Published: 30/12, 2022
Don’t let the title fool you. The popularity of compact equipment is on the rise, as the range of their power, features, and capabilities. Indeed, many surveys report that the sales volume of these mighty-mites far outpaces those of their larger cousins. Also increasing is the number of electric-powered models, offering owners a measure of sustainability as well as an important option for constrained sites where noise must be kept for a minimum.
Whether you’ve read about the latest introductions at Bauma, or look forward to what CONEXPO has to offer, it’s never too early for those in the market for compact loaders and skid steers to start making notes.
Kubota’s new SVL97-2 compact track loader
The newest member of Kubota’s compact track loader line, the SVL97-2 offers increased productivity coupled with Kubota’s tradition of dependable power. The new SVL97-2 boasts a 96-hp (71.5kW) engine with a rated operating capacity of 3,200 lb (1,450kg) at 35% tipping load, an impressive 7,961 lb (35.41kN) of breakout force, and a 3.4-ft (1m) reach at max height. In addition, the new SVL97-2 comes standard with the ability to monitor the machine’s health and location. The standard rear-view camera can be set to display constantly or only when the machine is moving in reverse, allowing for better rear visibility and increased operator comfort. Optional front LED work lights are available for more efficient and safer work during the night and in any low light condition. The machine’s DEF system has been re-engineered to ensure long-term reliability and productivity. Kubota also improved the sealing of the cab, reducing the amount of dust, water and debris entering the operating space. This upgrade will give our end-users a cleaner and more efficient work environment.
New next-generation Cat 906, 907, and 908 compact wheel loaders
Building on the success of the Cat® M-Series Compact Wheel Loaders, the new Cat 906, 907, and 908 compact wheel loaders boast a reengineered operator’s station, leveraging exclusive Cat technologies to improve operator experience and provide larger wheel loader model comfort on a smaller platform. Featuring the new Cat C2.8 engine, the upgraded drive and powertrain deliver faster roading speeds and drive train performance. The hydraulics and structures have gone through an overhaul, making these new models an optimal fit for many applications.
The new sealed and pressurized cab improves the operator experience, while keeping previous design functional aspects like raised floor pedals and two doors to make cab cleaning easier. Optimum visibility is achieved with larger standard side mirrors, optional parabolic lens electric and heated mirrors, and front and rear camera options. New single-piece front and rear windshields offer 60% better wiper coverage.
Specifically designed for Cat products, the new Cat C2.8 engine delivers the same 74 hp (55.7kW) power as the previous engine with 13% more torque, resulting in roading performance and tractive effort improvements. The Cat C2.8 meets EU Stage V and U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final emission standards with alternative emissions packages available. Its shift-on-the-go transmission offers increased roading speeds of 25 mph (40kph), and larger fuel tank capacities of 30% for the 906 and 12% for the 907 and 908 deliver extended work cycles.
When working in dusty environments, the new reversing-fan option assists in keeping cooling cores clean for more efficient temperature control. Through an in-cab soft-touch button, the system can be turned off, set to operate in an automatic mode or momentarily activated by the operator. Automatic mode uses the factory-setting to reverse direction for 10 seconds every 10 minutes. Frequency and duration of automatic reversing can be changed easily by the operator via the new control monitor.
To meet demand for increased multifunctionality with lift and tilt while powering hydromechanical tools, these wheel loaders feature a new standard pressure-compensated valve, allowing operators to simultaneously control implements and operate hydromechanical attachments seamlessly. Increased working auxiliary pressures make work easier and improve steering to reduce operator fatigue.
Modifications to the optional skid steer coupler improve visibility through the coupler when setting fork tines. In conjunction, realignment of the compact wheel loader fork carriage improves forward visibility. Bucket capacities have been increased across the range adding to the already impressive operating capacity legacy of the Cat machines.
Cat’s battery-powered loader prototype debuts at Bauma
Caterpillar is focused on delivering purpose-built solutions to help customers achieve their sustainability goals by geography. Among the latest innovations is the 906 compact wheel loader, the prototype of which debuted at Bauma 2022. The machine is powered by a Cat 300V, 64kWh batter, with an estimated run time of up to six hours on a single charge. The company also plans to offer an offboard DC fast charging option. The Caterpillar designed batteries in these machines will also be available to power other industrial applications. Built on proven Caterpillar technology, the lithium-ion battery range features a modular design that offers flexible configurations across multiple applications. The batteries are engineered to be scalable to industry and customer performance needs and maximize sustainability throughout their lifecycle, including recycling and reuse at the end of life.
Volvo upgrades L20, L25 electric compact wheel loaders
Upgrades to the zero-emissions, low-noise L20 and L25 electric compact wheel loaders have been introduced just as deliveries are starting in North America, meaning every customer here will get the new versions of the machines with enhanced uptime, versatility and operator comfort. The updates include increasing the maximum speed to 12.4 mph (20kph), the option to fit a parallel linkage that delivers high breakout torque in various applications, additional operator-friendly features and improved charging.
The L25 Electric compact wheel loader was unveiled in 2019 and customer shipments began in Europe in the spring of 2020 and in North America this past summer. Volvo CE began accepting orders for the L20 Electric earlier this year, and North American deliveries start soon. Both models offer zero exhaust emissions, lower noise and comparable performance to diesel equivalents.
All North American customers will receive the updated L25 and L20 Electric models. The upgrades include lower noise levels inside and outside the cab, due to a new hydraulic pump and the relocation of the main control valve from the cab to the front frame.
Additionally, operators in colder climates will appreciate the new programmable cab heater option, which allows them to easily choose the times and days of the week when they would like to arrive in a prewarmed and defrosted cab. Operator comfort also is enhanced, due to a more ergonomic joystick with the latest design on the market.
A new electric parking brake improves uptime with hill-hold functionality: a convenient automatic feature for operators working on inclines or rough terrain. And because the disc brake in the former model is now replaced by a spring-applied and hydraulic-released wet-disc brake, related maintenance requirements are removed, helping to cut costs and machine downtime.
The time it takes to achieve a full charge from zero is only six hours with the 6kW on-board charger if used with a 240V socket or level 2 public charging station. Speedier charging is available with optional off-board DC fast chargers at 11.5 kW or 17.3 kW. When this is combined with the newly launched electric machine management application, customers can further boost uptime by keeping track of charging status, battery level and location to help manage the charging process more efficiently. Volvo CE recently launched an online tool that allows customers to configure an electric machine to their liking and see the suggested retail price.
Wacker Neuson’s 3rd generation electric wheel loader unveiled at Bauma
The WL20e is the first exclusively electric-powered wheel loader by Wacker Neuson. Its performance characteristics correspond to those of a conventional diesel-powered machine. The installed 48V lithium-ion battery is optionally available in three power levels, so that running and charging times can be optimally matched to the work requirements. The WL20e works fully emissions-free on site and with significantly lower noise pollution. For the end user, this means greater flexibility in application, environmental protection and significant savings on operating costs. Depending on the application and purpose, the appropriate battery size can be selected. A total of three maintenance-free lithium-ion batteries are available: Standard is 14.1 kWh, optionally available are 18.7kWh or 23.4kWh. A 3kW onboard charger is installed as standard. Optionally, a second 3 kW onboard charger can be selected to increase the charging power to a total of 6 kW, which is suitable for the medium and large battery to achieve a fast charging time. The lithium-ion battery comes with a standard warranty of 36 months or 900 charging cycles, with a minimum 80% remaining battery capacity.
The central loading flap is easily accessible from the outside on the right side of the machine. Behind it are the power socket, activation switch and charge level indicator. Flexibly selectable charging plugs enable fast and coordinated charging of the selected battery size. In combination with the built-in onboard charger, an efficient and safe charging process is guaranteed.
The cabin of the WL20e comfortably enables year-round use of the machine. It has been optimized to meet the needs of the operator, offers many new features, enables safe and comfortable working and provides sufficient space for the operator despite its compact design. An innovative heating system ensures that the driver can work at a comfortable interior temperature even in cold outside temperatures. In summer, good ventilation is ensured even without air conditioning. The door can be locked on right and left for gap ventilation, door can be opened 180 degrees on right and left and rear window can be opened.
Low-slung windows and a shortened rear of the machine provide the best all-round visibility, the electrically heated front and rear windows ensure optimum visibility in all weather conditions, and the emergency stop switch under the joystick offers high safety.
John Deere Unveils G-Tier Compact Wheel Loader Models
John Deere is building upon its line-up of compact equipment by expanding its performance tiering strategy with three new models of Compact Wheel Loaders. The new G-tier models, including the new 184 G-tier, and the 204 G-tier and 304 G-tier machines, were designed to include proven capabilities and are ideal for customers in need of a dependable machine to complete everyday tasks.
The G-tier models offer optimal performance with lower maintenance costs. With convenience and productivity top of mind, these easy-to-operate models come standard with limited slip differential, which automatically engages if one wheel loses traction, providing enhanced safety for the operator and the machine. The optional ride-control reduces spillage from the bucket when traveling over rough terrain, reducing job site clean-up, and improving ride quality for the operator and can also be set to engage and disengage at certain speeds.
Featured on all G-tier models, the forward-thinking cab design is offered in both a canopy or enclosed cab configuration, giving operators flexibility when working in a variety of different geographies. Built with operator visibility in mind, the redesigned enclosed cab features a frameless, fully glass door, floor-to-ceiling front windshield and remounted machine display, providing a clear line of sight to machine surroundings. The right-side full glass window also swings out 180 degrees to further enhance overall visibility for the operator. Additional features include an adjustable steering column, slip-resistant steps, and an optional LED lighting package. The spacious cab includes amenities such as improved air conditioning systems and ergonomic low-effort controls to keep operators comfortable during a long shift.
All G-tier models offer enhanced serviceability features such as ground-level service and increased capacity fuel tanks to help simplify daily maintenance, keeping machines up and running on the job. This allows operators to spend more time completing the tasks at hand, rather than performing on-site repairs or maintenance. The strategically placed cooling package minimizes contamination from debris build-up, optimizing efficiency and reducing cleanout time.
The smaller G-tier models, including the 184 G-tier and 204 G-tier, were designed to provide customers with a rugged, compact design helping the operator maneuver within the tightest areas while maintaining complete control of the machine. The machines also are nimble enough to fit through smaller barn door openings or other smaller areas, making them an ideal solution for job sites of all sizes. The new 0.9-cu yd (0.7 m3) bucket is optimally sized that pairs with the 184 G-tier and 204 G-tier and can be attached to either a Quik-Tatch or hook-style coupler.
The largest of the three new models, the 304 G-tier, delivers productivity enhancements while also retaining many of its previous features that result in higher productivity, especially in applications such as site development, roadbuilding, and snow removal. In response to customer feedback, the travel speed of the 304 G-tier has increased to 18.6 mph (30 kph), allowing the machine to accomplish tasks and move around job sites in less time.
The design of the 304 G-tier offers improved operator visibility and overall machine stability with the increased machine size, which is now measured at 8.6 ft (2.6m) tall with cab and 6.5 ft (1.9m) wide. The model also comes equipped with an optional Attachment Assist Package, including Proportional Mini-Joystick 3rd Function Control with Detent, Combined Creep Control & Throttle Lock, and Integrated Electrical Attachment Controls (3-Pin).
Most Powerful Loaders from Bobcat’s R-Series: S86 and T86
The new S86 R-Series Skid-Steer Loader and T86 R-Series compact track loader replace the previous 700 and 800 M-Series loaders and complete the current R-Series loader line-up. Delivering a higher engine and hydraulic output, the Bobcat S86 and T86 are the most powerful compact loaders the company has ever built. Both machines use a well-proven Stage V compliant 3.4 l Bobcat engine, producing 105 hp (78kW) at 2,600 rpm.
One of the most exciting new aspects of the S86 and T86 is that both machines have for the first time three different auxiliary flow outputs. There is a standard flow configuration providing 23 gpm (87 lpm) for applications such as load and carry, or where low hydraulic flow attachments are used. Bobcat also offers two additional hydraulic performance functions using the new Electronic Displacement Control (EDC) Pump: a high-flow function giving 36.5 gpm (138 lpm) and a new, industry unique super-flow function taking auxiliary flow to 15.6 gpm (159 lpm).
The super-flow function typically increases productivity with like-for-like attachments by 15 to 20%, and it has a new five-coupler connection block allowing the use of larger ?-in (19mm) quick coupler connectors and attachment hoses. This change also helps increase auxiliary hydraulic efficiency and performance.
Mecalac introduces new MCL range
The new Mecalac MCL range includes 6 models, from 1.74 t to 2.85 t. The MCL2’s small size and wheel motor transmission allow it to move with agility. Its modern and ergonomic operator’s station protected by a canopy is also available in a cabbed version. The MCL4 offers an excellent compromise between compactness and lifting performance. With its 24.6-hp (18.4kW) engine, the MCL4 is also the ideal machine for rental fleets that want a durable and high-performance machine. Its low transport weight also allows the machine to be transported on a road trailer.
With even more power, MCL6’s 48.2-hp (36kW) motor allows it to reach and maintain high speeds on the road. Its high hydraulic flow and its speed of execution allow it to considerably increase the productivity on worksites. Design of the MCL8 was guided by power, high dumping height, and lifting capacity are the key words that guided the design of this machine. It is at ease in all circumstances whether it is for loading, handling or driving hydraulic attachments. Short arm versions of two machines—MCL4+ and MCL6+—offer an increased tipping load to me specific construction applications.
All the machines will be available in 3 versions: canopy, canopy with foldable top or cab version, and all with a wide selection of attachments. The new MCL loaders can be equipped with Mecalac’s latest comfort and driver assistance technologies. A keypad with start-up digicode provides better control of the machine’s use while M-Drive turns the machine into a speed-controlled tool carrier. MyMecalac Connected Services maximizes the use of machines thanks to optimized and accessible machine data, reduced downtimes, and better fleet management
New loader models from Gehl
Specifically designed for construction on urban sites, the AL 320 H-C and AL 420 H-C also allow pallets of materials to be handled on urban sites, where there are space constraints. Both models are equipped with hydrostatic transmission for added performance.
Manitou Group has worked on the design of these new machines to create models that are more ergonomic and even more slim-line than previous ones, while still offering a very high level of performance. The engine hoods have been shortened and the engine is positioned lengthwise to the chassis to reduce the models’ size. The minimum width is 3.6 ft (1.1m).
The chassis has also been revised to reduce the length of these products, allowing them to be maneuvered easily in tight spaces. A joystick makes them quick to master, by new and experienced users alike. In addition, optimal 360-degree visibility around the cab ensures a very high level of safety for users.
To facilitate the movement of these loaders between different work sites or farms, certain models are transportable on a 7,700-lb (3,500kg) trailer. The loaders are also equipped to send information directly on the My Gehl and My Manitou smartphone applications, enabling users to monitor their activity and anticipate maintenance operations. Thanks to the EasyMANAGER web portal and mobile app, fleet managers can remotely monitor the activity of every machine and thereby optimize their fleet management. Simplified maintenance enables users to reduce their total cost of ownership.