It is fair to say Italian firm Dieci is on a bit of a push at the moment in the UK and, with a long history of producing rigid telehandlers, the manufacturer is now trying its hand at pivot steer machines. James Rickard tries one of its new models.
Having tested one of Dieci’s rigid machines before Christmas, and been suitably impressed, we were keen to see if some of the firm’s telehandler building experience has transferred to its pivot steer machines.
Launched two years ago at the Lamma machinery show, its Agri Pivot telehandler range currently comprises four models (T40, T50, T60 and T70), with plans for larger models scheduled for late 2015.
To find out what these new machines are like, we took an Agri Pivot T60 to a Lancashire dairy farm and showed it some work.
From the outset, it certainly looks the part, with decent proportions. Entry to cab can be from either side, aided on the right-hand side by the armrest-integrated controls which lift out of the way.
Doors open wide to give good access, but the hand rails on the doors are too close to the glass which means you cannot get your hand fully around them. It is also quite a stretch to pull the door shut if it has been latched fully back or open.
Once in, visibility is good all-round, helped as the extension ram is placed under the boom.
Control ethos of the pivot steer machines is pretty much identical to the firm’s rigid machines.
An armrest-mounted joystick incorporates roller switches on the front which look after boom extension and shuttling, with another on the rear taking care of the third service, the layout of which does allow you to carry out simultaneous tasks.
However, while we take our hats off to the ergonomic design of the joystick, the dash looks a bit of an afterthought. While the dash in its rigid machines is clear and well laid out, comprising smart analogue dials and an informative LCD screen, the dash in the T60, by comparison, looks like it has just been cobbled together. Granted, it does the job, but when you know the manufacturer can do better you wonder why it has not.
To comply with the EN 15000 standard, aimed to prevent forward tipping, the T60 has four handling modes: bucket, pallet, basket or winch.
In bucket, you get the full range of movements, with safety limitations on boom extension. Once you reach the limit, the boom will stop extending, only allowing you to make movements which bring 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. Operating this is a two-handed job and it gives you 30 seconds of movement.
A two-range, hydrostatic transmission with a splitter in each range propels the T60 to a top speed of 40kph. Convenient changing of splits is carried out by twisting the left-hand shuttle lever.
However, changing range is a bit more elaborate, requiring you to depress the inching and brake pedal at the same time while shifting between ranges via a switch.
As well as the shuttle roller 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.
During our test, we tended to opt for the joystick-mounted roller switch control, with neutral selected by a button.
Axles are courtesy of Dana Spicer with the rear axle oscillating with ground contours. To keep up traction, each axle employs limited slip differentials, which conveniently do a good job of shifting power to the wheels with the 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.
Turning circle is tight too, which aids manoeuvrability when darting in and out of sheds and around the yard.
Cab is spacious, but could do with a few design tweaks.
The dash could do with a re-work to make it clearer.
The Agri Pivot T60 is certainly welcome competition to the articulated telehandler market, which is a bit thin on options at the moment.
And while it did not quite dazzle us as much as the firm’s rigid machines, fundamentally Dieci is heading in the right direction, with what has to be remembered is its first effort. Yes, it could do with the cab tweaking here and there, and some of the fit and finish could do with looking at, but overall its handy pint sized proportions make it a great yard machine which can turn on a sixpence.