New platform: recently launched skid steers and compact tracked loaders

By Murray Pollok29 April 2013

Gehl's V400 skid steer is claimed to be the largest inn the world.

Gehl's V400 skid steer is claimed to be the largest inn the world.

IRN looks at new skid steers and compact tracked loaders from Case, New Holland, Gehl, Mustang, Bobcat and others.
There is certainly no shortage of new skid steer or compact tracked loaders on the market, with many of the biggest suppliers coming out with new machines over the past few months.

In addition, there have been a number of significant new alliances, such as Takeuchi selling Terex loaders in the US and Yanmar taking on the Gehl and Mustang ranges of mini loaders also in North America. In Europe, meanwhile, IHIMER has added Italian-built skid steer loaders to its existing range of Japanese tracked loaders.

Bobcat is one of the pioneers of the field, of course, so the launch of its 500 platform compact loaders is a significant event. Following on from the introduction of the larger 600, 700 and 800 platforms over the past two years, the 500 series, says Bobcat, have a completely new design providing “significant advances in comfort, visibility, cab room, controllability and cab pressurization. With overall performance and cycle times up by around 16% on the previous models”.

Bobcat says the new models have more lift capacity, faster cycle times, higher breakout forces, much better traction and more hydraulic power for attachments.

Examples of improvements include a 10% larger cab, with the surface area of the door increased by 40% to improve visibility and make it easier to enter and exit the machine. Windows on the sides and rear of the cab have been increased in size to provide more visibility to the tyres or tracks and the back of the machine.

Noise in the cab has been reduced by 5 dBA while the noise for bystanders has been lowered by 4 dBA. “The overall result is the perception of a reduction in noise by over 50%”, says Bobcat.

The new family comprises six models with operating weighs in the 2686 to 3054 kg range. The six models are the S510, S530, S550, S570 and S590 skid-steers and the T590 tracked loader, replacing the S150, S160, S175, S185, S205 and T190 loaders.

All are produced at Bobcat’s compact equipment plant in Dobris, Czech Republic, except for the tracked T590, which is made in Gwinner, North Dakota, USA.

The S510 and S550 models are radius lift path loaders, while the S530, S570, S590 and T590 models have vertical lift path boom arms particularly suited to lift and carry and material handling applications.

Equally eye-catching was the launch last year of the latest big machines from Gehl and Mustang, the US-based compact machine manufacturers that are now part of Manitou Group.

“Big” doesn’t quite do justice to machines that Gehl and Mustang describe as the largest skid steers in the world. Known by Gehl as the V400 and in Mustang colours as the 4000V, the machine weighs more than 5 t and is just over 2 m wide. The vertical lift models have a rated operating capacity of 1814 kg (4000 lb) and a maximum lift height of 3.65 m (144 in).

Gehl says the V400 is a “true” vertical lift machine, with the lift path following a vertical line as opposed to an ‘s’ shaped path. Power comes from a 74 kW Cummins diesel engine.

Sean Bifani, Gehl product manager, says the V400 “fulfills the market’s demand for a high capacity skid loader. Paired with its high lifting height, the V400 enters the high-end of the skid loader market, where product options are minimal. The V400 provides maximum capacity and the industry’s largest breakout force at 9,150 lbs [4120 kg].”

The machines received their European launch at the recent Bauma show.

Also on the large side, if not quite as large and the V400, are the new ‘top of the range’ skid steer and compact tracked loaders from New Holland, the L230 skid loader and C238 tracked unit, both of which will be launched at Bauma.

These machines are replacing the L225 and C232 units, and share their dimensions, but deliver more rated operating capacity, more engine power, higher torque and more hydraulic power.

The two units have rated operating capacities of 1450 kg and 1724 kg, respectively, and operating weights of 3765 and 4581 kg.

The two machines use the same 67 kW FPT (Fiat Powertrain), turbocharged Stage IIIA engines, delivering torque of 340 Nm at an engine speed of only 1400 rpm. New Hooalnd says this makes “immediately available more pushing power and saving fuel, as well as enhancing operator comfort.”

This fuel efficiency, and 96.5 litre fuel tanks, mean that the L230 and C238 “can easily run for 8 to 10 hours without refuelling.”

The new machines also offer an optional Enhanced High Flow package, which increases the pressure of the auxiliary hydraulic system by 70 bar to 277 bar. The package also includes the Glide Ride boom suspension system, increasing cycle times and improving comfort for the operator.

Sister company Case Construction, meanwhile, has just announced the introduction of Tier IV Final upgrades to four products in its Alpha Series line. The SR175 and SV185 medium-frame skid steers meet the emission regulations by using a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) solution only, while the compact frame SR130 and SR160 skid steers use what case describes as “more typical cooled exhaust gas recirculation (CEGR) with diesel particulate filter (DPF).”

In addition to these four upgrades, the large frame SR220 and SV250 skid steers move to Tier 4 Interim engines with CEGR and DPF technology.

The SR175 and SV185 skid steers have new ISM diesel four-cylinder turbocharged and after-cooled engines with electronic controls and a high pressure common rail (HPCR) fuel system design.

According to Tim O’Brien, brand marketing manager for Case Construction Equipment, the company designed these machines with a DOC-only solution because it was the best match for customers who use this size skid steer.

“The SR175 and SV185 skid steers commonly are used in fleets and the rental market, and subsequently a machine may have many operators and move around a lot”, says Mr O’Brien, “Therefore, the maintenance-free DOC-only solution made the most sense for these models because it’s more convenient and efficient than using CEGR with DPF, or even selective catalytic reduction with diesel exhaust fluid to meet emissions.”

The SR175 and SV185 sister machines, designed for radial-path lift and vertical-path lifting, respectively, are some of the most powerful in their size class, and now offer even greater power.

The SR175 has 21% higher peak torque compared to the previous model, and goes from 44.7 kW to 50 kW, a 12% increase. The SV185 remains at 44.7 kW, but has 7% more torque than the previous version.

“The dimensions for both the SR175 and SV185 stay the same but are Tier 4 Final and have greater power,” says Mr O’Brien. “The machines can still work in the same spaces they did before, but perform like the next class size larger which gives customers more value.”

The SR160 is an evolution of the SR150 skid steer and delivers 7% more rated operating capacity and 17% more engine power than older model. The SR160 also has 27% more breakout force, increasing its versatility for rental, construction and landscaping.

Also introducing loaders aligned with new engine regulations is Terex Construction, with the first of a new line of Tier 4-interim compliant compact tracked loaders, the PT-110 and PT-110 Forestry, both available in North America.

The loaders have electronic, 4-cyclinder, turbo-powered Perkins Tier 4i diesel engines. The 82 kW (110 hp) PT-110 loader has an operating weight of 4995 kg (11100 lb), a tipping load of 3420 kg (7600 lb), and a lift height of 3.17 m (125 in). The Forestry version has a slightly higher operating weight.

“The new Terex PT-110 compact track loaders offer operators higher peak engine torque, the highest hydraulic flow and top travel speeds in the large-frame size class,” says Jamie Wright, product manager, Terex Construction.


Ride on loaders

Vermeer’s S450TX, its latest tracked ride-on mini loader, expands the company’s ride-on range down from its existing 600 and 800 models and features the same Kohler EFI petrol engine used on other new Vermeer equipment, such as the RTX250 trencher.

The electronic fuel injection technology adds a little to the overall price, but fuel efficiency goes up by around 25% compared to previous engines of the same size. The Kohler engine on the 450TX is a 19.9 kW unit, although a Kubota diesel engine can also be specified for international markets.

The S450TX is has a 226.8 kg (500 lb) operating capacity with a 648.6 kg (1430 lb) tipping capacity. A four-pump hydraulic system, which provides performance and efficiency when powering attachments.

There are just three operating levers: left is ground-drive, right is boom, bucket and load/unload control, and the middle level controls the auxiliary hydraulic circuit. This middle lever can also be controlled at the same time as using the right hand lever.

Todd Roorda, rental sales manager at Vermeer, tells IRN that on the sub-2 t size of mini loaders the industry has now gone almost exclusively to tracks; “It’s rare to see rubber tyres units. On the 450 we’ve gone exclusively to crawlers.”

“The TX650 was our biggest seller, but it was just a little too big. The 450 answers that need. [It gives] a lower price option for rental companies and contractors.”

Fellow US manufacturer The Charles Machine Works has meanwhile added new Ditch Witch compact tool carriers to its SK line with the launch of the SK750 and SK755 models, replacing the previous the SK650.

Ditch Witch says the new models incorporate multiple design improvements into the new models, increasing productivity, operator comfort and performance.

There’s a 50% larger operator platform, and a system that allows the operator to rotate the tracks will increase track life by 40% says Ditch Witch. Another improvement is a 30% increase in centre ground clearance.

The unit has 360 kg (800 lb) lift capacity and an 2.0 m (81 in) lift height and customers can choose between 18.6 or 24.4 kW (25-32.8 hp) Kubota diesel engines.

The controls on the SK750 comprise hand controls plus a two-way auxiliary control foot pedal for the attachment, freeing up the user’s hands to control depth and ground speed.


Electric mini

Netherlands manufacturer Hanenberg Materieel produces a range of mini skid-steer machines as well as compact articulated loaders. Pictured is the smallest of the skid steers, the Sherpa 100 Eco, a battery powered unit.

The 100 Eco is just 0.75 m wide and a 360 Ampere battery pack provides sufficient power for up to 8 hours operation. Petrol and diesel versions are also available. The battery version will be particularly suited for indoor demolition and remodelling work and for warehouse and logistics operations.

The excavator bucket can lift 110 kg to a height of 2.5 m or can carry up to 175 kg when lowered, while the skid steer ensures a turning radius of 2.25 m (with excavator bucket attachment).

The truck is now available in the UK from ePowerTrucks, with prices for the Sherpa 100 start from just under £13000.

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