Published: 22/1, 2020

It’s the rare contractor these days who doesn’t need help on the jobsite, particularly when it comes to skilled labor. Though industry trade groups and educators are doing their best to lure more young people into construction, results of those efforts may well be several years into the future—small consolation for tackling today’s needs, and building a backlog for the coming months.


Fortunately, equipment manufacturers continue to build new machines with features designed to help contractors make the most of the labor they have available. This year’s report on compact loaders and skid steers, for example, contains new and upgraded models suitable for all applications and needs, particularly the paramount priorities of productivity and profitability. If 2020 is the year for making a wise investment in new equipment, these products are a good place to start.

Cat’s new D3 machines build on D and D2 Series’ reputation

Caterpillar announces the release of 16 new Cat® D3 Series Skid Steer Loader (SSL) and Compact Track Loader (CTL) models. These new machines advance the D and D2 Series’ reputation for quality, comfort, and performance and deliver improvements in operator experience, and track loader stability. Entering and exiting the new D3 Series loaders equipped with an enclosed cab is now easier thanks to a wider opening cab door. Additionally, the distance between joystick pods has increased by 3 in (76mm), offering extra space for the operator inside the cab to deliver a more comfortable experience.

All Cat D3 Series CTLs feature standard two-speed travel to improve performance at the jobsite. These machines are geared to deliver high torque digging performance as well as high top-end speed for travel. The powerful Cat 279D3 and 289D3 loaders boast an 8.4-mph (13.6kph) top-end ground speed, a 20% increase over their D Series counterparts. The Cat 239D3 and 249D3 models are now built with 2-speed transmission as standard, versus the previous single speed, increasing travel speed by 9% and aligning these models with the rest of the two-speed equipped CTL model range.

The D3 Series Cat SSL and CTL models deliver Smart Technology that ushers in a higher level of integration between the machine and new Smart Attachments. This advanced attachment technology will allow the D3 Series Cat SSL and CTL models to automatically recognize Smart Attachments and convert machine controls to align with the operational and informational needs of that attachment. Cat SSLs and CTLs offer advanced control features that include Return-to-Dig and Work Tool Positioner to assist operators with repetitive tasks like grading, digging, and loading. These items are now bundled together with the dual direction self-level feature so that even more operators will be able to take advantage of features that automate machine functions to allow these tasks to be completed with less user interaction and expertise.

In conjunction with the D3 Series introduction, the previous XHP performance model identifier used with the 272 and 299 models has been replaced with XE badge. The 272D3 XE and 299D3 XE models represent the highest performance and most advanced technology available to customers in the Cat SSL and CTL line.



Bobcat launches new Stage V M-Series loaders

Bobcat has launched new versions of its market-leading M-Series S450, S510, and S530 models, the first in the range to feature a specially developed Stage V-compliant Bobcat engine. The new loaders provide operators with increased performance, enhanced comfort and optimized maintenance requirements to maximize job site efficiency while preserving a compact size for work in tight spaces and easy transport. The new Bobcat engine provides 37% more torque and fast recovery from overload compared to the previous machines, which ensures increased comfort for the operator as they can work with the same power at lower RPM, at lower noise levels and with lower fuel consumption for the same jobs. A new high-flow hydraulics option for the S510 and S530 Stage V models allows use of higher-flow attachments such as sweepers, planers, and wheel saws. There is also a new air conditioning option on the S510 and S530. By offering the same power at lower RPM, the new Bobcat engine provides a significant decrease in noise levels, reducing operator fatigue and lowering fuel consumption for the same type of work. In addition, with an engine equipped with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) as standard, users can work in emission-regulated zones such as city and town centers.

The new Stage V loaders now feature the previously optional Deluxe control panel as standard, offering a choice of different languages and telematics to protect machines and to monitor their performance. Bobcat has also extended the choice of factory-installed tires for the three models, ensuring they can be more closely matched to customers’ applications right from the start. The cab on the new loaders is radio ready with a 12V power outlet for charging mobile phones and other devices, a cup holder, added storage compartments and new full-color, deluxe instrument panels. All three skid-steer loader models offer a two-speed option that boosts the maximum travel speed from 7 mph (11.4 kph) in low range to 10.7 mph (17.3 kph) in high range. The hydraulic bucket positioning option keeps the loader bucket level as the lift arms travel upward, enabling operators to spill less and work faster.


Bold new styling for Bobcat’s “One Tough Animal®” brand

Bobcat has introduced a new branding identity which reflects the company’s iconic “One Tough Animal®” brand message, while representing more powerfully the core qualities of Bobcat equipment: Tough, Agile, and Versatile. At the same time, the new look unifies and strengthens the visual identity of all Bobcat product lines. The new styling is now more modular and can be applied to machines of all different types and sizes. As the first step of implementation of the new branding, the machine design element of the new scheme was used in the 2t to 4t R-series mini-excavators launched last year. New styling decals have now been added and are being launched to complete the new brand identity. For a number of years now, Bobcat’s products have enjoyed a strong identity composed of white, black, and orange colors with the Bobcat logo.

“The simple vertical and horizontal character lines and the flat surface of the styling have served us well,” explains Jin Hup Yeu, from the Doosan Design Center in Seoul, who led the design team. “Yet, this is a completely new design for a new era – and the very attractive silhouettes and optimal proportions emphasize its unique personality. The new design uses a slight curve to better convey strength and toughness. And with a stronger, sharper-and-edgier profile, the new design communicates a more advanced, high-tech image. Moreover, the Bobcat logo on the back is finished with a stronger and more visible styling, with slight variations to accentuate the design of the particular product line.”

The design language is slightly different according to the type, function and size of the equipment. For example, the compact machines emphasize the “Agile” and “Versatile” qualities with a look that is stylish and sleek. On the other hand, the larger tonnage machines put the focus on their “Tough” and robust qualities. By anchoring the new styling in the Tough, Agile, and Versatile keywords of Bobcat’s DNA, the designers have breathed new dynamism into the equipment’s distinctive silhouette and the unique, time-honored Bobcat image.



Mustang by Manitou 1350RT compact track loader comes to North America

A new small-frame track loader from Mustang by Manitou brings a 1,350-lb (612kg) capacity option to customers in North America. The Mustang by Manitou 1350RT features an intuitive single joystick control, Level II FOPS and low maintenance engine for jobs from the construction site to the backyard. The Mustang by Manitou 1350RT punches above its compact dimensions with an overall width of 57 in (1,448 mm), height of 76 in (1,930 mm), and lift capacity of 1,350 lb (612 kg) at 35% tipping load. The Mustang by Manitou 1350RT features a 46.6-hp (34.7kW) Yanmar engine that utilizes automatic regeneration and zero fuel additives, providing clean emissions with little to no effort from the operator. Built on the proven design of the Mustang by Manitou 1350R skid loader, the 1350RT track loader provides superior weight distribution, stability and tractive effort. In addition, the cab-forward design of the 1350RT has a Level II FOPS and excellent visibility on all sides of the machine, allowing for precise material placement.

Mustang by Manitou’s IdealTrax™ track tensioning system on the 1350RT saves on maintenance and track replacement costs by automatically tensioning the tracks when the engine is on. This process eliminates the chance of over-tensioning and extends the life of the tracks up to 15%. Track tension is released when the engine is turned off, reducing strain on sprockets and bearings. With IdealTrax™ there is no need to manually tension the tracks and changes on the jobsite are quick and simple. In addition, the Mustang by Manitou 1350RT track loader provides versatility on the jobsite with an exclusive Multi-Tach® attachment mounting system that is compatible with most allied track loader attachments. The Mustang by Manitou 1350RT is customizable with additional features including a fully-integrated back-up camera and a HydraGlide™ system for a smoother ride and less material loss. An additional self-leveling option keeps the attachment level while the unit is performing the lift function.



ASV offers new machine packages

ASV has introduced base- and premium-level configurations for its mid-sized Posi-Track® loaders. The options will make ASV’s innovative, productivity-boosting compact track loaders more accessible to rental centers, homeowners and all sizes of businesses in landscaping, construction, rental and snow removal. Both configurations will allow operators to use ASV’s trademark power and performance to do more work in more places. Customers will choose between base and premium versions of the RT-65, VT-70 High Output, RT-75, and RT-75 Heavy-Duty Posi-Track loaders. The premium configurations include additional productivity and comfort features to allow operators to get more done during long work days. The base models offer all the ASV DNA, including the industry-leading power, performance, and reliability customers have come to expect from these machines, for an excellent value and price point. Both configurations feature ASV’s patented Posi-Track undercarriage. All Posi-Track loaders are backed up with ASV’s new, industry-leading 2-year/2,000-hour warranty. The warranty covers tracks for the entire period and includes the industry’s first and only no-derailment guarantee.



John Deere upgrades G-Series Skid Steers and Compact Track Loaders

John Deere enhances its lineup of five small-frame G-Series skid steers and compact track loaders, providing operators with even more power and efficiency on the job site. While the five models (312GR, 314G, 316GR, 317G, and 318G) were introduced to the market more than three years ago, John Deere continually works with its customers in the landscaping, agricultural material handling and construction industries to better understand their needs and how to improve machinery for maximum productivity, uptime and solutions. The improved small-frame G-Series machines feature increased productivity and time-saving options. They can be equipped with an optional rearview camera and easy-to-clean cab windows for additional visibility, safety and speed on the job site. The upgraded cab offers more comfort so operators can easily maneuver the machine and remain in the cab for longer durations on the job, without sacrificing performance. The small-frame cabs also include a new Bluetooth® radio option, and the redesigned manual control levers have improved ergonomic grips for increased operator comfort and accessibility. Other upgrades include protected auxiliary hydraulic lines that run within the boom for additional protection, ultimately extending the machine’s life cycle. The machines have an optional capability to support two sets of counter weights, providing the operator with greater stability and capacity to lift heavier materials. The newly integrated 4-point-tie-down system increases overall mobility and impact on different jobs by enabling operators to securely and safely move the machine to different locations.


Also from John Deere, a new high-left option for 344L compact wheel loader

The 344L High-Lift offers operators increased height and further reach for dumping or stacking, ag material handling, general construction or landscaping and snow removal tasks. With a maximum hinge pin height of 13.1 ft (4m), the high-lift option offers an additional 12 in (290cm) of reach compared to the standard version. The 344L comes equipped with the industry-exclusive Articulation-Plus™ steering system, enabling operators to maximize productivity with the ability to move faster and increase lifting capacity with the new high-lift option when moving or placing materials overhead. When equipped with a quick coupler and bucket, full-turn tipping load on the 344L High-Lift is 10,362 lb (4,700kg), allowing operators to confidently lift heavy masses overhead, while simultaneously leveraging the 344L’s design, which includes a tighter turning radius, improved stability and additional supported lift capacity. The 344L’s stability and maneuverability, combined with 103 hp (76kW) of maximum peak power, enable operators to deliver big results.


New grading attachments for John Deere skid steers and compact track loaders

Helping compact equipment operators improve productivity and machine versatility, John Deere is pleased to add new 72-in (1,829mm), 84-in (2,134 mm), and 96-in (2,438mm) models to its referral attachments line from the leading manufacturer of grading attachments, Level Best®. The new grade control-ready Level Best Dual Mast PD Series box blades will improve productivity on John Deere skid steers and compact track loaders. Level Best box blades are available in Topcon ready 2D precision grading and 3D precision grading options. The 2D Level Best PD Series comes ready to produce precise 2D grading by working seamlessly with laser transmitters. The 2D system automatically adjusts the elevation by controlling the lift and tilt of the attachment to maintain vertical accuracy and smooth grading performance. The Level Best PD Series Grading Box System adjusts dozens of times per second to ensure a smooth grade with tight tolerances — ideal for precision grading.

Level Best designed the PD Series to take advantage of the push-pull directional work style of skid steer loaders for maximum production. The PD Series is made specifically for skid steer loaders and compact track loaders. The unique frame design gives operators exceptional control, efficiency and smoothness, and minimizes the potential “bounce” effect that can occur in skid steer loaders due to the short wheelbase. For jobs that demand 3D grading, Level Best grading boxes come ready to be used with Topcon GPS, robotic total stations or sonic technology. The grading box comes installed with the cables needed to work with Topcon 3D GPS. This allows customers to use the Topcon GPS systems they currently use on other machines. The main components can be installed on the grading box for a plug-and-play solution.


Gehl RT255 Pilot Series track loader now available in North America

The new Gehl RT255 Pilot Series track loader is now available at dealerships across the US and Canada. Featuring an exclusive seat-mounted joystick, automatic track tensioning and top-rated hydraulic flow rates, the Gehl RT255 delivers maximum performance and versatility on the jobsite. This model also has one of the highest standard auxiliary hydraulic flow rates in the industry at 29.07 gallons/min (110 liters/min), with an option for 37.7 gallons/min (142.7 liter/min) with high-flow. A higher rate of flow allows faster cycle times, making the Gehl RT255 a highly efficient machine. Operators also have access to more attachments so it is ideal for applications such as landscaping, where an operator is often switching between buckets, tree spades, and augers. The Gehl RT255 Pilot Series track loader is a high-performance machine powered by a 74.3-hp (55.4kW) Deutz 4-stroke turbo engine with 243 lbf (329Nm) of torque. It has an operating capacity of 2,550 lb (1,157 kg) at 35% tipping load, and it can lift up to 10.7 ft (3.3m). In addition, a custom-designed undercarriage provides enhanced stability, grading, tractive effort and ride control.

The RT255 Pilot Series track loader is equipped with Gehl’s industry exclusive IdealTrax™ automatic track tensioning system. IdealTrax reduces maintenance and track replacement costs by ensuring proper track tension upon engine start up and during operation. Tracks are not over-tensioned and there is less strain on sprockets and bearings, which increases the life of the tracks by up to 15%. Track changes in the field are also quick and simple with automatic tensioning.

HydraGlide™, another exclusive feature on the Gehl RT255 track loader, provides a smoother ride with less material loss. The lift arm “floats” while transporting loads, and additional self-leveling keeps the attachment level as the operator raises and lowers the lift arm. Optional features on the Gehl RT255 Pilot Series track loader include a fully integrated rear view back up camera, IdealAccess fold-up door and Easy MANAGER telematics.



Sherpa’s two-speed evolution

A refined concept and user input makes SHERPA’s 100 2Speed mini loader a true evolution of the company’s 100 ECO, which turned the world of construction and demolition upside down. As the name suggests, the machine has two speeds—one with more power to maneuver and work, and a second gear to cover longer distances with a higher speed. Thanks to the ingenious design with two hydraulic pumps, which may be operated while driving, the 100 2Speed is a real pleasure to work with. The SHERPA 100 2Speed is equipped with 5-in (127mm) full rubber wheels as standard.



Wacker Neuson’s new Series II large-frame skid steers and compact track loaders

Wacker Neuson’s Series II large frame loaders include two skid steer models (SW) and two compact track loaders (ST). All models are powered by a 74.3-hp (55.4kW) Kohler diesel engine and offer standard auxiliary hydraulic flow of 22.1 gallons/min (83.6 liter/min) and optional flow of 31.7 gallons/min (120 liters/min). As the big brother to the company’s medium frame line, the machines offer parts commonality and a proven design on the job site.

Wacker Neuson’s new large frame loaders offer a cab that fully tips forward with the loader arms down, providing complete access to all maintenance components. These machines are engineered to be user-friendly with a simple, open design and efficient layout that requires less time on daily service checks and more time on the job. The Kohler diesel engines feature a maintenance-free, regeneration-free aftertreatment system, eliminating the impact of extreme heat and downtime due to regeneration or the need for cleaning particulate filters.

The SW and ST Series II loaders usher in a new era of comfort features including repositioned joysticks that promote intuitive and comfortable operation. The high-visibility cab includes angled pedals and foot bed, as well as conveniently located switches that significantly reduce operator fatigue. Access in and out is easy with a wide door and step, plus there is no restrictive lap bar. Control options for any operator include mechanical hand-foot (SW models), electric-hydraulic (EH) hand-foot and selectable EH (ISO and H-pattern). This ensures operators with varying experience can efficiently operate the machines with ease.

The vertical lift models offer class-leading hinge pin height and all models features the largest fuel tank in its class, 40-gallons (151 liters), with an optional 50-gallon (189-liter) tank for track loaders, giving operators more time in the cab and less time spent refueling. All models also feature a variable speed cooling fan that provides on demand cooling of the engine, which maximizes efficiency, improves fuel economy and assists in cold starts.



Kubota SVL65-2 is company’s lightest, most maneuverable compact track loader

Kubota rounds out its SVL line with the new SVL65-2. The machine features an Advanced Multifunction Valve (AMV) that provides smooth operation when using simultaneous functions, such as auxiliary, boom and bucket circuits, allowing operators to be more productive throughout their work day. With the AMV, the SVL65-2 makes running any attachment that utilizes auxiliary hydraulics even easier, especially attachments such as grapple buckets, 4-in-1 buckets, and hydraulic augers. Powered by a 68-hp (50.7kW) engine, the SVL65-2 boasts a wide working range including a rated operating capacity of 2,100 lb (952,5kg) at 35%, or 3,000 lbs (1,361kg) at 50%, a reach of 34.9 in (886.5mm), and a hinge pin height of 118.5 in (3,010mm). The standard self-leveling feature can be engaged with the flip of a switch and keeps the bucket or forks level without the need to manually adjust the angle on the way up. Multi-function levers provide fingertip control of all major vehicle and attachment operations.

While the overall footprint on the new SVL65-2 is smaller, the cab is equivalent in size to Kubota’s SVL75-2 and SVL95-2s. A wide door opening allows for easy and safe entry and exit. Consistent with the larger models in Kubota’s SVL Series, the SVL65-2 features an easy-open sliding front door – its signature and best-selling feature – that can be opened regardless of the position of the bucket or loader arm; plus, full machine operation is possible with the door open, if desired.



Komatsu launches WA80M-8 compact wheel loader

The all-new Komatsu WA80M?8 compact wheel loader delivers first-class operator comfort, optimum visibility, outstanding safety levels, an ergonomic interface, effortless operation, a new 24.8 mph (40kph) high-speed option, and a bold contemporary styling for a strong distinctive visual presence.

With an operating weight of 13,217 lb (5,995kg), the WA80M-8 is optimized for tough construction applications with a powerful Komatsu S4D98E?6VHA 72-hp (53.7kW) low-emission engine tha6t complies with EU Stage V regulations. With high rimpull, superior breakout power, high lifting and dumping height, and enough reserves for even the most difficult ground conditions, the WA80M?8 also features low fuel consumption. The operator can rely on Easy Fork kinematic to transport loads with Komatsu pallet forks parallel to the ground without readjusting the fork tines.

A 6,000-hour cleaning interval typically makes the DPF maintenance-free for 10 years. Komatsu’s buckets are easy to fill; they offer increased operating comfort, boost the new wheel loader’s productivity and help to reduce fuel consumption.

For maximum operational safety, the machine’s low center of gravity enhances stability, and its compact dimensions and new engine hood ensure exceptional all-round visibility. The new large and multifunctional high-resolution TFT-LCD widescreen color monitor has 15 built-in languages. Improved ergonomic controls include a PPC multi-function lever for easy operating. The optional air conditioner and Electronic Controlled Suspension System (ECSS) further promote comfort and productivity.

All maintenance and service can be performed easily and quickly thanks to the tilting cab. The engine hood opens widely for a quick daily inspection, the electric equipment is well protected behind a maintenance cover, and the easy-to-clean wide core radiator, with an optional reversible fan, is conveniently accessible. A compartment for the battery, main switch and relays improves maintenance access to the electrical system.


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