Reviews

Telehandler feature: Schäffer 6680T

The Schäffer 6680T telescopic loader is proving an invaluable work horse for a busy ag contracting business

Wherever you venture on your travels, there will always be things that need to be lifted, shifted or loaded. While loaders are widely used every day, some workloads require a machine that stands out from the rest of the pack. Laurent Contractors in Matamata required a machine versatile enough to load their fertilizer spreader truck, load bales and be manoeuvrable and easy to transport. The Schäffer 6680T ticked all those boxes – and more.

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Loading the spreader with ease

Supplied by their local Matamata Ag Centre, the Schäffer 6680T telescopic loader has rapidly become a key part of the Laurent Contractors team.

Based in Germany, Schäffer has been in business for more than 60 years and for nearly all of them, compact wheel loaders have been rolling out of the production line. We spent some time with Laurent Contractors to see first-hand how well those many years of knowledge, experience and engineering come together, to perform the demands of daily tasks in New Zealand.

Quality

A job specific machine like a wheeled loader can be hard to justify at first thoughts, as they can be limited to certain jobs. The part that often gets looked past though, is how much better they do a job than alternate machines and inevitably they end up being a machine you just cannot do without.

Some of the best machines in the agricultural market come from Germany, and the Schäffer factory is in the heart of it. They haven’t missed a beat on the Schäffer 6680T in regards to build quality and operation. Being near the middle of their nine model tele-loader range, it is the sort of machine that has the power to do the large jobs but when it gets tight, it can fly in without issue.

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Tight turning radius

Being the smallest loader of the professional class, the operator gets all the premium features of the larger models in a compact size. At a first glance, the headstock that supports the attached tool is nice and heavy with decent size pins and bushes, which will handle whatever task is sent their way. And being a loader, there are limitless possibilities of what that could be.

Being spec’d on the larger, wider 550/45r22.5 tyres, the Schäffer not only looked great, but the machine also felt stable even with the boom at full height and telescope. The bucket seemed large for the size of the loader but with a full bucket of lime, there was no signs of hesitation or any feeling of the rear end becoming airborne. It shows the thought, layout along with the general engineering that went into this loader pays off when the customer turns the key.

Specs

Powering the Schäffer 6680T is a four-cylinder Deutz TCD engine, which puts out 55kw (75hp). It is connected to a pump which operates at 220 bar, from 76 litres per minute and up. This supplies a smooth and fast hydraulic system and you’re not left waiting for the hydraulics to catch up to your ground position.

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Compact unit with large bucket

The 130-litre fuel and 120 litre hydraulic tank are well protected inside the heavy cast shell, found in the rear of the machine, putting the ballast where it’s needed most. This in turn minimises the tare weight of the machine, where its sits at 5800kg to 6300kg. With a maximum lift capacity of 3100kg, the Schäffer can lift an impressive amount for its compact size.

The wheelbase measures in at 2450mm and the overall length including the bucket at 5780mm. the bucket sits at 2 metres wide while the machine sits just under at 1900mm. This slight decrease in width is surprisingly helpful when clearing the edges of walls in pits. You’re not left taking swings at the edge or grabbing the shovel to tidy up the last of the product. Plus, with a turning circle of just a touch over 3.7 metres at the tyres and 4.4 metres at the outer point of the bucket, it doesn’t need much room to swing around and get the job done.

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Hydraulic tank recessed into the frame

The axles under the loader are 8 stud, planetary final drive all coming through an automatic slip control differential. The hydrostatic gearbox has two gears which is switchable under load and this machine was spec’d with the 35kmph option. Whilst 35kmph may be getting slow for the road it certainly helps for on farm travel. A hydraulic fan is standard on the Schäffer loaders. This reduces noise and removes a belt which has the potential to wear. Being hydraulic also gives Schäffer the option to make it reversible, which they have available as an optional extra, which in my view, is worth every cent.

Operation

Climbing into the 6680T is relatively easy and trouble free, being quite low to the ground and with handles placed in the right places. One of the first notable features is how well the main joystick felt in hand, along with the enjoyment of no trigger that needs to be held to activate the boom. The buttons and controls could be better labelled, but if you’re in it most days it takes only half an hour for it all to become second nature.

The hydraulic system for the boom control is extremely smooth and there was a significant amount of feel through the machine. It felt like a manual hydraulic system as they supply a lot more feel through to the operator than an electronic control system. For a machine that shuttles between forward and reverse all day, it does it very well being one of the smoothest shuttles in a telehandler I’ve been in.

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Grease points are easy to find and service

The park brake took a bit of searching to find, being down on the right-hand side of the seat. I feel this would be better located to the left of the dash in clearer sight and easier to reach. Loading up the bucket and tipping to load into the spreader was easy thanks to the large windscreen and streamlined boom. It didn’t require much space at all to achieve this and the manoeuvrability of the machine was highlighted.

Its overall dimensions are relatively small, so the spatial awareness of the machine was easy to pick up. However, it wouldn’t hurt to have some wide-angle mirrors, or a reverse camera set up to let the operator reach the full potential of the compact design.

Getting the truck loaded happened in rapid time. A much larger standard loader would be needed to reach the same height, which would come at a much higher price and be more difficult to transport. The guys at Laurent Contractors have multiple uses for the Schäffer, whether loading the spreader, bales or shifting items around the yard.

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Telescopic boom gives impressive reach

They say “it’s extremely versatile and the manoeuvrability is great”. There were also no complaints from Matt, who has to climb in every load to load the spreader. He stated that, “the door is nice and big, it’s easy enough to jump in, load up and I’m back in the truck pretty quickly”.

Another aspect that Laurent Contractors enjoys is that it fits on a truck and there are no worries about being over-width or over-height. With the Matamata Ag Centre being local, backup and service isn’t far away, keeping downtime to a minimum.

Daily Servicing

Daily servicing is always going to be a task that saves headaches in the future. So, creating a machine which is easy to service up is likely to save issues down the track. In saying this, all the daily servicing can be done from ground level. With an array of pivot points and bushes on a loader, finding all the grease points can be difficult, but the design team has put a good amount of thought into the location of the grease points, as they are all easy to find and access.

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Basic but extremely comfy joystick

A grease block is found in the centre section which delivers grease down to the pivot section. The pivot section looked well made with heavy steel and components to handle the toughest jobs. The fuel filler and hydraulic oil filler are located under the bonnet along with the engine oil dipstick. While the dipstick being under the bonnet can be a good thing for the usual morning checks and inspections, opening it a second time in the morning to fill up once at the diesel bowser could get frustrating.

As for the engine servicing, there is a handy sticker on the side which explains all the checks and service intervals. The hydraulic lines were well routed with protective shielding where needed. The only part that caught my eye and could be an issue in the wrong application was the exposed driveshaft underneath the machine, where foreign matter could potentially get caught up. Nevertheless, the 6680T was a very tidy well laid out loader with an impressive boom.

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The 6680T handles a full bucket well

Summary

The Schäffer 6680T tele-loader is compact and extremely manoeuvrable. It has the lift height and ballast in the right places to handle jobs of all shapes and sizes. With impressive hydraulic functionality and speed combined with a smooth driveline and transmission, the 6680T is the sort of machine that any operator should be happy to get into.

It’s suited to a range of business sizes, from small farms to large contractors. Plus, with Schäffer offering multiple sizes in its range, there is one to suit most operations. With great manoeuvrability, excellent lift height and capacity for its size, it is easy to see how it slots into Laurent Contractors’ business so well.

Schäffer 6680T Specifications

Weight 5.6T
Tipping load 3800kg
Travel speed 20km/h
Max discharge height 3.93m

Transport length

5.05m
Transport height 2.53m
Transport width 1.9m
Emission level Tier 3
Wheel base 2.45m

Pros

  • Very manoeuvrable
  • Quiet
  • Smooth hydraulics with great feel
  • No trigger that needs to be held to operate loader
  • Excellent lift height and capacity
  • Stable

Cons

  • Drive shaft is unprotected
  • Handbrake is in an awkward place

 Find new and used farm machinery for sale in NZ 

Photography: Dan Reymer

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