FINNISH manufacturer, Avant Tecno, just launched its largest ever wheeled loader, the 800 Series and Chris McCullough visited the factory near Tampere to see the two new models and hear about the company’s ambitious expansion plans, for The Scottish Farmer.

BUSINESS could not be any better for Finnish wheeled loader manufacturer, Avant Tecno, which has just launched its largest and most powerful machines to date.

With production lines full and 110 loaders of all its 15 different models being manufactured each week at the factory near Tampere, the company is undergoing a massive expansion plan to help satisfy the strong demand.

Spending €10m over the next three years, it is building a longer production line jumping from 70m up to 130m to cope with sales demand and build the new 800 Series. Currently selling to 55 countries and turning over €100m for the first time in 2018, Avant hopes to increase that to €250m following its expansion plan – and Scotland is already one of the stronger areas that it sells to in the UK.

Consisting of two models, the 800 Series includes the 860 for the EU and North American markets and the 850 model for all other regions. The 800 Series will start production this summer for all of the company’s global markets.

The new models push the limits of compact loader’s performance boosting a 1,900kg lift capacity and 3.5m lift height. However, measuring only 1.5m wide, 3.4m long and 2.2m tall. and weight starting from 2500 kg, the 800 series has been designed to be a versatile and powerful compact performer.

Digging deeper into the specifications, the Avant 860i is powered with a Kohler KDI 1903 TCR 42 kW/57hp common rail turbocharged diesel engine which is EU Stage V and US Tier 4 final compliant. For the Avant 850, a Kubota V2403 36 kW/49hp diesel engine is used, making it suitable for markets outside the scope of EU Stage V and US Tier 4 final emission standards.

These models move using a hydrostatic transmission with a hydraulic drive motor on each wheel together with two drive speed areas, which is a familiar feature of Avant compact loaders. The maximum drive speed is 30 km/h and auxiliary hydraulics oil flow for attachments is as high as 80 l/min.

A telescopic loader boom is a standard feature on the series as well extending and retracting hydraulically 825mm and gives a maximum lift height of 3.5m to the hinge pin. This enables loading on trucks with high sides, or mixer feeder wagons, and unloading from a high level and a hydraulic self-levelling system keeps the load automatically level when lifting and lowering the boom.

The 800s have Avant’s quick attach system for implements, though other systems, like Euro 3, will be available as an option. The hydraulic hoses of the attachments are coupled with the multi connector, which allows easy connecting with a single hand movement, in all conditions.

Avant 800 series has a certified ROPS/FOPS open cab as standard, in addition an enclosed heated cab is available as an option. This DLX cab mounts on the chassis of the loader with anti-vibration mounts, which guarantees excellent noise and vibration isolation. Efficient heating, ventilation and large windows further improve the user friendliness of the DLX cab which can be equipped with air conditioning as well.

As well as the loaders, Avant also can supply more than 200 attachments for their loaders, all produced by sub-contractors.

The US is the most important market for Avant, where it sells around 800 loaders per year. In the UK, Avant sold more than 300 in 2018 along with 1500 attachments. Around 200 loaders per year go to Australia and 100 to New Zealand.

When comparing the new series to the previous model range, the 700 Series, the 800s have an extra 600kg lift capacity and 10% extra pushing power.

Avant Tecno’s sales director, Jani Kakela, said: “The 800 Series has an extra 47cms lift height compared to the 700 Series and 500kg more bucket crowd force. It sits 12cm higher, 33cm longer, 5cm wider and has an extra 10cm in wheel diameter.

“Customer needs are the basis for our R and D. This way we can develop products which have real demand on the market. So far, we have reached our targets well, however we must keep our finger on the pulse regarding the products, production as well as our operation as a whole.”

According to Raimo Ala-Korpi, managing director of Avant Tecno UK, the company is going to be ‘fairly aggressive’ with its pricing structure. He said: “The new 800 Series is going to be officially launched at the Bauma Show, in April. We are going to be fairly aggressive with the initial pricing which will be in the region of £40,000 (€45,000) plus VAT.”

Avant’s daughter company launches new access platform

Adding to its new products, it also launched a new access platform from its daughter company, Leguan.

The new Leguan 135 Neo is an easy-to-use, joystick operated lift that has all key operations made with a single joystick, which allows multiple boom operations to be made simultaneously.

The platform is equipped with both automatic and manual levelling. The automatic levelling is made simple, since all this operation requires is a single push of a button. This function operates seamlessly on sloped surfaces as well.

Leguan’s in-house designed automatic outreach control system measures the cage load and the maximum outreach is dependent on this automation. Taking the booms back to transit position has been made easy – the operator simply holds a single switch and the booms automatically find their way back to transit position.

In-house software development has prevented the work cage and booms from colliding with any other structure of the machine.

It is lower and narrower than its predecessors, and simplicity and service-friendliness have been two key aspects in the development of this machine.

Powered comes from a Honda GX390 petrol engine, which comes equipped with automatic revolution control and the 135 Neo can be equipped with either four-wheel-drive, or rubber tracks.

There is also an electric motor (230 V or 110 V) fitted which can move the lift and fully operate the functions when plugged in. A remote control operation for driving and outrigger operations are available as an option and it will be able to be bought as a battery-only operation later this year.