The new R-Series loaders from Bobcat represent a completely new approach to designing skid steers and compact track loaders for the equipment manufacturer.
The new R-Series will begin with the introduction of the S76 skid steer and T76 compact track loader.
Although the first models of the R-Series loaders won’t be available until early 2020, Bobcat gave media a sneak peek at the machines during a press conference held at the company’s new training centre in Aurora, Colorado.
“This was a complete ground up design for Bobcat. There’s almost no components on this product that are common with products that we have today,” said Doosan Bobcat President Mike Ballweber. “It’s very different, but certainly still industry leading in terms of performance and quality.”
Before starting the design process, Bobcat set three objectives for the R-Series machines: improve quality, reliability and durability; improve the operator experience; and improve performance.
“When we set out to build our next generation of loaders, we started with a blank slate,” said Jorges De Hoyos, senior product manager for loaders at Bobcat. “We challenged ourselves to set aside any preconceptions of design and build the best compact loader.”
Cast steel lift arms
The R-Series loaders now feature lift arms made from cast steel construction for increased material strength and rigidity. Cast steel puts more material where it’s needed, delivering greater strength while enabling a slimmer-profile arm that also enhances visibility.
“Cast steel is 30 per cent stronger than fabricated steel. Now we can bend the corners without adding additional fabricated plate, which would block visibility to the cutting edge over the bucket corners,” De Hoyos said. “This is something you haven’t seen before in a loader.”
The newly optimized geometry of the R-Series workgroup improves lift capacity throughout the R-Series loaders’ range of motion. When it’s combined with high hydraulic performance and sturdy, cast lift arms, operators will experience higher lift capacities throughout the lift cycle – even at full reach. Additionally, the extra lift height on R-Series loader models provide increased capability for dumping into high-sided dump trucks and hoppers.
R-Series cooling system
The R-Series cooling system is completely redesigned for optimal operation and more uptime. De Hoyos explained the redesigned system aims to meet increasing demand for cooling capacity.
“To do so, we had to change our cooling pattern and increase our cooling components,” he said. “Instead of drawing air from the top and blowing it off on the sides, we said we need to air wash both sides of the engine.”
As well, the fan in the R-Series loaders is 50 per cent larger than previous machines from Bobcat.
“As it’s bigger, I don’t have to spin it as fast all of the time, and it’s also moved further back from the operator. The biggest contributor to noise in the cab is your fan,” De Hoyos said.
The R-Series machines also include a new fuel delivery system, the largest fuel delivery system incorporated by Bobcat and a more vertical fuel tank that uses fuel more efficiently.
To reduce ground pressure, Bobcat added 5 cm of track on the ground for the CTL model and increased the wheel base on the skid steer model by 7.5 cm.
Comfort is improved on the new models with features such as ergonomic controls with innovative instrumentation, automatic heat and air conditioning, a heated air ride seat with operator-controlled heat and a clear-side enclosure option that features 4,000 psi poly carbonate reinforcement.
“In addition to being pretty strong it also enhances visibility. This is something new for us as well,” De Hoyos said.
Furthermore, selectable joystick controls (SJC) with drive response mode, speed management, steering drift compensation and horsepower management help reduce operator fatigue.
An optional touch display features a full-colour 18 cm display, device connectivity, a USB power port and active noise canceling during phone calls.
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The cab on the R-Series machines are also now one piece.
“With a one-piece cab, when I tilt it, everything goes up with it. That allows us to better seal and pressurize the cab and make it a lot quieter,” De Hoyos said.
The outside of the cab is equipped with LED lighting. Side lights are available as an option.
“The lights wrap around the corner. With corner lighting, you now can extend the work day,” De Hoyos said.
A keyless start is also a new standard feature on the machines.
“Most of the customers we talked to said they would prefer keyless start,” De Hoyos said. “The few that didn’t said they would like it, but they didn’t want to pay for it. So, it’s standard.”