Toughness and versatility

Dec. 30, 2003

The skid-steer family of the construction industry did fairly well in 2003, with sales in the U.S. projected to be up by 4.9% from 2002, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' (AEM) 2003-2004 Outlook for Construction Equipment Business, an annual survey of the U.S.-based trade group. In the survey, skid steers were lumped in the earthmover group with excavators, haulers, motor graders and dozers.

The numbers are third-quarter estimates of the year's performance.

The skid-steer family of the construction industry did fairly well in 2003, with sales in the U.S. projected to be up by 4.9% from 2002, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' (AEM) 2003-2004 Outlook for Construction Equipment Business, an annual survey of the U.S.-based trade group. In the survey, skid steers were lumped in the earthmover group with excavators, haulers, motor graders and dozers.

The numbers are third-quarter estimates of the year's performance.

Sales of U.S. earthmovers to Canada were up 6.5% in 2003, and sales to the rest of the world were up 3.9%.

This month, Roads & Bridges has gathered a sample of recent introductions of skid steers and related products used around construction sites.

Two-speed muscle

Armed with the patented Automatic Power Control (APC), HydrauMind hydraulics and the only standard two-speed transmission in the industry, the 7,525-lb Model SK1020-5 is the largest skid steer available from Komatsu America Corp., Vernon Hills, Ill., in North America.

APC allows the operator to work at full power during any phase of the job--including digging, loading and carrying--without concern for engine stall. The SK1020-5 comes standard with Komatsu's HydrauMind hydraulic system that allows simultaneous machine functions (loader-arm, bucket maneuvering, etc.) without sacrificing speed, engine power or performance. Operators have their choice of a 70-hp diesel or an 83-hp turbo-charged diesel engine.

The SK1020-5's hydraulic system features an auxiliary hydraulic circuit with a flow of 21 gpm, with an additional "Super Flow" auxiliary hydraulic circuit available with a maximum flow of 34 gpm, both at a maximum pressure of 3,045 psi.

Komatsu's Closed Load Sensing System (CLSS) comes as a standard option. It ensures maximum bucket control during both single and simultaneous bucket movements, critical in grading, loading and digging applications where precise maneuvering is required.

Komatsu is the only skid-steer manufacturer to offer a standard, two-speed, shift-on-the-go transmission with a working speed of 6.5 mph and a travel speed of 10 mph.

All instrumentation is located on the operator restraint bar for easy viewing, and all controls and switches are within easy reach.

Komatsu's Proportional Pressure Control joystick levers are easy to use while still providing easy and accurate control of the machine. Operators have the choice of three control patterns, including traditional hand and foot controls and two variations of the increasingly popular all-hand controls. All three control patterns are fully hydraulic, adjustment-free and maintenance-free.

The SK1020-5 features a rated operating load of 2,000 lb and a tipping load of 4,000 lb.

Wider, smoother load

Whether the job calls for digging, loading, pushing, backfilling, hauling, grading, spreading or demolishing, the Bobcat S220 skid-steer loader is ready with 5,500 ft-lb of lift breakout force, 6,550 ft-lb of tilt breakout force and a 75-hp turbo-charged diesel engine.

The S220 from Bobcat Co., West Fargo, N.D., with a 2,200-lb rated operating capacity, replaces the Model 863 skid steer and adds 5 in. of wheelbase over the old model for a smoother ride. The machine has a 122.4-in. lift height.

The S220 skid-steer loader is a powerful tool carrier featuring a new Bob-Tach mounting system and redesigned lift arms with dual tilt cylinders for an improved view of the attachment and easier entry and exit. The S220 provides 20.7 gpm of auxiliary hydraulic flow, or an optional 30.7 gpm flow, at 3,300 psi of system pressure suitable for a wide range of attachments.

The S220 has an optional deluxe instrument panel that includes a keyless start security system, feature lockouts, digital time and job clocks, a multilanguage display, even a help menu and onboard attachment operating instructions.

In addition, the S220 offers several choices in operator controls, including the new Bobcat Selectable Joystick Control system, which puts all of the loader functions into a low-effort joystick and still allows operators to select between ISO and H-pattern to operate drive and work group functions. Another option is the Advanced Control System, which provides conventional steering levers but allows operators to select between hand control or foot pedal control of lift and tilt hydraulic functions.

The deluxe cab is built for comfort and functionality. Entering and exiting is made easy with a large cab opening. The innovative seat bar pivots from the rear, providing secondary restraint protection and serving as a comfortable armrest for operators of all sizes. High-output halogen headlamps on the S220 provide excellent illumination of the work area for low-light operation.

More flow to ya

With over 7,000 lb of breakout force and a rated lift capacity of 2,500 lb, the new Model 255 skid-steer loader from Thomas Equipment Ltd., Mars Hill, Maine, has more power than ever. An optional counterweight kit increases the loader's rated lift capacity to 2,600 lb. Power is provided by an 87.4-hp turbo-charged diesel engine.

The 255 has a 48.75-in. wheelbase and travels as fast as 12.3 mph.

For efficient attachment operation, the loader's standard hydraulic system puts out more than 21 gpm. An optional high-flow hydraulic system is available and produces 40 gpm.

Versatile line

The biggest units in the Mustang Manufacturing Co. line of skid steers are the 2095 and the 2105. With a bucket breakout force of 6,550, these units are able to handle the most challenging excavation and hauling tasks. In addition, these models have exceptional lift capabilities, including almost vertical lift and great maneuverability.

The 2095 has a rated operating capacity of 3,150 lb and a 90-hp engine. The 2105 has a rated operating capacity of 3,600 lb and a 110-hp engine.

All skid steers from Mustang, Owatonna, Minn., have the Multi-Tach mounting system that makes them compatible with most attachments. The machines are able to operate with a wide range of tools, including breakers and lawn finishing equipment, making them versatile jobsite equipment.

Debut skid steers

Hot on the heels of the first Volvo backhoe to enter the North American market, Volvo Construction Equipment, Asheville, N.C., is introducing its first skid-steer loader. Volvo skid steer line has five models: MC60, MC70, MC80, MC90 and MC110. Engine horsepower ratings and operating capacities range from 49.5 to 86 hp and from 1,350 to 2,450 lb, respectively. They have a one-piece mainframe and two double-acting bucket cylinders with hardened, chrome-plated rods for exceptional breakout force. The MC70, MC90 and MC110 can be equipped with high-flow hydraulics to power a variety of attachments. The machines are equipped with a universal quick attach system that can be used with most attachments.

Remodeled skidders

Balanced weight distribution is one of 100 improvements built into the Series II skid steers from John Deere Construction & Forestry Co., Moline, Ill. Deere engineers focused on other design details that enhance stability, such as a long wheelbase and low center of gravity. The boom rises along a near-vertical path that reaches out at the top of the lift cycle, and a 45° dump angle sheds wet or sticky material with ease. The Series II machines (Circle 907), in five models, feature 53-90 net hp and numerous design enhancements that make more power available to do the job. Large standard tires and low, integrated boom stops enhance traction and leverage, allowing the Series II machines to dig in rather than spin. Bucket breakout force ranges from 5,500 lb on the 240 model to 11,600 lb on the 280.

Ultimate rubber tracks

The RC-100 is the most powerful and productive R-Series All Surface Loader from ASV Inc., Grand Rapids, Minn.

The RC-100 was designed from the ground up to take full advantage of ASV's patented suspended rubber-track undercarriage. The undercarriage features 42 wheeled contact points to increase ground contact area. Torsion axle suspension of the undercarriage helps maximize contact with the ground for better traction and a much smoother ride than rigid-mounted track systems.

The RC-100 has a lift height of 125 in. and features the most advanced hydraulic system available in its class and a high efficiency load-sensing system. Two-speed drive motors directly drive the tracks with travel speeds up to 10 mph. The hydraulic system provides up to 38 gpm to the standard high-flow auxiliary circuit on demand or 20 gpm to the low-flow circuit. The turbo-charged diesel engine delivers 100 hp.

For operator convenience, the standard RC-100 comes equipped with a hydraulically actuated quick-attach for easy connection to attachments.