Yanmar CE Adds to Growing Compact Track Loader Segment

Its first production CTL is rolling off the line for the North American market. Three more models are coming later in 2024.

The compact track loaders round out Yanmar’s compact-equipment portfolio that already consists of mini excavators, compact wheel loaders and tracked carriers. (Yanmar)

The market for compact construction equipment is growing in North America, driven in part by high demand for compact track loaders (CTLs), according to a new Research and Markets report that offers a strategic assessment and forecast from 2023-2029. CTLs and compact excavators have the highest demand, together generating nearly 68 percent of compact-equipment sales in the market, the report said.

Yanmar’s first CTL production model, the TL100VS, has rolled off the line for the North American market. (Yanmar)

The versatility of CTLs and their ability to operate on rough and muddy surfaces with great accuracy and less ground disturbance than skid steers, for example, are attractive characteristics to construction end users. Equipment manufacturers are responding by increasing their offerings — or becoming first-time entrants — in this segment.

Caterpillar, for example, revealed its new 255 and 265 machines in late 2023 at its Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center in Peoria, Illinois. Develon is previewing its first entry into the CTL segment for North America at trade shows prior to its launch later in 2024. Yanmar Compact Equipment is the latest OEM to enter the fray, with what it bills as its “largest releases in North American history.”

Production of the TL100VS is the culmination of four years of R&D. The remaining three models are set for production later in 2024. (Yanmar)

Yanmar announced in February that production of the first of four CTL models, the TL100VS, has commenced. First revealed at CONEXPO 2023 in Las Vegas, the TL100VS is designed specifically for the construction, utility and rental industries.

“The tracks give the edge over skid steers’ wheels, in that they can work more days a year, even in very damp conditions, thanks to the tracks’ much lower ground pressure,” Buck Storlie, Yanmar CE product manager for North America, said of CTLs’ rising popularity on jobsites. “With their much greater traction, they are also more stable and have a higher ability to push into a pile. And they are extremely versatile tool carriers, which give them the flexibility to do a wide range of jobs with minimal tool change-over times. And, at the end of the day, you can put it on a trailer and tow it home behind an average pickup [truck].”

Four years in the making

Yanmar’s facility in Grand Rapids, Minnesota (pictured prior to expansion) manufactures compact track loaders for both Yanmar Compact Equipment and ASV brands. (Yanmar)

This expansion of Yanmar’s compact-equipment offerings is the culmination of a four-year process, the company noted, following its acquisition of a U.S. manufacturing facility and engineering team focused on compact track loaders. The company broke ground on a 32,000-square-foot (2,973-square-meter) expansion to its Grand Rapids, Minnesota, facility in June 2023 to increase capacity and allow its new CTLs to be manufactured alongside ASV-branded machines.

“It’s immensely satisfying to see these first machines roll off the line,” said Matt Deloglos, VP of Commercial, Yanmar CE North America. “Our team has worked tirelessly towards this goal for the last four years with designing, testing and manufacturing these machines as well as getting the plant and our team ready to launch these products.”

The TL100VS is the first product in Yanmar’s new line of CTLs, which also includes the TL65RS, TL75VS and TL80VS. Weighing 10,555 lbs (4,788 kg) and offering a rated operating capacity (ROC) of 3,780 lbs (1,715 kg), the TL100VS is at the top of the line’s performance range. It features Yanmar’s 3.1-L Tier 4 Final intercooled turbo-diesel engine that generates 103.5 hp (77.2 kW) and peak torque of 291 lb-ft (395 Nm). Travel speeds can reach 8 mph (13 km/h).

The remaining three models, which are set for production later in 2024, will be lighter and offer 67 or 74 hp (50 or 55 kW) and a ROC ranging from 2,100 to 2,900 lbs (952 to 1,315 kg). (See graphic above.) The four-model lineup will cover about 93 percent of the CTL market in North America, Storlie said at the time of their reveal at CONEXPO 2023.

A 7-inch color touchscreen display comes standard on the new CTLs. Optional SmartAssist telematics is carried over from the company’s mini excavators. (Yanmar)

The new loader features a torsion axle suspended undercarriage with a pivot link system at the rear axle. This linkage technology uses a spring load that reportedly reduces oscillation and stabilizes the machine to improve material retention and ride quality.

The steel-embedded rubber-tracked undercarriage provides a ground contact area of 2,372 sq. in. (1.53 sq. m), with a track width of 17.7 inches (450 mm) and 67 inches (1,702 mm) of track length on the ground. The CTL’s ground pressure of 4.4 psi (0.30 bar) allows smooth performance on sensitive surfaces, the company stated. Heavy-duty bar-tread tracks are said to enhance ride quality and vibration resistance while increasing traction in muddy and soft soils.

Efficiency-enhancing features

Yanmar says the TL100VS includes large line sizes, hydraulic coolers and direct-drive pumps that transfer more flow and pressure directly to the attachment while reducing power loss. The auxiliary hydraulic system features standard 41-gal/min (155-L/min) high-flow pump capacity with maximum pressure of 3,989 psi (275 bar). Low-flow capacity is 23 gal/min (87 L/min) at maximum 3,481 psi (240 bar).

Optional efficiency-enhancing features include a load-sensing system, work tool positioner, return-to-position technology, self-leveling, ride control and auto 2-speed capabilities. The TL100VS’ load-sensing system regulates the 41-gal/min hydraulic pump, so it only produces what’s necessary to complete the work rather than using constant maximum flow.

The work tool positioner allows operators to create a preset for the angle of the attachment for a specific task, allowing return to position at the push of a button. Return-to-position technology complements the work tool positioner by allowing operators to set a designated height for the loader arms. The two features can be paired together or used independently.

The self-leveling technology uses dual-direction capabilities to automatically level the load both while raising the loader arms and — unlike many other CTLs, according to Yanmar — while lowering them. Speed-sensitive ride control automatically activates above a default speed, which operators can adjust, to enhance suspension and improve material retention at higher speeds.

Auto 2-speed allows the TL100VS to shift automatically between low- and high-speed modes. This feature creates a more seamless transition, according to Yanmar, that improves operator control while grading or in other applications that require finite control. It also reportedly allows a faster increase in speed while traveling longer distances such as between work areas.

The TL100VS incorporates Yanmar’s optional SmartAssist telematics already employed in the company’s mini-excavator line. Features range from error detection and notification to real-time operational status updates and daily work reports. SmartAssist also includes integrated theft protection, allowing the machine’s owner to set a range from a specific location and trigger an alert if that range is exceeded.

The new CTL also will include a new remote-control option. The feature is available as a factory or field-install option and allows operators to control the loader from a distance with a harness-mounted control box.

“This is huge for us,” Storlie said. “It gets us into the largest compact construction machine segment in the U.S.”