Skid Steer Loader: Scoring high on versatility and applicability

Case Skid Steer Loader SR130

Manufacturers of skid steer loaders are banking on the versatility of the equipment and foresee its growing demand as an efficient application-driven machine NBM&CW reports

Though the skid steer loader market in India is relatively at a nascent stage, manufacturers are confident that the equipment’s sound technical features and performance capabilities in diverse sectors will create strong demand for the machine. According to them, its scope of application extends to agriculture, recycling, urban infrastructure development and renewal projects, notably the municipal sector, where a sizeable number of skid steer loaders are being applied in constricted locations.

According to industry reports, during the past few years, demand has remained constant at 500 to 600 units; and is expected to increase from the 500 units sold in 2019 to 550 units in 2020. However, given the current ‘force majeure’ causes of delay in projects across the country, it remains to be seen what size the market will actually attain this year.

Puneet Vidyarthi, Brand Leader, CASE Construction Equipment India
According to Puneet Vidyarthi, Brand Leader, CASE Construction Equipment India, “The skid steer loader serves as a great last mile machine since it fits into tight spaces and yet delivers a strong power output. Our SR 130 is a robust machine that provides a reliable, economic and productive output. It comes with a radial lift, and has a gross horsepower of 48.8 hp (36.4 kW) @ 2800 rpm. It gives higher productivity and has more efficiency than most of the standard skid steers in the market. It is equipped with an ISM Engine of 49HP. ISM is one the leading diesel engine manufacturers in the world in this segment.”

He informs that SR 130 is imported from the USA. Its rated operating load is 590kg, and comes with enhanced engine power, torque and auxiliary hydraulics. It rides on a 21% longer wheelbase, delivering greater stability, comfort and increased lifting capability, regardless of jobsite conditions. The CASE designed cylinder and chassis provides maximized pushing power. The cylinder geometry optimizes the skid steer and the compact track loader’s push and pull power, while the bucket support bearing directly on the chassis of the machine adds to its pushing power.

Adds Vidyarthi, “The wide door, repositioned grab handles, and a lower threshold provide easy access to the cab. The SR130 benefits from a cab with up to 25% more internal width for improved operator comfort. An added feature is a wider glazed surface for safer operations. The large glazed surface with ultra-narrow wire side screens, the lowered threshold and the thinner front pillars provide the best visibility.”

JCB 135

Jasmeet Singh, Associate Vice President, Corporate Communications and Corporate Relations, JCB India
JCB India is positioning its two models of skid steer loaders - JCB 135 and 155 - as a highly application driven, material handling, productive machine, featuring high safety standards. “One of the notable features of our single arm designed, skid steer loaders is the provision for direct entrance into the cabin for operators, making the equipment safe to operate. The operator can walk into the cabin through the side, which is safer and more convenient. For higher operating efficiency and safety, the loaders have an ROPS cabin with great all-round visibility. Our four-wheel drive skid steer loaders are designed to work in highly constricted work places and have the ability to maneuver in zero turning radii,” informs Jasmeet Singh, Associate Vice President, Corporate Communications and Corporate Relations, JCB India.

Doosan Bobcat India provides a wide range of options when it comes to Skid Steer Loader. Its impressive line up comprises of 4 models S450, S590, S650 and S770. Entry level model S450 has a rated operating capacity of 608 Kg powered by 49 HP Engine and goes all the way up to 1569 Kg powered by 92 HP in S770. Of these, S450 is the most popular and top selling Skid Steer loader & S770 is largest skid steer loader available in Indian Market. The Bobcat Skid Steer Loader features a superior design that outperforms other brands while maximizing the uptime and delivering unmatched comfort. It’s compact size and best in class features makes it excel in performance and productivity.

Doosan Bobcat Skid Steer Loader with Grader Attachment

Doosan Bobcat India being the market leader has introduced a Segment Application Market Management (SAMM) concept wherein a designated SAMM demo truck can carry the company’s skid steer loaders with different attachments.

Hyunsoo Kim, Director Commercial, Doosan Bobcat India
Says Hyunsoo Kim, Director Commercial, Doosan Bobcat India, “This demo truck is used to give demonstrations at all significant potential pockets to spread awareness on the versatility of our skid steer loaders, amongst customers. This concept has been initiated in order to extend our market reach across India. Our other major initiative is of providing attachments to customers on rent through our dealers. We are also looking to create a competitive edge by highlighting our smartphone-based operational advancements. In fact, we are the only manufacturer to offer an I-phone-based remote control operation for our skid steer loaders, which is presently available only in USA. Work is afoot to look at the possibility of making it available in other regions as well, including India.”

Attachments & Services
Given the higher productivity benchmark set by manufacturers on their steer skid loaders, driven by their machine power and advanced functionalities, the machine’s attachments are also being promoted as elements that are critical to enhanced performance and versatile applications of the skid steer loaders.

Says Vidyarthi, “Our SR 130 skid steer loader comes with a variety of buckets to meet different construction needs. The buckets are made for loading, digging, dumping and material handling jobs, and are also suitable for handling manure or slurry work. The attachments are constructed from high strength steel and can easily load bulky rubble and stones. Our loaders also come with endless ground engaging options like shrouds, wear plates and side cutter variety of tooth systems.”

The buckets of CASE skid steer loaders are of dirt and foundry, low profile extended, low profile, heavy duty, light material, side tip origin. Says Vidyarthi, “The mechanism in our loader facilitates quicker coupling and decoupling of the attachments, for faster productivity. The SR 130 features a hydraulic pedal lock, loader arm mounted ISO flat face connector, auxiliary function lockout override, radial loader arm design, a mechanical attachment coupler and a loader arm lift support, making it easier to couple and decouple attachments quicker.”

He informs that CASE has a very robust after-sales service support mechanism to complement their equipment. “We are always ready to connect with our operators and customers, and keep them updated on the latest practices and techniques. Our customers can reach our dealers and after-sales service team through our extensive network of 74 dealers and over 200 touch points across the country - including remote locations. We also have a dedicated support team in every region to address our customers’ problems.”

JCB India is offering a variety of attachments for multiple applications. This includes grabs, forklifts, sweeper collectors, and grapples. For the equipment to undertake demolition jobs in constricted areas like basements, JCB is offering hydraulic rock breakers and hammers, and specialized attachments like rock drills and augurs. “With the quick release couplers in the loaders, the attachments can be quickly coupled and decoupled,” says Jasmeet Singh. “Our skid steer loaders are manufactured at our new Jaipur facility, from where we are also exporting them. They are also ‘Live Linked’ for capturing their performance data, and we have 63 dealers across the country to service them.”

Hyunsoo Kim informs that Doosan Bobcat provides more than 80 attachments for skid steer loaders.

Our equipment are used widely in general construction, road construction, industrial products and services, landscaping, agriculture, solid waste management and in mining to name a few.

“While exploring new application areas as per the versatility of the skid steer loader in various jobsites, we will also be introducing a range of new Bobcat Skid Steer loaders and new attachments. We have set up our own manufacturing facility in Chennai, and in the long run we will be increasing the localization of some of our skid steer models.” He adds, “Our product support is aimed at ensuring equipment availability, along with operator training. In fact, Doosan Bobcat conducts operator training programs at the regional level and provides them the latest information on machine operation, safety and support systems. Enhancing operator comfort is also a focus area during product development at Doosan Bobcat. Bobcat is the only Skid Steer Loader manufacturer to provide the service Analyzer feature in India, which makes service and maintenance easier.

Conclusion
There is good business potential for the skid steer loader in India for the end-users and the rental companies. However, there must be greater awareness amongst them on the versatility of the machine and its range of attachments that widens its scope of application. Brand positioning of the machine by the manufacturers must be done alongside their product support initiatives as this would assure customers of their machine’s higher availability, leading to greater productivity, lower operating cost, and more profits.
NBM&CW June 2020
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