DEMAND in the United Kingdom and Europe has been so strong it has taken 18 months for the first JCB Roto (short for rotating) telehandler to arrive in Australia and it has come to Perth.
CEA (Construction Equipment Australia) in Welshpool, which distributes JCB agricultural, construction and industrial machines, took delivery on Christmas Eve of the first 555-210 Roto to arrive here.
Another is to arrive in Sydney and CEA has more on order and scheduled to arrive over the next three to four months because, with up to 21 metres reach, up to 5.5 tonnes lift capacity and 360 degrees rotation, on top of the versatility and agility that has made the standard JCB telehandler a best seller, local demand for the 555-210 Roto is expected to match that in the UK and Europe.
Effectively, the 555-210 Roto is three machines in one - a telehandler with a variety of attachments to suit a range of tasks, a crane that can lift and slew and a sturdy, move-by-remote-control mobile work platform for up to four people and able to slew through 180 degrees.
"We're pretty excited about it, we have already been asked by a number of people for quotes on it," said CEA WA general manager Renay van der Meulen last week of the JCB 555-210 Roto displayed in pride of place out front beside Welshpool Road.
"I think the capacity this machine has is pretty unique - it's a pretty unique tool.
"When you first look at it, the JCB 555-210 Roto looks much like a crane, but in reality it has come with forks on it, a bucket, a lifting jib and a man basket.
"The agility of it is probably as high as that of a normal telehandler, but the versatility of it and functionality with the attachments and 360-degree rotating ability, is that much higher again.
"A standard crane is generally cumbersome to move around, whereas this machine has four-wheel-steer or two-wheel-steer or crab-steer sideways and it has the capacity to do 40km/h.
"Its benefits and time saving over a crane comes in the ease of moving this machine from shed to shed or bay to bay or around a work site, as well as in the time it takes to set up and get working again after each move."
JCB boasts just 26 seconds is all it takes to go from travel position to fully rigged and ready to lift, with rapid one-touch automatic deployment and levelling of the stabalisers and the same to retract them.
The JCB 555-210 Roto uses the same 108kW 4.8 litre turbocharged and intercooled JCB EcoMax diesel engine - mounted low for the best centre of gravity - gearbox, axles, steering system and hydraulics as other standard JCB telehandlers in the range.
Even the cab is the same, although it rotates with the boom on the JCB 555-210 Roto and houses a separate display screen and controls for the rotation and crane functions.
A camera kit supplements large mirrors and ensures the operator has a clear view down the side of the machine and behind it.
Because of the lift capacity and rotation ability, the JCB 555-210 Roto does legally require the operator to hold a licence to operate a slewing crane.
"But it is very simple to operate, much like a standard telehandler," Mr van der Meulen pointed out.
"In terms of how much weight you can lift at what boom extension, it's all there on the screen in front of you - the machine tells you."
JCB's Clearview Q-fit with automatic RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) attachment recognition system enables attachments to be swapped in seconds and ensures the correct load chart is displayed on the screen.
All standard JCB telehandler attachments can be fitted to the 555-210 Roto and CEA has placed a volume order for a range of specialist attachments for the new machine.
While primarily aimed at the construction sector, Mr van der Meulen acknowledged the JCB 555-210 Roto was also likely to attract plenty of interest from the agricultural sector because of its versatility.
"The beauty of this machine is it has a 21m reach - in some of the bigger sheds now when you are stacking big bales that weigh over 800 kilograms, this machine has the capacity to lift bales and get them right over the back," he said.
"You've got the reach to go over the existing stack, you don't have to shift anything to get them there.
"The man basket is fully controllable by remote control from the basket - it comes with a remote control system.
"The basket can take four men, which is unusual as most are only for two men, but it means you can go up onto a shed roof to do repairs or maintenance - clean gutters, painting, replacing roof sheets after a storm, any number of jobs that require more than one at a time up there.
"On high silos with sloping tops you can work off the platform and use the remote control to position yourself."
CEA will distribute the JCB 555-210 Roto through construction equipment dealerships, but the high level of component commonality with other JCB machines means it can be supported for servicing by JCB agricultural machinery dealerships, Mr van der Meulen said.
Standard onboard telemetry also enabled remote systems monitoring and problem-solving diagnosis, with a technician from either an agricultural or construction dealership able to make adjustments or repairs, guided if needs be on the phone by a national JCB technician based at Welshpool with access to the telemetrics.
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