Designed to meet the emerging needs of the grader industry, Bell Equipment has expanded its mining and construction OEM product range to include motor graders. With several units running in diversified applications, production has been set to begin as early as Q3 2024.
The Bell Motor Grader follows the introduction of the Bell Tracked Carrier in 2020 and it says is a significant step forward in the company’s strategy to grow its own range of manufactured product for the global construction and mining industries. “With almost 70 years of experience in listening to customers, designing, and manufacturing specialised machinery, Bell is equipped with the skill set and resources ideally suited to building motor graders.”
Bell Equipment Product Manager, Warren Swart, said: “Grading applications require a robust and powerful grader to achieve the performance and reliability expectations of the industry. Where many new-to-market smaller graders have been found insufficient and prone to failure, we are confident that our new Bell Motor Graders will compare favourably with the proven industry leaders in this highly specialised market and give our customers exactly what they need.”
According to Swart, Bell will initially offer three base machines. The G140 is well suited to all maintenance and light to medium construction tasks while the G160, with its increased power and performance, is designed to handle heavy construction applications. Completing the range is the G200, which is designed for bulk earthworks and the mining industry.
Each base machine has the option of a four- or six-wheel drive configuration. Swart explains: “From the conception of the Bell Grader we factored in the requirements of a six-wheel drive configuration. This early integration, as opposed to trying to add into the platform later, has resulted in a better performing machine that is more controllable, robust, and easier to maintain. The significant improvement in performance achieved by adding front-wheel drive is only useful if it is reliable for the life of the grader, so we have spent a lot of time making sure this is the case.”
The Bell Grader has been designed as a truly international product with the capability to meet varying emission regulations in international markets as well as different types of operator controls. “The South African launch of this product is only the start of an exciting journey. Bell will be launching graders into its various international markets in a staged approach.”
Swart continues: “Over many years we have spent time growing our international dealer network with our market-leading Articulated Dump Truck range and these dealers are just as excited to see an additional product from an OEM with a proven track record in delivering innovation, performance, low running costs, and maximum reliability. Bell Equipment’s ability to focus on the operator experience and install built-in asset protection are well demonstrated and particularly key to the owners of motor graders.”
The Bell Motor Grader is engineered to operate in the most challenging and harsh environmental conditions. Over two decades of experience in the supply, maintenance, and repair of motor graders, along with insights from many local and international expert advisors, has allowed the company to have a clear view of what is important to make this product work. While retaining a familiar control and layout, Bell has incorporated a range of advanced components and features that will help operators improve productivity, maintain costs, and deliver work efficiently.
As Bell has achieved success in the past through its ability to intelligently automate specific functions within the ADT industry, automation has also been one of the significant drivers in the motor grader design process. This automation allows the operator to be more focused on the job at hand and the final product of the grade while still improving fuel efficiency and component life expectancy.
Recognising the diverse range of applications and often remote uses of motor graders, Bell has standardised on high-quality, low-maintenance components, such as a fully sealed circle bearing. This provides extended service intervals and consistent grading performance without the need to make regular adjustments. To simplify operations further, advanced diagnostics are incorporated into the machine to reduce the complexity of daily checks and servicing efforts.
The Bell Graders are fitted with Cummins engines and ZF transmissions. The G140 uses the Ergopower transmission while the larger G160 and G200 use the cPower transmission. “The Ergopower transmission is well respected in the grading application for entry level units and we are particularly excited about the opportunity that the cPower transmission provides for higher duty applications. There will be significant advancements that we can offer users of the two larger graders by having a transmission that can be so easily tailored to a customer’s needs,” explains Swart.
Utilising industry-leading components for all systems has been instrumental in achieving an efficient and robust grader. “Getting established components to work well together is what our system engineers do well, and in a highly operator-sensitive product like a motor grader, we knew that we had to get the overall feel 100% right. We are confident we have achieved this and those testing the product confirmed this for us,” he says.
The Bell design team also focused on providing long-term durability across all structures. According to the results of strain gauge testing, the main frame will provide a life expectance exceeding market norms by 40%. The tandem axle, with enhanced bearing and interaxle cooling, provides reliable performance in long-haul applications.
Bell Equipment’s test and prototype graders it says have already been operating with great success in a wide variety of applications from landscaping through heavy ripping and final levels to overall road construction. “It has been really pleasing to see the improvements in efficiency and performance identified during the design stage being confirmed on real-world job sites. We’ve been encouraged by the positive feedback we’ve received from expert advisers and operators who have experienced our prototype machines. We’re excited to introduce the Bell Motor Grader and illustrate some of the advances we’ve made to a complicated piece of equipment,” said Swart.