High-end telescopic handler distributor and rough-terrain equipment company Manitou Southern Africa will this year augment its product offering by launching the new Gehl R Series skid steer loaders in the first quarter.
“The new Gehl R Series radial-lift skid steer loaders will build on the proven success of its predecessor, the E Series skid steer loaders, while incorporating several new machine designs that enhance performance across a range of industries and applications,” says Manitou Southern Africa MD Lindsay Shankland.
He notes that the new medium-frame skid loaders are ideal for excavation applications, owing to their ground-engaging capabilities and high-capacity strength.
The series includes three models – the R135, R150 and R165 – offering lift capabilities from 680 kg to 816.50 kg and torque ratings from 144 Nm to 244.6 Nm to complete the most demanding tasks.
The loaders feature an upgraded operator station and an integrated digital display, improved all-round visibility, pressurised cabs and a high-powered hydraulic system. These loaders are also equipped with emissions- compliant Tier III Yanmar engines that incorporate diesel particulate filter, or DPF, tech- nology, which eliminates the need for additional fuel after treatment.
“Through a variety of application-specific attachments, the R-Series loaders can be adapted for the task at hand, reducing the need for fleets of dedicated single-function machines to achieve the same goal,” says Shankland.
Meanwhile, he highlights that there have been more sales of Manitou’s 14 m and 17 m telescopic handlers, the rough-terrain forklifts and the Gehl skid steer loaders, as well as a definite increase in business orders from clients in the construction industry. Manitou Group announced in November 2014 that it had sold its 6 000th MLT 625 telehandler worldwide.
He adds that the South African construction industry has been “in the doldrums” since the 2010 FIFA World Cup, owing to a lack of projects in the sector.
“Nevertheless, the outlook has improved over the past two years, particularly with major construction companies moving into the rest of Africa, where there are better project opportunities,” says Shankland, highlighting that Manitou supplies machinery to projects in Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Further, exponential growth in the past ten years and insufficient storage space at its Kempton Park premises made it necessary for Manitou Southern Africa to recently acquire land to build new premises in Chloorkop, Johannesburg.
“The Chloorkop area was chosen as it [is] in industrial business park, [which makes it possible for us] to custom-build our premises, with enough storage space to accommodate all our stock. The new premises are about double the size of our current premises,” says Shankland.
Expansion around the current premises is not an option, as there is not enough land available, with the company currently outsourcing storage areas in Kempton Park. Building on the new premises will start shortly and is estimated to be complete within the next 18 months.