When ordering a new planer, the systems are matched by the attachment manufacturer. "Planers are configured with different motors to match the skid steer hydraulics at the time of ordering," says Guthrie. It's not a situation where one planer will work with one kind of loader and another planer will work for another kind of loader. "If buying used at auction, look at this before purchasing."
Weight influences depth
In addition, the loader must be able to effectively lift the attachment. "You want the hydraulic flow and then the lifting capacity," says Ron Peters, product manager, CEAttachments. "These are heavier attachments, so you need a machine that can lift it off the ground and move it around."
Generally, the heavier the planer the better, since it will reduce bounce and keep the attachment in the cut. "A pivoting or self-centering planer head keeps all of the depth control surfaces in contact with the ground. Individual depth control for left and right side maintains depth control surface contact when making adjacent, step and taper cuts," says Harris.
Guthrie adds, " A center pivot puts the skid steer forces directly to the drum for unmatched stability."
Guide wheels may also prove beneficial. "Our cold planer has wheels on it," says Peters. "The weight is distributed on the wheels and you can drive forward fairly easily. Some manufacturers have skid shoes on them and it causes a lot of friction when you put a lot of down pressure on it. The result is you cannot put a lot of down pressure on the attachment and you are going to bounce."
Don't force it
How you operate the carrier and attachment further influences performance.
"A comfortable, steady operating speed should be selected, and the base unit should not be crowded so that the auxiliary hydraulics are constantly spiking relief," advises Harris. "Also, when milling near the max depth of the planer, it's generally more productive to make two or three shallow passes rather than one full-depth pass, especially in tough material."
The deeper you run the cold planer, the slower you have to go. "If you have to take out 6 in. of asphalt, you are probably better off doing two passes to get to your 6 in. rather than doing it in one crack, because you are able to drive a lot faster and your cold planer will perform a lot better," says Peters. "The deeper you go, you have to drive slower. If you drive too fast, your drum speed will start slowing down and you have to back off a little bit."
Drum type & bit placement
"One of the most important factors in determining performance is drum type," says Guthrie. "The open drum provides much less re-milling of asphalt and thus increases productivity.
"Re-milling occurs at depths below 1 inches, when the previously milled asphalt is trapped and milled again," he explains. "This results is less desirable, finely milled asphalt, more dust and much less productivity. More energy is consumed if the material is finely ground vs. coarsely ground. Fine grading requires the continuous fracturing of the aggregate in the asphalt versus removing the aggregate unfractured in the shavings."
There is no industry standard for bit placement and spacing. "Planer manufacturers have different thoughts on bit placement and spacing," says Odegaard. "A drum with larger spacing between the teeth will leave a rougher surface but have higher production. For this reason, it's important to evaluate a planer on the job to ensure the quality of the cut meets the specifications for the job."