Bobcat’s M2-Series redesign increases performance while providing for ease of operation. Photo courtesy of Bobcat.
Bobcat’s M2-Series redesign increases performance while providing for ease of operation. Photo courtesy of Bobcat.
By definition, skid-steers and compact loaders (track or wheeled) are small machines built to do big jobs. These versatile machines are very popular with homebuilders, and sales continue to rise each year as the building industry advances. In order to meet your needs, manufacturers have listened closely to your wish lists and have built even more features and functions into their newly redesigned models. Here are a few examples:

Bobcat’s New M2-Series Loaders Showcase Improvements in Performance and Operator Comfort
The M2-Series loaders from Bobcat includes 24 different skid-steer, compact track, and all-wheel steer loader configurations to suit the needs of the builder. The two biggest performance enhancements to these versatile machines are to the automatic ride control and the operation of the cooling fan. 

The newly redesigned reversing fan allows operators to reverse the direction of the cooling fan to blow debris (i.e., dust, dirt) from the radiator and rear screens. Utilizing the reversing fan reduces the need for frequently cleaning the cooling area. The new reversing fan option can be operated manually on an as-needed basis or set to automatically reverse the fan at regular intervals to deliver consistent temperatures for the coolant and hydraulic oil.

The automatic ride control (ARC) allows the loader to detect an increase or decrease in the hydraulic lift arm pressure based on whether the loader is currently carrying materials. The automatic ride control can now be controlled from the interior of the cab instead of accessing from the tailgate. The operator can toggle between automatic or manual operation, which allows the operator to keep the ride control off for tasks such as back dragging. The ARC allows for operation of the loader at faster speeds as it reduces material spillage while leveling out the effect of the load and providing a smoother ride for the operator.

In addition to the smoother ride offered by the ARC, the cab for the M2-Series has been re-engineered to reduce noise, vibration, and dust. Bobcat improved the front and rear cab isolators, door seals, and side screen dampers to give the operator more comfortable working conditions. The control system has a new low-effort hydrostatic pump which makes using the drive lever easier by reducing the effort necessary by as much as 25 percent. The new control system reduces operator fatigue for those jobs that require extended time in the loader. Operators of the M2-Series loaders will appreciate the increased visibility offered by the redesigned front window, which provides 34 percent more viewable area than before. 

CASE Construction Equipment Introduces the Compact Dozer Loader
CASE Construction Equipment unveiled the concept for its new compact dozer loader earlier this year. This fully integrated design brings together the best of compact loaders and crawler dozers. “Project Minotaur” as it is dubbed, the DL450 offers operators the power and performance they demand of a small dozer with the option of utilizing all the attachments currently used with their skid-steers or compact track loaders (CTL). The versatility of this machine could allow contractors to reduce the amount of equipment they must take to the job site. 

The integrated design boasts a detachable C-Frame dozer interface that provides stability to the CTL when dozing and eliminates the stresses to the loader arms by channeling the power through the chassis. The DL450 has an expected drawbar pull of approximately 21,000 pounds. The new dozer loader provides a consistent plane and true 6-way blade positions. The new compact dozer will incorporate blade shake and pitch adjustment control features. Steel tracks and grousers make up the undercarriage and the machine is built with a fifth roller to deliver better traction with a higher ground clearance to reduce the likelihood of drag.

John Deere’s Redesign Provides Maximum Benefits
John Deere has packed more features into its redesigned 330 and 332G models to ensure that those big jobs get done. These machines provide vertical lift to reach higher and farther than their radial lift counterparts. These skid-steers have 40 percent more boom and bucket breakout force, which makes it easier to lift heavy loads. Deere’s loaders’ operating capacities have been increased to 3,600 pounds to provide contractors with the extra muscle they need. 

The 330 and 332G model loaders have a new electro-hydraulic option to boost productivity. The push button, self-sealed switch module (SSM) activates such actions as return-to-dig, return-to-carry, attachment positioning, and boom-up/down self-leveling making the operation of the loader more efficient. The SSM offers keyless start and anti-theft settings, as well as storing preferences for up to five different operators or codes such as boom or bucket lift speeds, creep modes, and control patterns.