Mobility is advantage for Washington forest products company

May 15, 2017

Green Diamond Resource Co. is a fifth-generation, family-owned forest products company—a major timber supplier of power poles and various specialty products, as well as logs for sawmills.

Based in Shelton, Wash., the company relies on its efficiency in growing and harvesting timber on 1 million acres of land—340,000 of it in western Washington state, served by about 3,000 miles of gravel road. Gradall excavators play an important role in maintaining Washington state timber accessibility, including building some 80 miles of road each year.

Versatility advantage

Green Diamond recently took delivery of an XL 5100 IV Gradall excavator; it was the company’s third purchase of an XL 5100 series model in recent years. The XL 5100 models are the largest Gradall excavators, with undercarriages that can be driven from one job to another at speeds up to 60 mph.

“For us, these are multipurpose machines that are busy about every day, around 1,500 to 2,000 hours a year, helping us to maintain and build roads to move our timber,” said Bill Mehl, the company’s general construction supervisor.

Among the tasks for which the company uses the XL 5100 models are ditching, banking slopes, culvert installation, loading rock to be spread on roads, installing bridges and blocking decommissioned roads.

Wheeled Gradall excavators are exceptionally stable, typically handling ditching and other big jobs without the need for stabilizers. But Green Diamond’s XL 5100 routinely works on severe inclines, often on a 15% grade, so the company requires the addition of stabilizers.

Stabilizers also can help expedite the removal of pit rock, an extremely heavy material that frequently must be excavated and loaded onto trucks during Green Diamond’s road maintenance and construction work.

“The mobility of these machines lets us cover a lot of ground very quickly,” Mehl said. “When we need to make emergency road repairs, we can be 50 miles away and get to the repair site in about an hour, and we don’t need a lowboy.”

That advantage can also be measured in terms of dollars.

“We save money because we don’t have to have extra men, a tractor and a trailer to move the machine from one location to another,” said Roy Meier, maintenance superintendent for Green Diamond.

Meier noted that several other Gradall excavator features are particularly useful, including the ability to reposition the machine from the upper-structure operator cab.

“The remote drive is important, especially on hilly terrain,” he said.

Meier also appreciates the full-boom tilt capability and extra boom reinforcement on the Series IV model to create more boom strength. An automatic transmission is also standard on the Series IV model, which pleases operators.

According to Meier, factory support has been excellent, and it sets Gradall apart from other equipment manufacturers. When Green Diamond employees expressed any concerns about the Gradall machines’ performance, Meier said factory-backed expertise was readily available in the field.

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