But not all attachments benefit from a high-flow system. “I would estimate that 85% of the attachments in the industry today utilize standard-type flow,” says Moore. Only a small percentage of customers truly benefit from high-flow skid loaders and attachments. “Be cautious and investigate your needs,”Moore advises. “If you do not have a need for a high-performance attachment, you sure don’t have to invest more dollars for a high-flow-type skid loader.”
For customers who use attachments with orbital motors on a consistent basis, the choice of high-flow attachments and skid loaders is a little more clear. “You literally get jobs done faster with having more flow potential and high-flow type attachments will then prevail,” says Moore.
Some machines offer the flexibility to run both high-flow as well as standard attachments. “On a Gehl machine, for instance, if a customer invests in a high-flow model skid loader, he will run high flow from a set of couplers located on the right side of the machine. On the left side of the machine, he still has standard-flow couplers,” says Moore. “There are some machines in the marketplace that cannot do that.”
“The Caterpillar 248B High Flow XPS and the 268B High Flow XPS machines also have standard-flow hydraulics that can be used for work tools requiring standard flow,” adds Ringenberg.
By The Numbers
Increased purchase cost is the largest drawback to any high-flow system. Schaefer explains that it costs about 7% more to purchase a Case skid loader with the 3,000-psi, high-flow hydraulic system vs. the standard system. It is approximately 12% more than the standard skid loader to purchase the Case skid loader with the 5,000-psi high-flow hydraulic system.
“But you would get about 75% more performance or productivity going to the 3,000-psi high-flow system from the standard auxiliary,” says Schaefer. “With the 5,000-psi dedicated system, you would basically double your performance over the 3,000-psi high-flow system.”
Moore explains that you can spend in excess of $1,500 to upwards of $2,000 for the high-flow option on some loaders in the industry vs. a standard hydraulic system. “The larger the pump, the more cost there is involved,” he states.
Another consideration is the added versatility. “Some contractors have high flow on their machines just in case they may get a contract that requires the use of a high-flow work tool,” says Ringenberg. “They are then in a better position to win a contract.”