TECHNOLOGY

A new era for the telehandlers

THE MANITOU GROUP IS INTRODUCING A NUMBER OF FUNCTIONS TO PREPARE FARMERS FOR THE FUTURE.

The “Intelligent Hydraulics” pack found on the new MLT models is a great example of this. As Wim Roose, Product Development Manager for the agricultural market, explains: “This is just a first step in the upgrading of our machines. Our aim is to automate certain functions, and to develop new ones to continue to make them more comfortable and productive for the user. Innovation also applies in the services we are bringing to users, particularly in terms of the management and maintenance of their machines. We are looking to optimize the total cost of ownership, and will reinforce our efforts in this area in the years to come.” Maxime Deroch, President of the Services & Solutions division, emphasizes the current and future importance of collecting and analyzing machine data: “Our software is updated remotely as standard in order to promote ease of use. The aim is to upgrade the machine by means of options that users will be able to activate depending on their needs or keep as what we refer to as “dormant functions”.

Patents necessary for innovation

Having filed upwards of 80 patents since 2010, the engineering and R&D departments of the Manitou  group work each year on more accomplished innovations in order to produce increasingly upgradable ranges of machines. The patented roof grid fitted on machines in the MLT NewAg range provides a perfect illustration of the work carried out by engineers in order to increase the operator’s visibility and safety. The Manitou Joystick Switch & Move (JSM) filed several years ago by the Manitou group shows the lengths they go to in order to facilitate use of handling machines. The Double Switch Buttons (DSB) system (see opposite), which allows the user to select the location of the buttons inside the cab, has also been filed by the group. Other patents have also been filed, such as the Comfort Steering System on the MLT 840-1040 “Silent Force” machines launched at the end of 2016, and the Mustang 2100 RT track loader with IdealTrax.

Many of the innovations present at SIMA are linked directly to user comfort. Apart from the main criteria, performance and total cost of ownership, the number of hours farmers spend working with their machines means that comfort is also increasingly important. The “Comfort Steering System” fitted on the MLT 840 & MLT 1040 machines is a good example of this. This variable-assist steering system makes the vehicle easier to maneuver. A single turn of the steering wheel is now all that is needed for a complete rotation, drastically reducing the movements required of the user, and therefore MSD’s (musculoskeletal disorder). Many innovations are also to be found on the NewAg, in particular safe cab access thanks to the Easy-Step, and increased visibility from the cab as a result of the inclined blades of the roof grid, which increase the size of the visual field, in particular during handling operations carried out above the cab. Soundproofing, which limits the noise inside the cab to 73dB, adds additional comfort for the user. For improved information while driving, more than 80 pop-ups displayed on the dashboard screen help the farmer in his day-to-day work, notifying him of the functions offered by the Double Switch Buttons (DSB), helping him use his machine and warning him in case of faulty operation.

New services on offer

In order to meet the changing needs of users, the Manitou group is proposing new service offerings. Easy MANAGER, the solution connected to the Manitou group, has evolved, allowing the farmer to utilize all of the data of his machine in order to make better use of it and facilitating maintenance with the help of numerous indicators. This tool also offers facilitated migration to help integrate machine data into farm management systems. “Our Easy MANAGER solution will continue to evolve, and we will be able to measure new data and allow the user to work with ever-increasing precision, thus reducing his total cost of ownership,” observes Maxime Deroch. Through expert use and high-quality preventive maintenance, farmers can therefore expect a greater residual value from their machines, giving them a better resale price, and making it easier for them to invest in equipment fitted with the latest technological innovations. In particular, Easy MANAGER allows remote diagnostics and geolocation of the machine before the technician’s visit. This makes maintenance faster, and the tool helps identify the correct parts, saving the user and technician time-consuming trips. This solution helps strengthen the relationship between the distributor and user, showing the added value of sharing machine data. Three new long-term rental offerings with associated “ALL-IN” services have recently been launched for the group’s three main markets, agriculture, construction and industries. The “agriculture” offering involves renting a new machine at a guaranteed fixed rent for 6 years. After 3 years, a new machine is provided to the customer. This offering includes the Easy MANAGER solution as well as a choice between two levels of maintenance: preventive or preventive and corrective. The “ALL-IN” offering allows farmers to focus on their work without the concern of financing, maintaining and reselling their machine. It is available for the MLT ranges in the following countries: France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain and Portugal. “With renting accounting for nearly 50% of business in the industries and construction markets, we have strong reason to believe that renting will appeal to increasing numbers of farmers who need equipment fitted with the latest technological innovations at a lower cost”, adds Maxime Deroch.  The group’s new spare parts website www.manitou-parts.com has just been launched in France. Farmers can now order their genuine Manitou-certified spare parts online and have them delivered to their home address or to their distributor in the Manitou network. This site adds to the service offering of the Manitou group, aiming to provide greater value to its users and distributors.

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