Earthmoving Equipment Category Winner
RTX100 pedestrian trencher
Key Innovation: Directional control/handlebar steering. When transporting or operating the machine, steering is controlled by movement of the directional control bar to the direction the operator wants to move.
Vermeer introduces the RTX100 pedestrian trencher with an easy-to-use intuitive steering system and interchangeable tracks and tires for the landscape, utility and rental markets. The industry-exclusive VZ Steer system allows the operator to simply move the handlebars in the direction the operator wants to move, and the machine responds. When moving, the input and pace of the operator moving the handlebar will control the angle and sharpness of the turn, allowing the operator to maneuver in and around confined spaces and around obstacles where other machines cannot. The RTX100 also features interchangeable tires and tracks, which allow the machine to be configured for maximum productivity in varying ground conditions. The unit is powered by either a 13-hp Honda GX390 or 15-hp Kohler CH15 gas engine.
RER: What makes the RTX100 pedestrian trencher innovative?
Jon Kuyers, utility products segment manager, Vermeer Corp.: The Vermeer RTX100 pedestrian trencher features the industry-exclusive, intuitive VZ steering system that requires minimal operator effort to control machine direction. When transporting or operating the machine, steering is controlled by the slight movement of a directional control bar.
Operators also have the ability to easily interchange between tires and tracks without purchasing a separate model platform. Interchangeable tires and tracks allow the machine to be configured for maximum productivity in varying ground conditions.
RER: What are the benefits of the RTX100 pedestrian trencher? How does it make jobs more effective and efficient for rental professionals and their contractor customers?
Kuyers: The handlebars on the RTX100 act as the steering control for the machine. The operator simply moves the handlebars in the direction they want to move and the machine responds. This system allows all types of operators to intuitively guide the machine in the intended direction of travel with minimal effort.
This type of steering system also eliminates the need for additional levers or steering wheels to maneuver the machine, simplifying the overall operation helping to reduce training time. In addition, the RTX100 has the ability to counter-rotate while stationary. When moving, either forward or reverse, the input and pace of the operator to the directional control bar will control the angle and sharpness of the turn, allowing the operator to maneuver in and around confined spaces and around obstacles where other machines can not.
The 7-inch (17.8 cm) wide rubber tracks offer increased surface contact for exceptional floatation and tractive effort, particularly in difficult ground conditions or when crossing over an existing trench. A wider track helps eliminate the chance of becoming disabled in an existing trench. When equipped with tracks, the machine is just 35 inches (89 cm) wide for maneuverability through narrow gate entries and other confined areas.
RER: Describe the development process of the RTX100 pedestrian trencher. Where did the idea come from and who was responsible for its engineering and development?
Kuyers: Before we began the design process of the RTX100 we interviewed and evaluated customer comments on the existing RT100 and asked the customer if their needs had changed or what improvements they would like to see. From that information it was clear they wanted a machine that was easier to maneuver in and around the jobsite, yet maintain the simplicity of operation.
Since a large segment of the market is rental for this type of machine we looked at how to keep the system easy to use and maintain and improve where possible on reliability while keeping the cost in line. It was also evident that different traction options (tires or tracks) were asked for due to the unique conditions that exist all across the globe.
With those parameters in place the design team brainstormed different ways we could accomplish the goals based off of our current and successful RT100 platform. We also evaluated our concepts against the current competition in the marketplace and looked at ways to improve on some of the existing designs to benchmark our progress.
In the end there were some breakthrough moments which occurred resulting in the innovative VZ steering system and interchangeable traction system giving the customer the ability to change their tires or tracks based on seasonality or customer request without having to stock two different platforms.