5 January 2001

Loaders view of the future

Five models, eight variants

and 27 months from

drawing-board to dealers

yards – the Claas Targo

telehandler range is here.

Andy Moore reports from

the cab of the K60 model

WITH its futuristic cab, side-mounted engine and low-slung looks, the Claas Targo range would appear to set new standards in telehandler design since its launch at Smithfield 2000.

Built by Caterpillar at Saxham, Suffolk, the Targo range is to be distributed by Claas – in Claas livery – through its UK and European dealer network.

The range includes the Targo K50, K60 and K70 models, together with the entry level C50 and C40 loaders which are powered by side-mounted Perkins engines, delivering 106hp and 86hp, respectively.

For those seeking extra grunt to deal with silage clamp work or bulk handling duties (and prepared to shell out nearly £2000 more), K models can be fitted with a 122hp Perkins block.

In terms of performance, the Targo K50 offers a 3t lift capacity and 6m lift height, the K60 4t and 6.2m, with the K70 rated at 3.5t and 7.2m.

Keen-eyed readers will notice that although the larger 122hp Perkins engine delivers an extra 16 horsepower, lift capacities and heights for K models remain exactly the same.

"The loader market is now led by farmers placing more emphasis on horsepower rather than specifying a machine with a certain lift capacity and height," says Andrew Rabett of Claas UK. "The 106hp engine should be more popular among livestock producers, seeking a machine for a range of tasks, while the 122hp option may find favour with medium to large growers and contractors."

Meanwhile, back to the biggy – the larger K range. farmers weekly tracked down a 106hp K60 model on a farm near Saxham, where sugar beet loading gave the chance to test the machines Panavision cab and lift performance.

First stop chassis and panel work.

A low boom pivot point, says Claas, has been achieved by positioning the side-mounted Perkins unit at 17í, with oil cooler and radiators squeezed into the remaining void.

Drive from the 1004 series block is supplied through a Full Powershift torque converter transmission to Carraro axles which are operated in permanent four-wheel drive.

But while the K60 scores well on driveline and engine layout, there may be those who would say that there is room for improvement in the panel work department. Lightweight glass fibre panels house the engine and main hydraulic valves at the base of the boom which, together with a finger-trapping drawer for the battery, are unlocked by a large Allen key.

One of the most eye catching features of the Targo range is its futuristic Panavision cab.

One step up and you are there, confronted by the long sweeping windscreen which extends from the dashboard to over the operators head. Such voluminous glazing could conceivably cause some discomfort in sunny weather, should we ever get any. Taking up the £1620 air conditioning option could be essential.

All controls are arranged sensibly in front of the driver, eliminating the need for any excessive spine twisting. A fully adjustable steering column can be moved to suit operators having extreme proportions.

Twisting the ignition key brings the Perkins unit to tickover, albeit with some noise level and vibration from the dashboard and electro-hydraulic joystick lever.

Claas insists these snags are caused due to this machine being fresh off the production line, and only a few tweaks and a PDI are needed to put them right.

On the plus side, the torque converter transmission comes up trumps with its smooth power shift control, while the shuttle lever and twist grip enables the 4×3 gears to be selected in an easy fashion.

The lower output 106hp engine produces ample grunt for achieving rapid cycle times in sugar beet shifting and the 122lt/min load sensing hydraulic system provides impressive muscle to crowd, lift and dump the bucket, even at tickover.

Winding up the engine gives unnerving fast hydraulic response, which is probably best reserved for delivering greater lift power and traction on the silage clamp or in very sticky conditions.

In these situations, the Targo K range can be specified with a semi-automatic kick down facility which down shifts the transmission by a single speed when the loader encounters high resistance.

For technology buffs, the K range is also available with an Automatic Powershift Controller (APC), which is designed to automatically shift up and down its 6×4 gears, according to ground contours, gradient and tractive demands. &#42

Above: Back to the future… The Claas Targo Panavision cab is designed to provide 91.6í of uninterrupted vision from a one-piece windscreen which extends from dashboard to over the driver. Right: Targo K models can be fitted with 106hp or 122hp side-mounted Perkins units which are offset at 17í to accommodate oil coolers and radiators.