Believe it or not, Dieci claims to be Europe’s longest standing telehandler manufacturer, having been producing machines for more than 50 years. James Rickard tries out its latest 40.7 VS Evo2 telehandler.
Although Dieci were originally strong in the construction industry, most of its sales now come from the agricultural sector.
The Italian firm has had a presence in the UK for quite a while, having been imported by Alan Milne, but it is the recent creation of its own UK subsidiary which has enabled it to push on into the agricultural market. Aided by 50 dealers spread across the UK, its portfolio is extensive comprising various types of telehandlers, including rigid and articulating, with handling capacities from 2.5-21 tonnes.
Its most popular size model is the 40.7 Agri Plus with, as the name suggests, a maximum lift capacity of four tonnes and a lift height of seven metres.
Three versions of the 40.7 are available; the 120hp PS 6 with six-speed powershift transmission, the 141hp VS Evo2 with continuously variable transmission (CVT), or the 152hp VS Evo2 with CVT.
To get an idea of Dieci’s fixed telehandlers and to see what its latest rigid telehandler is made of, we put to work the 141hp VS Evo2 with various duties including mucking buildings out, unloading straw and filling a diet feeder.
And on paper, it looks like the manufacturer is onto something with this model, with major components all provided by well-known specialist manufacturers; FPT (engines), Bosch Rexroth (transmission and hydraulics) and Dana Spicer (axles), with Dieci taking care of boom and chassis.
From the outset, the 40.7 looks a really smart machine, and relatively compact for its handling capabilities.
For simple construction and to be able to keep glass cleaner, all ROP systems are located on the inside of the cab, with large, one-piece glass panes located on the outside of the framework. However, the firm has missed a trick with the right-hand window, as it has not fitted a window wiper.
Access is good via a one-piece door, which incorporates an electric window, so there is no excuse for smashing the upper portion. Inside, there is ample room for the driver, but storage is a bit lacking.
Layout is decent, with a dash and operating mode selection placed towards the right, front quarter of the cab. Dash is clear and its LCD screen provides plenty of information including load indicator, wheel position, fuel consumption and transmission mode.
Main joystick control falls to hand, although, your arm could do with a bit more support when driving, particularly when operating on bumpy surfaces.
So the joystick knows you are gripping it properly and not by accident, it incorporates a heat sensor, which has to detect your hand before it will work. Alternatively, if you are wearing gloves, there is a consent button on the rear of the stick which must be pressed for functions to work.
Joystick control is pretty self explanatory, with roller switches on front of the joystick looking after boom extension and shuttling, and a roller switch at the rear of the stick taking care of the third service. Oil flow to the third service can also be diverted to rear services via a simple knob.
As well as the shuttle roller switch on the joystick, all machines come with a lever-controlled shuttle on the steering column. If the latter is used, it takes priority over the roller switch. In our test we tended to gravitate towards the roller switch control, with neutral selected by a button. Shuttle aggression can also be altered in two positions using a twist grip on the shuttle lever.
Unlike many telehandler manufacturers which have crammed everything into the engine bay, resulting in a large box on the side of the machine, Dieci has quite literally thought outside the box and positioned its main cooling and hydraulic oil radiators away from the hot and dirty zone, at the rear of the machine, with air drawn in at the top and expelled out the rear.
As for intercooler and transmission radiators, these remain in the engine bay. For cleanliness, both cooling packs feature hydraulically driven fans which can be manually reversed at the flick of a switch.
With cooling packs at the rear, it means the engine bay can be kept as small as possible, and this shows with the decent visibility over the tapered bonnet. The bonnet however, takes a bit of lifting without the aid of gas struts and is held open with a simple prop.
To comply with emissions regulations, the FPT-sourced power plant uses selective catalytic reduction, using AdBlue, with the catalyst neatly concealed in the exhaust stack. Unfortunately, it does mean the exhaust is rather a hefty beast, which initially you would think would interfere with visibility to the rear, right quarter. However, even in tight buildings, it did not seem to be as intrusive as first suspected.
Both AdBlue and diesel filler caps are mounted conveniently near the cab door – one in front and one behind. However, both are prone to getting covered in mud from the tyres, despite attempts by the manufacturer at shielding them.
AdBlue usage seemed pretty frugal for our uses, but this will obviously go up with camp work, for example. The manufacturer says, on average, it will use one tank of AdBlue to every three fills of diesel.
To keep up traction, each axle employs limited slip differentials, which conveniently do a good job of shifting power to the wheels with most traction, rather than having to remember to engage a differential lock, which is often too late by the time you realise you need it.
Thanks to wide angled hydrostatic pumps, speeds of 0-40kph can be achieved in one continuous range.
It also includes four driving modes selected via a rotary switch; economy, normal, loader and creep.
As economy suggests, this limits hydraulic flow within the transmission, cutting out a hydraulic pump on the flat or on a downhill to save power. It automatically kicks back in as soon as hydraulic power is required again. As we found, this was perfectly suitable for yard work.
In normal mode, all hydraulic transmission power is available, while in loader mode, top speed is limited to 17kph and also provides more torque to the transmission.
Finally, creeper mode does what it says on the tin and is ideal for dispenser work, for example. In addition, top speed can also be limited and engine revs set via potentiometers located on the right-hand console.
From the right pedal, we found you could get very precise speed control, as we found when unloading unstable pallets of sawdust.
For more precision, an inching pedal can be used, which reduces oil flow to the transmission.
And because it is a hydrostatic transmission, you very rarely tend to use the brakes as the transmission effectively maintains the desired speed selected, including stationary.
A really convenient feature is the automatic handbrake, which engages when either neutral is selected, the seat is left or the engine is keyed off. This makes it really jump on and go. It also means there is no bulky handbrake to rip overall pockets off.
Via closed centre hydraulics, it has a combined hydraulic flow capacity of 210 litres/min, which makes for some pretty swift boom action.
For a continuous flow of oil to the third service, this can be set by operating the third service until the desired speed of flow is reached, then press, hold and release another button on the joystick.
When swapping attachments, the third service can also be depressurised via a button in the cab – extremely useful. This also works on the rear couplings.
To comply with the EN 15000 standard, aimed to prevent forward tipping, the 40.7 can be operated in one of four handling modes; bucket, pallet, basket or winch.
In bucket, you get the full range of movements, with safety limitations on boom extension progressively kicking in when you approach an un-safe limit. If you reach the limit, the boom will stop extending, at which point you can make any movement as long as it brings the attachment closer to the telehandler.
As you continue to step through the other three modes, more restrictions are incrementally placed on the telehandler’s parameters, such as basket mode which does not allow crowding or tilting, keeping the basket parallel at all times.
However, there is an override switch which is a two-handed job and gives you 30 seconds of movement.
While all theses different operating and driving modes may sound a little daunting and excessive, they really are simple. Whether it be selection of a driving or handling mode, each mode can be selected via its own key. And if you want to limit what an operator can do, the keys can be removed once a mode is selected.
A highlight of the boom is a clever drop valve which opens when the joystick is pushed far forwards, allowing the boom to lower rapidly without the need to use hydraulic power – really noticeable when loading the muck spreader. It is also proportional, so there is still control over drop rate.
Despite moving the main radiator to the rear, the main boom pivot point is still behind the rear axle, giving that little bit more stability.
Also located in the chassis channel, where the boom sits, are nylon boom guides which hold the boom in-place when lowered, keeping everything rigid when shoving. This takes the stress off the main pivot point, decreasing wear rates.
Headstock rotation is generous with 146 degrees of travel, and when fully raised, the ‘swan’ neck is actually lower than the top of the headstock, providing a bit of extra protection. The manufacturer will also supply any type of headstock at no extra cost.
For extra comfort, the boom features a dampening system, which can be simply turned on or off. It also automatically turns off when the boom is raised over three meters then turns back on below this.
Like most telehandlers, three steering modes can be selected via a rotary switch, including two-wheel, four wheel and crab. Wheel alignment is automatic and it can be done on the move.
Overall, we were suitably impressed with the 40.7. Standout features include the precise transmission control and overall ease of operation.
While it does have its niggles, such as the lack of a side window wiper and not enough right-hand arm support, we would not turn up our noses at this machine.
And no matter what make, all telehandlers have their good and bad points, and there is no reason why this machine cannot compete with the top three.
While we cannot test for longevity, the 40.7 VS Evo2 is well worth considering.
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