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Alliance of Southeast Firms Produces Specialized Equipment

The state of Alabama had a need and a local dealership, assisted by a Georgia specialty manufacturer, answered the call.

Tue September 30, 2014 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson

The state of Alabama had a need and a local dealership, assisted by a Georgia specialty manufacturer, answered the call.

When the state wanted excavators that could be specially configured to operate mulching attachments, the general manager of a Southeast equipment dealership, David Habbard of Rental Inc. Bobcat, knew exactly how to help.

Rental Inc., with five locations in Alabama, Georgia and Florida, turned to a Georgia-based company called HydrauliCircuit Technology (HCT), noted for its high-quality and durable after-market hydraulic attachment kits, according to the company.

“Once we got the bid information from the state and I looked it over, my first thoughts were to call HCT,” Habbard said. “After we purchased the three Doosan excavators Alabama needed, we then sent them over to HCT and they gave us pricing on everything. We also needed additional forestry guards for the cab and windows put on, which HCT handled as well.”

When Habbard got the call that the first unit was ready, Habbard drove up to HCT’s facility in McDonough, Ga., just south of Atlanta, and was given a full tour of the factory.

He was astounded at how well HCT manufactured its hydraulic components in house.

“If you didn’t know better, you would swear that they were factory built,” he said. “By that I mean that the fit, finish and form of each are just as you would expect them to be if they were coming directly from the equipment manufacturer.”

Earlier this summer, Habbard checked on how well the machines were working for the state and, although only one excavator had been put in service by that time, he was told that it was running “flawlessly.”

A Symbiotic Relationship

He believes that the success of this initial project between Rental Inc. and HCT is just a hint of how well their collaboration will be in the future.

There should be many more opportunities for them to work together, based on the type of service each provides.

For instance, a lot of Rental Inc.’s work is in providing applications for forestry mulching, demolition and scrap projects.

“The excavators that we have now have auxiliary hydraulics on them, but they are not capable of running these special implements without help, so we have modified the existing auxiliary kit with necessary items to make it suitable for mulcher applications,” Habbard said. “Through HCT’s technology we were able to use the hydraulics of the machine, with additional valves and components, but without having to use a pony motor to do the application. Also, since we are heavy into demolition, we get people in here wanting to install shears that can turn 360 degrees on their equipment. Our machines are not capable of doing that without the extra auxiliary hydraulics. That is where we rely on HCT.

“We can just call up these guys, tell them the application we need and an hour later I have a quote within an email so that I can go ahead and price a deal with someone.”

From HCT’s point of view, working with Habbard and Rental Inc. also has been very advantageous. The relationship between the two companies began when HCT rented a wheel loader from Rental Inc. that it could use to take measurements in order to design a window guard for a Bobcat dealership in St. Louis.

“It just so happened that I needed some information from HCT on some hydraulic supplies at the same time,” Habbard said.

“From there the timing was just perfect,” said Mike Davis at HCT. “David had this deal with the state of Alabama and our companies, along with Doosan, were joined together.”

Davis went on to explain that Habbard had the Doosan excavators brought to the HCT facility in Georgia for the attachment fittings.

“Not only did [Habbard] need the extra hydraulics to make the mulchers work properly, but he also needed some window guarding,” Davis said. “When they got here to McDonough we designed the kit and the window guarding package as well, so now we can not only sell them to Bobcat and to Rental Inc.’s various locations, but we can also sell them to other Doosan dealerships.”

Tight, Exacting Work

He added that the Doosan DX235 has a short swing radius, which made for a pretty tight fit for his technicians to maneuver between the machine and the attachment to get the valve work just right.

“With the kits, we strive to make them fit like a glove with the tubes bolted in place and the valves properly mounted,” Davis said. “In addition, the installation manual that we supply in the kits is very detailed — the tubes, hoses, brackets and mounts all have a parts number affixed to them so if there is ever a problem where David has a machine out and, say, a tube has broken off, all he has to do is call us with the replacement part number and we can build it and ship it to him.”

After Rental Inc. had the Bradco MM60E, Series II attachment sent to HCT and the firm had the kit made for the Doosan excavator, HCT then put the mulching head on the machine, connected all the hoses and made sure everything was operating properly.

The HCT installation team always does a complete flow and pressure test on hydraulic kits installed at their facility, Davis said. This ensures that the kit is working properly and is fine tuned for best attachment performance.

In the work for Rental Inc., once the attachment was installed, the excavator and the kit were ready to be sent from their facility straight to Habbard’s customer.

Davis was careful to note that HCT’s president, Navin Baliga, also is an engineer and his chief engineer, Brady Bardo, is expertly trained in hydraulics. That means that nothing leaves HCT’s sole production facility in Georgia unless and until they sign off on the quality of the work.

“We have a rock-quarry mentality about our kits in that all the tubes we build are assembled with a heavy-walled thickness,” Davis said. “Also, all our tubes are cut, cleaned, welded and pressure-tested at our facility. Then, after our kits are finished, they are powder-coated to get a factory finish look. I would say 85 to 90 percent of our business is in kit format and go out to people all over the country with a set of good installation instructions.”

Leave It to the Experts

Habbard said that Rental Inc. could have its own technicians take the kits and install the hydraulic components onto its machines, but that he is happy to leave the job to the experts at HCT.

“I know I can call Mike anytime and they will be more than happy to walk us through any problems or come to us if need be. Our Opelika, Ala., store is only one hour and 45 minutes from McDonough and that is great when we need to get a piece of equipment up to them and all we have to do is truck a unit up there and drop it off with them so that I don’t have to needlessly tie up my shop.

“It really is a turnkey operation at HCT.”

Besides its dealerships in Opelika, Ala., Rental Inc. Bobcat also has locations in Dothan, Ala.,; Panama City, Fla.,; Thomasville, Ga.,; and Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

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