At first glance, it's an unorthodox product introduction for an equipment manufacturer that, for 35 years, has exclusively served the hard-rock underground mining industry worldwide.
Not so, says Scott Johnston of MacLean Engineering. A sidewalk-friendly, all-season municipal vehicle designed to serve the North American market, the MacLean MV is “a natural evolution” for a company specialized in building rugged machines for niche markets working in harsh conditions. In that respect, the MV is right up the road forged by company founder Don MacLean, who built a legacy of innovation based in the underground mining hub of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, with such product lines as the Scissor Bolter mechanized bolting systems and Blockholer secondary breaking systems.
“We wanted to look at other things we could build that took advantage of our core strengths,” says Johnston, technical sales manager and product development manager with MacLean's diversified products division.
“Whereas there are large manufacturers in the mining market that build products that have very broad market appeal, Don uncovered some specific needs within that broad market and built machines to cover those more specific needs. Also, underground mining is an extremely demanding environment, and it's an extremely toxic and corrosive environment in general,” says Johnston. “Municipal tractors take advantage of heavy frames and axle, working in that toxic, corrosive salt and sand environment, in extreme conditions.
“We realized these are areas where we do have some expertise in. Albeit they're in a different field, but the environment is very similar. We wanted to build products that shared a common level of technology and similar, very demanding environment, and that's how we got to this tractor.”
Powered by a 127-horsepower Caterpillar engine, the articulating and oscillating MV is driven by a hydrostatic transmission coupled with two-speed mechanical gearbox and, with full-time four-wheel drive, can reach a working speed of about 7.5 miles per hour and travel speed of about 20 miles per hour. Key to the versatility demanded of the municipal market, says Johnston, the MV stands out from other equipment types for its ability to power attachments both hydraulically and mechanically.
“A standard agricultural tractor is strictly rigid-framed and, when you go to power an attachment, you power it with a mechanical power take-off (PTO). Then take a skid steer, for example: That's also a rigid-framed machine that drives like a tank. When you need to power an attachment, you would power it hydraulically with a connector on the front of the machine,” he says. “On a municipal tractor like ours, we have a wide variety of methods to power attachments, from a high-horsepower snow blower to a front-mount broom or rear-mount sander. Our tractor has a front-mount mechanical PTO, as well as front- and rear-mount standard high-flow hydraulics.”
About two years after starting with a clean sheet of paper, says Johnston, the first MV rolled off the assembly line at a new Ontario plant in mid-January. Six months later, the company announced an agreement to acquire 25-year-plus attachment manufacturer Kanlan, which supplies such tools as snow plows, blowers and water tanks for MacLean and other OEMs.
|Basic Specs: The MacLean MV|
|Operating Weight||6,292 lb.|
|Engine Power||127 HP|
|Max. Working Speed||7.5 mph|
|Max. Travel Speed||20 mph|