The city of Pepper Pike, Ohio Service Department recently took delivery of a John Deere 524K wheel loader from Murphy Tractor & Equipment. The primary role for the new wheel loader will be loading salt during the winter months, according to Pepper Pike Director of Service Robert Girardi.
With Pepper Pike situated within northeast Ohio’s snowbelt, where lake effect snow hits hardest, the new wheel loader is likely to log a lot of hours. Although the wheel loader won’t be working every day, when it is running, there is no light duty. “When it’s running, it’s running hard,” said Pepper Pike Service Department Lead Mechanic Dave Anderson.
The city uses up to 5,000 tons (4,536 t) of road salt for snow management each year. The salt is stored in a dome with a 2,800 ton (2,540 t) capacity on the service department grounds, and the city often ends up acquiring a second load of salt before winter’s end.
Although the wheel loader’s primary function is to move salt, the service department will have plenty of work for the machine year round. As well as snow removal, the city of Pepper Pike Service Department is responsible for road and sewer maintenance, traffic and street sign maintenance, city park maintenance, mowing of city rights-of-way, street sweeping and other service related duties. With such a wide range of work, the wheel loader will be kept busy throughout the summer months moving gravel, mulch and dirt on various projects around the city.
After 17 years of active duty, service department employees have no complaints about the wheel loader they were replacing. At the same time however, they recognized that the long term relationship they plan to have with their new machine, along with a wish list built up over nearly two decades, they wanted to find a wheel loader that met all of their requirements. Girardi explained that they took a true team approach during the purchase process, encouraging input from operators and mechanics as well as management. The group met and spoke with representatives of several of Ohio’s dealerships during the search, and arranged demonstrations with the top contenders during the winter. Murphy Tractor & Equipment’s Dean Bradley met with the team and after discussing their needs set up a demonstration of the John Deere 524K wheel loader, which coincidently occurred during a week when snow in northeast Ohio was hitting hard.
For the operators, several aspects of the John Deere 524K wheel loader gained favorable reviews. From small details such as the slope of the wheel loader’s tail end allowing them to stack salt higher without bottoming out to large features like the machine’s roomy and comfortable cab made the 524K stand out. According to city of Pepper Pike Foreman, Jim Advent, the 524K offered smooth and quite operation with high visibility which is essential when working within the tight confines of the salt barn.
Mechanics cast their vote for the John Deere 524K wheel loader because they felt the machine would be the easiest to work on. They cited the John Deere designed Quad Cool Radiator in a box configuration to facilitate cleaning, ground level fueling and daily check gauges and the sealed switch monitor that controls the entire machine while replacing most of the switches and relays in the machine. The John Deere 524K also was equipped with radial tires for a smoother ride on the hard surface where the wheel loader will perform most of its duties.
Pepper Pike Director of Service Robert Girardi said he was extremely pleased with the addition to the city’s fleet, adding that the acquisition was a process from beginning to end and that Dean Bradley, along with the entire team at Murphy Tractor & Equipment Company, were extremely responsive. Girardi added that the John Deere 524K wheel loader gave them everything they were looking for and came in at a very competitive price.
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