Innovative Iron Awards

Every year, we document the evolution of construction equipment. Some years, that evolution is ridiculously rapid. Other years, it’s cautious and slow. 2013 might be considered the latter. You might not realize it by the wealth of new machines released throughout the past 12 months, but many equipment makers are simply updating models and product lines with Tier 4 emissions-compliant diesel engines.

The real Innovative Iron award-winners in 2013 are those manufacturers who stepped up specs or added brand-new technologies to offset the high cost of these Tier 4 power plants to end-users. Innovations were judged on three main criteria: how a product was better than the competition; what it brings to the market that is missing or needed; and how it makes contractors more productive and efficient in a year where Tier 4 engines dominated budgets. So take your time, peruse this page and enjoy Compact Equipment’s top products of 2013.   

Keith Gribbins is managing editor of Compact Equipment, based in Brecksville, Ohio.

Innovative Iron AwardsComfort, Safety and Automation

Cat D Series Compact Track Loaders and Multi Terrain Loaders Released in October

Three new Cat D Series compact track loaders and three new Cat D Series multi terrain loaders (as well as two updated D Series compact track loaders) are setting the bar for comfort, safety and automation features. The new and updated machines feature a completely new cab with first-in-class designs that enhance operator comfort and control, new lift arm design for improved sight lines and loader linkage self-leveling for greater productivity. The optional Advanced Display control monitor is an industry exclusive and expands the number of security (operator) codes to 50 and can store and recall the operating preferences for each one. These preferences include language, gauge style, ride-control setting, creep speed, top-speed limit, response for the hystat drive system and response for the implement control system. The Advanced Display is video-capable and supports the first integrated rearview camera ever offered on compact track loaders. The D Series models feature the Cat Intelligent Leveling system, which provides a number of industry leading features, including electronic snubbing, return-to-dig and work tool positioning. For more info, visit

Ditch Witch RT30 Compact Ride-On TrencherPower Meets Price

The Ditch Witch RT30 Compact Ride-On Trencher Released in June

In a volatile economy, price point machines are popular — especially when they are powerful and efficient alternatives to their bigger brothers. The Ditch Witch RT30 compact ride-on trencher is just such a machine, meeting rental customers’ needs for a trencher that is more powerful than walk-behind trenchers yet is agile enough for tight worksites and more affordable than standard-size ride-on trenchers. The reliable 24.8-hp RT30 trenches up to 8 in. wide and 42 in. deep. Its 42-in. boom provides a 36-in. cover depth, which satisfies most city codes and requirements for utility installation. Design features include a spacious and comfortable operator station, easy-to-use controls, four-wheel drive, ground drive speeds of 5.3 mph forward and 2.7 mph in reverse (matched with a tight turning radius). Manufactured to reduce downtime, the compact trencher features the industry-leading DuraTooth digging system (where the trencher’s chains, teeth and sprockets fit seamlessly together to enhance productivity). For more info, visit

Case SR210 Skid SteerBeyond Engine Upgrades 

The Case SR210 Skid Steer Released in October

Sure the SR210 from Case Construction Equipment is a new Tier 4 Final model, but with big enhancements that go beyond after-treatment technologies. The SR210 features EZ EH controls and best-in-class torque, breakout force and standard auxiliary hydraulic flow. The new machine increases its rated operating capacity to 2,100 lbs when compared to its predecessor (the SR200). The cooled exhaust gas recirculation (CEGR) engine design with particulate matter catalyst helps reduce maintenance and increases engine power by 10 percent. The SR210 also features one of the largest cabs and lowest entry thresholds in the industry, says Case, improving operator comfort. For more info,

Gehl RT250 Compact Track LoaderStaying on Track

The Gehl RT250 Compact Track Loader Released in March

Tracks give compact track loaders extra power, traction and flotation, but they must be maintained properly. The Gehl RT250’s standard, in-cab adjustable “Straight Tracking” feature does that by allowing an operator to balance the left and right track speed to ensure the machine travels perfectly straight. During normal operation machines can move out of factory adjustment parameters as components wear, resulting in a unit that drifts left or right. This adjustment is now as simple as a few button presses on the multi-function display to set this feature, which complements the IdealTrax Automatic Track Tensioning system, operator friendly 5×5 Drive Control Adjustment system and the company’s Horsepower Management system. For more info, visit

Kubota Grand L60 Series TractorsQuick Attach

The Kubota Grand L60 Series Tractors Released in June

Exchanging implements quickly is extremely important for tool carriers. Taking a page from skid steers, the Grand L60 Series features the Kubota-exclusive Fully Auto 4 Point Quick Hitch that allows operators to hook up a front implement without having to get out of the cab or off the tractor. The Fully Auto 4 Point Quick Hitch is versatile, with attachments that include blades up to 84 in., rotary brooms up to 72 in., commercial snowblowers up to 80 in. and a Kubota first for the tractor segment, a 72-in. front flail mower. The HST models feature a HST Plus transmission with stall guard, HST response control, Auto H-DS, Auto Throttle Advance, cruise control and a Kubota exclusive that allows the operator to raise engine RPM without increasing tractor speed. For more info, visit

Bobcat E85 Minimal Tail Swing ExcavatorBig Mini

Bobcat E85 Minimal Tail Swing Excavator Released in July

Bobcat Co.’s latest addition to its M-Series excavator lineup, the E85 minimal tail swing machine, is the largest machine in the company’s compact excavator family, but still mobile and maneuverable. The 8.5-ton E85 provides increased arm and bucket forces, fuel efficiency and cycle times. This heavy-duty excavator also features a number of operator conveniences including a blade float, multi-function joysticks, color instrumentation panel and an auto-shift drive system. At an operating weight of 18,960 lbs and an overall width of 91 in., it is powered by a 59.4-hp diesel engine that is Tier 4 compliant. The diesel engine features a high-pressure common-rail fuel injection system, diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and a diesel particulate filter (DPF). For more info, visit

Cushman Hauler PRO UTV Electric Alternative

The Cushman Hauler PRO UTV Released in October

The new Hauler PRO takes electric golf carts to a commercial construction work level. The Hauler PRO features a 72-volt AC electric drivetrain, upgraded from more traditional 48-volt systems, that offers up to 50 miles of range between charges. The patented AC Drive technology also ensures that the Hauler maintains consistent power and performance from the first pre-dawn chores to the last light of dusk, without the noisy drone of a gas engine. The AC Drive technology is up to 25 percent more energy-efficient than DC technology and also provides for unique features such as regenerative braking that recharges the batteries whenever the vehicle’s brakes are applied and also speed control to maintain constant speeds up and down steep slopes. For more info, visit

Polaris BRUTUS  Line of Commercial UTVsAttachment-Taking Work Trucks

The Polaris BRUTUS  Line of Commercial UTVs Released in March

A decade ago, Polaris closed down its commercial division of UTVs and ATVs, called the Polaris Professional Series. In 2013, the company relaunched a reinvigorated commercial-focused utility vehicle product line called the BRUTUS. The BRUTUS Series is a synergy between both Polaris and its partner Bobcat. The new UTVs leverage the strengths of both Polaris’ expertise in off-road vehicles and Bobcat’s long-standing experience in work vehicles and attachments. The end result: A utility vehicle that has fully integrated powered attachment capabilities at their fingertips. The BRUTUS Series is the first side-by-side utility vehicle in the market to deliver front-end power take-off (PTO) capability that provides users the ability to operate fully integrated powered attachments with ease.  Instead of simply being a people and cargo mover, the BRUTUS HDPTO can sweep, mow, blow, lift, scoop and plow. Commercial users have the ability to complete more tasks with less equipment, which directly impacts their bottom line. For more info, visit

Vermeer SC30TX Stump CutterA Cut Above

The Vermeer SC30TX Stump Cutter Released in February

The SC30TX features two big winning features: 1) a dependable electronic fuel injection (EFI) gas engine that performs well during cold-weather starts, reducing occurrence of engine flooding over comparable carbureted gas engines and 2) two individually controlled tracks that provide a zero turning radius. Both features married together make the SC30TX the ideal stump cutter for rental business owners and their customers. The 25-hp Kohler EFI gas engine produces the necessary torque for challenging ground conditions and stubborn tree stumps. The optional AutoSweep system monitors engine speed and automatically adjusts cutter wheel sweep to reduce engine and structural stress. The 16-in. cutter wheel on the SC30TX is positioned in the center for easy alignment. For more info, visit

Volvo L30G Wheel LoaderRoll Power

The Volvo L30G Wheel Loader Released in October

The new Volvo L30G is more powerful and fuel efficient than ever before and has the versatility and breakout and lifting forces expected from larger machines. The G-Series’ dual hydraulics system means never having to exchange lifting power for steering ability. Because two largely independent hydraulic systems work together simultaneously, lifting doesn’t have to take a backseat while the machine is on the move. The L30G also has a powerful, new, fuel-efficient Volvo engine that meets demanding emissions requirements of Tier 4 Final regulations. The Tier 4 Final Volvo engine (75 hp) is electronically controlled for better fuel efficiency, and with the engine perfectly matched to the drivetrain, the L30G has the power necessary to take on heavy-duty jobs. For more info, visit

Doosan Portable Power P185 and C185 CompressorsClean Air

The Doosan Portable Power P185 and C185 Compressors Released in December

Doosan Portable Power introduced the industry’s first Tier 4 Final air compressors in the form of its most widely used models — the P185 and C185. With 100 psi at 185 cfm, the P185 and C185 meet the needs of a variety of applications, from powering handheld air tools, to sandblasting, sprinkler and irrigation line blow-out, cable laying and pipeline testing. After extensive testing and review, Doosan Portable Power selected a 49-hp Deutz D2.9 L4 electronic engine with DOC-only after-treatment to power the C185 and P185. A new control panel equipped with an LED backlit display allows operators to easily view multiple machine parameters, including ambient temperature, engine oil pressure, percent engine load and airend temperature. The model also includes the industry’s largest toolbox for quick, convenient storage. For more info, visit

IHI 17VXE Electric ExcavatorDigging Electric

The IHI 17VXE Electric Excavator Released in June

If you’re going to make an electric excavator aimed at working indoors and other venues, it needs to fit through small doorways. IHI has a great option for you. The 17VXE electric excavator has the widest expandable tracks in its class, going from 3 ft, 3 in. to 4 ft, 2 in., providing greater stability and ease of getting into tight-to-reach places. Its three-phase/480-volt motor provides the same power as the diesel engine model without giving up the performance you have grown to expect from the IHI brand. With many other desirable design features on this machine, you won’t go wrong in choosing the 17VXE for both indoor and tight-to-reach applications. For more info, visit


Miller Trailblazer 325 Diesel Welder/Generator

Multi-Process Welding

The Miller Trailblazer 325 Diesel Welder/Generator Released in September

Miller designed the Trailblazer 325 Diesel to be the most fuel-efficient diesel welder/generator in its size class without sacrificing any power or performance. The Trailblazer 325 Diesel welder/generator delivers multi-process welding capabilities and smooth generator power, with innovative technologies designed for the professional welder. The welder/generator is designed to extend runtimes by 55 percent, reduce fuel use by as much as 25 percent and reduce noise by 40 percent for a safer, more productive jobsite. A redesigned case — now 7 in. shorter and up to 80 lbs lighter — provides a smaller footprint, allowing a work truck to carry more equipment and heavier payloads. Two industry-exclusive technologies — Smart-Cor technology and Auto-Speed technology — anchor the new Trailblazer 325 Diesel welder/generators. For more info, visit

JLG G5-18A Compact TelehandlerSmall Size, High Lift

The JLG G5-18A Compact Telehandler Released in February

The G5-18A super compact telehandler features a 127-in. turning radius, enabling movement through crowded jobsites and a stowed height of less than 76 in., making it ideal for work in confined or congested spaces as well as parking garages or any application with overhead height restrictions. The machine also offers a variety of attachments for versatility in handling jobsite challenges. Redesigned in 2013, the G5-18A features a maximum lift height up to 18 ft, an extended outreach of 11 ft and a 5,500-lb maximum lifting capacity. Operators will also appreciate the enhanced visibility and comfortable cab, designed to reduce operator fatigue. The G5-18A also offers savings through its powerful, Tier 4 Final Deutz engine, which provides higher levels of fuel efficiency and reduces the impact on the environment. For more info, visit

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