7 April 2000

NIfirm weighs in with big, new telehandler…

By Peter Hill

NORTHERN Ireland farm machinery maker, Redrock Engineering, is a surprise entrant into the telescopic handler market.

The company will unveil its new contender – the Redrock TH300 – at the Balmoral Show next month. But outings at a couple of local dealer open days has already generated interest, and a couple of machines have already been retailed, says Redrocks marketing manager, Alistair Hinchcliffe.

"Its similar in size to the Matbro TR250, Manitou MLA and JCB Telemaster TM270 but built to a heavier duty, higher performance specification," he explains. "We think it will appeal to larger farms and contractors wanting more performance and durability."

Although the TH300 packs a familiar 106hp Perkins four-cylinder turbo engine in its tail, the machine has higher capacity hydraulics delivering 140 litre/min – up to 40% more than competitors. It is also reckoned to have a larger torque converter and beefier axles.

Drivetrain components, including a four-speed powershift gearbox and power shuttle, come from International Transmissions (ITL), the OEM sales arm of JCB Transmissions, Wrexham.

At 3000kg, outright lift capacity pips competitor machines too, although the 4.9m (16ft) lift height falls a little short of their capabilities. The TM270 goes to 5m (16ft 5in), while the MLA 628T manages 5.2m (17ft).

Wide section – Alliance 600/55 x 22.5 – tyres will be part of the standard equipment package, along with all-hydraulic servo controls for boom and implement operation.

"We put plenty of metal into the chassis, so there is no need for any counter-balance weight," adds Mr Hinchcliffe. "All up, the TH300 weighs in at 8.28t."

Although known well enough for its diet feeders, slurry pumps, trailers and silage grabs, Redrock Engineering, based at Coline, Co Armagh, is entering a highly competitive machinery sector with no track record in vehicle building.

The use of familiar components will help the machines credibility and at least the company is aiming to see something with the promise of a bit more performance than competitors, albeit at a premium price likely to start at around £49,000.

"Contractors who have seen the machine are already comparing it favourably with industrial wheel loaders," says Alistair Hinchcliffe. "And weve also been encouraged by those who say they like the idea of being able to buy a home-produced product."