New Equip­ment Re­view: Morooka 1500 tip­per

If you’re look­ing for a 360-de­gree slew­ing/tip­ping, all-ter­rain, rub­ber­tracked tip­per then the Morooka 1500 is well worth a look. Ron Horner gives it a spin

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Contents -

Whilst vis­it­ing Pen­rith’s Diesel, Dirt and Turf Expo ear­lier this year I was for­tu­nate to catch up with a cou­ple of old mates from the ’80s.

The “Murph and Sachs” show is all that you could ever wish for when look­ing for­ward to pur­chas­ing Takeuchi or Morooka equip­ment out of their Semco Equip­ment Sales Head­quar­ters in the outer Western Sub­urbs of Sydney.

Bought into the Sales game back in the ’70s and ’80s, the boys cut their teeth on CASE Equip­ment when CASE was a be­he­moth in the in­dus­try. These guys re­ally know their game and have built on their com­bined 80 years of earth­mov­ing sales ex­pe­ri­ence, to­day run­ning an ex­cel­lent busi­ness in im­port­ing many earth­mov­ing and re­lated items, namely Takeuchi ex­ca­va­tors, skid steers and hy­draulic at­tach­ments to suit just about any­thing, and are now the proud dis­trib­u­tors for Morooka.


Im­pressed … very im­pressed! Now if you have never seen one of these all ter­rain, rub­ber­tracked pow­er­house dirt and mud movers in op­er­a­tion, take my word for it, you have some­thing to catch up on.

Hav­ing per­son­ally worked with these units on some of the most try­ing, dif­fi­cult and even toxic sites one could imag­ine it beg­gars be­lief that Morooka could bring out some­thing bet­ter than when I worked with them, but they have.

Morooka have just brought out a 360 de­gree slew­ing/tip­ping, all ter­rain, rub­ber-tracked ve­hi­cle as an ad­di­tion to the non-slew­ing ver­sion and if I haven’t told you al­ready, I am very im­pressed.

Weigh­ing in at about 10.9 tonnes with a pay­load of seven tonnes, the abil­ity of this ma­chine to tip at 360 de­grees and on the run means there are a myr­iad of projects that this type of ma­chine is ca­pa­ble of work­ing pro­duc­tively and prof­itably.


The cabin is well and truly up my al­ley. Based on a Cat ex­ca­va­tor the cabin pro­vides an ex­cel­lent ar­ray of sim­ple and easy to read/un­der­stand gauges, sim­ple tip­ping lever, counter ro­ta­tion hy­dro­static drive levers, E stops, air con­di­tion­ing, big side mir­rors, ra­dio, etc. com­plete a well-

de­signed and op­er­a­tor-friendly of­fice, with great all round vi­sion (for a tip­per).

You could well be for­given if you think you are in the cab of a Cat ex­ca­va­tor so sim­i­lar is the ex­pe­ri­ence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not de­tract­ing from the cabin lay­out – quite the op­po­site as I think it is a great con­cept and the op­er­a­tors of these units are re­ally be­ing spoiled.

There is one-handed op­er­a­tion at any time, un­less you are counter-ro­tat­ing your di­rec­tion of course, and for all of the ‘new­bies and wannabes’ your free right hand can check your Face­book ac­count or post self­ies whilst on the go … aaahhh Morooka, you’ve thought of ev­ery­thing.


The rub­ber tracks on the Morooka car­rier are the re­sult of over 50 years of joint de­vel­op­ment from Bridge­stone and Morooka and com­bine the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a tyre-equipped ve­hi­cle, cre­at­ing speed, a smooth ride, low ground pres­sure, high per­for­mance and the ex­cel­lent trac­tion of a steel-tracked ve­hi­cle. This, cou­pled with the unique dou­ble rocker bot­tom track rollers and drive sprocket con­fig­u­ra­tion, proved that these lit­tle fel­las can go al­most any­where in any con­di­tions.

Morooka makes 11 dif­fer­ent mod­els, which run an ar­ray of en­gines in­clud­ing Kub­ota, Mi­tus­bishi and Cater­pil­lar, how­ever on this par­tic­u­lar MST1500 VD model it runs a Cum­mins en­gine.

To get this on the move is so sim­ple: the hy­dro­static trans­mis­sion al­lows for eco­nom­i­cal use of the big Tier 4, 6.9-litre Cum­mins diesel en­gine’s full power by the en­gage­ment of the two-lever for­ward, re­verse and counter ro­ta­tion hand con­trol levers lo­cated cen­tre front of the op­er­a­tor. This sys­tem elim­i­nates the need for a clutch and gear con­trols, mak­ing the Morooka ex­tremely ma­noeu­vrable.


The track con­fig­u­ra­tion of the ma­chine is de­signed to lay the track out in front of the ma­chine and min­imise bog­ging when fully laden as it is driven from the top drive sprocket.

When this is de­signed into the el­lip­ti­cal track de­sign this ma­chine can climb over the swampy, boggy ma­te­ri­als and not drive it­self into the ground and be­come an­other buried statis­tic.

The Morooka MST 1500 VD comes in at about 17 tonnes and is able to carry an ex­tra­or­di­nary 15 tonnes in weight, but what is more ex­tra­or­di­nary is the low ground pres­sure ex­erted. When empty, the Morooka MST 1500 VD ex­erts a mere 2.6 psi (18 kPa) and, when fully laden, an in­cred­i­bly low 4.8 psi (33 kPa). This is partly due to the de­sign of the 900mm-wide rub­ber track shoes sit­ting on the 5m x 2.5m-long frame and well bal­anced de­sign to carry this weight.

WARN­ING: Don’t at­tempt to re­verse up over ex­ces­sively steep in­clines on soft ma­te­ri­als as

you will find your nose touch­ing the wind­screen as the front will belly out big time when the weight is trans­ferred from rear to front.

Speed across the ground is an im­pres­sive 11 km/h, 450mm ground clear­ance and for tip­ping, Morooka have en­gi­neered a twin hy­draulic ram to dis­pose of that mud with ease. The square-ish shape and close to ground de­sign of the Morooka guar­an­tees safe tip­ping an­gles can be achieved in most cases.

This demon­stra­tion unit we chose was not a 360 de­gree slew­ing model Morooka, but the stan­dard ver­sion re­ally proved un­stop­pable on the day of use; haul­ing toxic mud from the tail­ings area of the aban­doned tail­ings site into a sealed MonoCell pur­posely built to house the 30,000 tonnes of ex­ca­vated ma­te­rial be­ing dredged/dug and sucked out of the con­tam­i­nated area.

Ac­cess to the load out area changed ac­cord­ingly as the project moved for­ward, as on some days you were on solid terra-firma and the next util­is­ing pur­pose built log mats to gain ac­cess to those def­i­nitely ‘white knuckle’ spots where you knew that if you were not square and cen­tral to the mats and the ex­ca­va­tor op­er­a­tor just hap­pened to load you off cen­tre — well you just know the next step is OMG!

In­ter­est­ingly enough the Morooka had many dif­fer­ent ma­chines to load you up dur­ing the dif­fer­ing phases of the re­me­di­a­tion. Front end load­ers were in use in the first in­stance when the ma­te­rial was close to the bank of the tail­ings dam, con­ven­tional ex­ca­va­tors then came into play when things be­came a touch more dif­fi­cult to ac­cess, and then a 40 tonne float­ing ex­ca­va­tor to load out when things be­came ex­tremely hairy to­wards the cen­tre of the wet tail­ings and tim­ber mats were the only ac­cess. Not a spot for the faint hearted.


Af­ter in­spect­ing the Morooka rub­ber tracked all-ter­rain car­ri­ers I have come to the con­clu­sion that they are an in­valu­able ve­hi­cle ca­pa­ble of ac­cess­ing not only muddy and boggy ar­eas, but also suited to sandy and desert ar­eas that re­quire spe­cially de­signed ve­hi­cles such as this.

I’ve worked with the Ko­matsu branded ‘slew­ing’ ver­sion of the all-ter­rain crawler car­rier, which was part of the fleet at the toxic mine site on which I was work­ing, and this 360 slew­ing car­rier held par­tic­u­lar ap­peal for me.

Use­ful for where the dump points are so bad that turn­ing or re­vers­ing be­comes a ma­jor drama, this Morooka ma­chine can drive di­rectly to your dump point, slew just as you would with an ex­ca­va­tor, and dump your load. Ko­matsu were not the first to do this, but this Morooka is def­i­nitely bet­ter than any­thing I have op­er­ated be­fore.

These ma­chines are per­fectly suited for use in a wide range of ap­pli­ca­tions and are par­tic­u­larly suited to en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive ar­eas.

They will ac­com­mo­date a va­ri­ety of at­tach­ments such as wa­ter tanks, dig­ger der­ricks, drill rigs, ce­ment mix­ers, welders, lu­bri­ca­tion rigs, fire-fight­ing equip­ment, spe­cialty dump bod­ies, scis­sor lifts, seis­mic test­ing equip­ment, ex­plo­ration tools, air com­pres­sors and per­son­nel car­ri­ers.

If you are a lat­eral thinker and look out­side the square, just find­ing the right ma­chine for your ap­pli­ca­tion is one hell of a task these days. Once you do find that ma­chine it is quite of­ten that there is no dis­trib­u­tor in Aus­tralia and the pres­sure mounts on what di­rec­tion you should take.

These Morookas are dif­fer­ent, but you can take my word for it, they are an ex­cel­lent ma­chine ca­pa­ble of work­ing in any con­di­tions. Com­bine this with a cou­ple of long serv­ing in­dus­try pro­fes­sional sales per­son­nel like Murph and Sachs from SEMCO Equip­ment Sales in Sydney and you can guar­an­tee that you won’t find bet­ter in this coun­try.

With all this un­der their belt why wouldn’t I give it a dou­ble thumbs-up? Morooka, you done good!

Above left: The cabin pro­vides an ex­cel­lent ar­ray of sim­ple and easy to read guages Above: The Morooka has a smooth ride

Above: Use­ful for dump points where turn­ing or re­vers­ing can be dif­fi­cultAbove right: Be­ing able to tip at 360 de­grees means it can work on a wide range of projects

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