High quality, reliable equipment has been a tradition at Thomas Equipment, Ltd. since it first emerged as a farm equipment manufacturer in 1943. Acquired by the international McCain Group in 1964, Thomas diversified its line into industrial equipment with the introduction in 1969 of the world’s first skid steer loader to feature hydrostatic drive. The company has continued to be an innovator in the field and, after more than 38 years, its goals remain the same: to provide customers with products of a high standard of quality, performance, reliability, serviceability and safety at a good price.
“We build the toughest and most dependable equipment in the business,” says Peter Mabee, marketing manager for Thomas.” We specialize in small compact construction equipment and we consistently get feedback from our customers telling us our equipment lasts longer than our competitors’ in even the most severe applications.”
Not only is it more durable, it has higher horsepower than most other equipment and the strength and thickness of the material, as much as 50 percent thicker, is well known. The company is committed to using quality brand-name components in every machine it builds. Names like Kubota, Eaton, Danfoss Drive Motors, Sundstrand and others guarantee customers maximum performance. “Compared to the competition, our loaders have up to 45 percent more breakout force providing improved digging performance as well. Our loader arms are built to last, constructed of thicker steel plate, and that’s just scratching the surface,” says Mabee. Head to head, Thomas’ superior construction comes out on top
Toughing It Out
Thomas Equipment Ltd. manufactures and distributes, through a worldwide network of dealers and distributors, a full line of skid steer and mini-skid steer loaders as well as attachments, mobile screening plants and six models of mini excavators. In addition to its industrial and construction products, Thomas offers a complete line of potato harvesting and handling equipment. With offices based in the U.S., Canada and Europe, the company counts as its main customers building and excavating contractors, landscapers, the rental industry, demolition and recycling contractors as well as municipalities. In May of this year Thomas was appointed as a strategic supplier to United Rentals, North America’s largest rental source that serves more than 1.4 million customers through its 744 locations covering 47 states, seven Canadian provinces and Mexico. In addition, for more than five years Thomas has been designated as the prime supplier to the Canadian Department of Defense for its entire skid steer needs.
Using the latest in CAD-CAM systems to quickly translate customer needs into design features, Thomas’ 137,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Centreville, New Brunswick, Canada integrates state-of-the-art CNC lathes, laser cutting, metal fabricators, boring and milling machines, as well as high technology robotic welding equipment, to ensure high tolerance metalworking and finishing. Thomas conforms to the highest quality assurance specifications in the world for military and commercial manufacturing, and is able to meet AQAP, SAE, CSA and ISO standards.
Most of Thomas’ recent growth has been internal. The company recently invested $10 million in its manufacturing facility to help increase output. This involved the addition of two more laser cutters and CNC lathes and additional cutting equipment. Thomas also increased manufacturing space and installed a state of the art powder paint line. “We’re proud of the fact that we’ve been able to increase sales volume and gain market share during the recent downturn in the North American
economy,” says Mabee. “It shows the increased recognition of the value our customers receive in purchasing tough, reliable, long lasting products that have the performance features they need to get their work done.”
The Mean Machines
While Thomas always has new products in development, the company is most excited about a new venture into the mini-skid steer market. The product is a small and compact mini-skid steer meant to replace hand labor and increase productivity. The operator stands on the mini-skid steer, unlike larger skid steers where the operator is seated inside the machine. Thomas is the first major construction-equipment manufacturer to enter the mini-skid steer market.
“Weighing in at only 1,500 pounds, with an SAE rated lift capacity of 475 pounds, this new model is a departure from today’s trend in skid steer loaders to become larger and take on applications previously handled by tractor loader backhoes and other heavy construction equipment,” explains Mabee. “The 25G is small in size but big on performance. It provides a breakout force higher than can be found on many full size loaders – over 1,450 pounds.” Operator friendly, the loader is equipped with a self-leveling feature as standard. This feature keeps the bucket, or attachments such as pallet forks, even throughout the lift and lower cycle helping to eliminate material spillage.
Thomas’ nearly 40 years of experience in the design of drive, hydraulic and hydrostatic systems for compact construction equipment is fully evident in the 25G. The hydraulic system allows the operator to direct power where it is needed most, to the traction drive or hydraulic system. The 25G also features two auxiliary hydraulic circuits, one of which is designed to power motorized attachments such as sweepers while protecting them from shock loads and damage.
Thomas also builds a broad range of full size skid steers from 850 through 2,400 pounds in lifting capacity all powered by reliable Kubota diesel engines having up to 90 horsepower. Designed for confined areas, the model 85 at only 36 inches in width gives the operator breathing space no matter how small the work area. It’s great for use between buildings or to squeeze into the tightest corner of the barn. Tiny but with over 850 pounds of capacity, its design ruggedness makes this machine a heavy-duty performer able to match strengths with any job.
In the mid range Thomas offers three models: the 135 with a rated capacity of 1,300 pounds, the 153 with a 1,500-pound rating which is powered by a 50hp Kubota diesel and the 175 with a 1,750-pound lift capacity rating. The 175 features a turbo charged diesel and the highest loading height in the industry. With a hinge pin height of over 11 feet the 175 turns truck and other high loading chores into a breeze.
At the top of the line up is the Model 225 at 2,200 pounds and the mighty 245 with over 2,400 pounds rated lift capacity. Power to spare, both models are powered by a 90hp Kubota turbo charged diesel engine. For heavy jobs the 245 provides a massive 6,970 pounds of breakout force making light of any workload.
“We believe in building them rugged and tough enough that servicing is kept to a minimum,” says Mabee. “But should a machine need it, all controls, hydraulic and hydrostatic system components can be accessed in seconds without the need for any tools. Major components can be removed in 90 minutes or less and that translates into less time in the shop and more time on the job.”
Thomas puts its commitment up front offering its customer the added protection of the industry’s first and best warranty in its class. Every Thomas loader comes standard with a five-year, 5,000-hour warranty that consists of a three-year, 3,000-hour full machine warranty followed by a two-year, 2,000-hour drive train warranty, plus Thomas’ exclusive five-year mainframe warranty. “These are more than machines,” says Mabee, “they’re investments and we’re dedicated to building them to last.