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large inventory of skid steers

by Uneeb Khan

When, in 1958, the Keller brothers introduced the progenitor of a large inventory of skid steers loaders, they were pushing the concept that smaller is better. However, the natural order is for small things to grow larger, and skid steer loaders are no exception. Today, the largest skid steers on the market are three or four times heavier than that original Keller loader (later called Melroe and then Bobcat), with up to 15 times more horsepower. With hydraulics to match, these skid steer loaders constitute what has been dubbed The Muscle Machine Market.

“That market is generally considered to be any large inventory of skid steers loaders with more than 3,100 lbs of rated operating capacity,” says Gregg Warfel, district sales manager for Terex Construction Americas, then zeroing in on T Rex’s own entry in the market. “Yet even with its powerful performance capabilities, the Terex TSV90 loader is compact enough to easily maneuver in and around confined or congested worksites.”

Yes, but the TSV90 inarguably doesn’t maneuver in tight spaces as “easily” as the smallest Terex skid steer loader. That also is true of its peers in the market. Nimbleness is sacrificed as a skid steer grows larger, so contractors must choose between small size and big capacity. In the biggest skid steers, capacity is the clear choice.

Terex customers have two machines that meet the “muscle machine” definition — the Cummins-powered 85-hp TSV90, with a rated operating capacity of 4,130 lbs, and a new generation V350S, which has a smaller Deutz engine (74 hp) and a rated operating capacity of 3,500 lbs; rated operating capacity is half the weight that a loader can lift under ideal conditions without tipping. Both Terex models are vertical-lift loaders. The V350S has a slightly higher bucket breakout force, but the model TSV90 can travel a mite faster.

“Our machine is a little heavier and, therefore, more stable,” says Gregg Zupancic, product marketing manager for skid steers and compact track loaders for John Deere Construction and Forestry. He says the machine’s weight, combined with breakout force and pushing power, means “the 332E can push buckets deeper into a pile and break out more efficiently.”

Deere conducts skid steer productivity studies to see how much material a loader can move and how quickly. “One of the productivity measurements is metric tons of material moved per hour,” says Zupancic. “We have a big pile of dirt and sort of have a drag race to see how fast we can load a truck.” Zupancic says the 332E can move 181 metric tons of material in an hour, about 50 metric tons an hour more than moved by a tested rival loader.

Two Manitou Group skid steer loaders are larger yet, the Gehl V400 and the Mustang 4000V. These vertical-lift loaders each weigh in at 11,100 lbs with Cummins 99-hp engines and are descendants of large-scale models dating to 2001. “Those original Gehl 7800 and Mustang 2105 models effectively created the market segment,” says Brian Rabe, senior product manager of skid and track loaders at Manitou Americas.

Expanding on that heritage, the latest Gehl and Mustang skid steer loaders boast a rated operating capacity of 4,000 lbs and a vertical reach of 144 in., more than a foot higher than most competing machines. These performance characteristics lead to Mustang’s claim that the 4000V is “the world’s most powerful skid steer loader.

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