Bobcat Company has introduced the 500 frame size skid-steer and compact track loaders. The seven new medium-size machines make up the most popular size class in the Bobcat loader family, and provide operators with extensive feature upgrades, including increased visibility, a more comfortable cab and easier serviceability to maximize jobsite efficiency. All seven models begin limited production in September, with full availability at dealerships in January.
‘The Most Popular Size Class in its Time’
New machines include the S510, S530, S550, S570 and S590 skid-steer loaders, and the T550 and T590 compact track loaders. The S510, S550 and T550 feature a radius lift path, providing operators the reach and visibility they require for dumping grain or feed.
The S530, S570, S590 and T590 models feature a vertical lift path, providing operators the ability to lift heavier loads higher, making it easier to haul and load large hay bales and dump feed into grinders. The M-Series vertical lift path machines feature an increased lift height over the equivalent K-Series models.
Beginning with the first skid-steer loader — produced in 1960 — Bobcat has a history of designing the most popular loaders on the market. Most recently, the S175 and S185 frame-size machines have held the honor as Bobcat’s most-purchased machines. Today, nearly one out of every two skid-steer loaders on the market is a Bobcat machine, and now seven new loader models (five skid-steer loaders and two compact track loaders) will replace the machines in this size class.
The 500 frame size loaders incorporate superior performance and operator comfort to replace the current K-Series models S150, S160, S175, S185, S205, T180 and T190.
Cab-Forward Design Provides Industry-Leading Visibility to Work Areas
The 500 frame size loaders feature a unique cab-forward design that not only gives the machines a different look, but also moves the operator closer to the attachment and provides unmatched visibility in all directions.
The new loaders tout the largest cab door opening on the market, offering superior visibility to the cutting edge of the bucket or the corners of an attachment. The cab door threshold has been lowered and the overall surface of the door has increased more than 40 percent to provide improved visibility and make it easier for operators to enter and exit the cab. The height of the cab has been increased, providing additional headroom, while still keeping the overall machine size small enough to fit through barn doors.
Windows on the sides and rear of the cab have also been increased in size to provide more visibility to the tires and back of the machine. The larger top window makes it easier and more comfortable for the operator to see an attachment with the lift arms raised, an advantage when loading trucks or performing other tasks.
Easier Maintenance Improves Productivity
Operators want to spend minimal time on routine maintenance to start the workday earlier, and the loaders are designed to work long hours in demanding conditions. Simple check points and superior design make it easier to perform maintenance correctly at the proper intervals.
The auxiliary hydraulic quick couplers are mounted directly to the front plate of the lift arm to provide a solid mounting, and hoses are routed through the loader arms for better protection. A guard bar extends in front of the coupler for added security and a steel tailgate prevents items from penetrating the engine compartment.
Keeping the loaders cool when working long hours is important in prolonging the service life of the machine. That is why Bobcat designed the cooling system on the 500 loaders for increased efficiency and higher performance. The new design also makes it easier to clean out the cooling system, with an oil cooler that swings up, allowing the operator to clean the area between the oil cooler and the radiator.
Operator Comfort is King
Comfortable operators are more productive, so to create a better working environment, Bobcat increased the size of the 500 loader cab by 10 percent, redesigned the interior to allow operators to adjust the environment to their individual preferences and improved cab pressurization.
Bobcat 500 frame size loaders have a best-in-class pressurized cab with a new one-piece seal that goes all the way around the door and fits into a special curved pocket. This minimizes the amount of dirt and dust that might enter the cab, creating more enjoyable working conditions and making it easier to clean the cab.
Noise is another factor affecting operator comfort, and Bobcat reduced the sound level of the new loaders by more than 60 percent. New engine mounts improve isolation to decrease vibration and reduce sound levels.
Operators have the choice between standard hand/foot controls or the Selectable Joystick Controls (SJC). The control levers on the optional SJC move up and down in conjunction with the seat to reduce arm movement and fatigue as the operator controls the machine. The joystick mounts slide forward or backward to adjust to the preference of each individual operator.
The Best of Both Worlds: Horsepower and Hydraulics
The 500 frame size loaders will have increased hydraulic performance over their K-Series equivalents, enabling them to efficiently accomplish more work. The hydraulic systems on M-Series loaders have been engineered for higher standard flow and pressure that give attachments more power to work more quickly. Size, horsepower and cubic-inch displacement are matched to the loader’s rated operating capacity, balance and weight — producing a loader that can outperform higher-horsepower machines.
The skid-steer models offer two-speed options which boost the maximum travel speed from 7.4 mph in low range to 11 mph in high range, reducing the time it takes to cross a large farm or acreage. The hydraulic bucket positioning option keeps the loader bucket level as the lift arms travel upward, enabling operators to spill less and work faster.
New job-enhancing features were added to the optional deluxe instrumentation panel. Available only on M-Series loaders, the panel intelligently monitors key loader functions, and the keyless start helps prevent theft. The 5-inch, full-color LCD screen offers better readability and interaction. Easy-to-read virtual sweep gauges allow the operator to quickly read and understand the machine’s performance.