Right tool for many jobs

Case Studies
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Many different jobs can require many different machines, which can quickly add major costs in both labor and equipment for contractors and governments working on a single project. But Lindy Paving of New Castle, Pa., points out that using equipment with an extra measure of versatility can boost productivity and dramatically reduce costs.

For example, Lindy Paving was challenged to handle a variety of tasks on an extensive repair job along a 30-ft-wide section of Crane Avenue in Beechview, a Pittsburgh suburb. The work included milling, cutting and removing damaged sections of pavement on the main road, which is about 30 ft wide. Next came grading and asphalt repair work.

Tim Lang, equipment manager for Lindy, noted that all of the main road repair work was completed using a Gradall XL 4300 III excavator . The Gradall also was used for shoulder repair that included grading, leveling, spreading stone and paving several washed-out sections.

“We can use a Gradall to spread stone, spread asphalt, spread topsoil, grade curbs—they’re a very versatile machine,” said Lang. To enhance the machine’s spreading capability, it is equipped with a “bucket shake” feature initiated using a button on one of the joystick controls.

The Crane Avenue work also included removing traffic barriers at bridge piers, cleaning behind them and then re-setting them in the right position. That process also included the XL 4300 III, using a bucket for cleanout and a scissor-style lifter attachment to remove and replace the barriers.

“In our experience, the smooth telescoping boom action of the Gradall is very effective when it comes to moving barriers,” pointed out Michael Norman, director of sales and marketing for Gradall. “By the nature of their design, conventional knuckle booms create a lot more swing when they’re removing barriers. That makes it harder to control and place barriers, which can impact on both efficiency and safety.”

The Crane Avenue job also faced challenges alongside the road. A steep bank severely limited the working space along the shoulder, which varied between 2 and 4 ft in width. To work effectively, while also minimizing interference with traffic flow, Lang said he appreciated a shorter excavator rear swing. The XL 4300 III model has a tail swing that is 12 in. shorter than Gradall’s previous 43,000-lb model.

“I was able to keep working, and I could keep swinging the boom to the side to load dirt into the truck . . . all in spite of that bank,” noted operator Butch Rice.

The telescoping boom movements also enabled Rice to keep the Gradall working productively under low overhanging trees, something he said would be impossible with the height requirements of a conventional knuckle boom.

“Without using a Gradall, we can’t keep our production up,” said Rice. “I’d say we can accomplish three to four times as much work in a day with a Gradall as compared to a conventional excavator on rubber tires.”

“We use them for everything,” added Lang. “We handle a lot of road repair work that involves lots of different jobs, and we find them to be a very versatile machine.”

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