Skid Steer Innovations

construction machinery

There is some noteworthy activity to report in the skid steer sector.

If you have any interest in skid steer and compact tracked loaders, there were three booths in particular that were worth visiting at the Conexpo-Con/Agg 2017 trade fair in Las Vegas in March. Manitou, Case and JCB all had novelties to show off.

Manitou used Conexpo to launch what is claimed to be the world’s largest skid steer. Manitou sells skid steers under the Gehl and Mustang brands that it acquired in 2008. New models include the Gehl V420 and Mustang 4200V skid steer loaders, with a capacity of 4,200 lbs (1905 kg) and 120 horsepower.

Mustang construction equipment

Eric Burkhammer, Manitou vice president of sales and marketing for North America, said that these new models “re-stake our position in the larger skid loader market”.

He said: “Whether working in highway building, demolition or handling large bales of hay on the farm, this new machine is a natural choice when considering a new skid loader in the larger size class.”

Of course, as someone may have once told you, size isn’t everything. For innovation, Case and JCB were showing more interesting machines.

Case introduced the DL450 compact dozer loader, otherwise known as Project Minotaur. This is a concept machine that uses dozer blades locked onto the chassis of a tracked loader to create what Case describes as the first ever fully integrated compact dozer loader. There are more than 30 new patents pending on it.

There are no firm plans yet for this machine to go into production, but Case says that the Conexpo exhibition provided an opportunity to get lots of feedback from potential customers to gauge likely demand.

“In 1957, we changed the industry with the introduction of the first-ever fully integrated backhoe loader,” said Scott Harris, North America vice president for Case Construction Equipment. “The DL450 compact dozer loader represents that same forward-thinking and practical innovation, but in an exciting new platform that provides a real benefit to contractors – from landscapers looking to step up their grading and earthmoving game, to residential and commercial contractors looking for versatility and dual-function in a single footprint.”

case machinery

The DL450 marries the vertical lift TV380 frame with the radial-lift loader arm design similar to a 465 skid steer.

By pinning the C-frame dozer interface directly into the chassis, all the operating force and stresses are channeled through the machine’s chassis and not its loader arms. The C-Frame can then be unpinned from the chassis and disconnected like any other front-end, allowing the machine to be used as a standard skid steer with any other attachment.

“The problem with dozer attachments common with skid steers – while effective in specific operations – is that they channel all operating stress through the coupler and the loader arms, and are really only suitable for groundline work,” explained brand marketing manager John Dotto. “This affects performance and adds wear/stress to those components. The operator gets true dozing performance with this machine – no arm float, a consistent plane and true six-way blade performance through the machine’s new controls.”

He added:  “One of the inspirations for this machine was the old 450 Series Case dozers – a very popular product for its time that you still see contractors operating today,” says Dotto.

“Our engineers focused on building performance and operating characteristics similar to that platform into this machine. Early indications show that they’ve accomplished this, with an anticipated drawbar pull of around 21,000 pounds [9.5 tonnes].”

Perhaps even more innovative is the introduction of the world’s first skid steer and compact track loader with a telescopic boom. The JCB Teleskid combines vertical and radial lift capability.  It can reach forward 2.4 metres, which is 60% further forward than any other skid steer on the market. It is also the only skid steer capable of digging a metre below its chassis. And it can reach 8% higher than any other skid steer, JCB claims.


JCB has been making Loadall telehandlers for nearly 40 years ago and single-arm skid steers for 25 years. Only now has it brought the two together.

To suit regional market variations, tracked and wheeled Teleskid models will be sold in North America, while European markets will be offered the wheeled variant.

Steve Rhine

About Steve Rhine

Community Manager at MachineryZone USA - All latest construction news on MachineryZone Mag!