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Materials Handlers

Power on the land

Materials handling is the topic for this month’s Power on the Land, brought to you by Mike Williams.

Materials handling forms a major part of the work load on the majority of farms, and efficiency improvements for lifting, loading and stacking jobs can bring big savings in time and labour costs.

One of the biggest advances in handling efficiency on farms has been the development of big round and square bales to replace the small traditional bales developed for manual handling. Using big bales plus a suitable loader and handling attachment can bring dramatic gains in handling rates, including faster field clearance of straw bales to allow autumn cultivations to start.

The recently introduced Series III Loadalls from JCB feature cab improvements and increased lift capacity

Gloucestershire-based Albutt offers a wide choice of loader and tractor attachments for materials handling jobs on farms, including buckets, shear grabs, forks and skips, and their bale handler range includes special versions for wrapped bales. The F450 Side Squeeze Bale Grab is suitable for round or square wrapped bales, with a smooth surface on the hydraulically operated gripping arms to avoid damaging the wrapping film. Square bales can be gripped on the sides or, subject to length, end-on, and wrapped round bales can be turned on end for loading or stacking.  

Albutt also offers a choice of bale grabs with spikes, including the F501 version for handling two Hesston-type bales or three mini Hesstons, and this increases to three Hesstons or four mini Hesstons for their F650HX Bale King attachment. 

Loader attachments for bale handling available from the farm-based Heath Engineering company include their Super Spike with 1.5t carrying capacity. Safety features include steel spikes that can be folded when not carrying a bale, and there is an extending safety bar for additional security. The Heath range also includes the Super Grab loader attachment equipped with 70cm Hardox steel tines. It is suitable for square bales measuring 120 x 120 x 240cm, 120 x 90 x 240cm and 120 x 80 x 240cm, and the bales can be carried either upright or on their sides. 

As well as bale handling, the Heath attachments range includes a grain pusher, a range of tipping buckets, a general-purpose handling jib and they also offer a mole plough.   

The adoption of big round and square bales during the 1970s was encouraged by the introduction of telescopic loaders offering more lift capacity with greater forward and vertical reach than a tractor-mounted loader or a forklift attachment. Recent developments in the telehandler market include last year’s launch of the new Manitou MLA-T 533-145 V+ model based on an articulated frame design and powered by a 143hp engine. The specification includes a front mounted boom positioned centrally in front of the cab, providing 5.2m maximum lift height, and the transmission is hydrostatic and continuously variable with a selection of operating modes. 

The Manitou materials handler range also includes more than 20 rigid frame MLT series telehandler models with up to 4.5t lift capacity and 9.6m maximum lift height. The smaller models have Kubota engines, with the medium and large capacity loaders using Deutz, John Deere or Mercedes power units.  

Also introduced last year were the 4 new models in JCB’s Series III Loadall telehandler range. The new arrivals were the 538-60 model with a 6.0m lift height, the 532-70 and the 542-70 both provide 7.0m lift and this increases to 9.5m for the Loadall 536-95. The new models are all available in a series of specification levels with engine outputs from 75 to 145hp, starting with the entry level AGRI grade followed by the AGRI Plus, the AGRI Super and the flagship AGRI Pro version at the top of the list with its advanced DualTech stepless transmission. 

Loadall Series III improvements also include adding the latest JCB CommandPlus cab, which already featured on the company’s S series wheeled loaders, while modifications to the chassis and pivot point have allowed a lift capacity increase of between 100 and 200kg for each model compared with their predecessors. 

The list of new loader developments in 2018 also included the K407 and K429 models in the Kramer telehandler range. These bring the number of Kramer telescopic loader models to 12, and there are also 13 wheel and telescopic wheel loader models. The K407 telehandler carries a 4,000kg maximum payload, the stacking height is up to 7.0m and the engine power is 100hp. The payload increases to 4,200kg for the K429, the maximum stacking height is 8.7m and the power output is 115hp. Kramer telehandlers start with the K276 providing 2.7t load capacity and equipped with a 75hp engine and the stacking height is 5.7m.

Design features available in the Kramer telescopic loader range include automatic bucket return, the cabs are designed to provide excellent all-round visibility and infinitely variable travel speed control is also available.

The handling equipment available from Caterpillar for the farming industry includes 5 TH series telescopic loader models providing lift capacities ranging from 3,500 to 4,000kg. Engine outputs are from 74 to 113hp and the maximum lift heights are from 7.0m upwards. The model with the biggest lift height is the TH 417D which can reach an impressive 17.0m with support from the stabilisers, and the maximum load capacity at the full height is 2.5t. 

Caterpillar also offers a range of wheeled loaders for heavy duty materials handling work including bulk grain handling, and there is also a range of skid-steer loaders suitable for handling manure and feed in livestock units and for horticultural work. Power outputs for the skid-steer loaders range from 61hp for the 226B Series 3 model with 680kg operating capacity, and the 272D2 XHP loader at the top of the range has a 106hp engine powering the 1,856kg capacity.


Bigger range means more capacity

Attachment specialist Albutt has increased its range of shear grabs and shear buckets. The 17 models range from 0.7– 2.5m3 capacity and feature a choice of KV style and Hardox tines. The range covers machines from small tractor loaders to large capacity wheeled loaders, with users varying from small livestock units to large-scale bio-gas operations.


Albutt’s range of grabs was first introduced in 2005 but developments in the agricultural industry have created a demand for ever larger capacity models, the company says. The Shear King range has capacities ranging from 1.4–2.5m3, for use in large livestock units and anaerobic digester facilities. Shear King features high tensile steels in its design, Hardox and Strenx, providing higher grab strength with no increase in attachment weight, maximising payload and improving operational efficiency.

The company started using Hardox tines in attachments more than 25 years ago, introducing this to the shear grab design in 2012. Hardox tines provide increased tine strength, wear resistance and reduced maintenance compared to conventional forged steel tines, it says. 

A clean shear to the silage clamp face is crucial to maintaining feed quality and calorific value, the company advises, so its shear grabs feature Hardox cutting blades which can maintain a sharp edge and consistent shear performance.

More recently, shear buckets have been added to its portfolio. These multi-use attachments allow the user to shear silage of all types and handle concentrate feeds with one attachment. This can bring time savings and help improve operational efficiency.


Try before you buy

As the main Dieci telehandler dealer for the Suffolk area, Brad Farm Machinery has its own demonstration machine and attachments that can be brought to you direct for a full demonstration or test drive at a time and place that’s convenient. The Dieci brand has proven itself to manufacture a highly reliable machine designed for intensive use with outstanding performance, comfort and value for money. 

Dieci offers a full range of machines with a wide variety of lift capacity, lift height and engine power options unique to each model. A choice of transmissions including hydrostatic, powershift and the new vario system (giving up to 40kph road speed) allows machines to be specified to your requirements. 

The Agri Plus fixed-boom telehandler from Dieci is designed for intensive use

All the Dieci telehandlers feature industry-proven Dana Spicer axles, with wet inboard brakes for maximum durability while handling the heaviest of loads. There is a large range of additional options available, including a choice of factory-fitted headstocks for other popular makes to further expand and maximise the use of existing attachments.

Dieci really has thought of everything with these machines, including subsidised finance and warranty packages to help with purchase and ownership – all of which are available via Brad Farm Machinery.


Telehandlers to suit any budget or requirement

As an update to the New Holland Agriculture range earlier this year, the TH series telehandlers have an alternative naming format (replacing the previous LM) as well as a brand new livery. The bright yellow colour integrates the telehandler range into the New Holland Harvesting family, and the cab interior has also been refreshed. The changes to the range aren’t just cosmetic, however. 

The extended offering offers 6 models and 14 versions, in order to match the specific requirements of the different farming operations. The entry-level S version, available on the TH6.32 and TH7.32, features a 133hp engine and simple specifications for a smaller investment. 


The Classic version, which is available on 6m, 7m and 9m models, is designed with small livestock farmers and farmyard usage in mind. It features a limited-slip differential in the rear axle to increase the tractive effort during demanding conditions, variable placement hydraulic pump and reversible cooling fan for high efficiency.

The Plus version, perfect for livestock and mixed farming operations, offers a host of comfort features including air-suspension seat, telescopic steering column and HVAC system. Practically, an hydraulic quick coupler makes it simple and fast to change attachments. 

The Elite option is the best choice for large-scale livestock farmers, contractors and biomass operators. It houses a more powerful 146hp engine and additional advanced features including hydraulic pressure release, heated air-suspension seat with integrated controls, and rear cab and boom lights to enhance safe operation after dark. 

The entire TH Series also includes a new transmission with electronic modulation to enhance shifting and shuttling modulation. The 4×3 version on the S and Classic models improves third gear travel on slopes and second gear operation for silage work. The 6×3 version on the Plus and Elite models allows for 2 forward/reverse shuttling modes, resulting in easier and more efficient operation and an automatic gear shifting mode for travelling. Finally, there’s a further enhancement on the Elite model with an additional automatic gear shifting and shuttling mode, further enhancing performance in yard mode.


‘Next generation’ telescopic loaders

German loader manufacturer Schäffer says its 8620 T and 9640 T are two of the most powerful models in its range. These ‘next generation’ telescopic loaders are packed with smart features and the company’s latest efficiency systems. The 8620 T offers two different motor options, speeds and heights.

The company says it has proved to be “a real hit”, as it provides a tailored solution for larger farms, biogas plants and agricultural contractors. It has two engine options – a 75kW/102hp or 90kW/122hp Deutz engine – both of which meet the Tier 4 final emissions standard, without the need for a maintenance-intensive diesel particulate filter. This is a major advantage when it comes to operating costs, according to Schäffer. 

The 8620 T offers two different motor options, speeds and heights

The standard driving speed is 20kph and the loader is also available with a maximum speed of 40kph, which is a particular advantage for use outside the yard. 

Meanwhile, the 9640 T achieves an operating weight of 8,400–9,700kg, depending on the ballast. With a payload of up to 4,160kg, it lifts loads to a height of 5.4m. The loader is powered by a 100kW/136hp 4-cylinder Deutz engine of the latest generation. Standard equipment includes the sensitive but powerful load-sensing working hydraulics, with a delivery volume of 145-litres/min; 24-inch tyres; and hydraulically-driven fan, which can also be used in reverse operation for easy cleaning.

The company says these latest loaders use technologies that focus on a more efficient conversion of fuel into performance, while increasing driving comfort. This includes, for example, HTF (High Traction Force), which ensures maximum thrust. 

Electronically controlled drive SPT (Schäffer Power Transmission) comes as standard on the 8620 T and is an option for the 96-series models. Eco mode reduces the engine revs while maintaining the same speed, minimising fuel consumption. Machines in the 96 series also have the option of Schäffer’s dual clutch transmission (SDCT), which combines the advantages of a powershift transmission with those of a purely hydrostatic drive.

The 9640 T achieves an operating weight of 8,000–9,700kg depending on the ballast

A machine to grow into, not out of

John Suggitt, who runs construction, storage and farm businesses in East Yorkshire, has purchased the UK’s first Bobcat TL43.80HF telehandler to support the growth of his businesses. The new TL43.80HF was supplied by local Bobcat dealer, Scunthorpe-based AMS Bobcat Limited. 

With a maximum lift capacity of 4.3t and a maximum lift height of almost 8m, the TL43.80HF is a new, compact telehandler offering an impressive package, combining several innovative features to take lift capacity, lifting height and breakout force to unprecedented levels for this size of machine. 

John Suggitt in his Bobcat telehandler

The combination of compactness and heavy lift capability of the TL43.80HF were key for Mr Suggitt – he commented: “I was looking for a telehandler that could lift 4.0t and offer a reach of 7m, but with the TL43.80HF, I can lift 4.3t with a lifting height approaching 8m. Being 20cm shorter than the equivalent 7m machines on the market, the TL43.80HF also gives me the compactness and productivity I need to work in the tight spaces on site and in my storage facilities. With the TL43.80HF, I have bought a machine that I intend to grow into, not out of.” 

Bobcat was able to minimise the dimensions of the TL43.80HF in large part due to the high stability resulting from a box-welded frame, a low load centre, long wheelbase and new massive rear counterweight. Together with a short turning radius of just 3.71m, this new Bobcat telehandler is a very manoeuvrable machine, particularly useful when working in confined areas.

Complementing the compact nature of the TL43.80HF, the rough terrain capability has also been optimised with the incorporation of new heavy duty Dana Spicer axles with limited slip differential and the outstanding tractive force available of up to 90 per cent of the machine weight. 

AMS’ sales manager Chris Scott said: “We are delighted to have sold the first Bobcat TL43.80HF telehandler to John Suggitt. The TL43.80HF offers an unbeatable package for many applications from farming to construction, quarrying and general industry. It brings together robustness, compact dimensions, rough terrain ability and ease of use for the operator in the same machine.”   

As well as his other businesses, Mr Suggitt also runs a smallholding with a small show flock of Greyface Dartmoor sheep, and has storage facilities at Frodingham, where he is looking to stockpile building materials delivered on lorries, to be used in nearby building developments. The TL43.80HF is road-registered so it can be driven between Mr Suggitt’s different businesses. Mr Suggitt explained: “The new Bobcat telehandler is fully road certified and, with a 2-speed transmission and a maximum speed of 40kph, it can be driven quickly between locations to do different work. The boom suspension system is a useful feature for road travel, keeping the boom stable and preventing it from bouncing over bumps.“  


Torion wheel loader range set to expand

Following on from the successful introduction of Claas UK’s medium and large frame versions, two compact wheel loaders are now set to join the Torion range. The new Torion 639 and 535 feature articulated steering and a low overall height of less than 2.5m, making them ideal for use on livestock and dairy farms, or for smaller re-handling facilities. 

Both of these new additions are powered by Yanmar 3.3-litre, 4-cylinder engines with power outputs of 68hp and 63hp respectively. These engines are Stage 3B compliant using the combination of a Diesel Oxidation Catalytic convertor (DOC) and Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), without the need for Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR). Drive is through a 20kph hydrostatic transmission with two speed ranges of 0–6kph and 0–20kph, which are selected via a switch.

The articulated joint incorporates a double-acting steering ram. Articulation angle is 10-degrees and the steering angle is 40-degrees, resulting in a tight inner turning circle of just 2.5m on standard tyres.

A full height windscreen allows for excellent visibility

At maximum articulation, the Torion 535 has a Full Turn Tipping Load (FTTL) of 3,450kg, rising to 3,850kg for the 639 model. In common with many other wheel loaders of this size, both machines are fitted with a Zettlemeyer Wide (TPZ Wide) headstock. As with other models in the Torion range, the boom has Z kinematics, which provides true parallel lift when used with buckets or pallet forks and a high tear-out force.

The hydraulic system on the Torion 639/535 has a maximum capacity of 77-litres per minute and 70-litres per minute respectively, both with an operating pressure of 230-bar, so ensuring a fast response for quick and accurate loading.

The cab features a full height front windscreen, giving excellent visibility over the front wheels and attachments fitted to the tapered boom. A rounded rear window provides clear rearward visibility.

The steering column is infinitely adjustable for ease of operation and access, with all the main controls easily accessible and colour coded on the operator’s right hand side, alongside the joystick.


Stronger performance in a compact machine

Building upon the success of the 3.2t lift capacity TM320 and TM320S, the TM420 from JCB brings 32 per cent more load lifting ability at 4.1t and 0.2m of additional lift height at 5.4m to more easily load high-sided diet feeders and storage bins.

The machine incorporates all the improvements and upgrades evident on the latest-specification TM320 and TM320S, including an improved cab with instruments providing daily start-up checks from the driver’s seat; LED lighting options; and self-lubricating bushes that extend greasing intervals to 500 hours.

However, to deliver its significantly increased performance and productivity potential, the new JCB TM420 also features: a regenerative hydraulics circuit giving faster boom lowering for quicker loading cycles; a tougher chassis with larger pins and bushes for the centre pivot and loader; heavier-duty JCB axles with permanent 4-wheel drive to handle the increased payload; 26-inch wheels with larger tyres to optimise traction, flotation
and productivity.

JCB chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope said: “The new JCB TM420 delivers more performance and increased capabilities to meet customer demand for greater productivity and lower costs.

“It’s as if the TM320S has been to the gym – it’s got more muscle where it counts, but remains a compact and highly manoeuvrable machine that suits anyone wanting to exploit the performance and durability of a wheeled loader with the versatility of a telescopic handler.”

Increased payloads are possible due to heavier-duty axles and permanent 4-wheel drive

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