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Sakai’s CV550 Soil Compactor Performs as King of the Hill

Thu August 23, 2007 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

They say Isaac Newton discovered gravity in the mid-1600s when an apple fell on his head. Brennan Construction Company also discovered it, in June 2007, when site workers tried to move heavy equipment up a 28-degree slope for a landfill-closing project.

“We were trying to lay down the materials that would cover the landfill, but the landfill was sloped. Initially, we tried to use traditional rubber-tired dirt rollers, but they couldn’t handle the steepness of the terrain. Then we tried a rubber-tracked skid steer loader pulling a 54-inch vibratory drum attachment, but that was very slow and we had difficulty reaching the required compaction rates.”

Knowing how to solve problems on the job site is the mark of a successful contractor. In the back of his mind, President James Brennan remembered seeing an article about a soil compactor on tracks.

It was exactly what they needed. A tracked soil compactor would be able to handle the steep slope efficiently and compact the soil to the required rate. But where could they rent one?

Brendan Guilfoyle, equipment supervisor of Brennan Construction called Larry Hughes of A. Montano Company — the local dealer for Sakai. Hughes told Guilfoyle that Sakai manufactured the machine they needed — the Sakai CV550 track-driven soil compactor, designed for steep slopes.

Brennan had found the machine it needed, but there was a problem: no one had a Sakai to rent to them.

“This roller is not a common roller,” said Hughes. “I’ve been in this business for 20 years and I’ve never seen one. They’re used in the Midwest, but no one has them around here and no one can get them. Sakai is the only one that makes them.”

But Hughes was determined to help Brennan. He called Sakai. The nearest CV550 was at Sakai’s headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.

“Larry Hughes and A. Montano Company were really able to jump through hoops and get the job done for us on this. They were able to get that machine delivered to us in three days,” Brennan said.

The Sakai CV550, designed for landfills and earthen dams, has doubled Brennan’s productivity. When grasping loose soil on a steep slope, it’s hard for normal wheels to get traction, because they don’t have much surface area. The Sakai CV550’s tracks have a wide surface area with lots of places to grip the soil. Like a snake slithering up a tree, the machine can hold tight to the slope even when it’s steep. The machine also has a no-spin differential and good weight distribution to help it keep its balance.

The CV550 is independent: it can travel on up to a 45-degree grade without being winched by a bulldozer. Its 84-in. (213 cm) vibratory drum has up to 55,120 lbs. (25,002 kg) of centrifugal force and its 110-in. (274 cm) dozer blade pushes the soil.

“The machine is spec’ed to work at a 45 percent grade. Our 28-degree slope is equivalent to about a 40 percent grade, so we know we are pushing this machine near its capacity, yet it has operated flawlessly,” Brennan said. “Our operators have told us that the machine is very easy to use and is very user friendly. In my opinion we have the ideal application for the Sakai tracked compactor and we have been more than pleased with its performance.”

Compacting the soil is one of the finishing steps in the 10-acre (4 ha) landfill-sealing project, which began in April 2006 when Brennan moved 100,000 yds. (91,440 m) of trash from the base of the landfill to the top using haul trucks.

To seal the garbage, contain the odor and meet Department of Environmental Conservation requirements, landfills must be covered with bedding stone, sand and other materials. After the trash was moved, Brennan covered it with 6-in. (15 cm) of bedding stone, 1.6 in. (4 cm) of synthetic cover, 1-ft. (0.3 m) of sand, 1 ft. (0.3 m) of 3 in. minus material and 6 in. (15 cm) of screened topsoil.

Most of the material came from Brennan Construction’s own sites with the exception of the sand, which was purchased from Tilcon New York Inc., an integrated materials company headquartered in West Nyack, N.Y.

Next, Brennan will install 5,500 ft. (1,676 m) of 24-in. (61 cm) drainage channels to carry water away from the landfill when it rains. Brennan also will install 38 10-ft. (3 m) long, 6-in. (15 cm) diameter vents to release the methane gas produced by the decaying garbage.

Then, Brennan will make the site green and attractive: the landfill will be hydroseeded, so that grass can grow.

The landfill closure is scheduled for completion in September 2007. The contract was let for $7 million.

About Brennan Construction Company

Brennan Construction Company was founded by James Brennan’s father, Thomas Brennan. James got involved in the company after getting out of the Marine Corps in 1987. At that time he started working closely with his father to grow the business. Their initial work was in utilities. As their skills, experience, and equipment inventory grew they started doing subdivision work for large area builders. Six years ago, the company began doing DOT work for New York’s Metro North and started tackling larger and more equipment-intensive projects.

Currently the company owns approximately 35 machines and has 15 to 20 machines on rent. Their market area is the lower Hudson Valley region of New York State.

About A. Montano Company

A. Montano in Saugerties, N.Y., is a full-service equipment rental and sales company that carries Atlas Copco hammers, Sakai rollers and complete lines of JCB and Doosan Daewoo. It has a rental fleet of approximately 250 pieces.

For more information, call 845/247-0206 or visit

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