This fourth generation Universal ViO50 machine was delivered to the site I was working on for the Cornish based MJL Group in Delabole, last week. It was virtually brand new with only 27 hours on the meter and was on hire from WH Bond plant hire who were featured on the blog last week.
First impression when climbing into the cab was how spacious it was in terms of cab width, and also how good the visibility was from all angles, however as is often the case with all zero tailswing machines there is not a lot of space behind the seat, although there is a small shelf to the operators right where items such as a lunch box or PPE can be stored and it is even supplied with a strap for securing the said items. Everything else is nicely laid out and designed for the operator’s convenience. I think this particular model was manufactured for the hire market as it came with a PVC seat, which from my experience can make you sweat a bit, but I am sure it can be specified with a more luxury cloth trimmed seat if required.
When I put the machine to work I found the hydraulics to be incredibly responsive, with a good positive feel to the controls, which made it ideal for grading and fine trimming of stone. In the dig the machine had plenty of power coming from its compact 4 cylinder 28kw/39.1hp Yanmar engine. The offset arm function is operated by a foot pedal to the right of the cab. It gives a wide range of movement enabling this compact machine to operate in some very confined spaces. A further foot pedal for the two speed tracking function is located to the left of the cab floor close to the door.
The new model also features a new boom design, with all pipes which pass along the top being protected. Another safety feature which can help elleviate costly damage to the hydraulic ram rods and cylinders is the addition of highly elastic steel protection plates, a very useful addition as we know these hire machines are often used by inexperienced operators who are sometimes not fully aware of the machines geometry when working in close quarters.
I also noticed that the dozer blade on these latest ViO models has been extended by around 20cm when compared to previous ViO models, which certainly improves the operator’s vision of the blade, enabling him to make a better job of levelling. It also improves the anchorage of the machine when trenching with the blade behind, offering better breakout leverage.
The diesel tank is fitted under an opening bonnet to the left of the cab. There is also an electric refuelling pump, which is neatly stored under the bonnet. Engine coolant level can also be checked within this compartment.
This French manufactured machine certainly impressed me in the short time I spent on it. Personally I would like to see the hand throttle that is currently fitted to the left of the cab relocated to the more familiar right side of the cab, but I guess one would get used to its position in the end.
All in all a cracking little machine which is sure to get loyal Ammann Yanmar customers excited and carry on the ViO legacy.