Farming & Fisheries

World-renowned Moffett produced the MFT 7740

November 3rd, 2021 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

Mike Keohane and Tomas Nicolleau bringing in the straw at Ballinspittle for farmer Tim O’Connell for spring bedding, using the Moffett MFT 7740. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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MOFFETT engineering is world-renowned for its manufacturing of forklifts and materials handling equipment.

However, its roots can be traced back to the mid 1940s when Cecil Moffett started the company making specialist agricultural equipment.

The 1980s saw the company become a name synonymous  with forklifts, with the introduction of a three-wheel forklift mounted to the back of a truck or trailer.

Such was the success of the Moffett Mounty in Irish, European and North American markets, the firm moved to a new purpose-built manufacturing plant in Dundalk, enjoying continued success with over 75,000 Moffett truck-mounted forklifts manufactured to date.

However, Moffett did not forget its agricultural roots and embarked on a venture to produce a systems-type tractor loader in the early 90s.

Typically, a tractor loader is attached to a mounting frame straddling the engine, with the front axle taking the weight of the loader. Moffett flipped that thinking, by mounting the loader on the heavier and stronger rear axle, while still allowing the tractor to be utilised for agricultural work.

For loader work, the operator used the tractor in reverse drive, by remounting the steering wheel at the rear of the cab and rotating the seat 180 degrees, where the joystick loader controls fell nicely to hand – all of which takes a claimed 15 seconds.

This also offered the operator an excellent working view, looking right down on the loader which has a two-tonne lift capacity.

For tractor work, the operator simply remounted the steering wheel to its original location on the dashboard and drove the tractor conventionally. The loader could be raised up out of the way, or removed completely in under five minutes.

Initially, the concept was built around the Massey Ferguson 390 tractor, but was later changed to the Ford New Holland 7740 and 7840 tractors, with manual SL transmission. Using these skid units, Moffett developed a purpose-built cab, complete with roof window, allowing the seat to rotate and accommodating the second dashboard, controls and pedals.

Production of the systems tractor loader ended in 1998 and while these machines are now rare, they continue to prove popular with their owners.

The Moffett story continues with the company’s purchase by the Cargotec/HiAb group who announced an investment of €50m into the Dundalk manufacturing facility last year.

If you are operating a Moffett loader, we would love to hear from you.

• Contact Peter at [email protected] or see Instagram @flashphotoscork

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