A new folding canopy for access to buildings with restricted height is among a number of new options being launched at the SIMA show that bring added versatility to the JCB 403 Agri ultra-compact wheel loader.

Other newly-introduced options comprise:

  • Fold-down ROPS/FOPS frame with glass rain canopy to reduce overall height
  • Front and rear glazing with wipers for existing four-post ROPS/FOPS frame
  • Vari-speed independent ground drive control for sweepers and feeders
  • Twin auxiliary hydraulic lines for attachments requiring additional services
  • Free-flow return line for constant flow hydraulics on attachments
  • Supplementary counter-weight for up to 151kg more lift capacity
  • New LED lighting options to improve visibility in and around buildings at night

The folding canopy being launched at SIMA 2019 is an alternative to the fully glazed and heated deluxe cab and the fixed four-post ROPS/FOPS safety frame.

JCB Agriculture managing director John Smith said: “As part of our policy of continuous improvement, these enhancements extend the appeal and functionality of the JCB 403 Agri wheeled loader with different attachments.

“The new folding canopy is the ideal solution for operators who need to access and work inside buildings with low-height doorways or where there are low roof trusses or ceilings. It’s a very practical and convenient solution – the operator can lower the canopy in just 40 seconds.”

The 26.5kW (35.5hp) JCB 403 Agri is a 0.3cu m rated articulated loader capable of working efficiently in confined locations in and around buildings across a wide range of rural enterprises – from pig and poultry units to dairy farms, plant nurseries and equestrian centres.

It comes with fuel-efficient two-range hydrostatic four-wheel drive, powerful hydraulics and a choice of standard or high lift arms giving load-over heights of 2.6m (8ft 6in) and 2.8m (9ft 2in), respectively.

New options to enhance the loader’s abilities for working with hydraulically-powered attachments comprise twin auxiliary hydraulic lines for equipment with two hydraulic cylinders to operate and a free-flow return line for implements needing a constant flow of oil.

These are complemented by the new Vari-speed feature that enables ground speed to adjust separately from the engine, so that revs can be kept up to provide sufficient hydraulic power for a rotary sweeping brush or feeding bucket while operating the loader at low speed.

New front, rear and loader arm-mounted LED lighting options make it easier to use the 403 Agri in and around farm buildings at night, while a 160kg supplementary counter-weight positioned behind the rear axle enhances the machine’s lift capacity by 151kg with a bucket and 118kg with forks.

The JCB 403 Agri measures only 1.1m wide with narrow tyres are fitted, enabling it to access the tightest confines of farm and other buildings, and stands only 2.2m tall when equipped with either the four-post open ROPS/FOPS frame, which is now available with front and rear glazing (with wipers) for added weather protection, or the optional fully-glazed and heated cab.

But with the new two-post ROPS/FOPS folding canopy, overall height can be reduced to 1.84m when this is critical to passing through low doorways or working inside buildings with low clearance overhead.

The canopy’s clever folding design means it can be lowered or raised in just 40 seconds, either from ground level or without stepping down from the machine. First, the front of the split roof section is folded over; the whole canopy then pivots backwards from the base of its uprights to rest on the rear engine cover.

Reversing that procedure gives the operator protection once more from falling objects or should the machine roll over, and a safety gate can be added on the left-hand side as further security. Moreover, with the canopy in position, it provides shelter from rain thanks to the glass panels in the top of the frame.

Whichever platform option is chosen, the operator is provided with a modern colour instrument display covering all key information without detracting from forward visibility, and a tilt-adjustable steering column to ensure a perfect driving position.

A control panel to the right-hand side carries rocker switches, an oddments storage tray and a joystick controller that not only operates the lift arms and any attachment but also has switches for selecting forward-reverse and the high-low transmission ranges – so the operator can keep one hand on the joystick and the other on the steering wheel at all times.