Skid-Steer Converts from Tracks to Wheels

By Katie Weiler, Managing Editor | September 28, 2010

Model T320 features a new self-cleaning track design, faster travel speed, and the ability to change from tracks to tires.

One of the most innovative products exhibited at the World of Concrete Show in Orlando last month had to be Thomas Equipment's new T220 tracked skid-steer, which will be in full production this July and will be renamed the T320.

Model T320 marks the company's entry into the tracked skid-steer-loader market, which currently has nine manufacturers and 22 different models, according to construction The biggest differences between Thomas' loader and competitors' machines are the track design, faster travel speed, and the ability to change from tracks to tires.

The T320 features a self-cleaning track design that uses large-diameter front and rear open sprockets. The design provides increased track wrap—up to 180 degrees around the drive sprocket—to eliminate track slippage or ratcheting and its associated wear, the company says.

"Most designs utilize a high rear drive sprocket to raise the external drive motors as well as their hydraulic hoses and fittings away from the ground to help prevent damage to these components," according to Peter Mabee, product manager. "Thomas has moved the drive motors inside the machine and out of harms way, which allows the use of large diameter drive sprockets and idlers."

The loader has 18-inch-wide tracks and a 48.75-inch wheelbase, providing a footprint of 877.5 square inches on each side. Its track features a multi-ply belt that is 1.25 inches thick and contains no steel. Molded over the belt is 1.25 inches of deep tread, providing a 2.5-inch-thick track assembly. With 5.8-psi ground pressure, the machine has the flotation and traction needed to work in virtually all ground conditions.

When weather improves and you need to operate on dry, hard surfaces, you can change from tracks to 12.00×16.5 flotation tire, four-wheel drive. Thomas will make that conversion free of charge the first time. The process takes one person about 2½ hours. Rental houses have expressed an interest in that option so they can rent those machines all year round. During the wet months, they'll rent it as a tracked model; in dry months, they'll convert it to a wheeled machine.

According to Thomas, the 12,000-pound T320 is the fastest track skid-steer on the market. It is powered by an 87.4-hp Kubota turbo diesel. With its shift-on-the-go, two-speed drive system, it has a low speed high torque work range plus a 12.3-mph travel range. The machine also provides more than 7,000 pounds of breakout force and a rated lift capacity of 2,200 pounds.

The skid-steer comes equipped with a standard bucket, but it can accept many other attachments with its Universal Quick Attach system. In addition to a standard 21 gpm auxiliary hydraulic circuit, an optional high flow package delivers 40 gpm and 3,000 psi. The company says that's more than 70 hydraulic horsepower—enough to power any high-flow attachment.

Model T320 comes with Thomas' standard no charge five-year, 5,000-hour warranty. This breaks down into a fully transferable three years, 3,000 hours full machine followed by an additional two-year, 2,000-hour power train warranty. Estimated list price is $44,000 for the two-speed version.