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New skid steer models in pipeline

There will be some streamlining of the model range to have greater commonality of chassis between machines of similar size. Tracked models are being planned that will most likely have a more conventional track system than the previous model 320. Although the 320 worked well in the field and had economical track costs, it was not accepted widely in the marketplace. The Australian distributor for Thomas, Hewlett Equipment, also distributes Nagano mini excavators, and is hoping to reintroduce compact stand-on loaders later this year. Nagano plans to introduce a canopy model of its 5.5t zero tail swing mini excavator in 2009. The demolition industry has shown interest in a canopy excavator in this size range.Takeuchi had a busy 2008, with the release of 200-series mini excavators and track loaders. Takeuchi has developed a niche with its FR series of full zero turn machines (the boom can be raised so that it remains within the tracks when slewing). Sales of FR series machines often exceed those of the conventional machines.Takeuchi remains one of the few compact loader manufacturers to build only tracked machines and the 200 series tracked loaders occupy a niche as a premium machine. They are popular for cutting house blocks, and New South Wales distributor Semco made some breakthrough sales into the road profiler market in 2008. It will be interesting to see if there is wider acceptance of a tracked machine in this role in 2009.Some changes in the pricing of genuine Takeuchi rubber tracks have also changed the economics of operating a rubber tracked machine, and this may encourage more buyers to consider the brand.Kubota has been a long-term leader in the mini excavator category, and promises to have some new product available in 2009, although details are not yet available.Rubber-track pioneer ASV Posi-Track released the PT series compact track loaders in 2008, with some models having two-speed drives. Other changes were made to increase durability. ASV Posi-Track was acquired by Terex during the year.Komatsu entered the tracked skid steer market in 2008 with two vertical lift machines, the 1030kg capacity CK25-1 (51.8kW) and 1470kg CK35-1 (62kW). While there is some commonality of parts with the wheeled machines, the undercarriage has been designed from the ground up. The machines have two-speed travel, with a top speed of 12 kilometres per hour.Later this year there will be two new models in both the Mustang skid steer and Yanmar mini excavator ranges distributed in Australia by BT Equipment. Wacker Neuson has a wide range of equipment available to it now in the compact equipment area, although not all of it will come to Australia. The company’s stand at ACE should give a good idea of what is planned for Australia.

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