Innovative Iron Award Winner: Ditch Witch’s SK1750 Mini Skid Steer

Ditch Witch SK1750 with New Track System

The Top Construction Landscape and Rental Equipment Launched in 2023

Innovative Iron Logo 2023

The world of off-highway machinery is evolving — battery-powered units, hydrogen engines, luxury and economy tiering, machine control automation — but maybe the biggest evolution is that everyone wants a compact machine. Small, tool-carrying construction equipment now make up about 50 percent of the U.S. machinery market with mini excavators and compact track loaders being the two most popular categories in America. To meet this enormous demand, machine makers released some pretty awesome machines in the past 12 months: advanced skid steers, electric asphalt pavers, entry-level grade control attachments and so much more. The 2023 Innovative Iron Awards celebrate the best of these compact equipment launches. Scouring tradeshows, visiting manufacturers, operating units, interviewing experts, this annual compilation represents the best equipment we’ve seen and experienced all year, including…

Ditch Witch’s SK1750 Mini Skid Steer

Ditch Witch already offers one of the biggest and most diverse range of stand-on tool carriers in the American marketplace. It’s mini skid steer range includes five important units from its SK800 up to its SK1550. Then there’s the Ditch Witch ST37X stand-on trencher and its wheeled Zahn tool carrier. Going real big, there’s the giant SK3000 unit, a previous Innovative Iron Award winner, which Ditch Witch calls a full-size skid steer, which it nearly is except operators stand on the back without the cab. In 2023, Ditch Witch added even more innovation to its mini skid steer line with the SK1750 — a new evolution in small track tool carriers.

“This unit will replace the SK1550,” said Brant Kukuk, compact equipment product manager at Ditch Witch, during an interview at Utility Expo in September. “So it’s still the second largest in the market. We revamped the undercarriage. It has a completely new undercarriage on it. It’s a new TriTrax track system, so it’s got three key benefits. One is it’s a smoother ride for the customer. Two, it’s a longer life because of the roller design, and three it has a patent pending feature, which is a tension window that you can visually see if your tension is set correctly.”

Unlike other mini track loaders, the SK1750 allows operators to visually check track tension without the hassle of threading a separate gauge tool. Additionally, the TriTrax track system offers a remarkably smooth and comfortable ride, even when transporting heavy loads across rough terrain. The design of the tracks minimizes ground disturbance, enabling operators to work more efficiently and reduce the time spent repairing damaged turf on the jobsite. The redesigned rollers significantly extend the machine’s reliability and productivity. The SK1750 is designed to excel in landscape, irrigation and tree care projects, offering the reliability and power to tackle most tasks with ease.

“It’s more similar to a track loader or a CTL,” explained Kukuk. “With the new track system on it, the weight of the machine increased, so we made the track longer to actually decrease the ground pressure. So when you’re going across nice manicured lawns, the ground pressures decrease because there’s more track on the ground, so you don’t tear up the turf as bad. Since we’ve added weight, we’ve made the wheel base longer. With a heavier machine, you can lift more. So that’s where the name comes from. It’s rated [operating capacity] is now at 1,800 lbs without the weight kit. With the weight kit, it’s at 2,000 lbs.”

Other important specs: The SK1750 boasts a 43.5-hp Yanmar diesel engine, max hinge pin height of 94.5 in., tipping capacity of 5,213 lbs and an aux. flow rate of 16 gpm at 3,700 psi. “The auxiliary system that’s optional where you can run dual auxiliary attachments,” noted Kukuk,” and then we also have two plate options. Right now the standard mini skid steer plate and then a full-size skid steer plate, so you can run full-size skid steer attachments on this machine if you want.”

The 3322-in. operator platform on the SK1750 provides a stable, comfortable ride, and there’s a full-color LCD display that provides direct visibility and insight into all engine diagnostics. Overall, the SK1750 is not merely an incremental upgrade. It’s big step forward that addresses critical industry challenges like machine longevity, application versatility, workforce shortage and the idea of big power in a small package. We’re all excited to see where the rest of Ditch Witch’s mini skid steer lineup goes.

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Keith Gribbins is publisher of Compact Equipment