Gehl has launched three new track loaders that feature the same control as the company’s skid loaders.
The new models include the RT185 with 839 kg of rated operating capacity at 35 per cent tipping load; the RT215 with 975 kg of rated operating capacity at 35 per cent tipping load; and the RT255 with 1,157 kg of rated operating capacity at 35 per cent tipping load.
All three machines include pilot-operated joystick controls, which give the operator one-to-one proportional control over the drive system.
“When you move the joystick, the machine reacts. When the machine hits something, you feel it much more through this system,” said Brian Rabe, regional training manager for Manitou Group. “That’s primarily the reason we came out with the pilot series.”
Rabe explained the Gehl control system is ideal for operators that use both a skid loader and track loader during their work day.
“They’re kind of back and forth between their machines, and they really wanted to have that same type of feel between the units, that’s why we went out and applied the same system,” he said.
While many machines use grease to pump up track tension, the new Gehl loaders incorporate the IdealTrax automatic track tensioning system. Rabe explained grease tensioning systems usually bleed and operators must continually check their track to ensure proper tension.
“Our system uses the same basic cylinder, but we apply hydraulic pressure to that with a relief valve to properly tension the tracks,” he said.
The other benefit of the IdealTrax system is if a track comes off in the field, there’s a switch to reverse the tension function.
“If you have to change your tracks, its literally a flip of a switch. It’s a very slick system,” Rabe said.
As well, by avoiding possible over tension, IdealTrax helps to extend the life of the loader’s tracks.
“Tracks are often over tensioned, it’s a common problem,” Rabe said.
“It starts to delaminate your tracks. It puts so much stress on the cords, and the tension inside of the track starts to pull the rubber apart from the belting.”
Another proprietary feature of the Pilot Series track loaders is the IdealAccess fold-up door. The fold-up door design provides an overall machine operating height that is several centimetres lower than machines with over-head door systems.
“It’s unique in the fact that it folds up and everything stays in front of the operator. Our controls are mounted on the seat, which allows them to go up and down with the operator when you go over rough terrain,” Rabe said. “The other big benefit is you can lift a load arm up and down and still be able to open and close the door. Getting in and out is a much safer concept.”