During a test drive, the new Vermeer CTX160 mini skid steer loader demonstrates its great power and capabilities squeezed in its small dimensions.
Arborists around Australia will probably be more familiar with Vermeer’s range of wood chippers and stump grinders. Still, the reality is that the Vermeer range is hugely diverse across numerous industries, including Horizontal Directional Drills, Boring Systems, Mixing Systems, Track Trenchers, Terrain Leveller, Surface Miners and of course Mini Loaders.
The Vermeer CTX160 Mini Skid Steer Loader is designed to tackle such jobs as moving heavy material, working ground-engaging attachments and efficiently manoeuvring in congested operating conditions, including passing through a standard gate. The CTX160 is sized for challenging, landscaping, hardscaping, rental, utility and general construction work. The landscaper Kelly Burton from KBL tested the CTX160 to the task .
Kelly’s initial feedback was his enthusiasm to see the high-lifting 225.4cm, operating capacity 725.7kg and substantial auxiliary hydraulic flow – all of which being delivered in a machine width of 106.7cm. Kelly shared:
“Having a vertical lift path design is perfect for heavy lifting of materials up into trucks and other similar areas. This machine is packing some real power with both its hydraulic flow and being driven by a 40HP (29.8kW) turbocharged Kohler KDI diesel engine. By removing the diesel particulate filter (DPF), the engine is less complex, which in turn reduces cost.”
The chariot-style operator’s platform offers both comfort and visibility, and the inclusion of an operator presence system means the mini loaders ground drive is disengaged when the operator steps off the platform. Straddling the work platform are dual fuel tanks which will deliver and 8 hour day without requiring a refuel.
Kelly was satisfied about the controls of the machine and the ease of the operation. He said:
“It’s a good system to operate, the single pilot-operated joystick was smooth and intuitive. You can flick the switch between high and low flow with the dual auxiliary system for ground-engaging attachments and optimal control when the low flow is required. Changing attachments is very easy and fast with the universal mounting plate. For our test site, we had the log grapple attached, which worked perfectly to allow us to lift some impressive girthy sections. There was one log I thought may have been above the machine’s capabilities but, once I got the balance right, everyone on site was thoroughly impressed with the CTX160’s lifting capabilities.”
“I think mini skid steers are at their absolute best when they can tick as many boxes as possible like power, lifting capacity, versatility and control. From what I’ve seen today, the CTX160 definitely ticks all the boxes. Our site was muddy for the test, and the 22.8cm wide tracks even with a significant load provided excellent control. Another thing all owners and operators are looking for is a company that stands behind their product. I was happy to see that Vermeer provides a 3-year/3,000 hour limited warranty on the loader arms.”
So onsite there was plenty of good-sized material for Kelly to rip into. From a mixture of smaller and mid-sized cuts to grab, along with some beautiful mid-sized hardwood sections and two large palm sections. Across the range, the balance of the machine looked great – partly to do with the well-designed machine and the counterweights that neatly fit on the rear panels of the skid steer. The steel frame and boom are visibly sturdy and the welds are thick.
The CTX160’s ground speed and zero turn capabilities make it an agile machine for even the tightest job site while, when it has the space to move, it can also cover the ground very well.
In conclusion, CTX160 is a versatile machine that would fit into numerous industries: from carrying substantial sized logs across properties to load into the Vermeer chipper, to moving massive sandstone rocks and alike across landscaping jobs, to fitting one of the impressive numbers of attachments for groundwork.