New Kubota L45 Tractor Loader Backhoe a radical redesign of its predecessor

Kubota L45 TLB

The backhoe’s curved boom means that the operator can avoid dig area obstacles such as rocks, and can easily reach maximum dig depth with a minimum trench cut.

Smith Power Equipment, the South African distributor of Kubota, has launched the new Kubota L45 trailer loader backhoe (TLB), said to be a radical upgrade of its predecessor model, the L39.

It comes at 3,2-tonne (t) of operating weight, making it much lighter than most offerings in the market, says Greg Bergmann, operations manager at SPE. “It is narrow and a lot compact that it can easily fit into buildings, fitting the bill for building contractors, landscapers and property developers,” says Bergmann, adding that it is also targeted at civil construction and rental companies.

The heart of the L45 is the new Kubota HST Plus hydrostatic transmission which replaces the conventional Glide Shift transmission (GST) on the predecessor model, the L39. The L45 is also powered by a four-cylinder Kubota diesel engine which generates 45 horsepower (hp), compared with the 39hp on the previous model. With 1,6t of breakout force, the L45 has a lifting capacity of 1t at a maximum lifting height of 2,8m.

As Bergmann reiterates, the major talking point is the HST Plus transmission which allows for automated control over the HST pump and motor.  Benefits include hydro dual speed (H-DS), which adds High and Low to the three ranges, effectively making it a six-range transmission. There is also Load Sensing, which comes in three settings: Manual for when the operator wants full control; Stall Guard to prevent engine stalls when doing loader work; and Auto H-DS which automatically upshifts/downshifts for hills and other condition varying loads. Response time in the later mode is said to be fully operator adjustable.

Auto Throttle Advance is another exciting feature of the HTS Plus transmission, says Bergmann. When engaged, the operator can just press down on the hydro pedal and engine speed will increase to match the demand. Contrariwise, the operator can lift on the hydro pedal and engine speed will throttle down accordingly. “It’s a great time-saving feature that also significantly saves fuel,” says Bergmann.

Backhoe crawling mode is another high-tech feature on the L45 TLB. This is an ultra-slow gear range that allows the operator, while behind the backhoe controls, to move the tractor at creep speed. With this feature, there is no need to reposition while digging lengthy trenches, and this certainly improves jobsite productivity.

Equipment Africa says: In line with Kubota’s belief that a comfortable operator is a productive one, the L45 also comes with several features geared at operator comfort. The width between the fenders on the L45 has been increased by nearly 75mm compared with the previous model, and some of that room has been used to add arm rests. That, coupled with the high-back suspension seat and ample space to rotate from front loader to backhoe position, means a comfortable operating platform.

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