Mecalac | The French connection

Mecalac | The French connection

A Mecalac machine demonstration day provided the opportunity to meet the latest entrant in the manufacturer’s MDX range of site dumpers.

A touch of Gallic design flair descended on rural Warwickshire recently with the global debut of a new Mecalac. The manufacturer’s 3.5MDX cabbed dumper was joined at the event by hydrostatic versions of its bigger siblings in the materials shifting range, as well as the same company’s AX1000 articulated wheel loader.   

The most compact of the MDX portfolio the 3.5 may be but there’s certainly no compromise on the quality of the build. Anyone already familiar with the 6MDX & 9MDX tonne dumpers will, for instance, experience a distinct feeling of déjà vu when climbing its self-cleaning easy access footsteps because the 3.5MDX benefits from exactly the same cab, with all the space that existing Mecalac users have become accustomed. A curved windscreen brings the A posts back, providing enhanced visibility from the driver’s seat, and reducing potential blind spots, whilst the air con option will certainly improve the operator experience. In addition, the MDX range remains the only cabbed dumpers with an isolated cab, reducing noise and vibration levels for the occupant.

Making daily service checks easier means you’ve got a better chance of them actually being carried out and here everything can be conducted from ground level, whilst this smallest machine in the range is afforded the same durable body panels as its MDX counterparts, including the protection afforded to the cooling pack by an 8mm plate to the rear. At the same time, all MDX machines are equipped with four LED work lights as standard – two to the front and two at the rear.  

Featuring a Stage V-compliant Kubota D1803 1.8L turbocharged 3-cylinder diesel engine, the powertrain delivers 50hp (37kW) at 2,700rpm and a peak torque of 150.5Nm at 1,600rpm. A diesel particulate filter (DPF) and diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) ensures it hits all the right emissions levels, whilst the unit will be available as a straight or swivel tip with 180º rotation, with Mecalac anticipating that the majority will opt for the latter. One of the wettest May’s on record had churned our Midlands test ground into just the kind of challenging terrain you’ll want to test a dumper on but, thanks to a permanent hydrostatic four-wheel-drive system, and high and low range gearing for both forward and reverse, the 3.5MDX will not be found wanting. Add to that a travel speed of 12.4mph (20kph) an operating weight of 2,990kg, length of 3.8m, width of 1.9m and height of 2.8m, and you have a very nimble onsite materials handling solution.  

The latest 6 and 9 tonne MDX site dumpers on show at the Mecalac machine demo were also in the hydrostatic option. Already an established favourite on the continent, the smooth and interrupted power and dynamic braking the system affords makes it destined to become the industry transmission of choice in the not-too-distant future. The site dumper is a class of equipment that has been under scrutiny from safety perspective in recent years and hydrostatic wins out on those terms, as well as in user-friendliness and reduced maintenance, which means, as far as its premium MDX brand is concerned, Mecalac is supplying what the market is increasingly turning towards.

Wheel Loader
The Mecalac AX1000 articulated wheel loader was another Warwickshire debutant, having never previously been showcased to the press on these shores. It’s fair to say that this is a class of equipment that is still more common on the continent, but the AX range that Mecalac has brought to the UK market features a choice of three multi-purpose models. In each instance the number designates the bucket capacity, with the AX700 featuring 0.7m3, the AX850 0.85m3, and the largest AX1000, 1.0m3.

Where this unit can score with contractors is a facility to run attachments – such as hand-held breakers – from its factory-fitted hydraulic connectors at the rear of the machine. Add to that a hydraulic quick coupler on the front as standard, and you have a very versatile on-site asset. The whole AX range is equipped with a Stage V 2.9-litre engine, with either 50 or 55kW output.

Mecalac has thought carefully about how these machines are used on site and that’s reflected in the design. There’s very easy access in and out of the cab, for example, which operators on road repair jobs, where they may well be in and out operating tools, will find welcome, and there’s exceptional levels of visibility to the bucket from the driver seat. Being inside the loader the bucket cylinder is protected from damage, and there’s high levels of tear out force.    

In addition, this French manufacturer has a tradition of innovation and that reflect in the AX by its self-stabilising system, with an articulated pendulum joint that makes carrying heavy loads across uneven terrain significantly safer and easier. 

That Mecalac is a company that does things differently is exemplified in the Stage V 8MCR on show. Whilst it has benefitted from a recent refresh, including an updated cab that brings it into line with the MWR in terms of comfort levels, it’s the existing functionality and flexibility that has earned all the plaudits. A highly compact build is coupled with a 10km track speed, the ability to run as a tracked loader – with increased loaded capacities facilitated by place the skid bucket against the blade – and exceptional levels of reach and lift capacity.

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