Bobcat – A 60 Year Legacy Second to None

Posted: 27 April 2018

This year Bobcat celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the loader and a sixty year legacy second to none in the worldwide construction equipment market.

The story began in 1958, when Melroe Manufacturing Company, the forerunner to Bobcat Company, introduced a compact front-end loader that evolved quickly into the M-400, the world’s first true skid-steer loader.  The M-400 was succeeded by the M-440 and in 1962, Melroe adopted what would become the world famous ‘Bobcat’ brand for the M-440 loader and its success created the global compact equipment industry we know today. 

Over the next sixty years, there were many more evolutions, but one thing always remained: Bobcat’s commitment to outstanding quality, workmanship and innovation that has helped to maintain its market leadership, so that one in every two skid-steer loaders sold today is a Bobcat machine.  Bobcat products have changed the way the world works and today the Bobcat brand and influence is as strong as ever.

In 2018, the range of compact loaders including skid-steer, compact track and all-wheel steer models that Bobcat has developed over the last six decades continues to dominate the market, combined with 100+ attachments to meet every specific customer’s needs. 

To mark this anniversary year, Bobcat is proud to share the timeline of innovations and events over the last 60 years that have helped establish the Bobcat legacy.  Part of this legacy has been expansion to offer a complete and wider range of compact products.  Bobcat moved into compact excavators well over 30 years ago and the company can also boast of 55 years of experience in telehandlers (through the acquisition of Sambron).  The company has continued to increase and develop these products so that today, Bobcat is pleased to offer full line-ups of both compact excavators and telehandlers that match the same tough internal requirements on reliability and productivity that Bobcat applies to the company’s loaders.

The beginning

In 1958, Melroe Manufacturing bought the rights to a 3-wheeled compact loader from Louis and Cyril Keller and brought the M-60 self-propelled loader to the market.  1959 saw the launch of the M-200, a three-wheeled model powered by a 12.9 HP engine.

The four-wheel-drive M-400 model, introduced in 1960, was the world’s first true compact skid-steer loader.  Some 200 units were built.

Bobcat born

In 1962, Melroe adopted the Bobcat brand for its machines in honour of the ‘tough, quick and agile’ animal.  The first Bobcat-branded skid-steer loader, the M-440, improved on its ground-breaking predecessor by adding a 15.5 HP, 2-cylinder Kohler engine, giving it a rated capacity of 500 kg.
The first Bobcat skid-steer loaders arrived in Europe in 1963. In 1969 the company was bought by Clark Equipment Company.

Loaders Expansion, Start of Bobcat Mini-Excavators

1970 saw the introduction of several key innovations, including the Bob-Tach quick-change attachment system, the ROPS (Rollover Protection Structure) operator guard as well as the M-970 model, the first skid-steer loader with a hydrostatic drive.

In 1972, the M-610 model with a Wisconsin gas engine was introduced and it remained the most popular Bobcat model for the next 10 years.  By the end of its life span, however, it was clear that the industry was moving away from clutch-drive loaders and transitioning to diesel-powered engines.

In 1982, Bobcat introduced the 40 series of loaders and the 743 model, in particular, quickly became the world’s most popular product in its class.  Bobcat became increasingly popular thanks to a conscious effort by the company management to avoid raising prices while not stripping away features, which turned out to be a significant market advantage in the economic recession of the early 1980s.

In 1986, Bobcat expands its product line with the addition of compact excavators. The Bobcat 56 was the first model, produced with an overseas partnership. In 1990 Bobcat manufactures the first compact excavator in the United States in Bismarck, North Dakota – the 220.

In 1990, Bobcat launched the new 50 Series model 753/853 loaders with the innovative BOSS electronic monitoring and diagnostic system, dual path cooling and single tilt cylinders.  Bobcat introduced the X-Change system in 1996, allowing excavator operators to quickly switch attachments.

In 1998, Bobcat launched the G-Series loaders with an increased focus on operator comfort.  New cabs were equipped with air-conditioning, increased elbow room, improved seats and enhanced instrumentation.  The new hydraulic Power Bob-Tach system gave operators the luxury of changing attachments at the touch of a button.

Adding tracks, half a million loaders sold

In 1999, Bobcat launched its first compact track loader – the 864.

The company’s 773 skid-steer loader became the most popular of its era and the 773 Turbo 500K edition from 2001 celebrated the half-millionth Bobcat loader production milestone.

Adding telehandlers to Bobcat family

In 2000, Bobcat Company purchased Sambron S.A., a long-established French manufacturer of telescopic handlers based at Pont-Château in northwest France. Sambron was one of the founding companies in the telehandler category.
In the same year, Bobcat revamped its line of compact excavators with the D-Series, focusing on manufacturability and cost reduction, while retaining the X-Change system. 

Three years later, the G-Series of loaders became the first in the industry to add air conditioning. 

The A220, introduced in Europe in 2001, was the world’s first compact loader which combined all-wheel steering with skid-steering.

In 2006, the loader line was completely remade with the M-Series, introducing the S650 (vertical lift path) and S630 (radius lift path).  The distinctive ‘cab-forward’ design improved visibility while the sealed and pressurized operator cab provided for a cleaner working environment, better lighting and the latest electronic instrumentation.

In 2006, Bobcat also launched its first European designed and manufactured mini-excavator, the 319 model.

Investments in EMEA, the arrival of Doosan

In 2007, Bobcat opened a new manufacturing plant and training centre in Dobris in the Czech Republic and a new logistics facility for machines and parts in Puurs, Belgium.  At the same time, the S100 model was launched as the first Bobcat loader to be both designed and manufactured in Europe. In the same year, Bobcat launched its innovative T2250 telehandler in Europe.

The sale of Bobcat Company to Doosan Infracore was announced in July 2007.  At that time, there were more than 170 dealers in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. The first Bobcat office in the Middle East opened in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in the same year.

In 2008, Bobcat celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the skid-steer loader and built its 750,000th loader. In 2012, Bobcat marked 25 years of success in the compact excavator market and in 2013, the 50th anniversary of the Bobcat telehandler plant at Pont-Château was celebrated.

One million Bobcat loaders

In 2014, special editions of the S650 and T650 were built to commemorate the production milestone of a million Bobcat loaders.

EMEA Investment in Research and Development

In 2015, Bobcat opened the new Innovation Center at Dobris, a European Engineering Centre of Excellence, serving as an expert R&D centre for all Doosan Bobcat engineering teams across EMEA.  A new Parts Distribution Centre for Bobcat products also opened in Dubai.

In 2015, Bobcat launched the new EVO Generation of rotary telehandlers and in 2016, a new range of backhoe loaders was introduced for markets in the Middle East and Africa. 

New generation telehandler ranges for construction and agriculture were also launched, backed by a new three-year warranty.

Redefining MEX industry standards

The new 2-4 tonne R-Series compact excavators developed at the Dobris Innovation Center are launched at the Intermat 2018 Exhibition.
Jemylia Raimbault, Senior Marketing & Training Director in EMEA, commented: “Over the last six decades, Bobcat products evolved dramatically and today we proudly offer a complete range of loaders, mini-excavators and telescopic handlers.  Throughout the range, Bobcat products share the same DNA: they are all tough, agile and versatile – built for demanding operators and ready to get tough jobs done.”

Bobcat Loaders Excel Again in 2019 LCO Awards

Posted: 31 May 2019

The company’s T590 compact track loader is the latest model in the Bobcat range to win a Lowest Cost of Ownership (LCO) Award. The T590 was the victor in the 2019 LCO Award for the Loaders Compact Track category, which last year was won by the Bobcat MT55 mini track loader. The Bobcat S70 skid-steer loader also triumphed in the 2019 LCO Awards, winning the Skid Steer Loaders Small category for the second year in a row.

The LCO Awards are the industry’s only accolade of their kind, based on empirical data regarding the long-term cost of heavy and compact equipment. They are organised by EquipmentWatch, a world leader in data, software and insights for the heavy equipment industry. Nominees are recognised within 15 different categories of machine that exhibit the lowest cost of ownership over a five year span.

Total cost of ownership is one of the most important aspects that buyers take into account when they purchase equipment. The awards won by the T590 and S70 are a testament to the reputation for high performance, quality and reliability that the Bobcat range of compact loaders, mini-excavators, telehandlers and attachments has established over the last 60 years.

Commenting on Bobcat’s success in the LCO Awards, Jiri Karmazin, Loaders Product Manager Doosan Bobcat EMEA, said: “We are delighted to win these awards again. They demonstrate why even after more than 60 years, the Bobcat compact loader range continues to be the market leader, so that one in every two skid-steer loaders sold today is still a Bobcat machine. It is our commitment to outstanding quality, workmanship and innovation that has helped to maintain our market leadership.”

The Bobcat T590 and S70 Compact Loaders

The T590 compact track loader has an operating weight of 3548 kg, a rated operating capacity (ISO 14397-1) of 971 kg and a tipping load (ISO 14397-1) of 2774 kg. A particular aspect of Bobcat compact track loaders like the T590 is the excellent ground-hugging abilities and stability offered by the tracks for work in harsh, wet conditions and for utilities and road maintenance with Bobcat planer and wheel saw attachments.

The S70 is the smallest model in the Bobcat skid-steer loader range. With a width of 901 mm, a height of 1814 mm, an overall length with standard bucket of 2472 mm and an operating weight of only 1268 kg, the S70 skid-steer loader ticks all the boxes for compactness, transportability and manoeuvrability. With its small dimensions, the S70 model can access sites with narrow openings such as gates, alleys or aisles. The S70 is ideal for work in tight areas where larger machines cannot manoeuvre effectively.

The T590 and S70, like all Bobcat compact loaders, are equipped with the quick-change Bob-Tach attachment mounting system, allowing them to be combined quickly and safely with a very wide choice of Bobcat attachments, delivering versatility and time-saving efficiency across a huge range of different applications.


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