Hydraulics, lifting capacity and operator environment all played a role in machine selection.
Municipal work is ultimately a blending of many different trades. The equipment needs to be equally versatile. It was with this eye on versatility that the village of Slinger, Wis. — known for its ski hill and super speedway — recently added a new skid steer to its fleet: the Tier IV Final SR210 from Case Construction Equipment.
“Every day is different, that’s for sure,” said Greg Moser, DPW and utilities superintendent, village of Slinger. “Being a smaller town and cross training as much as we do, it’s very important that all our equipment is flexible so that we can be as efficient as possible. We can start the day down at the treatment plant, maybe moving grits from the sewer… to sand, gravel, utility work for the ditches, street paving, park use, compost, moving chips, soil, top soil, landscaping.”
As Moser made the case to the village board to add the new equipment, three primary factors stood out: the value provided by the versatility of the equipment, the reaction of his operators, and the serviceability of the machine matched with the proximity/responsiveness of his equipment dealer.
Skid Steer Power, Hydraulics Provide Application Versatility
Weighing in at 6,970 lbs. (3,165.4 kg), the SR210 is an all-purpose skid steer rated at 74 gross hp. The machine offers class-leading bucket breakout force (7,270 lbs.) and torque (232 ft. lbs.), and Moser opted for high-flow auxiliary hydraulics (33.2 gpm) for added power and attachment versatility.
That high-flow hydraulic package plays an important role in allowing the village to complete much of the work it faces on a daily basis.
“We own a bucket, forks and a snow pusher, but we rent out stump grinders, millers, jack hammers, anything like that,” said Moser. “Basically anything that [manufacturers] can make for those machines we want to be able to utilize.”
Many of the attachments that Moser rents require as much as 33 gpm of hydraulics. The ability to operate attachments that require a higher flow helps save the village money by bringing work in-house that would otherwise have to be contracted out.
“Our DPW street maintenance, one of the major job duties is street patching, and that plays into a mill planer grinding off that two inches of asphalt,” said Moser. “Contracting that kind of work out is very expensive, so if we have smaller patches, we want to do that in-house when we can, so we really wanted our own machine to be able to do that kind of work.”
The SR210, at a rated operating capacity of 2,100 lbs. (952.5 kg), represents one of the most common skid steer size classes in the industry. With this model, Case built power and performance usually associated with a full-frame model into the footprint of a medium-frame skid steer. That power and reduced size has proven important.
“It’s got great lifting capacity for the size it is,” said Al Strupp, an operator and mechanic of the village of Slinger. “The weight is distributed perfectly. I never have any problem lifting stuff up. I can lift the same amount at half throttle as I can [while] wide open. It’s really nice. [And] just getting in tight spaces. You find plenty of them throughout the village and with a not-so-big frame on the skid loader that can lift just as much, that’s a big [benefit].”
Moser’s second consideration revolved around the feedback and experience of the operator. The SR210 features one of the widest cabs in the industry, as well as the lowest entry threshold of any skid steer in the industry. These factors, along with the design of the side and rear windows, help aid in visibility around the machine and down to the attachment. The size of the cab itself also helps improve operator comfort, and the low entry threshold helps simplify getting in and out of the machine.
“I have a 6 ft. 9 in. guy on staff, so I took that into consideration,” said Moser. “If you’ve ever seen a 6 ft. 9 in. guy get in some equipment, it’s pretty funny sometimes. He looks pretty cramped in a lot of different machines. [This cab space] is a big deal. Getting in and out, not only him, but we have some guys that are nearing retirement, so, really, getting in and out of equipment can be an issue at times. Anything that aided in that is definitely a plus.”
That extra space in the cab, along with how it made him feel at the end of the day, was one of the first things Strupp noticed.
“First thing I noticed right away sitting in the machine [was] the comfort in there,” he said. “The cab is nice and big. You don’t feel like you’re cramped up or anything. The air ride seat is great. When you’re in the machine for 10 to 12 hours and you’re not fatigued or anything, that’s what stands out.”
“The next thing I noticed when I was operating the machine was the Ride Control,” Strupp continued. “If you’re hauling a load across the yard and you don’t want to spill gravel everywhere, you hit that button and [it’s] just perfect. It doesn’t jolt the hydraulics. It’s not stiff. It has give to it so if you hit a bump, the bucket will give so you don’t spill or jerk the whole load.”
The Ride Control feature, another option that Moser opted for, also helps improve operator comfort as minimizing jolts and movement of the bucket and arms also helps minimize movement inside the cab.
The greatest benefit of the cab, however, in terms of performance and jobsite awareness, might be its visibility, said Strupp. In addition to the view to the bucket, to the rear and to the side of the machine, the SR210 also features industry-exclusive side lighting that improves visibility. This is extremely important as the machine works in public areas and along roadways.
“Visibility on this machine is top notch,” said Strupp. “Just being able to see the front of the bucket real nice, see over the bucket, seeing what you’re actually doing in front. Side-to-side view is great. To tell you the truth, I haven’t been in a skid loader that’s been better than this. Being able to see all around you at all times is a big priority.”
“That lighting package is not only a great value,” add Moser, “but it allows us to safely operate that machine in heavy traffic, late at night, in all sorts of areas. They’re important.”
Serviceability Is King
The third consideration Moser made relates to the serviceability of the machine and the proximity/responsiveness of their equipment dealer. Downtime is not an option, even for a smaller village, as much of its work has a direct impact on the public.
“The machine is one thing,” said Moser, “but who is going to be there after the sale that’s going to take care of you when you need it? A lot of times these machines, they have to be ready to go. If there’s a storm coming, we have to be ready. That was a big part of it, so I know in our case, [Case dealer] Miller Bradford & Risberg is nearby, and they support everything we have very well.”
In addition to dealer support, the machine lends itself well to easy maintenance and upkeep. The engine features a maintenance-free Tier IV Final solution that requires no filter replacement or fluids. As a certified diesel mechanic and a graduate of Fox Valley Technical College, Strupp particularly appreciates the machine’s ease of maintenance.
“The first thing I look at is how easy it is to work on and how easy it is to maintain,” said Strupp, “ground serviceability and everything like that. I’ve worked on a lot of equipment. This stands out. It’s so easy to maintain, it’s not a chore anymore. It’s so quick. It’s simple and that’s the way it should be. You can get all the checks done here within 5 minutes. You can lift the cab up forward. The back door opens up real nice and wide. You’re not restricted anywhere. The access to the filters and the fact that all the fluids drain from one point is great. You’re not inside the engine digging somewhere you can’t see. It’s so simple just getting filters on and off, draining all the fluids. You can do it all from standing right next to the machine.”
All things considered —from performance to operator feedback and serviceability — Moser believes the SR210 meets all the criteria required to be a workhorse for the village of Slinger for years to come.
“We don’t have a huge fleet, but the fleet we have has to be as versatile as possible, and this allows for a lot of that.”