“It’s ideal for this application, the servo controls are so responsive,” says the tester, and he’s off again with another load. A swift change of direction, within the length of the machine, and the tester lines up to dump the compost. “It helps when your work is enjoyable,” he adds.
Driving the Robot is simple. There may be a few jerky movements at first, until you recognise the sensitivity of the controls, but it is the visibility from the driving seat that really impresses our testers. We see it as a definite advantage on site.
“When you are working in a tight, confined space, you can still see the obstacles around you. That gives you confidence and helps improve productivity,” says our man at the controls.
The first-rate visibility from the driver’s seat is down to this being a single-arm unit with low-slung loader arm design. It’s an idea still unmatched in the skid-steer market and one that offers a number of benefits.
In addition to the visibility factor, overall loading height and lifting performance, the single-arm format gives easy access to the cab. With this machine there is no need to hold open the door and balance precariously on the shovel before leaping into the cab and twisting 180? to launch your bottom into the seat. Its single arm means this machine has side entry. It’s just like getting into a tractor. It’s quick and it’s easy.
We reckon the side entry and the excellent all-round visibility should contribute to site safety. But these are just two of the safety features on this machine. We also appreciate the safety mechanism that means the Robot cannot be started until the restraint bar is properly placed over the operator’s lap.
The cab is spacious and offers the comfort needed for a full day’s work — suspension seat, heating, de-misting unit and air conditioning. Controls are easily identifiable. The ignition and control switches — along with fuel gauge, hour meter and warning light cluster — are located on the roof console.
There are three machine control formats offered with this machine — the standard manual hand-only or manual hand-and-foot controls typical of many skid steers, or full servo controlled joysticks to minimise lever effort. We are using the latter. Both our testers find the controls easy to master and very responsive.
“One flick of the joystick and the machine does exactly what you want,” says one tester. And when he has finished the work, the control lever pivots out of the way as he raises the restraint bar and exits the cab.
There is no doubt that this machine is solidly built and, if anything, a little over-engineered. It is intended for tough site conditions. It has also been designed with servicing and daily checks in mind. The other tester releases the rear bonnet to inspect the engine compartment. “From the service point of view it’s all easy to reach. The battery is accessible, the sight gauge is clear, there’s the oil filter,” he says, listing the plus points.
“Half the battle with any piece of kit is going through the daily checks and doing the routine servicing, but it shouldn’t be a problem here. Yes, they’ve made the engine nice and compact but everything is so easy to get at — operators should not be put off from doing the checks before they start work. And just look at the welding — this machine is built to last,” he adds.
What’s more, the engine is at the right height for servicing. There is no need to lift the arm or tilt the cab. The diesel tank is a good capacity. Serviceability for the hydraulic pump is at the front, accessed by unclipping and removing the driver’s seat. The pipework is not so easy to get to but is located in such a manner that chafing is not a concern. Below the side door there are the access points for the chains that operate the drive.
Regular skid-steer users may argue that tracked vehicles have more pushing power, but we reckon this Robot is a paragon for powerful and robust compact equipment.
And it’s versatile too. There is more to this unit than just lifting, shifting, loading and grading. This is a tool carrier and it also offers an armoury of attachments. Low-flow and high-flow hydraulics provide an opportunity to power grabs, sweepers, stump grinders and trenching equipment.
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