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Bobcat launches supersized midi

Compact equipment specialist Bobcat has unveiled its biggest excavator yet - a 12.5-tonne tracked short-radius machine.
But the manufacturer stressed the launch of the 444 was designed to meet growing demand for 'midi' machines to work in tight sites, rather than a move to compete with JCB and Komatsu in bigger excavators.

The 444, launched at the Smopyc show in Zaragoza, Spain, this week is 5 tonnes bigger than Bobcat's current largest machine and will be the largest machine in the midi sector.

The 90 kW 444 features an offset boom and rubber tracks as standard to reduce damage in city-centre work.

Norbert Donaberger, Bobcat's excavator business manager, said: ªIt is not designed to compete with standard machines of the 13 to 14-tonne size.

'This is a compact machine. There is a growing demand for midi excavators to deal with restricted city sites. The 444 offers a stable alternative to wheeled excavators. It could also take share from the backhoe.'

The 12.5-tonner incorporates a two-stage variable displacement hydrostatic transmission, load-sensing hydraulics and a 90 kW Deutz engine.

The standard monobloc boom gives a maximum dig depth of 4.33 m and a reach height of 6.3 m, while the two-piece articulated boom option provides 4.51 m and 6.92 m respectively.

The 444 has a width of 2,500 mm and a tail-swing radius of 1,370 mm.

Mr Donaberger said Bobcat would consider launching more midi machines.

by Andrew Gaved

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