Going Solo: Attachments Enable Backhoe Loader to Do Work of Multiple Machines
Orchestra music from resorts and ballrooms echoed across lakes in the Township of Mount Olive, New Jersey, in the decades after the Civil War and before the start of World War II. New York City high rollers spent nights at the township’s casinos. Families enjoyed long-remembered days canoeing, swimming, and fishing.
By the 1950s, resorts and casinos were mostly gone, and bungalows that had been summer homes in the Northwest New Jersey township were converted to year-round use.
Today, the Mount Olive Township Department of Public Works is using a community block grant to replace storm drains dating back to the resort era. Existing pipe is a mixture of sizes, and inadequate for the town of 30,000. Plastic pipe is replacing reinforced concrete pipe for a uniform, dependable system.
A Cat® 420F2 IT Backhoe Loader is doing all trenching and backfilling on the project. The backhoe loader works for all five departments that comprise the Department of Public Works. “The machine has done sewer lines, water mains, culverts, basically everything,” says Frank Wilpert, Jr., assistant director of public works.
The machine is most commonly used for excavation and drainage work, but has also been used for backfilling stone, planting trees, installing fences, pulling stumps, and snow removal. “We stage mud runs, and we’ll use the 420F2 IT for excavation of deep mud pits,” Wilpert notes.
Tool Changes from Safety of the Cab
The quick coupler enables operators to quickly switch attachments on the machine; which the town uses an average of 30 hours monthly. Mechanical attachments can be changed in less than 30 seconds from the cab. “The quick coupler in the front has been fantastic,” Joseph Zeim, fleet supervisor, notes. “We try to have that on every Cat machine that we order.”
“We can go to a jobsite with a multiple set of tools for the front of the machine, and not need to bring separate machines,” Wilpert says. “We can use a set of forks, instead of bringing a loader with forks. We keep interchanging the attachments at the jobsite. There’s no downtime.”
Zeim adds, “We can swing the boom over, and grab a different bucket, instead of bringing an excavator with a bigger bucket. It almost saves a whole morning.”
Many attachments are interchangeable with other machines, and are shared between departments. “If one department buys a bucket, the other departments are able to use it, too,” Wilpert says.
The machine’s high-flow hydraulics and powerful hydraulic pump provide full breakout force and full lifting capability while idling. “You can dig at an idle, and have the same amount of power,” Zeim says.
Purchasing the backhoe loader through a cooperative contract two years ago, saved staff the time of writing individual specs and reduced the machine’s purchase cost. “It’s much easier for us to purchase off that contract,” Wilpert says.
Uptime on the machine is 99 percent. “The operators do a walk-around every time that they use the machine to make sure that everything is alright,” Zeim notes. “It’s greased weekly, and washed every time that it comes back from a job.”
Township personnel change oil every 250 hours, and strictly adhere to the Caterpillar recommended preventive maintenance schedule. “It’s easy. I go online, punch in the serial number, and it has all the intervals and exactly what needs to be done at each one,” Zeim says. “The site provides part numbers, everything that I need.” And a proud past becomes a bright future in Mount Olive Township.
Mount Olive Cat Fleet
• 420 F2 IT Backhoe Loader
• D3 Dozer
• 938K Wheel Loader
• 907M Wheel Loader
• 299D Skid Steer Loader
• 303.5 Mini Excavator
• 308 Mini Excavator
Article courtesy of: Governmental Solutions