Bobcat claws into big prey

Allen Zeyher / July 15, 2010

The most common request from customers is for more power, a Bobcat representative told the assembled press at a June event in Atlanta.

The company’s response was to beef up its compact loaders as much as possible without crossing the 100-hp barrier. The T870 compact track loader and the S850 skid-steer loader have 99 and 92 hp, respectively, the largest loaders the company has ever manufactured.

“We’ve always said that 100 hp is the threshold,” Greg Rostberg, Bobcat marketing manager, told Roads & Bridges. Once you go over 100 hp, you start having to change manufacturing processes. “The factories are certainly capable of handling this equipment.”

The machines provide operators with more powerful hydraulics, increased fuel capacity, higher lift capacities and reach, increased pushing power and higher horsepower than any of Bobcat’s current loader models. In addition, the loaders will enable the operator to accomplish more work through performance and durability enhancements that provide more power and keep the loader working longer, while increasing operator comfort with a new cab-forward design with improved visibility and a more spacious and comfortable cab. Job-enhancing features also were added to the optional Deluxe Instrumentation Panel featured in these machines.

The 10,008-lb S850 (Circle 900) has a rated operating capacity of 3,875 lb, 17% more than the current largest skid loader, the S330. The 12,678-lb T870 (Circle 901) has an operating capacity of 3,325 lb, or 7% more than the current largest compact track loader, the T320. In addition, the loaders are the highest-lifting loaders in the industry with a 144-in. lift height. The highest lift height will be appreciated by those who load over tandem-axle trucks with side boards added.

As members of Bobcat’s M Series of equipment, the new loaders have increased hydraulic performance. The hydraulic systems on M-Series loaders have been engineered for higher standard flow and pressure that give attachments more power to work more quickly.

The standard auxiliary hydraulic flow on the S850 is 23 gpm at 3,500 psi, and an optional high-flow feature reaches 37 gpm for maximum attachment performance. On the T870, the standard auxiliary hydraulic flow is 23.8 gpm, with an optional high flow of 37.4 gpm.

Greater hydraulic pressure would have meant that operators would have to push harder on the joysticks, increasing their fatigue over a work shift. Bobcat’s engineers decided to give the operators a break and install electric-over-hydraulic joysticks.

“It still acts the way a skid steer acts, but it’s being assisted electronically,” said Rostberg, “so it’s a lot easier for them to move.” Rostberg said dealers will be able to start ordering the new Bobcat extended large-frame loaders on July 15. They will be manufactured in Bobcat’s Gwinner, N.D., plant.

“It probably will open up new markets,” said Rostberg. The more powerful loaders might be attractive to operators of small dozers. “Some of these dozers are operating with 80-hp machines, and all those dozers do is one purpose: doze.” A new Bobcat loader has “a lot of that same tractive effort, but it’s going to be able to do so much more.”

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