More than 200,000 sales sum up 40 years of Load­all suc­cess

Irish Examiner - Farming - - MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT -

The 40th an­niver­sary of the Load­all tele­scopic han­dler cel­e­brates a ma­jor mile­stone in JCB Agri­cul­ture’s record of in­no­va­tive ma­chine de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing.

First man­u­fac­tured in 1977 to trans­form lift­ing and load­ing tasks on build­ing sites, the po­ten­tial for the Load­all to rev­o­lu­tionise ma­te­ri­als han­dling tasks on farms was soon recog­nised.

With its abil­ity to reach for­wards and up­wards way be­yond the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of trac­tor-mounted load­ers and rough-ter­rain fork­lifts, the JCB Load­all brought new lev­els of ef­fi­ciency and pro­duc­tiv­ity to live­stock and arable farms alike.

So much so that it helped spark a ma­te­ri­als han­dling rev­o­lu­tion, with in­put com­modi­ties such as seed and fer­tiliser, and farm out­puts such as hay, straw and silage, pack­aged in larger quan­ti­ties thanks to the lift ca­pac­ity and load place­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the new ma­chines. To­day, the Load­all tele­scopic han­dler has be­come such an in­dis­pens­able tool on many farms that it in­vari­ably works longer hours than any trac­tor.

On live­stock farms, reg­u­lar chores in­clude fill­ing a diet feeder twice a day with silage and other ra­tions, load­ing bales on to trail­ers at har­vest, plac­ing straw bed­ding into cat­tle and pig yards, and fill­ing the ma­nure spreader when it comes time to clean them out.

On arable units, sup­ply­ing the drill with seed and fer­tiliser from bulk, or the potato planter from tip­ping boxes, are rou­tine tasks for a Load­all tele­scopic han­dler, along with load­ing bale trail­ers and haul­ing them back to the store, push­ing up grain to make the most of stor­age ca­pac­ity, and out-load­ing crops into haulage lor­ries when they are sold. To meet this var­ied work­load, JCB’s Load­all fac­tory pro­duces around 50 in­di­vid­ual and dis­tinct vari­ants for agri­cul­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture alone, along­side many more for con­struc­tion and in­dus­trial use.

They range from the diminu­tive 50hp Load­all 516-40 with its 1600kg lift ca­pac­ity and 4.05 me­tres lift height, to the 145hp Load­all 560-80 ca­pa­ble of lift­ing 6000kg off the ground, for high out­put re­peat load­ing cy­cles of bulk ma­te­ri­als, and the 9.5 me­tre lift 535-95 for when big straw and hay bales must be stacked high. Be­tween those per­for­mance ex­tremes come Load­all han­dlers de­signed and en­gi­neered to meet spe­cific en­duser needs and pri­or­i­ties, such as ef­fi­cient han­dling and load­ing with the ul­ti­mate in econ­omy from the new Smart Power ver­sions of the Load­all 536-60, 531-70, 536-70, 541-70 and 535-95.

A choice of per­for­mance, cab equip­ment and con­trol fea­tures has been of­fered from the Agri, Agri Plus and Agri ver­sions of the core Load­all range, from the 525-60 to the high-lift­ing 535-95. Spe­cial fea­tures to cope with the par­tic­u­lar needs of poul­try farm­ers and con­trac­tors come the Poul­tryMaster ver­sions of the 527-58. And, of course, there is the ul­ti­mate in tele­scopic han­dler power trans­mis­sion tech­nol­ogy in the newly-ex­panded Load­all Agri Pro line-up fea­tur­ing the unique DualTech VT hy­dro­static-plus-pow­er­shift drive sys­tem, avail­able on the 531-70, 536-60, 536-70, 541-70, 535-95 and newly re­leased on the 560-80. Tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ments that add per­for­mance or ease of use, such as the Smart Hy­draulics fea­tures, have also un­der­pinned de­vel­op­ment of the Load­all line.

In line with de­vel­op­ment of the Load­all prod­uct it­self, JCB has re­peat­edly in­vested in the Load­all man­u­fac­tur­ing and assem­bly fa­cil­i­ties, no­tably in 2007 when an £8 mil­lion pro­mod­els ject brought new ma­chin­ing cen­tres, heavy-weight steel presses for boom man­u­fac­ture, and ad­di­tional ro­bot weld­ing sta­tions to pro­duce the com­plex chas­sis struc­ture. Th­ese up­grades co­in­cided with pro­duc­tion of 100,000 han­dlers since the first Load­Su­per all 520 came off the line in Oc­to­ber 1977.

The ac­cel­er­at­ing pace of Load­all sales went to the 200,000 mile­stone hat by 2016, just as the ad­vanced Agri Pro was launched.

Sales now ex­ceed 220,000, worth more than £7bn.

First man­u­fac­tured in 1977 to trans­form lift­ing and load­ing tasks on build­ing sites, the po­ten­tial for the Load­all to rev­o­lu­tionise ma­te­ri­als-han­dling tasks on farms was soon recog­nised.

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