Review: Cormidi 80 tracked dumper
The opportunity to test a Cormidi 80 rubber tracked dumper couldn't have come at a better time for Lynday Whittle as his landscaping projects seem to have taken a back seat of late.
Living on a very steep piece of turf, I’m forever procrastinating over getting started on those landscaping projects that require pushing a full wheelbarrow up a hill with a steep enough incline to bring you out in a sweat just looking at it.
The opportunity to run a test on a Cormidi 80 rubber-tracked dumper, coupled with my own need to get the remains of a fallen tree from the bottom of my property to the top seemed like a marriage made in heaven.
As it happened, not only did I have that tree to attend to, I also needed to place about 10 cubes of scoria and crushed shell on some paths around the property, so putting the little machine through its paces on this most difficult site, I thought, would prove to be a good test of the machine's capabilities — as it turns out, I was right.
After taking delivery of a 4m3 load of 25/7 scoria, I put the Cormidi 80 straight to work. The controls were easy to operate and could easily be mastered by your average home handyman or woman.
The two larger levers to the left of the machine operate in the same way as do all tracked machines, while the three smaller levers operate the bucket and the tipping mechanism.
Unlike most machinery tests where you only get to try the machine out for an hour or two at best, in this instance I had a good chance to get familiar with the Cormidi over a period of several hours and the only real gripe I had with the machine in the entire time I was operating it was the configuration of the three smaller levers that operated the bucket.
One would have expected the lever that raised and lowered the bucket would have been located beside the crowd-action lever but this isn't the case, as the lever that operates the tipping mechanism sits between the other two.
I found myself frequently activating the hydraulic tipping mechanism on the dumper's bin when trying to crowd the bucket at the same time as raising or lowering it.
I was told by the distributors the levers were separated as it was a safety issue but, to be honest, I think it is more dangerous not being able to combine the use of the levers that crowd and lift the bucket into one hand as is the case with virtually every other machine I have operated.
It also means you keep a better standing balance. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to swap the hydraulic lines over from one lever to the other if you really wanted to.
Spreading the scoria on the paths was easily carried out in the same way it would be done from a tip truck, with any high spots being levelled out with the bucket.
Although the intended design of the bucket is to self-load the machine and not to act as a bulldozer, it only takes a short time at the controls to get your head around levelling a driveway, track or path and the crowd action of the bucket did come in handy on more than one occasion to assist in driving the machine out of a tight situation one very wet day.
Our Ed found a driveway where all the road metal had washed down onto the roadway, so we loaded the machine onto a standard-sized car trailer, which was completely adequate for transporting the dumper, and towed it down to the job behind a Suzuki Vitara.
The machine travels well, as its weight is evenly distributed and although the dumper body makes it look top-heavy, this in fact isn't the case.
On site at the driveway job, the Cormidi 80 looked somewhat reminiscent of a flea trying to annoy an elephant and any onlookers would have been wondering what these two idiots were thinking they were going to achieve with such a small apparatus on such a relatively big job.
The upshot of it all was that after about an hour on site, the job was done and dusted. Perhaps it's fair to say that a larger machine would have produced a better finish but the job was completed to a reasonable standard nonetheless, aided and abetted by our Editor's operating skills, one might say.
The final test of the Cormidi 80's capabilities came when dealing with that tree I spoke of earlier.
Cutting the trunk would have been a difficult task had the job been carried out manually, but by lifting one end of the trunk with the bucket I was able to undercut it with the chainsaw and place the off-cut in the machine by using the bucket.
I'd estimate that had the machine been a standard motorised barrow, not fitted with a self-loading bucket, the tasks I preformed with the machine would have taken me thirty- to forty-percent longer.
Cormidi 80 overview
With an overall width of 800mm and an overall length of 1.7 metres, the machine is ideal for getting through gateways and traversing steep narrow paths. By dismounting the machine, the operator can raise the footplate, thereby gaining extra manoeuvrability by effectively making the machine 400mm shorter.
With a load-carrying capacity of 800kg and the ability to self-load, the machine makes short work of transporting the likes of aggregates, bark and mulch into difficult-to-access sites.
The machine weighs in at around half a tonne and is powered by a Honda GX390 13hp petrol engine driving through a hydrostatic transmission, which pushes the machine along at about 5kph, making it easy to walk behind even at full revs.
I must say, I was extremely impressed with the Cormidi 80 and I'd estimate I would use one on my property several times a year — I'm absolutely certain there are many people like me with a similar need for a machine of this size.
The Ed's verdict
My impressions when first viewing the machine did rate quite low down the scale. However, after using the machine for an hour, I did a complete 180 on my opinion.
The machine did everything I asked of it and more, even to the point of giving a decent finish to the gravel I graded out. I do think the machine requires a form of support that wraps around the operator's butt and this would also provide more comfort and better balance.
Although the machine was easy to operate, I agree with Lyndsay Whittle's comments about the re-positioning of the levers for better control of the bucket action. This would be the first thing that I would change when purchasing one, although it could void any warranty claims.
Some hire companies definitely need to get a few of these into their hire fleets.
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