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📅 Wed February 06, 2013 - National Edition
Mary Reed - CEG CORRESPONDENT
One of the most popular TV shows today is the Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush,” in which prospectors undergo hardships and cope with various crises as they attempt to locate and mine gold deposits.
Gold Rush is probably the only reality show heavily featuring construction equipment from a parade of manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Volvo and Komatsu. However, it was an attachment for a Hitachi excavator that brought Jefferson, Mass., based Leading Edge Attachments Inc. to the small screen and national attention.
“One of the main characters on the show is Dakota Fred, who is actually Fred Hurt from Minot, North Dakota. In February of 2012 his associate friend contacted us inquiring about our special SHARC rock ripping bucket for their Hitachi EX270,” said company president Lee Horton. “We ended up sending the shipment to their Minot location and they moved it to Alaska with their equipment.”
The attachment Leading Edge supplied for the prospectors’ excavator was a Hi-Cap Multi-Ripper Bucket, which Horton described as “the most powerful, most severe and effective rock and frost ripping bucket in the world.”
The bucket employs the company’s SHARC (Shanks on an ARC} arrangement, by which the teeth hits one at a time, thus providing full breakout force sequentially on each tooth and resulting in huge rock ripping forces. The bucket also uses Leading Edge’s Multi-Ripper Teeth, manufactured for the company by MTG Corporation in Spain to fit on its KingMet System adapters. These teeth resemble a small Multi-Ripper in that the spikes do not align, so each point hits one at a time. The company has found the MTG KingMet system is the strongest tooth system that will stand up to the high forces of the Multi-Ripper products.
“In the show, Dakota Fred said, referring to the bucket, ’we affectionately call this bucket the Bedrock Shark’,’” Horton said. “They used the bucket to rip through the cemented cobble and bedrock near the bottom of an ancient waterfall that they call their ’glory hole.’”
“Televised footage showed the conventional trenching bucket just skimming over the top of the rock. Fred was then seen operating his Hitachi excavator with our Hi-Cap Multi-Ripper Bucket, and it was ripping the material with ease. The machine had a hydraulic thumb mounted also, which would help if he needed to grab a boulder,” Horton added.
Horton has been in touch with the associate mentioned, who said that on one occasion the attachment “saved the day” because they had no other way to get through the bedrock. There are plans to use the bucket more this summer and it may appear in next season’s shows.
“The EX270 malfunctioned while they were using the bucket so the show did not show fully what it could really do. Many of the numerous comments we are receiving are from existing customers saying that if the machine had not malfunctioned it would have better shown the bucket’s capabilities. We have received many other calls from potential customers asking for more information on the product line. It seems that many people are using Google to search for ’Bedrock Shark’ and it is leading to our Web site digrock.com,” Horton said.
This is not the first unusual location in which Leading Edge products have been employed, since the company has some Hi-Cap Multi-Ripper Bucket customers using its product for ripping salt off the bottom of the Dead Sea.
“We also sold our Multi-Ripper Buckets to a geologist group excavating near Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, in connection with a huge asteroid whose collision created the Chicxulub crater in Mexico 65.5 million years ago, causing fires and a tsunami killing nearly all living creatures in all the continents,” Horton said. “The accepted theory says the asteroid killed the dinosaurs and sent much of the period’s marine life into extinction,” adding the geological team needs the bucket "because the asteroid basically melted the earth when it hit, causing a melted glass-like rock. They are digging up fossils and I believe that our customer found one of the fossils that is proving the asteroid theory.”
Leading Edge products have been honored with several awards, including Top 25, 50, and 100 Products of the Year Awards and a Design Innovation Award. Its latest product is the Stumpiranha for ripping out stumps and it is also working on several new products due to debut soon, including a new coupler.
About the Company
Leading Edge Attachments Inc., was founded by Lee Horton in January 2002. Its first employees originally worked at Wain-Roy, which was purchased by Woods Equipment Company. The New England Wain-Roy plant was closed and its production moved to the Central Fabricators/Woods plant in Wisconsin, which had manufactured buckets for John Deere and Hitachi.
Lee Horton was director of engineering for Wain-Roy and engineering manager for Woods. His company now owns a warehouse on three acres in Hubbardston, Mass., near the location of the original Wain-Roy plant and is still affiliated with Woods via subcontracted manufacturing.
Leading Edge specializes in the design and sale of American-made high quality frost and rock ripper attachments and quick-change couplers for hydraulic excavators and tractor loader backhoes from 6,000 to 300,000 lbs. Its first main product was the Multi-Ripper, followed by Multi-Ripper and Hi-Cap Multi-Ripper Buckets. The company then introduced Multi-Ripper Teeth and the Raptor, DigNRip, and Stag Buckets. All its products are patented in many countries, and “Multi-Ripper,” “Leading Edge Attachments Inc.” and “Woods” are registered trademarks.
The company also designs special products by customer request and is open to considering problems contractors have experienced with a view to developing solutions.