Look to the small end of the skid steer scale for impressive productivity.
Although skid steers with less than 976 pounds standard operating capacity have a small footprint, don’t be fooled by the compact size. While they’ve always been useful in confined spaces, new units in this size class incorporate features that improve performance and enhance efficiency.
With tight equipment budgets in mind, the compact skid steer’s versatility as a multi-tasker is hard to ignore. The dozens of attachments available will at times eliminate the need for a dedicated machine – and compact skid steers now have hydraulics that enable you to power almost any attachment available, including buckets, backhoes, augers, grapples and forks.
Machines in this size class average just 3 feet wide and weigh less than 3,000 pounds, but still offer big machine features, such as powerful engine options, heavy duty components and operator comfort features. Bobcat, Gehl and Mustang have introduced new models in this class in the past year with improvements targeted at maximizing performance.
Bobcat’s smallest model in their line of skid steers, the S70, was introduced last year. The unit, measures 71.4 inches high, 35.4 inches wide and 75.5 inches long without an attachment.
The S70 has a 700-pound rated operating capacity, and a 23.5-horsepower diesel engine powers a fully hydrostatic, four-wheel drive system that enables a 6.1-mph travel speed. The S70 features several improvements over its predecessor, the model 463, including an updated engine mount, hydrostatic pump centering and belt drive system. The engine mount reduces vibration, ensuring a more comfortable ride for the operator. The hydrostatic pump centering is similar to that used in Bobcat’s mini-track loaders; the pump uses a tension spring instead of a torsion spring, reducing both maintenance and downtime. A new belt tensioner features a simple design similar to larger Bobcat skid steers, with a durable micro, serpentine-style V belt. A transversely mounted engine, coupled with a tip-up cab, provides easy access for servicing. Maintenance such as chain adjustments or bolt tightening are also simplified; the axle housings are fixed and welded to the chaincase. The company has also moved indicator lights for its Bobcat Interlock Control System. Formerly located in the rear of the cab, BICS lights are now on the right hand instrument panel.
The S70 includes the Bob-Tach attachment system. More than 25 attachments are available for use on the S70.
Gehl classifies its 3-foot-wide, 6 1/4-foot-tall, 2,900-pound 1640E as super compact, since it fits through narrow doorways and aisles. The 1640E launched in April of this year, and features a 24-horsepower Tier 3 Yanmar diesel engine, an 850-pound rated operating capacity and a 96-inch lift height.
Standard auxiliary hydraulic flow at 9.1 gpm powers a range of attachments, and a universal quick-attach system combined with flat-faced couplers simplifies attachment changes. The maintenance-free hydraulic system has a direct-drive hydrostatic pump that includes a self-neutralizing feature that provides 100-percent-efficient drive from engine to pump.
Operator comfort and safety was specifically addressed with the 1640E. The unit has Gehl’s Power-view lift arm, which gives the operator a clear sight line to the tires and to the sides of the loader. The 1640E comes equipped with either a high-back seat or an optional high-back suspension seat, and the ROPS/FOPS has safety glass windows to reduce dirt, dust and sound levels.
Mustang’s newest entry in the compact skid steer market, the Model 2012, measures just 36 inches wide with the 5.70 x 12 tire option. With an 8.50 x 12 heavy-duty flotation tire option, the machine is still a narrow 42-inch width.
The 2012 has a lift height of 96 inches and an 850-pound rated operating capacity. The lightweight unit, at less than 2,900 pounds, features the SAHR brake system – a spring-applied, hydraulic release system that quickly responds, holding the skid steer when the operator leaves the seat. The 2012 has a 24-horsepower diesel engine, an operator-friendly ROPS/FOPS Level II and a quick attach bracket system for fast attachment changes.