Schaffer owners: Indiji Flora
Industry type: Horticulture consultancy and landscaping
Location: Hopetoun, Western Australia
Model: Mini Digger 3150
Accessories: 4-in-1 bucket, forks
Usage: Loading pallets of lawn, fertilisers and limestone blocks, loading and delivering mulch, earthmoving, yard work at associated hardware store and nursery business.
Requirement: A versatile, durable machine to handle all kinds of landscaping work that is very easy for staff to use.

Since BHP Billiton began constructing a nickel mine at Ravensthorpe three years ago, Tim Nolen of Indiji Flora in Hopetoun on Western Australia's south coast has installed 180 gardens for new workers' homes - and his equipment had to be up to the mark.

Before purchasing a Schaffer 3150 mini digger, Tim had a wheeled and tracked skid steer. However, he found they not only lacked the strength for heavy lifting, they were also difficult for his casual workforce to operate.

I need to load pallets of lawn, fertilisers and limestone blocks for landscaping jobs and there's also yard work at our hardware store and nursery, Tim says.

The skid steer is not nearly as strong as the Schaffer 3150 for lifting. The skid steer will only lift 400kg while the Schaffer will lift so much more. And the skid steer chews up the ground, which means a lot of extra time and effort fixing up the damage.

Another thing that influenced Tim's decision to buy a Schaffer mini digger was the casual nature of his labour force. There is a high staff turnover and many of our operators are women. With a skid steer, it takes about two weeks to learn to operate it. They're so powerful and aggressive they can be a bit scary to drive. But the Schaffer 3150 is very simple for novices to operate straight away.

Tim's father is an engineer and he was brought up on a farm to appreciate a well-engineered machine. The Schaffers are really well engineered, he says. They're not a plastic fantastic machine, they're solid.

Tim says he is also impressed by the Schaffer 3150 mini diggers visibility, turning circle and agility compared to a skid steer. You can get down the back of houses with a pallet of mulch because the 3150 mini digger is only 1400mm wide.


Engine: Kubota V2003 turbo - 50hp
Operating weight: 2750kg with GP bucket
Machine width: 1400mm
Safe working load: 1175kg on forks
Joystick: Single joystick for all functions - forward/reverse, electric auxiliary controls, high/low range transmission, mast up/down, crowd in/out
Standard features: Quick attach tool frame
Other features: Sealed articulation joint, ZF axles, Bosch/Rexroth hydraulics