Compact equipment leader Bobcat has launched a slew of new products and ventured into segments where it was not present before in pursuance of its ‘Next is Now’ corporate philosophy, which the company says will “reinvent the compact equipment industry” for the next several years.
At a special online launch event yesterday, held at its Europe Middle East and Africa headquarters in Dobris near Prague in the Czech Republic, Bobcat unveiled several new products together, which included a new range of small articulated loaders and a new light compaction range, while the brand also announced its first foray into the compact wheel loader market. The company also showed off its technological innovations, smart customer solutions and future technologies.
A statement from Bobcat said that In the company’s first 60 years, Bobcat “created the Global Compact Equipment Industry and changed how the world works. That was then. With ‘Next is Now’ the company is reinventing everything. In fact, Next is Now ensures what’s next for the industry is happening right now at Bobcat”.
With the new move, Bobcat said it is creating more efficient products that offer the agility, versatility and toughness that have made the brand famous, combined with very significant product diversification and expansion into new markets and complemented by more intelligent, more connected technologies and services that reshape how work gets done.
Gustavo Otero, president of Doosan Bobcat EMEA, said: “With Next is Now, Bobcat is empowering people to work more efficiently and to enable them to achieve more than ever before. We are advancing more powerful, more efficient and smarter equipment and technologies in an expansion that offers an enhanced and much wider choice of products to increase opportunities for our customers.”
Roy Haaker, vice-president of Sales and Marketing for Doosan Bobcat EMEA, said: “Inspired by the Next is Now philosophy, Bobcat is launching an unprecedented number of new products and product categories. As well as (the product categories), which will enter the market with immediate effect or very shortly, Bobcat is presenting new technology, showing the industry where it will be heading now and in the future.”
Of special interest to the Middle East is the new Bobcat Light Compaction range, some of which is headed to the region. According to Bobcat, compaction applications are a required part of numerous industries, and no construction site is complete without a soil and asphalt compactor. “As a result, Bobcat is expanding its product portfolio further to offer a full range of light compaction machinery, developed in collaboration with the Ammann Group.”
The new Bobcat Light Compaction Range covers seven different product families and 37 models in total, to meet varied work requirements. “Bobcat light compaction machines offer maximum performance, while not compromising on comfort, safety and simplicity of use,” said the company.
The Bobcat Light Compaction Range includes:
- Vibratory rammers
- Vibratory forward plates
- Reversible vibratory plates
- Hydrostatic plates
- Walk behind rollers
- Trench rollers
- Tandem rollers
Bobcat announced it is also expanding its loader portfolio to provide customers with more choice, with optimised characteristics for specific applications in construction, rental, agriculture, landscaping, road works, material handling and many other industries.
Bobcat is entering the small articulated loader (SAL) market with two models, the L23 and L28, designed and built by the company in Bismarck, North Dakota, USA. The manufacturer said its SALs achieve very minimal ground disturbance with their use of an articulated joint, which enables the rear tyres to match the front tyre path when turning. In addition, the turf-safe mode limits wheel slippage. This makes Bobcat SALs ideal for landscaping, light construction, agriculture and maintenance projects where space is tight and lower ground contact is needed.
John Chattaway, loaders product manager at Bobcat, said: “The high lift capacity offered by Bobcat SALs compared to their machine weight is ideal for lift and carry operations in compact areas. The extendable boom on the L28 further simplifies the placement of loads which is also enhanced by the all-round visibility. Counterweight options allow our SALs to be customized to give users the capacity they need for a particular application.”
Bobcat also presented its technological innovations and future digital products at the launch event yesterday. “The aim of the products is to allow dealers to better serve customers and help operators work more efficiently, more safely and in ways they never dreamed possible. Bobcat is working on bridging the gap between the operator and machine by testing and adopting different technologies that people use every day with the goal of making the job site a smarter place,” said the company.
Bobcat MaxControl Remote Operation is a new technology providing convenient, easily accessible remote-control operation using an app on a smartphone. With the MaxControl remote operation, two-person jobs become single-worker tasks. Operators can tackle simple, everyday tasks such as opening and closing gates or loading bales in shorter time and with a smaller crew. It is compatible with compact loaders with Selectable Joystick Controls (iOS only) dating as far as back as 2004.
Bobcat is looking to make MaxControl a simple modular solution, with one hardware box for the groundwork, laying the foundation for other features. Remote operation is the first feature within Bobcat MaxControl and the company is looking to add more features in the future.
These include the Object Avoidance Feature – Bobcat is testing solutions that help a machine realize a known object based on images taken in augmented reality mode and prevent the machine from colliding with that object.
With the Semi-autonomous Feature, the company is working on automating some repetitive tasks which require little to no personnel to perform, to make the job site more productive and safer. As job sites change by type, size or location, another new technology Bobcat is working on is Features On Demand for selected compact loaders. This technology enables customers to explore hardware and software features embedded on their machine. These can be activated and purchased at any time in the future. Initially these features will be enabled by the dealer but in the future customers will be able to enable them and many more features using a subscription platform.
Vijayshekhar Nerva, innovation and acceleration lead, Doosan Bobcat EMEA, added: “We are working with leading companies and exploring far reaching technologies for use on our equipment. To make work at the job site more productive, safer, environmentally friendly and cost effective.”