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Cat 980G Proves to Be a Real Workhorse for Edison Quarry

Mon September 08, 2003 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Joe Bucciarelli knows stone. He is the third generation of family ownership to operate Edison Quarry, a Doylestown, PA, producer of crushed and broken stone.

Bucciarelli’s grandfather opened Edison Quarry in 1929. Joe took over from his father in 1985 and has been operating the quarry ever since. The Bucciarelli’s had an idea that has allowed them to operate in a niche market for many successful years.

Most quarries typically conjure images of enormous holes in the ground. They are typically large sites where production and scale are the keys to success. They also make you think of “BIG” iron. A quarry typically will operate with a number of large wheel loaders and off- highway trucks. In addition, a quarry usually will have at least one motorgrader for haul road maintenance, a track-type tractor for pushing stockpiles, a water tanker for dust control and at least one hydraulic excavator with a hammer to break up large rocks missed by the dynamite. Basically, this is not a small operation.

Edison Quarry is significantly different. Bucciarelli is proud that he is not “a big volume producer.” Instead, Bucciarelli is proud that his operation is able to provide fast response to contractors working locally in the area. The key to Edison’s success has always been its reliable service and great location. As Bucciarelli explained, “For someone working locally we can usually respond within a half hour. A big part of this is my employees. They are all extremely versatile.”

Edison Quarry also is extremely efficient. Its small size allows Bucciarelli to accurately manage his standing inventory of each type of stone he crushes. There is very little wasted effort.

Nearly all of the work at Edison Quarry is performed by one machine. Bucciarelli recently purchased a new Caterpillar 980G Series II wheel loader from Ransome CAT, the Bensalem, PA-based equipment dealer for the Metro Philadelphia area, Northern Delaware and Southern New Jersey. This machine is serving as the backbone of Edison’s quarry operations. The machine buckets shot rock from the blast face, primes the crusher and loads the hopper. The 980G Series II also loads customer trucks when they are there to pick up stone and will often scoop a bucket of water and act as a water wagon. Edison Quarry uses its 980G Series II to serve the function of approximately five machines at a typical quarry.

The 980G Series II is the largest in Caterpillar’s medium wheel loader product group. A 319-hp (23.1 kW) 3406 ATAAC diesel engine that meets all EPA Tier 2 emissions standards powers the loader. The 980G Series II also features the Caterpillar Monitoring System (CMS), which continuously watches critical machine systems and provides the operator with key information to help avoid maintenance problems. Bucket capacity on the 980G Series II ranges from 5 to 7.5 cu. yds. (3.8 to 5.7 cu m). Edison Quarry purchased the 980 with both ride control and the command control steering. Caterpillar’s system is both pilot operated and load sensing. Command steering links the steering wheel and frame angle positions to provide the proper amount of steering control. The benefits of this system are precise operator control, much quicker cycle times and reduced operator efforts.

Another feature of the 980G Series II is the updated operator’s station. The cab has a large glass viewing area and comes standard with heating and air conditioning. With command steering, all of the transmission functions are on one handle so the operator can control direction, gear and steering all from one control. The 980G Series II transmission also allows the operator to choose between manual shifting and automatic shifting. Bucciarelli said, “Getting this new machine is kind of like an incentive for my operators, all of whom have been with me for a while.”

Bucciarelli said he needs to have a machine that he can count on. Without the 980G, his operation would really suffer and the lost time would be devastating to Edison Quarry’s loyal customer base, he admitted, and added that this is the third 980 wheel loader he has purchased from Ransome. The first was a 980B that was traded in on the new 980G Series II. Bucciarelli also owns a 980C “Certified Rebuild” machine that he purchased from Ransome. The Rebuild machine is one that was totally reconstructed in Ransome CAT’s Bensalem shop, given a new machine serial number and then sent back out into the field. Before the G Series II machine the 980C served as the primary wheel loader in Edison’s operation. It is still running and now serves as Bucciarelli’s back-up loader.

All three of the Cat wheel loaders have been enrolled in Ransome CAT’s Sentinel Service program. This program puts all of the scheduled maintenance in the hands of the Ransome Service Department. In addition to performing scheduled maintenance, Ransome CAT’s technicians always check the machine over for any signs of trouble. Bucciarelli said, “Everyone [with Ransome Service] does a great job. Frank Scott, Dan Weaver, Sharon Seiferth, Joe Baehser and all the mechanics have been great. My business is based on providing some personal service to my customers and I get the same treatment from the people at Ransome.”

Bucciarelli equates his quarry to the “Corner Grocery Store” of today’s modern aggregate producers. Customers can get a personal feeling from a company that is tied to their success and their local community. This is a reputation that has lasted through three generations and one that shows no sign of slowing down.

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