Isuzu lends a hand on the grapevine

Like any machine, these harvesters require servicing, and this often happens in the field, quite literally. To perform this function, Vinetech Machinery, whose services are in high demand across the Barossa, has built a special servicing vehicle on the back of an Isuzu NPR 200 cab chassis.

The vehicle is owned and operated by Ben Stephen, who runs a Gregoire Vinestar grape harvester dealership and also specialises in designing, engineering and maintaining vineyard machinery.

With a good portion of his time spent out in the field, Ben's NPR 200 serves as an uncompromised, fully equipped mobile workshop, housing a vast selection of tools, an air compressor, hydraulic crimper and machinery parts. The truck also carries fabrication equipment required for onsite work, and with its colourful customised livery, provides an impressive mobile billboard for the business.

“I have been working in the industry for ten years and this is the first Isuzu truck I have owned. The NPR is a great field service unit. It’s fully self sufficient and it offers me plenty of storage space. I have even installed toolboxes under the floor line of the tray with hidden locks,” says Ben.

According to Ben, value for money was an important factor when he was in the market to purchase a new truck, and he says the NPR was very affordable.

With regular driving out in paddocks amongst the vines and along farm tracks, cabin comfort is also rated highly.

“The cab is very roomy and comfortable compared to those manufactured by Isuzu’s competitors. I like how the colour of the interior is dark, so it doesn’t show any dirt and grease,” Ben said.

Ben has also installed a rear mounted crane to his Isuzu. “The crane has a six metre reach and is most frequently used during harvester repairs and engineering work,” he explained.

“Having the crane on the back hasn’t impacted visibility at all. The truck’s large mirrors allow excellent vision of what’s behind me.

“Although the truck carries considerable weight with the crane and all of my harvesting equipment, it still offers sufficient power for the task.”

Ben explains that operating the light duty Isuzu truck is comparable to a car in some respects. “The truck drives like a car, it’s so easy to handle. One of the truck’s best features is its tight turning circle. It’s fantastic as it allows me to get the truck into tight places. This is a big advantage when you’re working in the harvesting industry.”

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