground disturbance and damage – for example, landscaping or clean up at the end of a project.”
He said that contractors realised that the CTL could be one of the first machines on site that was able to access difficult areas, and move materials and equipment “with impressive performance capacity”.
He added, “Then, after the multi-purpose CTL continues to work even during poor weather, it can be the last machine on the site performing clean up and repair where larger or wheeled products are not allowed to go because of damage to already constructed areas.”
While Volvo Construction Equipment has not launched any new compact wheeled loaders lately – the most recent machines were the L25F with new stage 3A engine and the L30-35G with stage 3B engines – Per Leis, utility director for EMEA, said that customer-adapted options and attachments were the main focuses now.
He said that as work in urban areas was increasing, the demand for smaller machines of less than 2 tonnes was increasing. “The compact wheeled loader business, together with the compact excavator business, is growing and we see a positive development for Europe and some parts of EMEA,” said Per.
He said Volvo was quite new in the field of skid steer loaders. “The total market in Europe is quite small,” he said, but he added that successful introductions had been made, mainly in Switzerland, Norway and Russia. New Stage IIIB models were introduced in the autumn, and they have several new options that are beneficial for our customers.”
He would not divulge more of what was happening in Volvo’s product development but said, “We will, of course, target and follow the changes in market demand and legislations – especially concerning the environment, which is one of our core values.”
Avant Tecno has launched the 760i, which it called its new flagship model as it is the biggest, fastest and most powerful loader in the Avant range. The 760i is described as being packed with modern engine technology providing more torque and enhanced performance, but at the same time, lower fuel consumption, exhaust emissions and noise.
The company said the 760i could be described as the biggest mini loader in the world. It claimed the features successfully combined the lift capacity and work efficiency of a bigger loader with the versatility and agility of a smaller machine. The 760i’s Kohler KDI 42kW/225Nm diesel engine complies with Tier 4 Final emission regulations, achieving compliance without the need for a diesel particulate filter (DPF) or diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).
Jani Käkelä, vice president for sales and marketing, said, “The environmental friendliness of this loader is not limited to its consumption. We have also paid attention to the noise of the loader. The modern engine of the Avant 760i is inherently much quieter. In addition, the engine heats less, which also reduces the noise of the ventilator. An important factor is also the fact that the engine reaches full torque at very low speed so it is possible to work at almost idle. Low level of noise is a big advantage for early morning tasks.”
He added, “Kohler has invested a large amount of money into the development of this new engine. For our part, we have built our own, well-functioning product around this innovation.”
Case Construction Equipment has updated its skid steer loader and compact tracked loader ranges to offer more engine and hydraulic power. There are 10 compact models – seven skid steers and three tracked loaders – that are said to deliver improved efficiency through the use of environmentally-friendly Tier 4 engine solutions, providing customers with increased power and torque and reduced operating costs.
Case is offering an upgraded small-frame model, the SR160, to replace the SR150, which is one of the company’s best-sellers. The new model has a larger and cleaner engine claiming up to 15% more power.
The smallest, SR130, is now powered by a 2.2-litre 36 kW (48.3 hp) Tier 4 Interim engine, that uses internal cooled exhaust gas recirculation (CEGR) without the need of additional particulate filters.
The mid-range SV185 and SR175 skid steers are powered by Tier 4 Final engines. Case said that through the use of a turbocharger and high-powered common rail fuel injection with electronic control, there was no requirement for regeneration on these engines. A maintenance-free diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) system enables compliance with stringent regulations.
Similarly the SR200 and TR270 machines that use a 54 kW (72.5 hp) turbocharged engine can meet Tier 4 Interim without regeneration. The most powerful SR250, SV300, TR320 and TV380 models all use a 66 kW (88.5 hp) turbocharged engine with multiple injection high pressure common rail, plus an electronically controlled wastegate that is said to deliver superior pressure stability within the turbocharger.
It said that the SR160 was a typical example of the improvements that had been made, offering customers 15% more power, 27% more torque and a 19% increase in hydraulic flow compared to the previous, similarly sized, SR150.
Case sister-company New Holland Construction’s 200 Series now includes three Tier 4 Final compliant models, including the new L216 skid steer loader, and fuel-efficient Tier 4 Interim engine configurations.
The next generation of New Holland skid steer and compact track loaders have the same compact dimensions as the previous models, while claiming to deliver more power and torque than before.
The new radial-lift Tier 4 Final L216 skid steer loader claims best-in-class peak torque, while the upgraded large-frame line-up is said to deliver more performance in a fuel-efficient, compact design.
The two mid-size models of the New Holland Construction skid steer loader range meet Tier 4 Final standards with a diesel oxidation catalyst-only solution that claims benefits in fuel saving, performance and maintenance convenience.
The L220 model gets tougher with a four-cylinder, turbocharged 49 kW (65.7 hp) engine which New Holland said delivered a 12% increase of horsepower. It is tuned for a 22% boost in peak torque to 208 Nm and a rated operating capacity of 905kg.
The L218 and the L220 skid steer loaders incorporate the high pressure common rail (HPCR) injection design which New Holland said was typically used in larger construction equipment. It said the HPCR ensured high injection precision and allowed higher torque output and more useful power from every drop of fuel.
The New Holland mid-frame line-up also includes the C227 compact track loaders which are powered by a 54 kW (72.4 hp) turbocharged FPT Industrial engine complying with Tier 4 Interim emission standards, and have a rated operating capacity of 1,225 kg (2,695 lb) and a bucket breakout force of 32.3 kN.
The New Holland L213 radial-lift model develops a 10% torque rise – up to 143 Nm – and it has new loader arm stops that allow the loader arm to lean directly into the chassis for superior digging and pushing strength.
In the high-end segment, the L230 skid steer loader and the C238 compact track loader now fully meet the Tier 4 Interim regulations with the new turbocharged 66 kW (88.5 hp) engine designed by another sister-company, FPT Industrial.
The 3.4 litre engine claims to deliver torque of 383 Nm at a low engine speed of only 1,400 rpm, with a 13% increase in pushing power.
JCB has added three new models in its compact wheeled loader range. The 406 is described as an entry level model. Its 36 kW (48.3 hp) engine means it is of a low enough power to be exempt from Stage IV exhaust emission laws and this helps to keep the price down.
Meanwhile the all-new 407 offers a similar payload capacity just above 4 tonnes, but with a 48 kW (64.4 hp) water-cooled electronically controlled engine from Kohler. Again, there is no DPF in the engine bay. The high performance 409 meanwhile has a 55 kW (74 hp) Kohler engine.
A new feature on all the loaders is a redesigned rear chassis that allows for towing equipment to be installed, or for the use of rear-mounted implements. The 407 is available with an optional high speed transmission to help with this. Customers can also specify a 100% differential lock in the front axle, for maximum traction when digging and in poor site conditions.
The new Cat 297D and 297D XHP Multi Terrain tracked loaders feature a dual suspension undercarriage, completely new modular cab, redesigned vertical lift loader linkage with Cat Intelligent Leveling, larger engines and enhanced performance compared to the previous C Series models. New electronic controls and a new Advanced Display enhance operator efficiency and an available industry-exclusive rearview camera enhances operator awareness. The new machines excel in applications where high power, high traction and limited ground disturbance are needed, such as residential construction, landscaping operations and snow removal work.
Rated operating capacities are 2,063 and 2,268 kg (4,550 and 5,000 lb), respectively. The new Cat C3.8 DIT engine develops respective net ratings of 71 and 79 kW (95 and 106 hp) and meets US EPA Tier 4 Interim and EU Stage IIIB emission standards. The D Series models accommodate necessary emissions controls with no compromise in serviceability and with no interruption of work cycles, says Cat.
Compared with the C Series models, the 297D has 4% greater power, 13% greater torque and 19% more lift force with the 297D XHP featuring 17% more power, 27% greater peak torque, 19% more lift force and 10% greater rated operating capacity.
On the ultra-compact side comes the new Ditch Witch® SK850 mini skid steer that delivers more power to the attachment with its 27.6 kW (37 hp) Tier 4 Yanmar diesel. The 22 kW (29 hp) of hydraulic power delivered to the attachment helps operators increase the performance of various attachments for a wide range of tasks. The SK850 features 390 kg (860 lb) rated operating capacity (SAE), 2.1 m (6.9 ft) hinge-pin height, and 7.6 km/h (4.7 mph) ground speed in both forward and reverse. A standard auto-throttle reduces engine throttle when not under load for greater efficiency and enhanced safety.
The new machines exclusive high-drive track system has bolt-on interchangeable sprockets and wide track rollers to ease maintenance and enhance track life. Standard tracks are 1 m (3.3 ft) wide, with optional 0.9 m (3 ft) narrow tracks. To maximize uptime, the SK850 features a belt-free design and low-maintenance track-tensioning system.