Review of JCB ROTO 5.5 -21 (360 slew telehandler)

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the iconic JCB brand. It is encouraging to see them continuing to push boundaries by further expanding their range of products to meet industry need.

Recently, part of the ACOP team were lucky enough to receive a VIP visit to the JCB factory courtesy of Holt JCB.

During the visit we were given the opportunity to trial the new JCB ROTO 5.5 – 21. This was at their dedicated training quarry near to the JCB World Headquarters in Uttoxeter, England.

 

Background

The ROTO is the latest in range of telescopic handlers that JCB have unveiled. As the name suggests, these have a 360 slew capability. The ROTO will offer greater lifting capacity and greater reach/height owing to a set of 4 stabilisers, which, in turn, offers a greater footprint and thus more stable base platform. These machines are aimed to satisfy the ever growing demand for ‘bigger and better’ on site.

The ROTO is further complemented by a new range of attachments that include a fly-winch, box-winch and platform (only the fly-winch was available to view at the time of writing).

It is evident how such machines start to blur the lines of the ‘standard’ telehandler forklift as they are increasingly being used as small cranes and access platforms on sites.

JCB have a long established telehandler brand which are a staple on most UK construction sites. However, how will their new ROTO match up to the existing brands on the market?

 

Our thoughts

Here were a list of some of the many facets of the JCB 5.5-21 that impressed us  during the trial:

  • excellent external storage boxes
  • proportional function controls
  • intuitive Load Management Screen (LMS) (fig. 1)
  • individually controllable hydraulic speed settings
  • easily accessible and workable engine (fig. 2)
  • good overall visibility from cab
  • responsive hydraulic functions
  • excellent all around access (fig. 3)
  • good lifting capacity at 5.5 tonnes
  • wide machine footprint and good ground clearance (fig. 4)

The innovative design, ingenuity and attention to detail behind the product should put JCB in a strong position amongst their competitors.

JCB will need to quickly follow up with a range of models with a greater reach/ height capability to be truly in the running amongst the likes of Manitou, Merlo and the monster 51m Magni! On point, JCB are rumoured to be launching a 26m before summer 2020 and a 30m in 2021.

The ROTO has actually been in development since 1998, but owing to various economic reasons was not brought to market. Until now! I just hope that during this gestative period, JCB have taken the time to ensure the ROTO is ready to hit the ground running, especially as historically they have not been renowned for reliability amongst some of their newer products.

One thing is for certain, JCB are fortunate to have one of the best backup services of all the plant manufacturers; owing to their devout dealer network aptly located throughout the UK.

Thanks for reading.

 

For more information please follow the link to JCB’s Quick-Start Guide

 

Fig .1 Intuitive Load Management Screen (LMS)

Fig .2 Easily accessible and workable engine
Fig .3 All around access (steps and handrails)
Fig . 4 Wide machine footprint and ground clearance

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