Following its 2019 Lamma reveal, we take a look at Manitou’s newest model to its loader line-up. Geoff Ashcroft reports.
Manitou’s one and only MLA-T 516-75H in the UK was previewed at Lamma, and as an evaluation model, was equipped with the firm’s JSM joystick.
The palm-shaped stick offers easier machine control compared to the standard Gehl joystick, and includes a red-coloured, index-finger controlled rocker switch to select forward-neutral-reverse.
First impressions are of a simple cab layout, and having the joystick control mounted on the seat’s right-hand armrest, this is a comfortable machine to use. The steering column is also adjustable for reach and rake, but could benefit from having additional reach to better suit operators of different sizes.
As with most hydrostatically driven machines, the MLA-T needs a good boot-full of throttle to put wheels in motion. The left foot pedal serves as a combined inching/brake pedal, and using a combination of throttle and inching pedal lets you make the most of engine revs and hydraulic performance, when making the most of the boom and its attachment.
In addition to the usual throttle pedal, the machine features a hand throttle. By setting this to maximum engine rpm, the throttle pedal is automatically switched to a travel speed pedal to allow the machine’s hydraulic system to deliver full flow to attachments such as an auger feed bucket.
A rocker switch on the right-hand console lets you swap the transmission between ranges, which simply limits the swash plate movement on the hydrostatic pump. The JSM joystick also had a ‘+’ button that allows you to toggle between hare and tortoise speeds.
To boost traction when loading, a button on the back of the joystick can be pressed to hold the diff-locks in. This is a system that should contribute to tyre longevity on concrete yards, compared to those using limited slip differentials that can cause tyre scrub.
The MLA-T516’s 70-litre per minute gear pump hydraulic system lacks the fluidity of a load-sensing system, and makes multi-function control more of a challenge.
This said, with a general-purpose bucket, the compact machine made short work of re-handling aggregates at our test site, thanks to its Z-bar linkage in the headstock.
And it proved itself with positive traction and a useful turn of speed thanks to its hydrostatic transmission. A switchable boom ride control system also contributed to operator comfort.
Our test model was equipped with a skid-steer loader type headstock plate, and with the bucket replaced by pallet forks, visibility was hampered through the headstock making it difficult to spot the forks.
Manitou says a range of headstocks will be available for the MLA-T 516, including pin and cone, JCB-type and Euro 8 couplings. And with hydraulic locking activated from the instrument panel’s switch pad, swapping attachments is straight forward enough.
Daily maintenance has been thought about, with grouped grease nipples around the loader. Lifting the bonnet on its gas struts reveals generous accessibility for daily checks in the engine compartment too.
Cooling on demand is via a hydrostatically driven, reversible fan – the latter is activated by push button from the cab. While the MLA’s cooling pack is tucked behind the cab, helping visibility over the rear-end of the machine, access to it for cleaning is via removable screens on both sides of the machine, which makes it handy to clear with an airline.
For those in the market for a compact, articulated telescopic loader, the MLA-T 516 is certainly one to put on your short-list.