Manitou has taken the wraps off a host of compact equipment that includes skid steer loaders, tracked loaders and articulated loaders. Geoff Ashcroft reports.
Telehandler firm Manitou hinted at its future equipment line-up at Lamma earlier this year, as it cautiously took the wraps off Manitou-badged skid steer loaders and articulated loaders for the UK market.
Scratching beneath the familiar red and black livery soon revealed these models as previously badged Mustang machines. It may be recalled that the French maker bought US compact equipment maker Gehl in 2008, in a takeover that also included the Mustang brand. It might have been a gradual process, but all Mustang products now sold in Europe now wear the firm’s familiar red and black livery, with the yellow-liveried Gehl brand continuing unchanged.
David Clark, product manager for Manitou Group UK, explains; “While the Manitou brand is strong in Europe, the Gehl brand is strong in the USA, and particularly in construction markets.”
This re-alignment widens the portfolio for Manitou’s agricultural dealer network and sees a total of 26 new machines added to the Manitou portfolio. These include 11 skid steer loaders, eight tracked loaders and seven articulated loaders, with all models built at the company’s three North American factories.
The extended line-up is more than just a paint-job, as four new machines make their way into the UK. These include three tracked loaders, and a new a telescopic pivot steer badged the MLA-T 516-75H.
“The UK market for skid steer loader is around 600 machines, and there’s still demand among poultry units, and those with traditional buildings, for this type of machine,” says Mr Clark. “Though we are expecting the articulated MLA-T 516 telescopic to be a popular choice for livestock units.”
The new MLA-T 516-75H sits below the flagship MLA-T 533, and packs a useful 4.9m lift height from its two-stage boom, and a maximum forward reach of 3.26m. Lift capacity, with pallet forks, is a maximum of 1,602kg – a figure said by Manitou to be achievable on full steering articulation of 40 degrees.
Power comes from a 74hp Deutz Stage 3b engine, with drive coming from a three-speed hydrostatic transmission. The MLA-T 516 can achieve 30kph, and with the use of mechanical locking differentials in both axles, traction for the 5.3 tonne loader can be boosted when digging into muck heaps.
Manitou’s articulated loader range also includes the MLA 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 with rigid loader arms, lift capacities from 875kg to 3,378kg, and engine power from 24 to 74hp. Size is everything with these machines, with the smallest model in the range - the MLA1 - measuring 900mm wide.
The skid steer loader models range from the 24hp 850R with its 386kg operating capacity, up to the 120hp 4200V, which boasts a 1,905kg operating capacity. While R denotes radial lift, V suffix refers to a vertical lift pattern, which maintains forward reach as the bucket is raised.
Tracked loaders follow the same principle as their skid-steer stablemates, but gain greater stability and traction, from the use of a rubber tracked undercarriage. T suffix denotes the rubber tracked undercarriage, and with the exception of the 1650RT, all are dedicated tracked chassis designs. This brings stronger, larger loader arms, says the firm, increasing machine durability and reliability.
An automatic track tensioning system, called IdealTrax, uses a hydraulic cylinder on the front idler, to maintain track tension at a preset limit, when the engine is started.
Boom options include radial and vertical lift formats, and operating capacities now span 477kg to 1,454kg with the arrival of new models at either end of the range. These include the 1050RT and 3200VT.
Control patterns are extensive, and include T-bar, joysticks, hand and foot controls, and dual hand control systems. Low pressure pilot controls are favoured over electronic joysticks, says the firm, to improve controllability and durability.
Power units across the Manitou skid steer and tracked loader models are provided by Yanmar from 24hp to 74hp, and Deutz for the 120hp units. The latter being a TCD3.6 meeting EU Stage 4 emissions with the assistance of selective catalytic reduction (SCR).
For those with a keen eye on operating status and machine security, Manitou has introduced a telematics system called Connected Machine, which is included on all models with the exception of the smallest four MLA models. With the help of an app called Easy Manager, the device can provide data such as machine location, engine hours, ignition hours and error codes, for example.
Available on monthly subscription at a cost ranging from £6-14 depending on the level of data required, those opting for Manitou’s Connected Machine system will see the machine’s one year, 2,000-hour warranty extended to a 24-month period.
Alternative powertrains are being worked on, and while Manitou revealed its first electric telehandler and a hybrid access platform – both as prototypes at the Bauma construction show earlier this year – their widespread adoption is still some way off.