Rafferty Succeeds With Volvo, Tyler Equipment Partnership

Sun August 11, 2013 - Northeast Edition
Jay Adams


Workers service and prep the Volvo MT2000 for a night milling project on I-95 in Conn.
Workers service and prep the Volvo MT2000 for a night milling project on I-95 in Conn.
Workers service and prep the Volvo MT2000 for a night milling project on I-95 in Conn. LED lighting increases the machine’s visibility. Crew mills I-95 using the Volvo MT2000. Matthew West, Kurt Rafferty’s son-in-law, operates the milling machine. Computer systems calculate information approximating when the trucks will be full. Crew mills I-95. (L-R): Kurt Rafferty of Rafferty Fine Grading; Greg Miano; and Ed Leonard, superintendent of Rafferty Fine Grading work at the job site.

When Kurt Rafferty, CEO of Rafferty Fine Grading, a company with a strong reputation and 30 years of expertise among its founders, was looking for a new milling machine he went to Volvo, a company that he felt excels in expertise and durability.

Rafferty Fine Grading began sub work for a general contractor on a $2 million job on Interstate 95 in Connecticut, between exits 8 and 10, not far from the New York line. Connecticut DOT in Darien, Conn sponsors the major highway repair work.

Rafferty needed to mill 2.1 mi. (3.4 km) of three and four lane-wide sections of I-95 in the southbound lane. To do the job, the company purchased a Volvo MT2000 as the primary milling machine from Tyler Equipment in 2010.

The machine, an early production model, has shown its durability. Rafferty has logged 1700 hours already with no down time. It was the perfect machine to handle their part of the multi-million dollar job.

“As Volvo sees areas that can be improved upon, they will modify the machine,” said Rafferty.

Rafferty’s crew was sent to the factory in Shippensburg, Pa., while the machine was being manufactured. Rafferty’s loyalty to Volvo and vice versa, through Tyler Equipment, is a marriage of product and company productivity.

Rafferty owns several other Volvo machines in its equipment fleet, including a Volvo 70 backhoe, Volvo skid steers, a Volvo 140 excavator, three Volvo motorgraders and a Volvo compaction roller.

As Volvo evolves, it pays right into the hands of Rafferty’s younger operators. These operators have often used technology since they were young and adapt easily to operating the technical aspects of the VolvoMT milling machine.

“There is technology in this unit that has never been seen before,” said Rafferty. “The milling machine can calculate load information for thirty-two different types of trucks. It calculates the type of truck the load is being fed to, the speed of the milling machine, and the depth of the cut. Then, it automatically shuts down when it calculates that the truck is full.

“This process eliminates a great deal of guess work as to whether or not the truck is actually full, and ultimately saves in gas consumption and unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicles,” said Rafferty. “Again, this type of technology dictates that the operator be highly skilled and properly trained.”

The MT2000 is a specialized machine for milling the roadway surface, according to representatives at Volvo.

“We have had a good, long-standing relationship with Tyler Equipment and we have developed the same sort of relationship with the people at the Volvo Road Division,” said Rafferty.

“Volvo has shown a great deal of interest and has given a great deal of support to our efforts,” said Rafferty.

“Rob Hannen and Julian Neacsu have given us tremendous amounts of Volvo factory support,” said Rafferty. “They have expressed a keen interest in any input we may have that would advance the effectiveness of the milling machine.”

Rafferty started his own company in 2001. He bought his first motorgrader with a credit card and had dreams to become one of the big guys.

“I have put up photos around the shop of major contractors on major projects to motivate the guys and give them the vision of where we want to be,” said Rafferty. “From day one, we have developed a good reputation for paying attention to details. Our finish work is second to none and makes for a much easier job for the paving contractor who comes in behind us. We try to keep the entire job from soup to nuts in house, which includes owning our own trucks. We want to be reliant on other contractors as little as possible.”

Brooke Tyler III, sales representative of Tyler Equipment working with Rafferty, lead his client to Volvo division including pavers, compaction equipment and milling machines.

The Volvo equipment has already served on various Rafferty projects, including services like full-depth pavement reclamation, fine grading and compaction, milling, sweeping, grinding and equipment (low bed) transportation.

Rafferty has dreamed about this career for more than 40 years. From playing in a backyard sandbox, moving Tonka trucks and toy graders, backhoes and bulldozers, the toys have become life-size and practical for construction work.

Today Rafferty Fine Grading has 16 employees. Rafferty’s wife Rhonda is the company president and the contract specialist. In addition, she handles logistics, payroll and human resources.

Working throughout New England and New York for more than two decades, expanding his fleet, his knowledge, his capabilities and services, Rafferty now performs reclamation, compaction and milling. The company began hauling its own equipment to maintain and manage schedules in order to meet timely deadlines.

Rafferty is now a leader in heavy highway construction. Rafferty Fine Grading has been a longtime customer of Tyler Equipment. As an authorized Volvo dealer, Tyler Equipment provided after-market support to Rafferty, the contractor, including service and maintenance support.