Feature: Caron Transporter

By: Harrison Hunkin

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Chesterfield Australia shows us around the Italian-made Caron Transporter

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Every once in a while you see a breakthrough piece of farm machinery or tech gadget.

But despite its extremely simple exterior and interior and tiny stature, the Italian-made Caron Transporter recently caught my eye.

"What is it?" I asked Rod McDonald and Neville Watts from Chesterfield Australia, the Caron’s national distributor.

"That’s the Caron, it’s a 4WD, articulated transport vehicle," Watts replied.

To me, it resembled a dwarfed tractor, truck, ATV hybrid … thing. But to my surprise, it kind of combines all three.

So how could a three-cylinder, 40hp engine, tractor/truck machine get me so excited? Simple, this thing can basically do anything and go anywhere despite its small size.

In fact, about 60 of these bright-red Caron Transporter vehicles are flogging around Papua New Guinea as we speak – and to great success.

The Caron Transporter front on in Brisbane
The Caron Transporter at Chesterfield Loganholme, QLD 

INTERNATIONAL DUTIES

After identifying the need for a specialised transporter vehicle for the palm oil industry in PNG, Chesterfield Australia collaborated with Caron HQ back in Italy to design a modified vehicle that features a scissor lift unit.

"We designed the scissor lift unit specifically for PNG," McDonald says. "The customer (in PNG) told us what they were looking for and what they intended to do with the machine, so in conjunction with the Caron factory we came up the scissor lift."

So what does the Caron do in PNG? Well, the transporters are used for in-field collection; the operators drive up between the rows of palm trees where workers load the fruit into the vehicle, to which they then dump into large open-top containers.

"At the moment we have 56 of these units working in PNG with another 12 on order," Watts says.

 

CUSTOM CARON

After the success in PNG, Chesterfield is now ready to market the Caron to Australian farmers.

"We were at a national field day not long ago and we had a company come up and speak to us about the Caron and whether they could buy the machine without the box," McDonald says.

"We said, ‘Yeah you can, but what are you going to do with it?’ He said he wanted to mount a sprayer straight onto the chassis and use it as a sprayer."

While that might seem like quite an ask, Chesterfield is able to tailor machines to farmers’ needs thanks to its close ties with Caron HQ.

"Dealing with Caron is great, that’s one of the beauties you get when working with a family-owned and run operation," Watts says.

"That scissor lift, for example; if we tried to do that with a major worldwide manufacturing company, it would’ve taken months or possibly years to achieve, but with Caron they were like, ‘Let’s see what we can come up with,’ and just like that our Caron scissor lift was done."

The Caron transporter in PNG
The Caron Transporter as work in Papua New Guinea 

JACK OF ALL TRADES

Back home in Italy the Caron is used for a variety of jobs such as baling, logging, fencing, spraying or environments where safety and reliability is needed.

This versatility from the Caron has spruiked interest from Australian farmers.

"We’ve just sold a unit which is destined for a small-acreage property at Queensland’s Mt Mee – they intend to use it for gardening and general farm work," Watts says.

"The Caron transporter vehicle we offer to the farmers here is the 63hp four-cylinder turbocharged model as well as a 40hp, three-cylinder machine.

"The 40hp machine is the model we are running up in PNG."

"So for people who just want to move stuff around, and it doesn’t matter if it’s logging or grounds keeping or just general farming – the Caron is limited to whatever your imagination can see this thing doing," McDonald adds.

 

FEATURES

Spec wise, the Chesterfield offers two versions. The first is a simple open-cab transporter with a protection arch; the other is a fully-enclosed cabin fitted with air-conditioning.

Under the bonnet the Caron comes fitted with either a 63hp four-cylinder turbocharged Lombardini engine or a three-cylinder, 40hp variant.

The Caron also comes with a manual transmission with a few different options.

"You can have a three-speed non-synchro box with a high and low, or a four-speed synchro box with a high-low, plus an additional high-low with transport speeds up to 40km/h," Watts says.

But the Caron’s standout feature is its three-way hydraulic tipping mechanism, which allows it to tip left, right and backwards like a standard tipper – and its towing capacity of 3,300kg.

In addition to that you can have PTO, linkage, hydraulics as well as numerous attachments for the machine.

THE BOTTOM LINE

McDonald recalled a story about a farmer he knew who always wanted a telehandler but never knew what it really did or what he could use it for.

It wasn’t until his dealer finally brought one to his farm for a demonstration and saw what it could do that he realised how much he needed one; that to me is what the Caron is – something with huge potential waiting to be tested.

We know the PNG boys love the Caron for its off-road ability and its scissor lift, while the few local Aussie farmers who have one like it for its simplicity – so perhaps it’s time to swap out your UTV or quad. I don’t know; it’s just food for thought.

Stay tuned.

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