Loader low down

Published 3/1, 2023 at 13:46

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.

New ‘Next generation’ from Cat  

Building on the success of the Cat ‘M-Series’ compact wheel loaders, the new Cat 906, 907, and 908 boast a reengineered operator’s station that leverages 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 road speeds and drive train performance. The hydraulics and structures have been overhauled for versatility.  The new sealed and pressurised cab improves operator experience while keeping previous design functional aspects 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 are designed to offer 60% better wiper coverage.

Specifically designed for Cat products, the new Cat C2.8 engine delivers the same 55.7kW power as the previous engine with 13% more torque, resulting in 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 road speeds of 40kph and larger fuel tank capacities of 30% for the 906 and 12% for the 907 and 908 for extended work cycles.

When working in dusty environments, the new reversing fan option is designed to assists cooling cores 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 10sec every 10min. Frequency and duration of automatic reversing can be changed easily by the operator via the new control monitor.

To meet demand for increased multi-functionality with lift and tilt while powering hydro mechanical tools, the wheel loaders feature a new standard pressure compensated valve. 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.


Battery powered loader prototype

Caterpillar states that it 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 battery, with an estimated run time of up to six hours on a single charge. The company also plans to offer an off board 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 are designed to maximise sustainability throughout their lifecycle, including recycling and reuse at the end of life.


Volvo upgrades L20 and L25 electric compact wheel loaders

Upgrades to the zero emissions, low noise L20 and L25 electric compact wheel loaders have been introduced. The updates include increasing the maximum speed to 20kph, an 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. Both models offer zero exhaust emissions, lower noise and comparable performance to diesel equivalents.

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 pre-warmed and defrosted cab. Operator comfort is said to have been enhanced due to a more ergonomic joystick. A new electric parking brake improves uptime with hill-hold functionality: a convenient automatic feature for operators working on inclines or rough terrain. Furthermore, as 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 said to be only six hours with the 6kW on board charger if used with a 240v socket or level two public charging station. Speedier charging is available with optional off board DC fast chargers at 11.5kW or 17.3kW. 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

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 with significantly lower noise pollution providing 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, with the standard being 14.1kWh. Options comprise of 18.7kWh or 23.4kWh and a 3kW on board charger is installed as standard. Optionally, a second 3kW on board charger can be selected to increase the charging power to a total of 6kW, 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 are designed to enable fast and coordinated charging of the selected battery size.

The cabin of the WL20e has been developed to comfortably enable year round use of the machine. It has been optimised to meet the needs of the operator with 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 when cold outside. In summer, good ventilation is ensured even without air conditioning. The door can be locked on the right and left for gap ventilation, the door can be opened 180o on the right and left and the rear window can be opened. Low slung windows and a shortened rear of the machine provide all round visibility, the electrically heated front and rear windows optimise visibility in all weather conditions, and the emergency stop switch under the joystick offers high safety.



Bobcat’s S86 and T86 ‘R-Series’

The new S86 skid steer and T86 R 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, they are said to be the most powerful compact loaders the company has ever built. Both machines use a proven Stage V compliant 3.4l Bobcat engine, producing 78kW at 2,600rpm. Both machines have three different auxiliary flow outputs, with a standard flow configuration providing 87l/pm 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 which is a high flow function giving 138lpm and a new ‘super flow’ function taking auxiliary flow up to 159l/pm. The super flow function is said to typically increase productivity with like for like attachments by 15% to 20%. It has a new five coupler connection block allowing the use of larger 19mm quick coupler connectors and attachment hoses. This change has been designed to increase auxiliary hydraulic efficiency and performance.


Mecalac introduces new ‘MCL’ range

The new Mecalac MCL range includes six models from 1.74t to 2.85t. The MCL2’s small size and wheel motor transmission allow it to move with agility with its ergonomic operator’s station protected by a canopy also being available in a cabbed version. The MCL4 provides a compromise between compactness and lifting performance, and its 18.4kW engine has been designed especially for rental fleets that require a durable and high performance machine. Its low transport weight also allows the machine to be transported on a road trailer. The MCL6’s 36kW motor allows it to reach and maintain high speeds on the road. Its high hydraulic flow and its speed of execution have been designed to increase the productivity on worksites. Design of the MCL8 was guided by power, high dumping height, and lifting capacity being developed to be 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 suit specific construction applications.

All the machines will be available in three versions: canopy, canopy with foldable top or cab version, and all come with a wide selection of attachments. The loaders can be equipped with Mecalac’s latest comfort and driver assistance technologies.  A keypad with start-up digi-code provides better control of the machine’s use while ‘M-Drive’ turns the machine into a speed controlled tool carrier. ‘MyMecalac’ connected services maximises the use of machines thanks to optimised and accessible machine data, reduced downtimes and better fleet management


New loader models from Manitou

Specifically designed for urban construction urban sites, the MLA 3-25 H-C and MLA 4-50 H-C also enables pallets of materials to be handled where there are space constraints. Both models are equipped with hydrostatic transmission for added performance. Manitou has worked on the design of the 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 1m with the chassis also being revised to reduce the length providing manoeuvrability in tight spaces. A joystick has been developed for easier mastering by new and experienced users alike. In addition, optimal 360o visibility around the cab ensures a very high level of safety for users.

To facilitate movement between different work sites or farms, certain models are transportable on a 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 optimise fleet management. Simplified maintenance enables users to reduce total cost of ownership.


Kubota’s new SVL97-2

The newest member of Kubota’s compact track loader line, the SVL97-2, offers increased productivity and dependable power. The new SVL97-2 boasts a 71.5kW engine with a rated operating capacity of 1,450kg at 35% tipping load, 35.41kN of breakout force, and a 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 reengineered to ensure long term reliability and productivity. Kubota states that it has also improved the sealing of the cab, reducing the amount of dust, water and debris entering the operating space.



John Deere ‘G-tier’ compact wheel loaders

John Deere has introduced three new models of compact wheel loaders, the new G-tier models. The new 184 G-tier, and the 204 G-tier and 304 G-tier machines, have been designed to include proven capabilities and are ideal for customers in need of a dependable machine to complete everyday tasks, offering optimal performance with lower maintenance costs. Designed with convenience and productivity in mind, they have been developed to be easy to operate, coming as standard with limited slip differential. This 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 improves ride quality for the operator who is also able to engage and disengage at certain speeds.

Featured on all G-tier models, the 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 180o to further enhance overall visibility. Additional features include an adjustable steering column, slip resistant steps and an optional LED lighting package. The cab includes amenities such as improved air conditioning systems and ergonomic low effort controls to keep operators comfortable. All the models offer serviceability features such as ground level service and increased capacity fuel tanks to help simplify daily maintenance. 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 minimises contamination from debris build up for improved efficiency and reduced cleanout time.

The smaller G-tier models, including the 184 and 204, were designed to provide customers with a rugged, compact design helping the operator manoeuvre within the tightest areas while maintaining complete control of the machine. The machines also are nimble enough to fit through smaller door openings or other smaller areas, making them an ideal solution for job sites of all sizes. The new 0.7m3 bucket is optimally sized and can be attached to either a ‘Quik-Tatch’ or hook style coupler.

The largest of the three new models, the 304, delivers productivity enhancements while also retaining many of its previous features that are designed to deliver higher productivity, especially in applications such as site development, roadbuilding, and snow removal. In response to customer feedback, the travel speed of the 304 has increased to 30kph, allowing the machine to accomplish tasks and move around job sites in less time. It has been designed to provide improved operator visibility and overall machine stability with the increased machine size, which is now measured at 2.6m tall, with cab, and 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 and throttle lock as well as three pin integrated electrical attachment controls.


Join our Newsletter