Schaffer 3550 Articulated Loader

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Updated: July 12, 2016

Independently Test Driven by Earthmoving Equipment Magazine

Built in Germany from quality components, there is no messing about when you’re in the presence of the tough Schaffer 3550 Articulated Loader!

Our test site was a decent-sized golf course with lots of room and plenty of loads to move from A to B, then back to A again. The first noticeable feature about this machine is its size; there is no way it’s going to get small man’s syndrome. That said, on paper it’s smaller than you think: with the removable hard top on, its height is 2.23m and without a bucket the length is 3.68m. It’s also worth mentioning the 2.95 pivot point, which is higher than most, if not all, tiny telehandlers at full extension.

There are two very different and very important features about the Schaffer compared to similar articulated loaders on the Australian market.

Number 1: the oscillating articulation joint means that not only does the machine articulate from left to right, but the front and rear sections of the machine oscillate up and down. Think about driving up a large gutter, one front wheel climbs up while the other three remain in contact with the road (in the same situation other machines could potentially have two wheels spinning freely in the air). This motion gives stability, reduces the stress factor on working parts and provides extra traction and comfort that is expected from a machine with four wheels.

Number 2: while in control of the loader, the operator is sitting in the rear section. This provides more space, a better field of vision and, most importantly, makes more sense when in control of a moving articulated vehicle. To sit in the front is like reversing a trailer while being in the trailer!

As tempting as some circle work on the green was, we had some work to do. In the driver’s seat the operator has an excellent vision of what’s going on, controls are simple and robust and movement is smooth and fluid. The 4WD system is traditional with Limited Slip differentials front and rear powered by true hydrostatic with drive shaft directly driven from the bulletproof 50hp Kubota diesel engine.

After some practice manoeuvres and getting accustomed to the controls I tested the pushing power. Driving into a large compost pile and filling the loading bucket was no problem. The next step was to find a large tree stump, pick it up and drive across uneven ground: too easy! Now I’m impressed with the stability of this machine while moving loads. The load chart says it will take a load of 2050kg to tip over the machine while in the straight position and 1600kg to tip while in an articulated position. Without a bucket fitted this machine weighs 3150kg so I’m thinking the load chart is impressive.

It’s obvious to me that this loadhandling device can do its job to a ‘T’. It is built like a German tank! The rose joints in charge of keeping the front connected to the rear are larger than both my hands made into a fist and come with a whopping 3000-hour warranty. The hydraulics have a 2000-hour warranty while the rest of the machine has a general 12-month warranty. Schaffer has a national dealer network – WA, QLD, VIC, SA and NT – and has been selling for more than 10 years. The spares department provides overnight delivery to most of mainland Australia while your local Kubota dealer can look after any engine service requirements.

The Schaffer 3550 is built to last and perform its duty day after day. If you’re looking at getting a loader then you must take a closer look at the Schaffer 3550.

Australian machines generally have an output ranging from 26hp-130hp. With a multitude of attachments that can be swapped over without even getting out of the driver’s seat and fuel economy that is second to none, Schaffer could be just what your business needs.

For more information call 1300 882 161 or visit www.schaffer-loaders.com.au