Vermeer: One of Our Longest-Standing Customers


Vermeer: One of Our Longest-Standing Customers

Vermeer is a leading manufacturer of high-quality underground construction, surface mining, tree care, environmental and agricultural equipment, and is also one of Poclain Hydraulics, Inc. North America’s longest-standing customers.

The two companies have a relationship going back over 30 years, starting with the introduction of the Vermeer T655 trencher, which went into production in 1991. Poclain Hydraulics has worked with the mining and pipeline division on a number of successful projects over the years, including the recent integration the MS83HF motor as a drive solution on their T655III rockwheel attachment.


The T655III tractor has been in production for a number of years, but a Vermeer-made rockwheel attachment on this machine hasn’t been offered since the early 1990s.

Vermeer recently noticed a greater need in the market for a rockwheel attachment, and wanted to deliver a Vermeer-made option suited for use with their machine.

The team that worked on this project has decades of history working with Poclain Hydraulics. It consisted of Jeff Flahive, engineering manager; Jason Morgan, senior project engineer; and Tyler Sikora, design engineer for the project. This team
worked closely with the team at Poclain Hydraulics led by Mark DeBruine.

The goals of this project were to provide a 48” (121.9 cm) depth of cut with a robust and reliable rockwheel attachment that met the specific wheel speed range and price points demanded by the market.

The team working on this project had an extensive history developing rockwheel attachments, and considered early on a drive solution consisting of a headshaft with dedicated bearings and a torque arm mounted motor. This solution, however, was only deliverable at a price point that the market wasn’t willing to pay, leaving Vermeer to look for a more cost-efficient drive solution that could meet their goals for efficiency and robustness.

In partnering with Poclain Hydraulics for the drive system on this project, Vermeer was able to put together a solution that met their needs in terms of being able to deliver a competitively priced high-torque, lowspeed motor with adequate power rating and internal bearing capacity. This project required the motor to resist the high radial loads of the rockwheel.

“The big advantage [of this motor] is that when you buy the motor, you get the bearings as well—bearings that are capable
of living in that condition,” said Morgan.

Poclain Hydraulics proposed the MS83HF motor, and provided documentation of the efficiency gains.

“During initial testing of the new T655III rockwheel, we noticed right away the decrease in no-load drive pressure of
the MS83HF compared to the standard MS83,” said Morgan.
The lower pressure drop of the MS83HF not only allowed the system to bring more horsepower to the ground, but can also help to cut costs on cooling systems due to high efficiencies. The MS83HF efficiencies free up more engine power to feed the attachment.




“What that [lower pressure drop] results in is more power to the ditch, which can help improve production. It also takes heat load out of our cooling circuits when compared to a standard MS83,” said Flahive.
The new MS83HF statically determinate drive system offers a higher efficiency resulting in a more competitive solution.

Another distinctive attribute of the Vermeer T655III rockwheel is the new patent-pending drive mounting system designed by Sikora. At the beginning of the project, when two MS83 HF motors were specified to drive one rockwheel, Vermeer knew they had to develop a mounting system to tolerate misalignment between the sides of the cutterbox structure and the motors/cutter wheel assembly.

The new mounting system made this configuration possible. Unique to the market, this mounting system nearly eliminates motor and cutterbox loading due to misalignment of the cutterbox to the motor/cutterwheel assembly. Poclain Hydraulics provided responsive support for the development of this unique
mounting system by running many iterations of bearing life calculations as well as providing studies on motor drive flange strength.

The T655III is a versatile machine with uses ranging from utility installation to architectural stone cutting. The efficiency gains realized in this project resulted in upgrading MS83 motors to the MS83HF onto other rockwheel applications at Vermeer including the T555 Commander® 3 rockwheel and the CC155 concrete cutter.
“The experience with Poclain Hydraulics was positive and that experience would influence future decisions to use their products,” said Morgan.
The Vermeer mining and pipeline division covers a wide range of machinery and applications including dry utility installation such as fiberoptic networks to telecommunications, and wet utility installation such as water and sewer lines in addition to general pipeline installation and surface mining solutions.