As general superintendent for Norris Asphalt Paving Co., based in Ottumwa, Iowa, manager Phil See is responsible for making equipment decisions on the paving playing field that have game-changing implications.
Three years ago—just before the start of the 2010 paving season—after Norris Asphalt Paving had taken possession of six new Bobcat S650 skid-steer loaders, it was obvious that See was looking forward to the paving season ahead.
When See goes on an equipment-recruiting trip, there are several attributes he looks for in a potential new addition to his fleet. Among them are arm extension and vertical reach—features that have become more important as truck bed-height measurements have increased.
“As the years went by, it seemed like newer dump trucks got bigger; especially the sides got higher,” See said. “The Bobcat M-Series S650 skid-steer loaders have the reach to get up over the truck box; plus they have the power. But more importantly, they accomplish this without wavering. The S650 can raise and empty a full, heavy load easily at those heights and remain in firm, stable contact with the ground. That gives our operators confidence they are running equipment that is safe. Aside from everything else—production included—safety is what’s most important.”
With a vertical lift height (hinge to pin) of 8 ft, the S650 provides greater forward reach at full lift height than other comparable skid-steer loaders. And See also appreciates the powerful hydraulics, top digging and pushing power, and increased fuel capacity of his S650 skid-steer loader team players.
Currently, See has set up a remote paving camp—complete with a dedicated team of paving veterans and an arsenal of resurfacing reinforcements including a Bobcat S650 skid-steer loader—on a closed road overlay job in northern Iowa, one of many sites his crew will visit during this long paving season.
As See explained, in addition to the S650 skid-steer loader being an all-around, all-purpose handy machine, it’s also a labor saver.
“I wouldn’t dispatch a crew to a jobsite without a skid-steer loader,” he said. “I can remember years back we didn’t have loaders; we did it the old fashioned way—by hand. When we first got one, it seemed like a luxury. It isn’t so much a luxury anymore, but a necessary tool. And skid-steer loaders are so adaptable. You never know for sure what any crew may be doing from day to day, so versatility is important; something that is even more impactful with all the attachments available.” R&B