October 14, 2016 by Corinne Lynds
Contractors who understand the value and versatility of compact machines, have a lot to be excited about. Power, versatility and fuel efficiency continue to be key features. But comfort, ease of use and equipment that requires less maintenance, are also turning heads.
We asked the manufacturers which machines contractors liked best, and why? This is what they came up with:
The Toro Company’s Dingo TX 1000 compact utility loader has a rated operating capacity exceeding 1,000 lbs. When the loader arms are fully extended, the hinge pin measures 81 in. from the ground, allowing the loader to reach up and over the side of dumpsters and one-ton trucks. Another key feature is the vertical lift loader arm design, which keeps the load closer to the machine to allow operators to lift more weight with greater confidence. Additionally, this feature increases the reach at full height to make dumping more efficient. The vertical path of the lift arms is also exceptional in vertical applications with the auger or concrete breaker.
What contractors like: Lifting more weight with greater confidence.
The Manitou MT 625 compact telescopic handler can pick and carry up to 5,500 lbs. and lift up to 19 ft. 2 in. with a maximum reach of 11 ft. 1 in. The machine has full-time four-wheel drive with a two-speed hydrostatic transmission and 74 hp Kubota Tier 4 Final diesel engine. The operator’s cabin is full sized, while the machine has an overall width of 5 ft. 11 in., an overall height of 6 ft. 4 in. and a vehicle weight of 10,582 lbs. The MT 625 is offered as a fully enclosed cab or semi-enclosed cab providing options for those looking to rent this machine or place it in their construction equipment line-up. The fully enclosed cab, includes heat and defrost, with optional air conditioning, and the driver’s left side window fully opens for extra ventilation and visibility. The semi-enclosed cab is designed with front and rear windows, with an open left side for improved accessibility.
What contractors like: Full-sized cabin and improved visibility.
The Volvo EC35D compact excavator boasts a newly designed hydraulic system that reduces horsepower from 36 to 24 while increasing breakout and tearout forces, so contractors get more performance while saving on fuel. The patented Volvo hydraulic filter ensures oil is filtered — whether just topping up or changing oil. During operation, return oil from pumps and motors is filtered. The filter housing is clear for easy visibility to oil levels or contamination. An early warning system gives insight to additional maintenance/repairs required. The attachment coupler, which is available in mechanical or fully hydraulic, allows the operator to easily and quickly change buckets without leaving the cab. The engine/hydraulics combination and Volvo-unique ECO mode partner to deliver a 10-per-cent fuel savings. A best-in-class cab offers operators 20 per cent more cab space than previous models. Large doors and small window pillars combine for all-around visibility.
What contractors like: The attachment coupler allows operators to easily change buckets without leaving the cab.
The all-terrain Gehl RT210 GEN:3 track loader can lift and load 2,100 lbs., reaching heights up to 128 in. The dedicated, welded chassis aids in weight distribution, which enhances stability, grading, tractive effort, and ride control. The RT210 GEN:3 features the all-new patented fold-up door design. This door provides cab-to-canopy versatility by allowing the machine to run with the door open or closed, all while maintaining low clearance and a Level II FOPS certification. The RT Track Loader line also features IDEALTRAX, an automatic track tensioning system where the tracks are automatically tensioned when the engine is started for operation with tension then released when the engine is shut off. This eliminates weekly maintenance tension checks and increases the overall track lifespan as the sprockets and bearings ensure the proper tension during operation.
What contractors like: Less maintenance and increased track lifespan.
Takeuchi’s TB210R compact excavator features a minimal tail swing design. Couple that with a retractable undercarriage, a backfill blade that can go from 40.2-in. wide down to 29.5-in. wide, as well as a new foldable ROPS/TOPS canopy that reduces the machines overall height, and you have a machine that works in some of the most confined applications. Upgrades to the TB210R include pilot-operated joystick controls with ISO/SAE control pattern change valve, selector valve, and pilot accumulator. Pilot controls deliver excellent fine control and responsiveness for greater productivity and reduced operator fatigue. A Kubota D722-E4B three-cylinder engine powers the TB210R and delivers nearly 22-per-cent more horsepower than its predecessor the TB108.
What contractors like: Minimal tail swing and more power.
The 9A series of Tier 4 Final-compliant compact hydraulic excavators from Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas includes six models of high-performance, productive, powerful machines that are fast, smooth and easy to control. The boom swing function on the 9A series compact excavators is designed for efficient work in congested areas. The boom can swing 75 degrees to the left and 50 degrees to the right. Three models – including the popular 4-ton R35Z-9A – feature zero-tail swing, which enables operators to work productively and safely near buildings, in single lanes on roadways or in other confined settings.
What contractors like: Ability to work safely in single-lane roadways.
CASE Construction Equipment’s F-Series compact wheel loaders provide improved maneuverability, versatility and performance. These loaders feature CASE’s proven maintenance-free Tier 4 Final particulate matter catalyst solution, and offer a more compact design while simultaneously increasing breakout force and lift capacity. The new 21F is rated at 58 hp, the 121F is rated at 64 hp, while the 221F and 321F are both rated at 74 hp. The F Series models also feature increased attachment compatibility, new pilot controls for boom and bucket functions, and added cab comfort features to improve machine performance and reduce operator fatigue.
What contractors like: Increased breakout force and lift capacity.
The Cat 299D2 compact track loader builds on the engineering advances of its D Series predecessors. Now standard on this model is the Caterpillar heads-up Advanced Display and engine-compartment sealing system for enhanced airflow debris control.
In addition to providing a theft deterrent system, the Advanced Display accommodates up to 50 operator security codes that allow each operator to adjust the machine to suit individual operating preferences. A full-color, 5-inch LCD monitor enables on-screen adjustment of implement response, hydrostatic drive response, creep control speed, ride control activation speed, language preference and gauge layout selection.
What contractors like: Ability to easily adjust machine to their operating preferences.
The JCB 8018 contractor specification model provides contractors with a compact excavator specifically designed to work on busy urban job sites. Key features include:
500-hour extended greasing intervals, electrical proportional auxiliaries, LED work lights with additional guarding, additional counterweight protection, hand-held tool circuit, and street-pad dozer blade protection. All excavator arm and undercarriage bushes are equipped with graphite-impregnated bushes, delivering 500-hour greasing intervals to save time and maintenance costs. For increased safety on site, powerful LED work lights are now fitted to the front of the machine and to the boom, with additional protective guards to prevent damage. The auxiliaries have been updated to an electrical operation.
What contractors like: Powerful LED work lights for night jobs.
A popular model in the 3 to 4-ton class, is the 33.5-hp E32 from Bobcat. The Tier-4-compliant compact excavator features a non-DPF engine solution, first-class operator comfort and ample dig depth and reach. Offering conventional tail-swing, this machine performs well in tight spaces and under high-load conditions. It has an operating capacity of 2,537 lbs. The optional extendable arm feature provides contractors up to an additional 30 in. of reach at full extension (compared to standard arms).
What contractors like: The extendable arm allows operators to reach farther with less repositioning.
Contractors now expect even more power, productivity and uptime on the job with John Deere large-frame G-Series skid steers (330G, 332G) and compact track loaders (331G, 333G). The large frames serve up substantially greater boom and bucket breakout forces. They have horsepower that is comparable to a small backhoe or crawler, and work comfortably in tight quarters. Increased rated operating capacities of up to 3,700 lbs. give these models the muscle needed to master heavy loads, coupled with 40 per cent more breakout force, to make lifting heavy loads easier. Increased auxiliary hydraulic flow and power on the large frames gives operators a broader range of attachments for a wide variety of work.
What contractors like: Horsepower that is comparable to a small backhoe or crawler.