New compact construction equipment and considerations in purchasing
Excavators, loaders, utility tractors…these machines and more are available in compact sizes, perfect for so many tasks landscapers undertake. But rather than sacrificing to create compact versions, manufacturers have continually responded to professionals’ needs for compact equipment by producing models that mimic the operation of the bigger guys.
With so many options, what should you be thinking about when looking to purchase?
Reliability and ease of use for the operator are two important factors in his company’s purchase of new compact construction equipment, according to TLC Landscaper of the Year finalist, Shayne Newman, president of YardApes in New Milford, Connecticut.
Several manufacturers have taken note of these things by making adjustments to operator comforts, whether increasing cab size or upgrading heating and cooling systems, as well as improving ground speeds and ensuring attachments connect quickly and easily. Improvements like these decrease machine downtime and yield more productivity for landscapers.
Another important consideration to Newman is how easily and quickly the machine can be serviced if it breaks down.
“We consider the reliability and location of the dealer to be the most important factor in choosing a brand of machine. We don’t want to have to drive a long distance and/or wait very long to have the machine repaired,” he says.
Along with having nearby, dependable dealers, professionals should look to purchase machines with easy-to-access maintenance features for those do-it-yourself quick fixes and general upkeep. Many manufacturing companies have responded to this need by grouping major service points in one area.
If you decide to purchase, Newman recommends taking advantage of common zero-percent financing options available in our current economy. With the continued introduction of new or improved attachments, he says to consider renting them on a daily or weekly basis if use isn’t consistent enough to buy.
First 700 platform size
Bobcat’s T770, the company’s newest M-Series loader, has an operating weight of 10,887 pounds, replacing the current K-Series T320. The machine has a rated operating capacity of 3,100 pounds, powered by a 92-horsepower water-cooled diesel engine. Other details include vertical-lift path arms, height-to-hinge pin measurement of 132 inches and a 5-inch, full-color LCD screen. Additionally, the sound level has been reduced by more than 60 percent.
Scoop up an array of materials
Ventrac’s Slip Scoops attachment works well for landscaping, excavation, backfilling, leveling, digging and grading. It can transport materials such as soil, sand, gravel, mulch, debris and snow. The attachment is hydraulically controlled from the driver’s seat and is designed to sit upright after detachment, with the lift arms in the proper position for direct reconnection when the scoop is used again. The Slip Scoops attaches with the Ventrac Mount System.
New family of skid steers and CTLs
Case introduced the Alpha Series, which includes nine skid steer models and three compact track loaders. Engines in the skid steers range from 46 horsepower to 90 horsepower. The CTLs have engines of either 74 or 90 horsepower. The new series includes radial-lift models for digging, prying and pushing and vertical lift models for life-and-carry applications. Other features include larger fuel tanks, increased operator comfort, increased stability and easy access for maintenance.
John Deere’s skid steer loader models 318D and 320D feature a two-speed option to provide operators faster travel speeds. The option increases ground speed by as much as 62 percent on both manual and E/H controls machines, from 6.8 mph to 11 mph. The loaders have shift on-the-go capability and are part of the customer-inspired D-Series, with 24-percent larger cabs and six more inches of headroom.
New tractor from Deere
John Deere’s 4720 Compact Utility Tractor is powered by a 66-horse power, four-cylinder PowerTech turbocharged diesel engine. Standard features include four-wheel drive, Twin Touch eHydro transmission and eThrottle, which allows the transmission to operate like a car with the flip of a switch as the engine and transmission are electronically linked. Other details include a sloped hood for improved visibility and an i-Match quick hitch.
Most power in series
The TL250 compact track loader from Takeuchi is the largest and most powerful machine of the manufacturer’s new 200 series, using a 92-horsepower unit with an operating weight of approximately 12,000 pounds. The undercarriage incorporates a welded track frame mounting system and structural cross members integrated into the framework. The hydrostatic drive system, with double reduction planetary final drive, has a 13,770-pound tractive force. It also offers features such as a six-way adjustable seat and pilot-operated joystick controls.
New cab option for tractors
TYM now offers a factory production cab for its T233, T273, T293 and T353 tractors. The cab features a spacious environment, well-designed interior and easier entry and exit with double doors. Other details include two front working lights, one rear working light, a two-vent heater, room light and removable side doors. A window wiper is standard on tractors 30 horsepower and below.
By Jennifer M. Holloway