Most of the new Tier IV loaders have a large hump on the back of the machine that blocks visibility and limits the drivers to solely relying on the cameras.
Bridgewater Power Company, located in Ashland, N.H., is a 15-megawatt biomass facility that generates power by burning wood chips. It then sells energy wholesale to ISO New England.
The plant opened in September 1987 and currently has 20 employees. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and consistently has an operating capacity factor above 90 percent for biomass utility companies in New England.
Roughly 750 to 1,000 tons (680 to 907 t) of wood chips are processed each day at the plant. It takes rugged, reliable equipment to work around the clock to make the operation run smoothly.
Michael O'Leary, asset manager of Bridgewater and James Cole, maintenance manager, have worked for the company since the plant opened in 1987. During the spring of 2015, they started looking for a new wheel loader for their plant. It needed to meet Tier IV requirements and also meet the needs of their operators.
Bridgewater Power Company's operation only requires the use of one wheel loader, but the loader is put through its paces. It operates 10 to 12 hours each day, five days a week, year round. The operators need to be able to drive up a large pile of wood chips and then back the machine down the pile with every trip.
The operators aren't able to rely on the cameras to back down the pile safely, because the camera lens continuously fogs or frosts over due to the mist coming off the wood pile. They need to be able to look over their shoulder, and have a clear view behind them to be able to maneuver safely down the pile — multiple times a day.
Bridgewater Power Co. was having trouble finding a machine that met the emission standards, and still gave its operators the visibility they need. This is because most of the new Tier IV loaders have a large hump on the back of the machine that blocks visibility and limits the drivers to solely relying on the cameras.
Rick Howard is a sales representative of E.W. Sleeper, located in Concord, N.H. He knocked on Bridgewater's door promising a product that they couldn't turn down.
“The Kawasaki 90Z7 loader has the visibility they need to keep their operators safe and comfortable. They provided extremely competitive pricing, and stand-alone customer service,” said Cole. “Prior to our first meeting with Rick Howard, we had not done previous business with E.W. Sleeper. Their excellent customer service has quickly built a lasting relationship. When we have needed them, they have had less than a 24-hour turnaround.”
Since purchasing the loader, Bridgewater Power Company also has purchased a Yanmar skid steer from E.W. Sleeper. Sleeper is a full-line, full-service Yanmar dealer as well.
For more information, visit www.ewsleeper.com.