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2022 / 2023 Edition

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New Bobcat Wheel Loaders

First published in the October 2021 issue of Quarry Management as Compact Expansion

Bobcat enter the wheel loader market and introduce new R-Series skid-steers and compact track loaders

Adding to their European compact loader line-up of skid-steers, compact track loaders, mini-track loaders and telescopic loaders, Bobcat have recently extended the range with the introduction of new compact wheel loaders (CWLs) and small articulated loaders (SALs), as well as launching their new R-Series compact loaders, strengthening the company’s position as the world leader in compact equipment.

Entering the wheel loader market

By entering the wheel loader category with their new CWLs and SALs, Bobcat now claim to have the largest loader portfolio of any manufacturer in the world, providing customers with more choice of products with optimized characteristics for specific applications in a wide range of industries.

The company has entered the CWL market with two models, the L65 and L85, both designed and built at the company’s campus in Dobris, in the Czech Republic. Offering 41kW (55hp) of engine power, the 4.5-tonne L65 has a bucket capacity of 0.6–1.0m3, a maximum tipping load of 2.6 tonnes and maximum travel speed of 30km/h, whilst the 5.1-tonne L85 has 51kW (68hp) of engine power, a bucket capacity of 0.8–1.2m3, a maximum tipping load of 3.1 tonnes and a maximum speed of 30km/h.

L85 compact wheel loader

Commenting on the first CWL to market – the new L85 model, Bobcat loader product manager Jiri Karmazin said: ‘A product of the Bobcat Innovation Centre on our Dobris campus, the L85 has been designed to set a new market-leading performance benchmark in this segment of the market.

‘The L85 is built with proven components, including the engine, structures, axles, electronics, and hydraulics, sourced either from Bobcat or our prestigious Tier 1 suppliers. Many components are already widely used in our market-leading compact loaders, mini-excavators and telehandlers, and the L85 undergoes the same final assembly and test procedures as these products.’

The L85 is equipped as standard with the Power Quick-Tach system compatible with widely used industry-standard couplers. To run high-flow attachments such as an angle broom, the loader can be fitted with a high-flow option, providing a hydraulic flow of 100 litres/min.

The engine is generally started by the standard key, but for quick engine starts/stops during the day, the operator can also use soft-touch buttons conveniently located on the right-hand console. The machine is also equipped with automotive-style automatic parking brake and slope assist features, which are said to be unique in the industry for this type of machine.

The location of all the controls is designed to make the L85 easy and comfortable to operate. The direction-changing switch (Forward-Neutral-Reverse) is located on the front side of the joystick and is index-finger operated, whilst the jog shuttle is used to reach, navigate, and confirm the set-up of the L85 on the 5in LED display, and to switch quickly to the view provided by the rear-view camera. All the machine’s vital information display and set-up screens are managed via the jog shuttle.

Designed around the operator, the cab on the L85 offers high levels of comfort and easy operation. The joystick’s position is adjustable horizontally and integrated in the operator’s suspension seat, and the steering column is also adjustable in two directions – horizontal and vertical, a feature said to be unique in the CWL segment. The cab is fully enclosed and pressurized, meeting the strictest FOPS II safety requirements.

There are two full glass doors either side of the cab, providing excellent visibility on both sides. This is further enhanced with the low front window corners, a hood design that offers both toughness and high visibility, and the output from the rear-view camera. The L85 is equipped as standard with a heating system, with a full heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system available as a factory option. Other comfort and performance features available include high-flow hydraulics, automatic ride control, bucket level indicator, LED road lights, wheel options and a road package.

L23 and L28 small articulated loaders

As with the CWLs, Bobcat are entering the SAL market with two models, the L23 and L28, although these are designed and built at the company’s US facility in Bismarck, North Dakota. With the new SALs, Bobcat say the traditional attributes of high performance in a compact size, agility and versatility are now complemented by a light touch on the ground and increased lift capacity for lower-weight machines.

Both machines achieve minimal ground disturbance through their use of an articulated joint, which allows the rear tyres to match the front tyre path when turning, and both offer 18kW (25hp) of engine power and a maximum travel speed of 13km/h. The 1.7-tonne L23 has a bucket capacity of 0.2–0.4m3 and a maximum tipping load of 1.3 tonnes, whilst the figures for the 1.9-tonne L28 model are 0.3–0.5m3 and 1.4 tonnes respectively.

Bobcat loader product manager John Chattaway said: ‘The high lift capacity offered by Bobcat SALs compared with their machine weight is ideal for lift-and-carry operations in compact areas. The extendable boom on the L28 further simplifies the placement of loads, which is also enhanced by the all-round visibility. Counterweight options allow our SALs to be customized to give users the capacity they need for a particular application.’

New R-Series compact loaders

Bobcat have also recently launched the company’s new Stage V compliant R-Series compact loaders comprising the S66 and S76 skid-steer loaders and the T66 and T76 compact track loaders. These new R-Series machines are said to represent the most significant redesign of Bobcat compact loaders in the last 60 years.

The new loaders feature a variety of performance, comfort, and visibility enhancements to help provide customers with increased productivity. As a result, many previous options are now built into the new R-Series machines as standard features.

Bobcat loader product manager John Chattaway said: ‘Utilizing decades of  experience, the new R-Series loaders have been completely redesigned from the ground up with a focus on quality, reliability, durability and first-class comfort. The new R-Series represents the next stage in the evolution of the compact equipment industry.’

He added: ‘The new R-Series loaders are also distinguished by a new naming system, which now uses two digits in the name rather than the three used in previous models. This also serves to separate the new R-Series loaders from our M-Series machines.’

To ensure optimum performance and comfort, the stability of both types of loaders has been enhanced with longer wheelbases and track footprints compared with the previous-generation machines. This improved stability combined with enhanced efficiency from the hydraulics is said to provide class-leading push and breakout forces and increased lift capacity for greater productivity.

The longer wheelbases and tracks also ensure a smoother ride. The new T66 and T76 compact track loaders have a solid undercarriage system as standard but can be equipped with an optional five-link torsion suspension undercarriage for an even better ride in rough terrain. Stability and productivity can be further enhanced by the optional Auto Ride Control feature available on all R-Series loaders.

All R-Series machines come as standard with a fully enclosed one-piece deluxe cab with HVAC, a 5in deluxe display and an LED lighting system. Available options include: a Clear-Side cab, which has mesh-free side screens to aid visibility; a rear-view camera that connects to both the standard 5in and optional 7in touch display; as well as a Premium LED light package. In addition, the standard suspension seat can be replaced with a heated air-ride seat option.

For increased productivity, many other previous options are now built into the new R-Series loaders as standard, including selectable joystick controls (SJC), two-speed travel, high-flow hydraulics with attachment control device (ACD), dual-direction bucket positioning and back-up alarm.

Whilst SJC is the standard control system on all new R-Series loaders, manual hand and foot controls are available as a no-cost option on the S66 and S76 skid-steer loaders. Customizable features available through the SJC include speed management, drift control and the ability to change the sensitivity of the joysticks. The SJC system also has built-in horsepower management to increase comfort and productivity.

With the SJC system in place, the new R-Series loaders now offer the attachment control device (ACD) system as standard. Using Can-Bus communication to recognize the attachment on the machine, ACD automatically sets up the joystick controls and the output flow to ensure the best performance when using attachments on the new loaders.

The R-series loaders have been built to be even more robust than their predecessors. The new cast-steel structures in the loader arms are now 20% stronger, allowing the use of narrower profiles in key areas such as the front knuckle, thereby improving the visibility of the attachments and work area without sacrificing any durability. The lift height has also been increased, making it is easier to dump loads into high-sided trucks.

The new cast-steel Bob-Tach attachment-mounting system is supplied in manual operating mode as standard with a Power Bob-Tach available as an option, both of which feature a debris-shedding cast design. For more information on Bobcat R-Series compact loaders or the company’s new CWL and SAL machines, visit: www.bobcat.com

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