Compact Equipment

SEP 2018

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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ULTRA-SMALL WHEEL LOADERS There's more and more interest in a type of super small wheel loader attachment-takers that really don't fit into any product category. These machines are bigger than a compact tool carrier like a Toro Dingo or a Ditch Witch mini skid steer and actually allow operators to sit on a seat while boasting just as much attachment versatility as those walk-behind or stand-on units. Texas-based importer and distributor (formerly Compactgiant) an- nounced that it has started distribution of this unique type of mini loader brand. The compact, articulating wheel loaders are built by Belgian manufacturer Knikmops. The company's KM100 Series will be branded "Intrepid," with two variants: a standard boom Intrepid KM100 and the Intrepid KM100 Tele, which features a telescoping boom. Perhaps the leader in this industry is Avant Tecno. The company's sit-down-style of compact tool carrier boasts big visibility in tight spaces, easy cab access (just hopping on and off), an impressive amount of rated operated capacity via vertical-lift loader arms and (yes) the ability to sit on your keister and work. These are lighter weight machines with improved maneuverability (they articulate) that can handle similar loads to that of a skid steer with hundreds of attachments available for serious application adaptabil- ity (from tree removal to indoor demolition). Avant Tecno offers six different units from its largest 700 Series with telescoping boom, 3,810-lb lift capacity and speed of 18.5 mph to a fully electric, battery-powered compact Avant e5, which is especially suitable for indoor use where ventila- tion is limited or non-existent and there are strict noise requirements. Avant Tecno's sit-down-style of compact tool carrier boasts big visibility in tight spaces and easy cab access. excavators at Volvo Construction Equipment. "It makes for very smooth and efficient work too." One of the more unique models in the industry has to be Kubota's R630, which exclusively offers four operating modes that can be easily selected to match the machine's application — normal, attachment, power and eco mode. Normal mode is compatible with everyday load-and-carry operations. In attachment mode, the operator can inde- pendently control travel speed from flow to the attach- ments. To save on fuel, eco mode conserves fuel up to 15 percent over other modes, says Kubota, while power mode exchanges travel speed for an increase of about 40 percent in traction power to excavate or attack a hard-packed pile with ease. Along with these specific technologies and models, we're also seeing units being purpose built for particular mar- kets with market-specific standard additions. Caterpillar, for instance, introduced agricultural application-specific models at the end of 2017 — the 906M, 907M and 908M. These Ag Handler models include standard equipment fea- tures such as high-speed transmissions, ag-specific tires, an engine pre-cleaner and farm-focused LED work lights. REMEMBER: IT'S STILL MOSTLY ABOUT LOADING From our survey of the 14 manufacturers in the in- dustry, there are some interesting and unique options for compact wheel loaders, but for most folks a hard- working standard articulating unit is what's needed. This goes back to researching the size and specs of all the brands — engine horsepower, operating weight, break- out force, bucket capacity, travel speed, turning radius, width, height and beyond. Start out by focusing on load- ing (the major application). Selecting the right loader is often based on the amount of material (measured in cu- bic yards) that needs to be moved per hour, the weight of the material and the area that the loader will operate in. It's important that you know how the loader will get the material, how quickly the material needs to be moved and where the material needs to go. It's always best to look for a brand that accommodates your bucket work. Like we mentioned… "There are a lot of options out there," says Miller. "Things like just determining if you want a cab or an open ROPS system. But the big thing is really just knowing how much material you need to move and maybe what height requirements you might have. So, what is that hinge pin height or that lift height that you're going to need in or- der to meet your needs? I think from there, then you can decide what machines you're looking at and that will help you narrow those options down." And while compact wheel loaders are known for mostly loading, these compact construction machines are becom- ing more like their tool-carrying competitors. "Versatility is the trend," says Dotto. "The more work you can put on one piece of equipment, the quicker the payback and the greater the ROI. Specialty attachments allow for compact wheel loaders to become profit centers for contractors looking to capitalize on the big productiv- ity they offer. Just don't forget about that." Keith Gribbins is associate publisher of Compact Equipment .

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