Australia, EWP

Truly versatile machinery a hallmark of Merlo range

STM Equipment has represented the Merlo range of telehandlers since 2019, with the company believing this telehandler to be one of the most versatile on the market.

STM started in 1976 as a dealership for international harvesting equipment. From the outset the business was focused on sales, but also support, in terms of investing in service and parts availability. STM was also a truck and commercial vehicle dealer. 

The company experienced considerable growth and became a distributor for the Kobelco range of excavators, which also saw it move to larger premisses in 2006. Becoming an authorised dealer for the Kobelco and Merlo brands meant another move to the much larger and current operation in Smeaton Grange. The growth in the size of facilities has been necessary to keep up with the demand for equipment and the continued ability to deliver a high quality level of service and support for the equipment and also seen them open facilities in Wollongong and Canberra.

Gino Cassaniti is the operations manager for STM Equipment and he explains more about the diverse nature of client’s serviced by the business.

“Our clients range from sole traders, who can be owner operators of equipment and small contractors, right through to large farmers, multinational transport businesses, large civil construction businesses and contractors, as well as major hire and mining companies,” he said.

Cassanti goes on to discuss the Merlo range in more detail and a recently released model that is going to shake up the elevated work platform (EWP) market.

“Worldwide, the Merlo brand is recognised as the original telehandler and, like STM Equipment, Merlo still operates as a family business. With the Italian flair in terms of design, engineering, and manufacture, it is an extremely versatile product,” he said.

“The latest iteration of the telehandler is the Roto. The development of this product began as a result of market demands and is typical of the continual evolution Merlo seeks throughout its range of products. The Merlo design team is focused on introducing state-of-the-art technologies for new machines of similar dimensions and weights to previous ranges, thus providing superior performance, greater ease of use and higher levels of safe operation,” he said.

The boom has an impressive reach on the Roto range.

The Roto initially burst on to the market in 1991, when Merlo introduced a revolving turret system capable of rotating 360°, with there being no need to reposition the machine. 

The Roto range comes with many different attachment options to enhance the versatility of a standard Merlo telehandler unit. 

These features include:

   a platform to be used as a EWP

   a bucket to be used as a loader

   forks to be used as a forklift

   jibs of various kinds to be used as a crane

“Versatility is the ‘name of the game’,” said Cassanti. 

“With a telehandler you can have up to seven machines in the one unit and, of course, you will save in capital expenditure as well as running costs.”

As a standard feature, the Roto range is developed for use as an aerial work platform. This solution increases the level of active safety during working at heights projects and continues to ensure the excellent versatility of the machine. 

The Roto models are designed to provide the maximum levels of ergonomic control features for the operator. Specifically designed for the construction sector, the Merlo Roto stands out in terms of unrivalled productivity and versatility of use. 

The Merlo Roto range consists of multiple families equipped with different features. This enables STM Equipment to adapt various features to provide bespoke equipment solutions to meet clients’ needs. The range includes models with a reach of 16–18m, 21–26m range and the 24–35m range.

The Merlo Roto range has some of the most advanced safety systems on the market currently utilising both technology and the machine itself to ensure safe work practices.

The Merlo cab is compliant with the ISO 3449 FOPS Level II and ISO 3471 ROPS standards.

Safety features include an automatic parking brake management system that brakes the machine if the engine switches off in order to avoid unintentional movements.

Merlo’s patented Adaptive Stability Control System (ASCS) is capable of recognising the attachment being used and measures the magnitude of the load being handled, in order to maximise the speed of the hydraulic movements without any risks to the operator’s safety. Customers can simultaneously check all the operating parameters in real time and recognise when the safety system will intervene by slowing down and stopping any problematic movements. 

The ASCS system allows the operator to set the speed of the hydraulic movements and to manage the geometric limits within which the boom can be operated in complete safety. There are even up to six different setups available.

The boom consists of a double ‘C’ profile in high-strength steel with welds made along the neutral bending axis. Hydraulic hoses and electrical wires are positioned inside the boom with a ‘cartridge’ system, to protect against any possible impacts and easy extraction in case of maintenance. The L-shaped runner blocks are made of composite material to maximise efficiency and reduce impact and wear on the sliding surfaces. 

With the self-stabilisation device, which comes standard on all Roto models, the operator can simply press a button to initiate the machine’s automatic frame stabilisation and tilt correction procedure. This allows operators to reduce setup times, maximise safety and simplify the machine’s use.

Compared to market standards, the frame is characterised by small dimensions, minimising the overall floor space occupied by the machine. Furthermore, it is equipped, on the outside, with an exclusive steel belt (made from a steel section bar). 

Designed to maximise structural strength and ensure excellent torsional strength, the underside of the body is completely secured by steel sheets, in order to protect all components from possible impacts during off-road driving.

The Roto’s come with a range of attachments and can even be used as a mini crane.

The next generation hydrostatic transmission – with full-time four-wheel drive – guarantees excellent braking capacity when the accelerator is released and high levels of power and torque to the wheels.

These models feature engines with power ratings ranging from 75 to 170 horsepower, which, in accordance with the original Merlo design concept, are installed in a longitudinal direction on the right side of the frame to ensure maximum accessibility to the components during maintenance operations. 

The hydrostatic transmission guarantees high performance, millimetric precision, and excellent braking capacity, by increasing the engine’s ‘engine braking’ effect. 

The attachments, which are designed and manufactured at the Merlo Group’s facilities, are the operational tools used by Merlo telehandlers, and are designed to bring out the machines’ performance and versatility in different operational situations. 

The patented recognition of the attachments and the effective Tac-lock hydraulic locking system allow for quick tool changes to be performed, with the operating parameters being configured automatically for maximum safety. 

Although the team at STM Equipment have grown over the years to become a major force in the industry, they have not forgotten the traditional business values that have served the business well, explains Cassaniti.

“Our knowledge of the industry and our proactive attitude of engaging customers, to discuss their needs and requirements, has enabled us to shape and evolve our ability to deliver the right products with the right levels of service and support, and this has been happening over many years.” 

“This customer focus has enabled the business to grow to what you see today – a multi-brand dealership with a strong focus on customer support located in a purpose-built eight-acre facility at Smeaton Grange,” he said. 

The STM Equipment Smeaton Grange facility features 32 workshop bays, drive-through B-double service pits, and a weighbridge, and the company is RMS Inspection certified. STM operates 10 field service vehicles, two 24-hour truck breakdown vehicles, and five Sydney metro parts delivery vehicles. The support operation from STM equipment is significant, said Cassaniti.

“Anyone can sell equipment to the right buyer. The key to building a business involves providing the right levels of support to that customer and growing with their business,” he said.

“We don’t see our customers as a number, we see them as partners in the business. We have facilities in Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra, and Bathurst. This means we are capable of providing  a wide services across a diverse range of industries,” he said. 

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