Smarter Engineering: Bobcat vs. Other Loader Brands
On a jobsite, a snag or punctured hose can bring your work to a standstill. Not all manufacturers give you the same level of protection when it comes to hose routing. Caterpillar loaders have hoses that are exposed and open to damage in the track area. They even have exposed hoses at the rear of the machine. Kubota and Case New Holland route their hoses outside the loader arms and don’t protect their couplers like Bobcat loaders. Let’s look to see how each brand stacks up. Effective hose routing can minimize downtime on your jobsite. Bobcat company designs it right. The hoses at the rear are fully contained within the structure of the lift arm and there is little chance for any snags back there. And there are no exposed hoses between the lift arms or down by the undercarriage. The hoses are also routed inside the lift arm, giving them the best possible protection from debris. Up front the attachment quick couplers are solidly mounted as part of the loader arm and are protected by a metal bar which reduces impact from the side, top or front. Look at the Kubota. The hoses in the rear are exposed above the lift arms and open to possible damage. Inside the arms, the hoses are clearly visible and any debris that gets in here can cause damage when you move the lift arms up or down. They also route their hoses unlike Bobcat loaders outside the lift arms. They run them on the inside of the arm but they are still open to possible damage. Up front the attachment quick couplers appear to be an afterthought. They simply bolted them on the outside of the lift arm. The first thing to likely get hit while raising your lift arms would be this expensive coupler block. The Case and New Holland loaders are not much better. The hoses in the rear are exposed on the inside of the lift arms. They also have hoses located inside the arms which is a potential pinch area from the debris that could get in. Some of the hoses along the inner part of the lift arm also have slack which increases the likelihood of them getting snagged and sending you back to the shop. They run hoses from back to front within metal tubes along the inside of the lift arms. Up front the attachment quick couplers sit exposed and are at risk for damage from the side, front and top. One other item to make note of: the door opens on the opposite side so when you’re using a hydraulic attachment you have to cross over the hydraulic hoses when getting into the cab. Let’s look at the Caterpillar. They, too, have exposed hoses at the rear of the machine. They also route many of the hoses inside the arms which is a location that can get pinched by debris when raising or lowering the arms. But my biggest concern is these hoses located behind the tracks. This location increases the possibility of damage from debris or an operator using a shovel to clear out dirt or mud from the undercarriage. Even a simple piece of rebar can take you down for the day. They do, however, do a good job of running their hoses inside the lift arm and the attachment quick couplers are somewhat protected by this lighter gauge steel, but they have no protection from the side, front or top. Bobcat engineers take more time to better route hoses and maximize your uptime for a clear Bobcat Advantage.