Operator comfort was a major theme for Bobcat Co. when they introduced the new M-Series skid-steers and compact track loaders and excavators earlier this year.
The company invited the media to an event in Bismarck, N.D., the site of one of Bobcat’s largest manufacturing facilities, where the new excavators are being built.
The factory recently received ISO 14001 certification for its environmental programs. The effort includes a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives and targets and demonstrating continuous improvements in environmental performance.
The M Series consists of four models of compact loader—two on tracks and two on skid-steer wheels—and four models of compact excavator.
The skid-steer and compact track loaders feature the most significant design changes undertaken by Bobcat.
The first M-Series models were the S630 skid-steer loader and the T630 compact track loader. The S650 and the T650 also are now available, and additional models will be available in the future. The “S” in the name is for “skid-steer loader”; the “T” is for “track loader.” Machines with “30” in the model number have a radial lift path; machines with “50” have a vertical lift path.
The S630 has a rated operating capacity (ROC) of 2,180 lb and an operating weight of 7,707 lb. The S650 has an ROC of 2,690 lb and an operating weight of 8,327 lb. The T630 has an ROC of 2,230 lb and an operating weight of 9,015 lb. Finally, the T650 has an ROC of 2,570 lb and an operating weight of 9,440 lb.
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. Hydraulic power has been increased more than 15%, and the standard auxiliary hydraulic flow is now 23 gal/min at 3,500 lb/sq in., and an optional high flow reaches 30.5 gal/min for maximum attachment performance.
Comfortable operators are more productive, and, to create a better working environment, Bobcat increased the size of the cab by 10% and redesigned the interior to allow operators to adjust the environment to their individual preference.
Noise is another factor affecting operator comfort, and Bobcat has reduced the sound level inside M-Series loaders by more than 60%. New engine mounts improve isolation to decrease vibration and reduce sound levels. There also is a 4 dB reduction in noise outside the machine.
The up-and-down travel of the suspension seat option was increased by more than 30% for a smoother ride over rough terrain. The seat also has been given two additional inches of forward or reverse movement to accommodate operators of various heights.
The joysticks on M-Series loaders with optional selectable joystick controls move up and down with the seat to reduce arm movement and fatigue as the operator controls the machine. The joystick mounts also slide forward or backward to suit the operator.
Bobcat’s new compact excavators also have been re-engineered to deliver increased performance in a lighter machine. The company’s excavator line now benefits from the 2007 acquisition of Bobcat by Doosan Infracore. Designs for the E32 and E35 models were close to finished by Bobcat before the acquisition, Tom Conner, product specialist in small excavators, said, but the E60 and E80 models are Doosan designs added to the Bobcat collection.
Bobcat’s excavators weighing 5 metric tons and less are manufactured in the Bismarck plant. The 6- and 8-tonne machines are built in Doosan’s plants in South Korea.
The 6-tonne E60 machine is Bobcat’s first entry into the 6-tonne excavator class.
The new Auto-Shift travel on the E32 and E35 shifts the machine out of high range and back automatically, which provides an on-demand power boost when pushing into a pile.
The E32 and E35 also include an Auto-Idle feature, which can be enabled at the operator’s discretion and automatically causes the engine to return to idle if the excavator’s functions are not used for four seconds. The machine automatically returns to the preset throttle position after the operator starts working again.
The new engine, air intake, cooling and exhaust systems, along with an entirely new pump and valve system, lower sound levels, resulting in a more comfortable, quieter machine. The overall sound levels have been reduced by more than 50%.