Substantial rainfall, up to 18 in. in 36 hours,
severely damaged many forest roads this winter around the
Pacific Northwest. To make matters worse, many of these
washed-out roads span fragile native streams and rivers—home to several threatened or endangered trout and salmon
species. Sediment was released into the streambeds causing
serious damage to both individual fish and their stream habitats.
Fortunately, the experienced team at JJ Welch Contracting
have the right tools to rebuild these damaged roads and restore
fragile stream habitats.
Outperforming conventional tools
Jim Welch, owner of JJ Welch Contracting, has experienced the
benefits firsthand of having the right tools to rebuild roads and
restore stream habitats. He uses a unique Kobelco 200 excavator with
an extendable dipper stick to rebuild washed out road banks and stream
habitats. The extendable dipper stick allows him to do more work
from the road, avoiding the need to cut shelves into the land
around the road. However, the extendable dipper stick was only
one piece of the puzzle. He still needed the right attachment
for rebuilding the road bank and stream habitat.
a conventional digging bucket and a hydraulic thumb, Welch
found the optimal attachment from Helac Corp. with their
PowerGrip Multi-Purpose Bucket. “In addition to saving up to 1.5
hours each day, I am utilizing my materials much better with the bucket. I’m not dropping rock or mishandling material like
with a conventional bucket or hydraulic thumb,” Welch said.
When Welch tried a conventional digging bucket, he found that he
lacked optimal control of material placement—when he “rolled
the bucket forward, all the material would tend to just dump out
in a rush.” With the new bucket, Welch can virtually eliminate material
waste when he uses the smooth lip of the bucket to pile up the
rock or material and then use the clam functionality to pick
up the materials he wants. "The [bucket] prevents us from
picking up a lot of excess dirt with our rock which helps us gain
efficiency through improved material utilization.”
When Welch used a hydraulic thumb on his smaller excavators,
he discovered the thumb was less than ideal for placing
rocks and other material since “the operator is required to
keep constant pressure on the thumb to avoid dropping rock prematurely.” With the new bucket, the gripping action is accomplished by one circuit as opposed to two opposing circuits found with a thumb. Having one circuit and an integral lock valve that hydraulically locks and holds objects in the jaw, the attachment allows Welch to pick up the material and place it anywhere he wants. “It not only improves our efficiency—since any of our operators can use this solution—it’s
also safer since there’s less risk of dropping material around the jobsite.”
A durable solution
Soon after Welch began using the bucket in the rainy Northwest region, he discovered that it exceeded his expectations in terms of durability and lower maintenance. “It is easy to maintain with just two zerks to worry
about. With the fully enclosed rotary actuator hinge, worrying about nicks, dings or debris contamination to exposed cylinders and rods is a thing of the past.”
The bucket is equipped with a durable, enclosed rotary actuator hinge that’s ideally suited for regions with heavy rainfall. With the rotary actuator hinge technology offering 120 degrees of jaw movement, there are no exposed cylinders and rods in the bucket shell or clam that can become polluted with
debris, leading to attachment malfunctions.
The rotating movement is generated by the massive rotating pivot point between the jaw and back of bucket that’s designed with Helac's sliding spline operating technology, which converts linear piston motion into powerful shaft rotation. The end caps, seals and bearings work in unison to keep debris and contaminants out of the inner workings of the actuator, prolonging life and reducing required maintenance. High-strength, abrasion-resistant steel is used throughout for added durability.