Is it a skid-steer loader? A bucket? A dumper?
The PowerPac’s Raupen Dumper RC 800 is suited for a lot of close-quarter jobs, but finding the proper label to describe it can be elusive.
“This is a power wheelbarrow. It loads itself,” said David Friesen of Legacy Yard Works in Saskatoon of the machine he discovered at a trade show in Alberta.
“We’re the first ones in Saskatchewan to have one, and as far as I know there’s not a single other one to come in yet.”
The unit’s barrow looks like a miniature version of a dump truck’s box, complete with an end gate. Built of heavy steel plate, it can handle everything from manure and topsoil to gravel and rocks— “basically anything that will fit,” Friesen said. He estimates the barrow holds about three-quarters of a yard in terms of volume.
The Raupen Dumper RC 800 weighs 530 kilograms empty and can handle 800 kg of payload. Powered by a 12-horsepower Honda GX390 engine displacing 389 CCs, its twin rubber tracks can transport both load and operator up a maximum 26-degree incline.
“I can fill it right up. I can drive it right onto the back of a dump trailer and unload it,” Friesen said.
The front bucket resembles that of a mini skid-steer loader, but rather than having to go back and forth with each load, the bucket dumps directly into the barrow. This allows Friesen to take on smaller jobs where only a yard or two of topsoil are needed, and to save time on bigger ones.
“The little minis, and I’ve rented those, you can take an eighth of a yard at a time into a back yard,” he said. “It takes you all day to haul 10 yards of soil. This thing, 15 yards of soil will take me roughly five hours.”
Friesen also serves rural clients with the machine, finding it particularly useful in cleaning out the tight quarters of livestock pens on acreages. At slightly less than one-metre wide, it can fit through many man doors and gates that would stymie a full-sized skid-steer loader, which he also owns.
The Raupen Dumper also came with an attractive price point – about $20,000 all in, shipped directly from the manufacturer in Germany. Friesen said he paid a bit more to expedite delivery, as he wanted it for the start of the season two years ago. It’s been a good investment.
“I charge this thing out at almost the same price as my regular sized skid steer,” he said. “So this thing paid itself off in two months.”
The machine has held up well through two seasons of steady commercial use, but it does have a weakness: bearings at the front of the tracks.
“I think I’ve done 15, because they’re greaseless bearings for some reason — terrible engineering on that point — they didn’t have the grease nipples or any grease fittings,” Friesen said. “But it cost me eight dollars a bearing and it takes me 15 minutes to change them. So I’m not going to complain.”