New loader in the forest

October 28, 2019

ProMac Equipment founder Ryan Bland (left) and design engineer Len Botha in the factory with a new ProLoader chassis under construction.

A brand new, South African manufactured three-wheel loader has entered the local market, and it’s sky blue.

The ProLoader is manufactured in the Richards Bay factory of ProMac Equipment, which also produces a range of grabs and customised attachments and trailers used in forestry, sawmilling, sugar, agriculture, construction and related industries.

ProMac Equipment was established in 2018 by Ryan Bland to complement his existing parts, servicing and plant hire businesses based in Vryheid and Richards Bay.

Ryan has a wealth of experience in equipment manufacturing, maintenance and marketing, and is well known in forestry circles. He grew up in the Vryheid area, and spent 23 years in various technical and business development roles at Bell Equipment. He is also a qualified helicopter pilot.

A natural entrepreneur with heaps of passion for meeting customers’ needs with the right equipment, it was always going to be just a matter of time before Ryan launched his own business. This happened in 2014 when he started ProMac Parts & Services in Vryheid. ProMac Plant Hire followed, and now ProMac Equipment.

Ryan has been working since 2015 on the design of a durable and versatile loader that ticks all the boxes in terms of price, durability, productivity and safety. Realizing he would need help with the design, Ryan found Len Botha, a mechanical engineer based in Richards Bay. Len has over 20 years’ experience in design and 16 years of experience using Solidworks®, a solid modelling computer-aided design (CAD) software package. Working part-time with Ryan through 2018, the design and manufacture of the first ProLoader was completed in early 2019.

Realising the potential of the business, Len joined Ryan as a partner in ProMac Equipment early this year. Together they form a formidable team with all the required expertise.

The prototype ProLoader is being tested extensively in the field and is attracting plenty of interest. The feedback received has resulted in several modifications and improvements.

Key features include:-
• Separate rear mounted hydraulic tank keeps the heat away from the operator. This lowers the temperature in the cab significantly and has an impact on productivity.
• Pilot Control Hydraulics ensures soft touch, low pressure hydraulics in the cab.
• Bottom frame holds 160L of diesel. This design ensures a low centre of gravity.
• Larger, wider cabin with rearward visibility. This is another important feature, improving operator visibility and awareness of what’s going on around him, resulting in improved safety.
• Rubber mounted engine reduces vibration, wear and tear and improves operator comfort.
• Easy access to all filters. No need to drain hydraulic oil.

The ProLoader carries 160 litres of fuel in the frame which means it can work for 26 hours non-stop without refuelling. The benefit of this, says Ryan, is that you don’t need to keep diesel at the work site for constant refuelling, which is a theft risk.

The drivetrain is a standard Deutz engine with Poclain hydraulics, wheel drive motors and pumps that is extremely fuel efficient. Poclain sent an engineer from Italy to spend two days with the ProLoader in field. Using a data logger, real-time information on pressures and temperatures was recorded. The resulting report validated the hydraulic system and Poclain will honour any warranty claims.

The operator cab is also available in a fully enclosed version with aircon and doors.

The ProLoader base unit can be reconfigured for a cane loader or heavy-duty off-road forklift.

Additional equipment offered by ProMac Equipment:

ProMac specialises in the design and manufacture of a wide variety of attachments fitted to any brand and size of excavators, TLB, front-end loaders, telehandlers or skid steers, including buckets, grabs and customised attachments.

This is where the versatility of the ProMac team comes to the fore as they are able to try new things and innovate to meet customers’ needs. They have recently manufactured a customised hay bale grab attachment for a TLB that can place the bale on end for more efficient storage.
Another recent innovation is a TLB bucket that mixes concrete on the move.

ProMac manufactures heavy-duty custom-built trailers for forestry and agricultural use.
ProMac employs a motivated team of 16 people in ProMac Equipment, and a total of 44 people across all three businesses (manufacturing, plant hire, parts and services).
“Great customer service and relationships is our goal,” says Ryan. “We have a passion for designing and manufacturing equipment, and we can respond rapidly to customer requirements, to try new things and to innovate.”

Find out more at

*First published in SA Forestry magazine, Sep 2019

Related article: Tigercat’s ‘tough as nails’ forwarder fit for SA conditions

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