REVIEW: Roma 500 N scraper

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

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Roma 500 N scraper 11 10 The Roma 500 N needs to be towed by a 147-221kW machine. In this case it’s being towed by a 330hp John Deere 8530. Roma 500 N scraper 11 10
Roma 500 N scraper 11 02 While this may look like a large amount of soil, in reality it’s approximately only running at 50 per cent capacity. Roma 500 N scraper 11 02
Roma 500 N scraper 11 09 Note the blade can be angled to cut a batter or surface drain. Roma 500 N scraper 11 09
Roma 500 N scraper 11 11 Large areas can be precisely levelled the old-fashioned way or courtesy of laser and GPS technology. Roma 500 N scraper 11 11
Roma 500 N scraper 11 21 The pole-mounted laser receiver is mounted on a hydraulically extendable pole. Roma 500 N scraper 11 21
Roma 500 N scraper 11 35 The unit is easily operated with only the centre blade for smaller jobs. Roma 500 N scraper 11 35

New Zealand reporter Lyndsay Whittle never turns down the opportunity to have a play with a new bit of machinery, in this case a 5 metre Roma 500 N scraper from Montefiori Equipment.

A quick phone call to Maurice Gaustad, owner of Montefiori Equipment agents Blades and Scrapers determines the erratic weather the North Island of New Zealand has been having lately will settle enough for us to run a test at Gavins, a large contracting company and grain merchant in Gordonton, about a 15-minute drive from the Blades and Scrapers office in Te Rapa.

It isn’t that the machine needs particularly fine weather to operate, but more a case of a magazine reporter not wanting to get his boots muddy.

 

ROMA SCRAPERS: AN INTRODUCTION

Gavins purchased the Roma 500 N in July 2013 to level a couple of hectares of grain field. This presented an ideal opportunity for NewFarmMachinery’s sister title Farm Trader to go along to see the machine being put through its paces under the watchful eye of the supplier and Gavins’ Workshop and Projects Manager Ron Voschezang.

Blades and Scrapers, which has just added Montefiori levelling blades to its already impressive line-up of Orthman, Grouser, Ashland and Hygrade graders, says it is able to supply Roma scrapers in sizes ranging from 1.6m blades, all the up to the Roma 700 with a blade width of 7m. However, on this occasion it is the 5m machine being observed in action.

The entire Roma scraper range employs a number of special technological features that makes each scraper unique in its application, such as the high goose neck, coupled with special ‘box ends’ that allow the carriage of large amounts of soil across the work surface.

Every machine can be towed by any brand of wheeled or tracked tractor unit, appropriate to its size and may be operated directly from the tractor’s hydraulic system or even by laser and global positioning system technology.

The on-board laser/GPS receiver sits atop a 1.5m hydraulically-operated pole which can be raised a further 1m for use in the likes of gullies, in order to enhance reception.

A major feature very deserving of a mention is the one-sheet blade, which is folded to a 20-degree angle to allow the soil to be rolled and distributed evenly and quickly.

All the articulation points have bronze bushes and grease cups and the hubs of the wheels sit in columns that won’t allow the dust in, giving extra protection from the elements.

 

ROMA 500 N SCRAPER TESTED

The machine arrived on site, towed behind a John Deere 8530, and it only takes the operator a short time to set the machine up to do a final cut on what will become a grain storage site over the coming months.

The set-up involves jacking the tandem oscillating axle out to its full working-trim width of 4.1m, before lowering the blade extensions to their working-trim width of 5m.

The most time-consuming part of the set-up operation is to secure the box-ends by way of three nuts attached to threaded rods, which serve to make the blade completely rigid. (Note: that the middle section of the blade can be used on its own — with the extensions still in the raised position — for smaller jobs requiring a narrower cut.)

While the scraper is kitted out with full laser/GPS capability, in this instance the machine is deftly operated manually through the John Deere’s hydraulics by Gavins’ operator Chris Davison.

As this is to be a final cut on this particular job, there isn’t enough time for me to acquaint myself with the operation of the rig, so on this occasion I have to be content with riding alongside Davison, which at least provides me with some good in-cab shots of the work in progress and a decent amount of video footage as well.

I also get to see how well the tandem oscillating axle keeps the blade on an even plane, even when negotiating undulations in the land. The addition of dual wheels also helps to enhance this feature. To finish the job off, Davison angles the blade to cut a 100m-long surface drain at one end of the field.

Aside from its ‘on the job’ capabilities, I can see how easily the Roma 500 N could be transported from site to site.

With most modern-day tractors having all the accoutrements of the modern car or truck, and being easily capable of travelling at speeds of 50km/h, distances of a hundred kilometres or so could be travelled without the need to put the entire rig on a truck or trailer.

This opens up seemingly endless uses and applications for this new kind of earthmoving equipment and presents a very cost-effective means of transportation between worksites.

As I made my way back home to Auckland, I pass a seemingly never-ending line of roading machinery being used to build a motorway that will soon stretch the entire Auckland – Hamilton route.

There are subdivisions, schools, and playing fields springing up all along the way — plenty of work for machines like the Montefiori Roma 500 N in years to come, I would think.

 

ROMA 500 N SCRAPER SPECIFICATIONS

HORSEPOWER: 200-300 (147.1-220.65kW)

BLADE WIDTH: 5m in working trim

BLADE HEIGHT: 1.1m

WHEELS: 4.1m in working trim

OVERALL WIDTH: 2.5m in road trim

OVERALL LENGTH: 5.5m

WEIGHT: 3,300kg

 

For the full test report, grab a copy of NewFarmMahcinery magazine issue 8, on-sale April 21. Subscribe to the magazine for more informative news, reveiws and features. 

Click here to find scrapers for sale on TradeEarthmovers.com.au.

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