A Bobcat T190 compact track loader with laser-guided grader attachment can achieve a grade within plus/minus 0.25 in. (0.64 cm).
Trace Construction, a concrete contractor based near Indianapolis, Ind., uses Bobcat compact equipment and innovative technology to do the same jobs typically done by larger equipment. With Bobcat equipment, Trace Construction completes jobs more efficiently and with less cost, according to the company.
Large Jobs, Small Equipment
Trace Construction does concrete work for new distribution centers, big box retail stores, warehouses, hospitals and schools. The company’s two Bobcat grader attachments are equipped with laser systems and used on Bobcat compact track loaders to prepare subgrade for concrete. Trace Construction purchases Bobcat equipment from Bobcat of Anderson in Anderson, Ind.
Traditionally, this work is done by dozers, which are more expensive to own and operate than compact track loaders and attachments because dozers use more fuel and cost more to maintain.
“The T300 will do as much work as a large dozer and is faster,” said Joe Shetterley, vice president of Trace Construction.
Laser System Saves Time
Each of the two grader attachments has dual receivers that communicate with a laser transmitter set on a tripod. The transmitter emits a plane of laser light across the job site. Each of the two grader attachments has two laser receivers, one on each end of the blade. As the loaders make passes, the laser system automatically raises or lowers the height of the grader blade.
The only thing the operator needs to worry about is driving the loader around the job site — the laser system does the work of adjusting the grader blade. The operator may have to manually override the laser if the unit is cutting too deep. The operator also has the ability to manually override the laser for rough grading and other applications.
Bigger Projects, Bigger Profits
The laser system has allowed Trace Construction to become more profitable by taking on larger projects. Before the laser system, four people and a string line could only do up to 30,000-sq. ft. (2,787 sq m) sections at a time. With the laser system, only two people are needed, both working in the compact track loaders with grader attachments.
“We would not have been able to do big areas without this system,” Shetterley said. “Now that we have the laser, we can control our own subgrade and take on larger work than we did in the past.”
This story was reprinted from Bobcat WorkSaver, Summer 2009.
Laser System = $ in Your Pocket
The laser system is so accurate that it can achieve the grade within plus/minus 0.25 in. (0.64 cm), which is important because it impacts how much concrete is used. Trace Construction signs contracts stipulating margins of error; the percentage of waste for concrete costs that are usually 1, 2 or 3 percent.
For instance, if the base course of a 300 sq. ft. (27.7 sq m) area is .5 in. (1.3 cm) below grade, 139 yd. (127 m) of additional concrete would be needed. If the concrete costs $100 per cu. yd., that would result in an extra expense of nearly $14,000.
Trace Construction pours floors as large as 800,000 sq. ft. (74,322 sq m), so greater accuracy of the grade translates into large savings. This means the laser system and box blade or grader attachment can be paid for in as little as one job.