Bell, Hitachi, Tracked Carriers

Bell carriers on track for Australia

A Bell Tracked Carrier operating on a quarry site

Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia is bringing the TC7A and TC11A Bell Tracked Carriers down under, where they will offer robust and rugged transport solutions for a wide range of industries.

Following successful debuts in both the United States and Europe, Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCA) is set to introduce two tracked carriers into the Australian market from South African heavy equipment manufacturer Bell Equipment.

Comprising the TC7A and TC11A models, Bell Equipment’s tracked carrier range was recently launched in Europe at the Bauma 2022 trade fair in Munich, Germany, where the vehicles attracted a lot of attention from attendees. Prior to this, the units underwent extensive prototype field testing in the United States before a successful launch at CONEXPO/CONN-AGG in 2020.

But what exactly has made these unassuming machines so appealing overseas, and what can they offer the Australian market?

Close-up of the undercarriage of a Bell Tracked Carrier
Bell’s proprietary undercarriage design ensures maximum track contact with the ground.

Built for tough conditions

Designed with off-road use in mind, these versatile vehicles are capable of transporting heavy loads over rough terrain, making them an ideal choice for applications such as mining, forestry, and construction. This also makes them a good fit for the rugged and varied terrain of Australia – particularly in remote areas.

“One of the reasons we were first asked to design the Tracked Carrier was for pipeline projects where sites are in remote areas that are difficult to access,” says David Gallina, HCA Product Manager – Hitachi Wheel Loaders and Bell Equipment.

“In the initial stage of a project, Bell Tracked Carriers are the only machines that can access these areas and minimise environmental damage. With a flatbed configuration, they also are an ideal solution for delivering wooden mats to remote areas so that other machines can gain access or carrying attachments like personnel carriers and welding machines.”

This versatility is in part due to Bell’s proprietary undercarriage design, which features walking beam mounted track rollers, ensuring maximum track contact with the ground.

According to David, this design philosophy was influenced by Bell’s years of experience designing articulated dump trucks.

“It provides the most evenly spread footprint on the market with optimal ground pressure contact and less track-point loading for longer track life and exceptional operator comfort,” he says.

The machines can also be fitted with a range of attachments – such as excavator arms, cranes, and winches – offering added versatility for a range of jobs.

“Landfill and ash pond management are other possible applications,” David says. “Track Carriers, with their low ground pressure, reduce the overall stress on landfill and ash pond infrastructure like plastic liners. They also excel at landfill sites when the ground is too steep or too muddy for rubber-tyred vehicles, and ash ponds where the slurry material creates unfavourable underfoot conditions for other vehicles.”

A TC11A Bell Tracked Carrier operating on a quarry site
The larger TC11A is available with either a flat bed or a dump body.

Breaking down the range

The medium-sized Bell TC7A tracked carrier is powered by a 6.7-litre Cummins engine that produces 225 horsepower and offers a 7-tonne carrying capacity.

The TC7A has a durable steel frame and features a comfortable purpose-built cab with air conditioning and ergonomic electric-over-hydraulic controls. This tracked carrier is kitted out with a multi-use dump bed with fold-down sides and a removable tailgate. The TC7A is designed to thrive in challenging conditions, where its advanced suspension system allows for a smooth ride over muddy or uneven terrain.

The Bell TC11A is also powered by a 6.7-litre Cummins engine, but offers 249 horsepower and an 11-tonne payload. This larger machine offers the same durability and comfort features as its smaller sibling, and is also available with two distinct bed options: a flat bed or a dump body.

The TC7A and TC11A have also been developed with safety in mind. The vehicles are designed to be highly stable and secure, with safety features that include ROPS and FOPS certified cabins, and automatic transmission lockouts. Both tracked carriers are also optimised for ease of operation, with their intuitive controls making them ideal for both experienced and inexperienced operators alike.

“The beauty of the Bell Tracked Carrier is that your options are endless,” David says. “Their performance is assured, and they have also been proven to offer a great return with rentals.”

The Bell TC7A and TC11A are expected to arrive in Australia from mid-2023.

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