Compact Tool Carriers: Murray Pollok rounds up the latest launches

By Murray Pollok22 December 2009

This WL 18 articulated wheeled loader is one of a range of tool carriers sold by Wacker Neuson.

This WL 18 articulated wheeled loader is one of a range of tool carriers sold by Wacker Neuson.

IRN reports on the latest compact tool carriers, including tracked loaders, skid steers and articulated wheeled loaders from suppliers including Bobcat, Boxer, Mustang, Gehl, Cat, Wacker Neuson, Kanga and Avant Tecno.

Bobcat says renters can make money with loaders

"Our dealers are making good money, so there is an opportunity for rental companies to do the same", says Jose Cuadrado, business director for Bobcat compact loaders in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Mr Cuadrado is talking about Bobcat's attempts to sell the concept of renting skid steer loaders and the slightly more expensive but more versatile compact tracked loaders. It's not always an easy sell, he acknowledges, since many European owners are already used to a certain way of working (whether with mini excavators, compact loaders or backhoes) and because tracked loaders in particular are still something of a novelty in many European countries.

But he is clear that Bobcat will continue to push the loaders to customers, both through the development of dealer rental fleets and through sales to rental companies.

He tells IRN that before the recession, sales of tracked loaders were growing at almost twice the rate of skid steers. Although sales are down now, the company aims to grab more of the tracked loader market with its new, smallest model, the T110.

Mr Cuadrado says the key thing with the new model is its power to weight ratio; "It was difficult to develop because of its compact size", he says, "but it has very powerful ratios."

Driven by a four cylinder, 31.2 kW Kubota V2403 diesel engine, the T110 has a rated operating capacity of 505 kg and a tipping load of 1443 kg. Equipped with 250 mm wide rubber tracks, the T110 has a low ground pressure of only 0.32 kg/cm² (31.7 kPa).

Measuring just 1.2 m wide and less than 2.3 m long without any attachment, the 2.3 t is notable also for its ability to be transported on a light trailer towed by mid-sized vehicles.

Bobcat says the characteristics of the T110 illustrate the wider benefits of tracked loaders. These include better all terrainability (all year working) and a lower tipping point which gives it larger lifting capacities that equivalent skid steer models. The company says the unit will have applications in areas such as landscaping, forestry, residential and commercial construction, local authorities, agriculture, nurseries, recycling and many others.

Mr Cuadrado says Bobcat has no plans to produce the even smaller compact loaders of the type produced by Boxer or Kanga; "There is a market, and it is growing, however, we don't see it as large enough to justify [entering that market]. We believe we can capture some of that market with the smaller end machines."

In addition to the T110, Bobcat has also expanded its tracked range recently by offering new steel tracked versions of its T250, T300 and T320 models, its three largest tracked machines.

The factory-fit steel track options are an alternative to the conventional rubber tracked configurations, allowing the machines to work in conditions that are unsuitable for rubber track work, including demolition, scrap metal recycling and waste treatment.

The steel tracks - which require a re-engineering of the machines undercarriage - also facilitate work on rocky and abrasive soils, as well as breaking and clearing concrete/asphalt surfaces and working on slopes and in forests where the loaders provide better traction and increased ground adherence. The improved traction increases by up to 45% the pushing force, compared to rubber tracks.

The steel tracks, which are 340 mm wide, offer up to three times the track life of rubber tracks in heavy duty applications.

Digga shifts Kanga production

Australia's Digga Manufacturing, which earlier this year acquired the Kanga Loaders business, has switched product of the distinctive yellow and green tool carriers to its Brisbane manufacturing plant.

Digga tells IRN that the entire Kanga range will be retained and that there are plans for new models, although no details were available.

"The Kanga machines are now fully manufactured and assembled in the Queensland facility, as opposed to Kanga in the past importing various parts from overseas", says a Digga spokesperson.

Digga says Kanga owners worldwide will benefit from Digga's strength; "With Digga being a cash positive, strong and independent company, this has definitely helped the Kanga Loader move forward at a fast and rapid pace."

UK renter pleased with first Avant 750

A rental company has become the first buyer of Avant Tecno's 700 Series compact articulated loader. Ayrefield Plant of Chorley in Lancashire chose the machine primarily because of its transportability on a 3.5 t truck. The machine is pictured here working on a busy city centre site in Bury.

Ayrefield Plant's director, Peter Messham, says the 750 was proving to be "a highly effective piece of kit, capable of working safely even on very confined sites such as the one in Bury." The loader is being used to load dumpers with sand and to handle materials such as pallets of flagstones and kerbs.

The 750, which weighs 1720 kg, is powered by 4-cylinder Kubota diesel engine developing 36 kW and can handle loads of up to 1.4 t. It has a 2-speed hydrostatic transmission providing a top speed of 25 kph.

Standard features on the 750 include a telescopic self-levelling lift arm with boom float system, heated suspension seat with arm rests and seat belt, ROPS safety frame with plexiglass canopy, a choice of grass or tractor profile tyres, multifunction joystick and a standard bucket.

Terex targets rental with compact range

Terex Corp has launched an initiative in North America to promote its compact range of equipment to rental companies and to prepare renters for an upswing in construction.

Its Distributor Rental Partnership Programme (DRPP), introduced at the start of the summer, aims to highlight Terex's wide range of compact equipment to rental stores, enabling them to become "one-stop shop" for compact machines from a single supplier.

Terex's compact range includes tracked loaders (the ASV line acquired twp years ago) loader backhoes, compact wheel loaders, mini excavators, tracked utility vehicles, site dumpers and compaction rollers.

Todd Shepherd, Terex DRPP manager, said the breadth of equipment in the line meant that "rental store operators can meet their customers' needs with just one supplier. They'll be able to spend more time on their business and less time meeting with different people and needing to learn all about different equipment.

"We know contractors understand the value of renting. We know they understand the productivity and value of Terex compact equipment. Put them together, and the rental store becomes a one-stop shop for their compact equipment needs."

Terex is providing its distributors with back up in the form of a sales team who can meet rental companies and go through their equipment requirements. "The Distributor Rental Partnership Program helps rental store owners know what's available and receive training as needed. Then whatever their customers need, they'll be able to supply."

Terex said that "many construction and landscaping industries contractors are turning to rental stores to access the equipment they need without the long term commitment of purchasing in this uncertain economy. This represents a significant growth opportunity for rental stores."

Power to weight gains in new Toros

The Toro Company says that the new narrow and wide track Dingo TX 427 models offer a high power-to-weight ratio in a compact package.

Designed to replace the TX 420 and TX 425 models, both TX 427 loaders use a 20 kW Kohler engine.

"We've taken the Dingo's proven tracked, walk-behind design and unmatched hydraulic power to the next level with the TX 427 models," says Greg Lawrence, marketing product manager for Toro's Dingo utility loader range. "We've simplified our lineup by offering one model in either narrow or wide track design, beefed it up with a more powerful engine, and increased the power-to-weight ratio for improved jobsite efficiency."

Mr Lawrence says competitor models that offer the same power are much heavier machines; "which means it takes operators more energy to move the units around the jobsite and can cause more damage to the ground."

Both TX 427 models are compatible with Toro's utility loader attachments, covering applications including auguring, earthmoving, tilling, trenching, leveling, lifting, hauling and demolition.

The units weigh just over 900 kg with a standard bucket, and the TX 427 narrow version has a rated operating capacity of 240 kg and a width of 0.85 m. The wide version weighs 984 kg and offers the same capacity. Its width rises to 1.0 m to accommodate the wide track set up.

HIGHLIGHTS

Boxer Equipment has been in the news lately because its parent company, Compact Power Inc, has won a contract to run rental operations at 100 Home Depot stores in North America (see News this issue). However, Boxer is run as a separate company from the Compact Power rental division and it continues to target the rental sector with its range of compact loaders. The latest in that range is the pictured Boxer 425D, the first diesel model in the 400 series. Targeted at buyers in particular outside the US, the 425D will fit between the larger 500 series and smaller 300 series models. It is powered by a 19 kW Kubota diesel engine and can be used with an array of over 50 attachments. According to Boxer's marketing manager, Andy Lewis, "The 425 loader and project specific attachments are designed for rental houses and contractors looking for a rugged, dependable, powerful, versatile and safe compact machine that can go anywhere and do anything."

A 62.6 kW Yanmar diesel engine powers Gehl Co's new V270 skid steer, which has a rated operating capacity of 1215 kg. Manitou-owned Gehl says a "state of the art" lift arm design achieves vertical lift and a maximum lift height of 3.3 m, which Gehl claims is "higher than any competitor in its weight class." Equipped with an electronic engine control and a foot throttle, the V270 can be operated at part throttle for lower sound levels and reduced fuel consumption.

The new Mustang 2056 skid steer has a standard lifting capacity of 1855 kg, but that can be increased to just over 920 kg with the addition of an optional counterweight. Power comes from a 46 kW Deutz TD2009 Tier III diesel engine, and the compact chassis design means that the chassis width can be as narrow as 1.51 m with the bucket removed and with the optional offset wheel/tyre package (width with standard wheels is 1.57 m). Another feature of the loader is that the joystick controls are on moveable towers with full adjustment forward/rearward to match the operator's preferences.

Caterpillar added three rubber tracked compact tracked loaders to its range late last year: the 279C, 289C and 299C. Cat says the loaders feature durable, steel embedded track and steel undercarriage components for maximum life in aggressive applications; "The new tracked machines deliver solid traction and reduced wear on sites with sticky, rocky soils." The loaders combine a newly engineered suspension-type undercarriage - designed and built by Caterpillar - with the chassis of their multi terrain loader counterparts, the 277C, 287C and 297C.

UK manufacturer Cubb Products, based in Bolton, has produced ride on compact loaders and compact dumper. "The vehicles are ride-on, 4WD, hydraulic, skid steer and fit through narrow access (790mm) and are suitable for all terrain", says Colin Ferguson, Cubb's managing director, "This makes them particularly appealing to [rental companies]. They have are hi-lift and tip and so can tip straight into a skip - improving performance and getting the job done quickly with the added safety element." Powered by a 9.7 kW Honda GX390 petrol engine, the Cubbs measure 1.55 m long by 0.79 m wide and have a maximum 1.5 m lift height (1.2 m in loader configuration). The dumper has a 300 kg carrying capacity, which falls to 150 kg as a loader.

Wacker Neuson sells the Weidemann range articulated loaders as part of its construction range. Primarily developed and sold to the agriculture sector, the articulated loader range comprises nine models from the smallest 1.8 t WL 18 (pictured) up to the much larger 5.7 t WL 57 model.

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