With their myriad attachment options, skid steer loaders can perform many tasks on many different types of jobsites. Manjunath elaborates on the market opportunities for this versatile machine.
It is evident that equipment like skid steer loader (SSL) is designed to do different jobs. Due to the increased manoeuvrability and short turning radius, the machine is especially suitable for use in confined areas where access is very limited. A wide array of work applications such as agriculture, construction, demolitions, material handling and maintenance makes this machine versatile in nature. Skid steer loader is truly a ''jack of all trades.' With their myriad attachment options, these units can be found doing many tasks on many different types of jobsites. From earthmoving on a building site to landscaping a park to cleaning roads, skid steers can be found helping operators get the job done.
When we talk about SSL, the concept of bigger is better becomes irrelevant. Bobcat can proudly claim that they are the most fuel efficient skid steer loaders in the market today as the power-to-weight ratio is the best in the industry. The dual path cooling system unique only to Bobcat provides effective engine cooling at extreme working conditions, which also increases the fuel efficiency of the engine.
Bobcat machines are engineered with the right balance between engine and pump, plus a weight distribution that delivers powerful breakout forces and faster cycle times. The design of Bobcat loaders is in such a way that there is a 70:30 weight distribution ratio between the front and the rear when the bucket is fully loaded and 30:70 weight ratio when the bucket is empty. This is the most ideal weight distribution for turning, skidding and also increases life of drive train and tyres. The new cab forward design moves the operator area closer to the attachment and gives him better visibility of the working area. The Bobcat skid loaders are designed to provide the fastest and easiest daily maintenance. Swing-open tailgate provides convenient access to routine maintenance points. There are no radiators to move, lift arms to raise or lift-arm support devices to install. Ease in access to routine and long-term maintenance points make preventative maintenance simple, reducing the operating costs.
We currently offer five models of SSL and two models of mini excavators. Starting with the Bobcat S450 which carries a 49 hp engine and has a rated operating capacity of 608 kg to the largest skid steer loader ever available in India, the Bobcat S770 equipped with a 92 hp engine and rated operating capacity of 1570 kg. In between we have the S550, S590 and S650 models also. In the mini excavator category, we have the E32 with operating weight of 3.3 tonne and the E26 with an operating weight of 2.7 tonne. Close to 40 Bobcat attachments are available for the various skid steer models. We will certainly increase our product offering in the near future as the awareness among the customers is increasing.
The skid steer loader is an easy to operate machine. But still, a certain skill level is definitely required from the operator as the working environment will be demanding in terms of the space constraints. Also, when the role of an attachment steps in operator, skill level plays a crucial role in the fine execution of the job at hand. We are facing shortage of skilled operators today for the SSL market and it is one of the major concerns.
The current market size of SSL is around 550 units and we are expecting it to grow at a rapid pace in the near future. Certainly market creation and increasing the awareness of the customer about the products versatility plays the most critical role.
The author is General Manager, Doosan Bobcat India.