It takes special equipment to work productively in the sandy soils of South Carolina. That’s why John Haus and Ron Bracebridge, partners of J & R Contracting, rely on their all-track Bobcat System.
The Bobcat System, a concept that has been popular for more than a decade, typically consists of a Bobcat loader and a Bobcat excavator. This equipment team makes the most of the loader’s speed and agility and the powerful ability of the excavator to efficiently dig and load in tight spaces.
This formidable combination helps produce the kind of results needed in today’s competitive work environment. And, like their Bobcat System, the two partners complement each other’s strengths. Haus clears, grades and cleans up sites for the homes that Bracebridge builds.
The company, headquartered in Lexington, SC, operates a Bobcat 864 compact track loader (now known as the T200) and a Bobcat 337 excavator. The track loader, equipped with an enclosed, heated and air conditioned cab, is powered by a 73 hp. (54.4 kW) turbo-charged Deutz diesel engine. It provides a 2,000-lb. (907 kg) rated operating capacity to tackle big jobs easily. The 11,040-lb. (5,008 kg) 337 D-Series excavator, also equipped with an enclosed, heated and air conditioned cab, has a maximum digging depth of 12 ft. (3.6 m)
The increased flotation and traction of the all-track Bobcat System delivers exceptional performance for J & R Contracting.
“Because I’m not spinning my wheels in soft sand, the compact track loader saves me a lot of time,” Haus noted. “The increased traction provides unbelievable pushing power and the machine sticks like glue when climbing slopes. The tracks are a huge plus when running across existing lawns because I’m not tearing up the grass, and I no longer worry about picking up a nail and having to change a flat tire.”
Haus puts his compact track loader to work on jobs such as dozing, pushing over trees, clearing brush and picking up construction debris. He uses it with a Bobcat dozer blade, trencher and combination bucket, his favorite attachment.
“The combo bucket is an excellent product,” he said. “I like the convenience of being able to grade with it and then using it as a clam shell to pick up logs and other debris, and closing the bucket again to grade or push more dirt.”
“The primary job of the 337 excavator is clearing lots,” he added.
Other excavator work includes digging footings and trenches, ripping up driveways and loading dump trucks. The work is done using 2- and 3-ft. (.6 and .9 m) wide buckets and a hydraulic clamp. “That clamp is priceless when it comes to picking up trees and putting them where you want,” he said.
Haus has found that the loader and excavator complement each other very well.
For example, when loading trucks, he uses the speed and power of the compact track loader to bring dirt to the excavator. In turn, he makes good use of the excavator’s long reach to fill the truck with a minimum of time and motion. Sometimes on clearing jobs, he puts both machines to work loading a truck, placing one on each side as they work from two different piles of roots and dirt.
“We can usually load 10 to 15 tons of the material into our 18-yd. dump truck in about 15 minutes,” Haus reported. At other times, the loader and excavator pair up to back drag a cleared lot when finishing the site.
The rugged Bobcat System also pays off in removing trees, especially those standing next to a house or between two closely spaced structures. To help loosen the tree, Haus uses the excavator to dig all the way around it, sometimes as deep as 5 or 6 ft. (1.5 to 1.8 m).
When space is not a problem, Haus uses the excavator to push over the trees. “That machine has the power to take down some rather large trees,” he said.
“The excellent maneuverability, power and speed of these two machines allow us to do things we couldn’t do with a tractor,” Haus noted. “We wouldn’t be in business without our Bobcat loader and excavator.”
For more information, visit www.bobcat.com.
(Reprinted with permission from Bobcat’s Worksaver.)