Telescopic handler updates increase productivity and comfort

Bobcat has announced a new generation of telescopic handlers for agricultural use, with new cabs and intelligent operating modes. David Williams reports.

The latest R-series updates cover all lift capacities and sizes in Bobcat’s range, from 2.6–4.3t and from 6–8m lift height. There are seven models in the line-up, all with engine upgrades meeting Stage 5 emissions requirements.

The new models feature significant improvements over previous versions, and will form an important part of Bobcat’s strategy to double production volumes by 2025.

There are two sizes: Compact, which includes the TL26.60, TL30.60 and TL30.70 models, and Large, featuring the TL35.70, TL34.65HF, TL38.70HF and TL43.80HF.

Cab upgraded

Cabs have been updated with a better finish, improved controls and clearer instruments. Particular attention was given to in-cab storage solutions – an area of design often neglected on handlers, and Bobcat options include a refrigerated or heated isothermal compartment for drinks or food. Improved insulation reduces the cab noise level by half.

The main comfort upgrade is a new Grammer Maximo Dynamic air suspension heated seat with floating armrest controls.

Display options include the standard LCD colour terminal, or an optional 7in touchscreen with a built-in radio and smartphone integration. The view from a rear camera is displayed as soon as reverse is selected, and the right- hand mirror is adjustable from the cab. Working at night is easier with the aid of a 360-degree LED lighting pack.

Improved control

The main multi-function joystick is designed for faster operation. Rather than having a button at the top of the joystick to select the travel direction, there is now a selector at the rear of the stick operated by the index finger which selects forward, neutral or reverse. This leaves the top of the stick free for a thumb switch for convenient operation of the boom auxiliary functions plus new smart modes including Auto Grab, bucket shake, boom float and speed shift.

External changes

A steeper engine hood profile improves the view to the right of the cab and is claimed to reduce blind spots by 15 per cent.

Improved productivity

As well as boasting best-in-class boom speeds, the new R-series handlers come with new operating functions with intelligent control.

These include Job Manager, which allows the operator to create, adjust and save working profiles for multiple attachments and tasks. Settings for auxiliary oil flow rates, boom travel speed, Auto Grab, Creep and reverse fan timing can be saved.

Two drive modes – Smooth or Dynamic – can be selected to suit the operator’s preference. Dynamic drive increases transmission reaction speed for faster forward and reverse shuttling, with more aggressive acceleration and deceleration.

Flex Drive control allows the engine rpm and drive speed to be managed independently. With this mode selected, the user can operate the handler using the hand throttle to select the engine running speed, while travel speed is controlled by the right pedal.

Semi-crab is a new steering mode, allowing the rear wheels to be locked in any position while steering is by the front wheels. This offers particular advantages for working alongside walls or close to the edge of silage clamps.

Automated boom functions

New functions to increase work rates and reduce operator effort have also been added to the R-series handlers:

Maximum lift angle – This allows the user to set a maximum working height for the boom to help reduce the risk of damage when working in low buildings.

Return to ground – This function lets the operator select and record a boom angle position with the boom retracted, then each time the boom is lowered it automatically retracts and returns to the pre-set position so that the next handling cycle can start again more quickly.

Auto Grab – When implements such as muck grabs are used, this feature allows the operator to over- press the thumb roller while the grab is opening or closing and the cycle completes automatically.

Reduced downtime

Engine access is improved on the latest models for easier maintenance. Upgraded versions of the Bobcat D34 engine with DPF after treatment meet the emissions standards and automatic regeneration cycles are activated when needed without operator intervention.

The standard warranty is three years or 3,000 hours, but this can be extended to five years or 5,000 hours for added peace of mind.

Four spec levels

There are four specification levels allowing users to select the appropriate comfort and productivity features to suit their working situation and budget. The Bobcat Agri 4 Star Pack is the premium package designed for intensive use by contractors and larger farms.

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