Wirtgen Performance Tracker (WPT) can precisely monitor milling performance and display other machine metrics on the control panel in real-time.
The Krug family has been involved in the growth of the Chicagoland area for four generations. From constructing skyscrapers to paving the major arteries in and around the Windy City, the Krug lineage is firmly entrenched in northeast Illinois.
"My great grandfather got us started in construction as he did a lot of caisson work and excavation downtown," said Jennifer Krug, executive vice president of the Krug family business, K-Five Construction. "My grandfather ran Krug Excavating after that. In 1977, my dad, George, and his siblings — Kitty, Jody, Rob and Bill — morphed the company into K-Five Construction Corporation. Today, that business is in its second generation with Robert G. Krug and I joining the fold."
K-Five Construction has developed into one of northeastern Illinois' largest highway contractors, with as many as 300 employees in busy months. It also runs a number of asphalt and concrete plants.
"Our business focuses on both public and private arenas. We perform horizontal road construction. We work on tollways, airports, state department of transportation, municipalities, railroads and private developments. We've done a lot of work throughout the decades at both O'Hare and Midway Airports.
"We work in the deep end of the pool," said Krug. "We target large jobs on tight timelines."
When K-Five planned to add to its milling fleet, it turned to Roland Machinery Company and Dave Cruise, sales representative, for a new Wirtgen W 220 Fi large milling machine.
"We were looking to improve our performance," said Mark Lindbloom, operations manager of K-Five. "The two-speed transmission of the W 220 Fi was attractive. It carries the horsepower for the big mainline runs, yet it also is versatile enough to perform deep cuts."
In addition to the performance of the W 220 Fi, K-Five was excited to add the technology that came with it.
"The technology is what makes Wirtgen equipment top of the line," said Lindbloom.
Wirtgen Performance Tracker (WPT) was included in the W 220 Fi purchase. This program can precisely monitor milling performance and display other machine metrics on the control panel in real-time. For a company that primarily competes for low-bid work, having information on-hand to base bidding decisions is vital. The addition of WPT also provides more data for estimating, performance and purchasing plans.
"When we buy a machine, we want dependability, versatility, value and performance. The W 220 Fi provides all of those, plus a significant technological upgrade with WPT. This allows us to measure our output in a very precise way. We have used telematics systems before, but we've never had anything on this level. We are confident the technology will continue to help us improve our efficiency," said Lindbloom.
Put to Work
K-Five Construction wasted little time in putting the W 220 Fi to work. Its first job was a full-depth excavation of both the on and off ramps at the intersection of Interstate 55 and Weber Road in Bolingbrook, Ill. With the mill assist program on the machine, the W 220 Fi was able to optimize performance by matching the speed of the engine and milling drum to the traction drive, water system and the machine's advance rate. The result was K-Five Construction achieving its depth goal of 18 in. in two passes.
"The machine has a lot of really nice features that make it easy for both the ground person and the operator," said Ed Mesko, K-Five Construction milling foreman. "It has a lot of technology and power. Overall, it's an awesome machine."
Milling With a Message
When K-Five Construction purchased the Wirtgen W 220 Fi large milling machine in May, the company knew it was packed with features that would help it boost productivity and efficiency. One benefit unrelated to production, however, has provided one of the most significant returns.
The new F-Series Wirtgen mills include the option to add a customizable wrap around the machine. While most companies utilize this to add a logo or company colors, Dave Gorski, shop manager, came up with the idea for a pink wrap as a way to promote cancer awareness and honor Jennifer's father and K-Five founder George B. Krug, who passed away due to cancer in 2019.
"We have been very involved in cancer awareness and philanthropic efforts," said Krug. "It is a very personal cause for us. In addition to my father's fight with it, my aunt [co-owner Jody Schulte] is a breast cancer survivor. To have the opportunity to showcase our involvement was wonderful.
"We couldn't be prouder," she added. "It's very noticeable. Within the first weeks of having the milling machine on job sites, we received calls from people asking about it. It's a tremendous testament to bring awareness. We're always trying to make sure our investment in equipment and our people is top-notch. This helps us do that."
This article was reprinted with the permission of Roland Machinery Co.