When Smaller Is Smarter
Small in size, large in numbers: Here are the choices in compact equipment.
If it’s been some time since you looked at the new models of compact equipment, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what the manufacturers are offering. More new machines than ever are at the dealers to greet you.
Like JCB, Volvo Construction Equipment now builds wheeled and tracked skid-steer loaders with a single loader-arm design. Volvo says the single-arm design features the same loading performance and durability of a traditional skid-steer design, yet improves visibility, safety, and cab access for the operator.
Operators enter and exit the Volvo cab through a large, wide-opening side door. That way, operators don’t have to climb onto and over the bucket or attachment, which can be muddy and slippery. On wheeled machines, a bolt-on, non-slip step under the door increases safe entry and exit from the cab. Plus, side entry eliminates the uncomfortable body turn required of operators to sit down in traditional skid-steer loader designs.
Volvo introduced the C-Series of tracked and wheeled skid-steers at Conexpo last year. The wheeled models available in North America are the MC110C, the MC115C, and the MC135C. Those models start at 84 horsepower and a rated operating capacity of 2,250 pounds, and range up to 92 horsepower and a 3,000-pound-rated operating capacity. Two tracked models are available in North America, the MCT125C and the MCT135C. Volvo said more new models would be introduced later in 2011, but news of those was not available at press time.
Volvo says visibility is enhanced with the single loader-arm design. Without the horizontal cross member found on most vertical lift machines, operators can see their work better. The cab also features a large top window for improved visibility during truck loading.
The operator environment on a Volvo skid-steer loader features comfortable machine control pods. The left-hand control pod easily hinges rearward with the assistance of a single gas strut, thus allowing easy entry and exit from the machine. The right control pod features a wrap-around seat bar designed to fit operators of all sizes. Whether you’re considering an enclosed cab or a canopy, Volvo compact loaders have been designed for limited noise around the operator.
From Komatsu comes a complete lineup of compact excavators. The smallest six models range from the tiny PC09-1, with an 8.7-horsepower engine and 4-foot, 11-inch dig depth, to the PC55MR-3, which offers 38.2 horsepower and a 12-foot, 6-inch dig depth.
“All of our compact excavators have the HydrauMind hydraulic system,” says Armando Najera, Jr., Komatsu’s excavator product manager. “And that system is used on most of our construction-size excavators.” HydrauMind means hydraulic mechanical intelligence. Even when two or more functions are operated simultaneously, the pressure-compensated, closed center-load-sensing system assures that each function works according to its control input, regardless of the size of the load. The operator has precise control at all times.
The six smallest models, up through the PC55MR-3, have one working mode. The next two larger models—the PC78US-8 and the PC88MR-8—have five working modes:
- Power mode (P), for high production
- Economy mode (E), for less fuel consumption
- Lifting mode (L), for fine control
- Breaker operation mode (B), for single direction hydraulic flow
- Attachment mode (ATT), for providing two-way hydraulic flow
JCB currently offers 9 SSLs and CTLs…with more to come.
|Photo: New Holland
New Holland introduced three CTLs and seven SSLs at Conexpo last year.
Case Alpha Series SSLs and CTLs feature both radial and vertical lift models.
All eight models of Komatsu compact excavators except the smallest one have Komtrax, a telematics system, installed at the factory. Komtrax sends machine operating information to a secure website by utilizing wireless technology. Data such as operating hours, machine location, maintenance notifications, machine utilization and residual fuel levels are just a few of the features that are relayed to the web application for analysis. The Komtrax fleet monitoring system increases machine availability, reduces the risk of machine theft, and provides a wealth of information to drive business efficiency.
Not long ago Komatsu introduced the PC78US-8 compact hydraulic excavator. With an operating weight of 16,240 pounds, along with 55 net horsepower, this machine is well suited for a variety of construction, utility, landscaping, and other small to mid-size applications. The excavator has a maximum digging height of 24 feet, 11 inches, and a maximum digging depth of 15 feet, 5 inches. Bucket breakout is rated at 13,780 pounds.
Najera says Komatsu provides a three-year warranty on the compact excavators. Auxiliary hydraulics are standard, and the PC18 through PC88 have a pattern change valve as standard equipment. The PC27 through PC88 have three track options available: steel, rubber, and Road Liner track shoes.
Last spring, Bobcat introduced the T770 compact track loader. It joins the Bobcat M-Series loader line, which includes the T630, the T650, and the T870 compact track loaders and the S630, S650, and S850 skid-steer loaders. The 92-horsepower T770 has vertical lift path arms and a height to hinge-pin measurement of 132 inches—3.5 inches higher than the K-Series loaders. Plus, the M-Series machines feature 23 gallons per minute as standard hydraulic flow—11% more than the K-Series.
Bobcat’s new S750 skid-steer loader joined the M-Series loader lineup. The S750 delivers 11 feet of vertical lift, which is 3 inches higher than an S300. The S750 features a 23-gallon-per-minute standard hydraulic flow, which is 11% more than the S300 it replaces. The S750 has an operating weight of 8,730 pounds, a rated operating capacity of 3,200 pounds, and is powered by an 85-horsepower turbo-diesel engine.
Also new from Bobcat is the A770 all-wheel steer loader. The 92-horsepower A770 replaces the A300 model and offers both all-wheel steer and skid-steer drive options at the flip of a switch. It’s a vertical-lift machine with a 3,325-pound rated operating capacity. The A770 has a 132-inch lift height, 31.5-inch reach and a 3,325-pound rated operating capacity. The machine comes standard with a two-speed transmission and a travel speed of 12.3 mph in high range.
Made in America
Last October, JCB announced that it now offers nine different skid-steer loaders and compact track loaders. The nine new machines are the first to be designed, engineered, and manufactured at JCB’s North American headquarters in Savannah, GA. Future plans include the addition of nine more skid-steer and tracked loader models for a total of 18 models in what JCB calls its New Generation product line.
Seven models of the compact loaders are vertical lift machines. Those are the 260, 280, 300, and 330 wheeled skid-steers and the 260T, 300T, and 320T compact track loaders. The remaining two models are radial lift machines, which means they achieve maximum range in the middle of the lift cycle rather than at its highest point.
The nine current New Generation skid-steer and tracked loader models include several convenient features:
- Single lift arm design, which improves visibility and safety
- Tilting cab with increased service access
- Multi-function joysticks
- Hydraulic quick hitch
- Isolated cab that is sealed and pressurized with reduced noise levels
New From Case
Case Construction Equipment recently launched its new Alpha Series of skid-steer loaders, which includes nine new models. The engines in the series range from 46 horsepower to 90 horsepower, with rated operating capacities ranging from 1,300 pounds to 3,000 pounds.
“Our new Alpha Series skid-steers deliver industry-leading bucket breakout force—up to 8,585 pounds,” said Curtis Goettel, Case marketing manager. “If you compare the 1,750-pound-rated operating capacity machines, the Case SR175 has more than twice the bucket breakout force of the current best-selling model in this size class.” The Alpha Series includes both radial lift and vertical lift models.
Case also recently introduced the new Alpha Series lineup of compact track loaders. The new Case compact track loaders deliver 74 horsepower in the TR270 and 90 horsepower in both the TR320 and TV380. Rated operating capacities range from 2,700 pounds to 4,200 pounds with a counterweight. The Alpha Series models also offer exceptional hinge-pin height, which positions the bucket higher to load trucks faster and easier.
At Conexpo last year, Case expanded its compact excavator lineup with the new CX55B minimum tail swing model. With a large boom and arm for greater reach, the 39-horsepower excavator delivers 11,240 pound-feet of bucket digging force. The machine has an operating weight of 12,295 pounds and a dig depth of nearly 13 feet.
“The CX55B is a compact excavator with all the power of a full-sized excavator,” says Goettel.
Kubota Tractor Corp. offers the SVL75, a skid-steer loader with 74.3 horsepower and a rated operating capacity of 2,300 pounds, which is 35% of tipping load. The operating weight with an open cab is 9,039 pounds and with a closed cab it is 9,315 pounds. Kubota also offers the SVL90, which boasts 90 horsepower and a rated operating capacity of 3,010 pounds. Operating weight with an open cab is 11,023 pounds, and with a closed cab it is 11,299 pounds. Features include tilt-up cab, rubber tracks, and standard two-speed travel.
News of New Holland
At Conexpo last year, New Holland Construction introduced three compact track loaders in the new 200 Series. Dave December, marketing manager at New Holland, said the 200 Series has been designed new, from the ground up, based heavily on customer input.
The New Holland C232 and C238 compact track loaders feature the patented vertical lift Super Boom design, which delivers excellent dump height and reach specifications.
The C232 and C238 are rated at 76 horsepower and 84 horsepower, respectively. The C232 has a rated operating capacity of 3,200 pounds and a bucket breakout force of 8,585 pounds. The C238 has a rated operating capacity of 3,800 pounds and the same bucket breakout force as
Also at Conexpo, New Holland Construction introduced seven skid-steer loaders. Like the compact track loaders, they feature the Super Boom vertical lift design. The five models are rated from 57 horsepower to 84 horsepower. The L218 has an operating weight of 5,850 pounds and a bucket breakout force of 5,435 pounds. The L230 has an operating weight of 8,300 pounds and a bucket breakout force of 8,585 pounds.
New From Terex and Gehl
Terex offers a lineup of three compact track loaders ranging from the 30-horsepower PT30 to the PT80, which has 75 horsepower. The intermediate model is the 56-horsepower PT60. Terex says the PT30 is the most compact of ASV’s rubber-tracked loaders. Its undercarriage uses 24 wheels to spread the machine’s weight over the length of its rubber tracks. The suspension of the undercarriage increases traction even more, promotes longer machine and track life, and keeps the operator comfortable, according to Terex.
From Gehl comes the new RT Series of compact track loaders, which includes two models made in Yankton, SD: the RT175 and the RT210. The RT Series features an automatic track tensioning system. “According to track and undercarriage manufacturers, one of the biggest causes of premature track and undercarriage component failures is improper track tensioning,” says Bob Claas, Gehl design engineering manager. “Different types of premature component wear or failure can occur if the tracks are too tight or too loose.”
|Volvo’s CTLs and SSLs feature a single loader arm allowing for side entrance.
|Gehl’s topof- the-line RT210 features an automatic track tensioning system.
Gehl’s patented HydraTrac automatic track tensioning system eliminates the need for manually tensioning the tracks on the loader before operation. When the machine is started, the hydraulic system automatically pressurizes a load device that provides the ideal tension for the track system. The HydraTrac System uses this excess hydraulic pressure to maintain proper track tension during use.
Takeuchi offers four models of compact track loaders that range from the 51-horsepower TL220 to the 92-horsepower TL250. The two intermediate models have 68 horsepower and 83 horsepower. “Each of our compact track loaders comes with a two-year, 2,000-hour full machine warranty,” says Takeuchi. Features include rubber tracks for floatation in difficult conditions, a tilt-back operator compartment for easy access to the engine and major hydraulic components, and a radial boom design with the lift height and reach you would expect from a vertical lift design, says Takeuchi.
Mustang announced that it has updated its mid-size skid-steer loader, which is now known as the model 2056 Series II. Key features of the loader include a 68-horsepower Yanmar engine that is Tier IV compliant; a lifting capacity of 2,050 pounds when equipped with 12.00 tires and optional counterweight; a tilt-back ROPS cab and large engine cover to expose internal components for easier maintenance and service; and excellent visibility to the rear tires. The loader has three control options: joystick, hand-foot, and dual-hand controls, all available with standard or high-flow hydraulics.
This article covers 11 compact equipment manufacturers and that’s not all of them. Others include IHI Compact Excavators, Terramite Corp, Wacker Neuson, and Yanmar America Construction Equipment. As always, an informed customer will make a smarter decision.
Author's Bio: Daniel C. Brown writes on safety and technology in the construction industry.