Wacker Neuson has introduced the smallest model in the company’s line of compact track loaders, the ST27.
The CTL was officially unveiled to the public at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2023.
“It's a new size class for us,” said John Dotto, product application and training specialist at Wacker Neuson.
Pound-for-pound, he said, fits what he describes as the compact medium-size class of CTLs.
Weighing in at only 7,350 pounds and still powered by a 74-horsepower Kohler engine, the ST27 is easily towable, and with a rated operating capacity of 1,890 pounds at 35% of tipping load, it can do as much or more than some of its heavier competition, he says.
The compact design at 60 inches wide and 80 inches tall makes it ideal for working in confined spaces with low overhead clearance. According to Dotto, its reach at dump height of 36.5 inches makes it easier to dump material into the center of a dump box and keeps the loader farther away from the vehicle or trailer being loaded. The vertical-lift ST27 also offers a hinge pin height of 10 feet and a dump height of 94.3 inches.
Like all Wacker Neuson's skid steer, CTLs, and compact utility loaders, the ST27 is designed and manufactured for the North American market at Wacker Neuson's Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin facility.
“At that low operating weight with that kind of horsepower, this thing's going to perform well for a contractor looking for a smaller compact track loader,” Dotto said. "The ST27 has some great new technology.”
Comfort and visibility
One of the first noticeable differences operators will see in the ST27 is the unibody CTL frame.
Dotto said this means that the undercarriage is part of the chassis.
The frame style allowed engineers to make some adjustments to the loader arm configuration that provide some real benefits for operators.
“On the previous generations, we used some commonality between the loader arms, not necessarily the chassis itself,” he said. “We do have unique lower chassis for the previous generation designs but as we move forward, we've got this new uni-body design, and when you're dedicating yourself to a track loader, you can kind of hug the loader arms down over the tops of the tracks, which does allow you to lower the profile of the arms.”
Dotto said the low profile of the loader arm comes straight down, allowing for increased side-view visibility because the arms are lower in the side profile of the range of the windows on the machine.
In addition, keeping the straight loader arm design allows for the door to open a little bit more.
“We know that visibility on a compact track loader is super important for operators because you're claustrophobic as it is being surrounded by the work group so the more, we can open up those lines of sight, the better and safer it is for the operator,” Dotto said.
In addition, Wacker Neuson changed the geometry of the H-link on the rear of the machine to hide the vertical linkage assembly. The shape of the rear linkage now aligns with the cab posts in the operator's line of sight to minimize visual obstructions, creating a better view of the rear.
The unibody frame style continues into the undercarriage with the track being integral to the overall frame.
“A couple of other differences with the rest of the compact track loader lineup from Wacker Neuson is you'll see a dual flange roller up front and a dual flange in the rear,” he said. “What we were trying to do with the design was mimic the smooth ride quality that you get from the rest of the CTL line.”
Dotto noted that the ST27 features a Rexroth T-series direct drive motor system, so very little maintenance is required.
"They're very quiet and they make a ton of power," he said.
As for comfort, Ditto said the ST27 has the same spacious cab found on all of the Wacker Neuson compact track loaders. It includes a 5.7-inch color display and controls that can be set to an operator’s preference.
He noted that the ST27 is available in EH joystick configuration only. However, the system does allow operators to toggle between ISO and H-Pattern via a switch in the cab.
In addition, the large display makes it easy to adjust the joystick sensitivity and machine response settings for a fully customizable operating experience.
The cab is specifically designed to reduce fatigue, featuring a more comfortable switch location and layout, ergonomic handles, joysticks, armrests and an angled footrest in the floorboard, and more.
Dotto noted even entering and exiting the machine is easier with a wide door, step and grab handles.
The ST27 features a two-speed standard travel drive that can reach 9.1 mph resulting in faster cycle times.
One of the technologies that happen inside the cab that you won't see from the outside is a standard auto-shifting two-speed drive system.
“When the machine is seeing that command for full stick forward, it'll automatically upshift, and then when you get to a pile of material and you're coming off that drive command, it's going to notice that and automatically downshift,” Dotto said. “It requires less input from the operator for greater productivity, and you can pay attention to other things on the site, as opposed to shifting up and down.”
It automatically senses the operators' need to shift. The auto feature engages in and out of the two speeds based on joystick input and eliminates the need for the operator to make manual shifts. It can be active or disabled based on applications.
“You can certainly turn the system off if that's not your preference, but it is some technology that's available to you on the ST27,” he said.
The ST27 maintains Wacker Neuson's maintenance-friendly engine compartment.
"Wacker Neuson loaders have always been designed with serviceability in mind," he said.
On the ST27, the cab fully tips forward with the loader arms down, providing complete access to all maintenance components. The machine is engineered to be user-friendly with a simple, open design and efficient layout that requires less time on daily service checks and more time on the job.
Serviceability is one of the advantages Wacker Neuson gained in coming later into the skid steer and CTL market. Starting after Tier 4 final engine regulations went live, the company was able to design a chassis that made space for all the after-treatment systems and didn’t force them to cram more equipment into the engine compartment that wasn’t previously there.
“When you open up the engine compartment, when you flip open the cooling package when you tip the cab when you look at the machine completely wide open, you can see a total difference in just the simplicity of the design that we were able to use,” Dotto said.
Just based on the ability to get to components in the engine compartment, he said it is easy to see how wide open the design is.
“You'll see in some other manufacturers' designs that haven't made a generation shift, you see a lot of extra equipment crammed into these engine compartments, and it just makes it tough to work on,” Dotto said. “For me, one of our number one selling aspects and one of the things that differentiates us is that serviceability.”
A couple of standard features on the ST27 are a battery disconnect switch and a standard variable-speed cooling fan, which aids in cold starts and keeps things quieter when the fan does not need to be spinning at full speed.
Raised to keep it out of the dust, Dotto said the pre-cleaner is intended to improve the service life of some of the machine's main filter elements. Another way of looking at is, the pre clearer helps ensure the engine is breathing cleaner.
"The variable speed fan aids in cold start and it also keeps things quieter on the machine when the fan does not need to be spinning at full speed," he said.
Related to the engine compartment but off to the right side is the cyclonic pre-cleaner, which aids in making sure the engine is breathing cleaner air, if possible, is now standard on the ST27.
“This cyclonic pre-cleaner is an attempt to improve the service life of your main filter elements,” Dotto said.
- Operating Weight: 7,350 lbs.
- Rated operating capacity at 35% of tipping load: 1,890 lbs.
- Engine: 74-horsepower Kohler KDI 2504
- Hinge pin height: 120 in.
- Dump height: 94.3 in.