Bobcat goes small with new articulated loaders
Bobcat shows no sign of letting up in its determination to dominate the small loader market. The two latest American-built models have just been launched into the small articulated loader (SAL) segment of the market.
Deigned for use in tight spaces and on delicate surfaces such as amenity turf, they weigh in with a total operating weight of 1,719kg for the fixed boom L23, and 1,903kg for the L28, which boasts an extendable boom.
The lift capacity for the smaller machine is 1,265kg while for the larger it is 1,391kg. The company claims that this weight-to-capacity ratio makes them ideal for heavy lift and carry operations in confined areas.
Useful reach in low buildings
The telescopic lift arm on the L28 extends the lifting height and reach. It includes an innovative dual-cylinder design that keeps the load level as the operator moves the bucket and handles materials at height.
The L28 can reach to a height 2.65m enabling it to fill trailers and place loads some distance from the front wheels.
From a farming point of view, this also allows a generous reach into low buildings with a muck fork. Overall height for both is 1.983m.
There are a number of counterweight options which allow the user to customise the capacity of the machine, depending on the intended application.
Keeping the overall weight down, if not carrying heavy loads, will be beneficial on soft surfaces.
Although the capacities sound generous, it must be noted that they are a maximum with a machine unarticulated. The rated operating capacities (ROC) are somewhat less at 633kg and 696kg respectively.
Bobcat comfort in cold climes
Each loader has the option of a canopy or a cab. Both variants have been designed to provide extra space where needed for easy entry and egress.
For further operator comfort in cooler climates, an enclosed cab with heated seat is available.
The controls are claimed to be intuitive for all levels of operator experience. A twin-pedal design enables quick and easy direction changes; one pedal moves the machine forward, the other selects reverse.
Power is provided by an inline mounted high torque engine. It is Stage V certified but mechanically governed so that it can be used in all regions. Maximum power on both models is 25hp.
Light footed on soft surfaces
Bobcat claims that major design criteria was for the loaders not to damage vulnerable surfaces.
They achieve minimal ground disturbance through the use of an articulated joint, which enables the rear tyres to match the front tyre path when turning.
This attribute is further enhanced through the automatic selection of two drive modes. High-Traction Mode for rough and slippery terrain, or Turf-Safe Mode for the least possible ground disturbance.
Bobcat is hopeful that by entering the SAL market, the company will extend the reach of its product range into areas that they haven’t been able to cover up until now.
Although these particular models are being targeted at the amenity segment, it believes that they will also find a home in agricultural and horticultural operations.