"Swiss Army Knife" of mills: BOMAG Americas' 1300
BOMAG America's John Hood says contractors always want to know how often they have to keep the mill working to make owning it worthwhile.
"That's a tough question to answer because every market's different. But as a general rule we talk about rental rates on milling machines and it's tough to get a guy to come out and mill all day long for less than about $4,500 a day," Hood says. "If you do that three times a month, that's $13,500 a month. That way more than covers the payment, operating costs, and labor involved with owning a mill. That's working just three days a month."
So Hood, who says the biggest barrier to milling equipment sales today is "future utilization," says contractors concerned about that haven't fully thought through the benefits of milling.
Take BOMAG's 1300 mill, for example, part of BOMAG's 30 Class frame size of mills which includes the 1000 and 1200 models (the only difference is the width of the milling drum, which is 1, 1.2 or 1.3 meters). Often referred to as a utility mill, the 1300 is a 280-hp, 40,000-lb. machine with a 1.3-meter drum that cuts from 0 to 12 in. deep, and four tracks. A folding conveyor is standard, which makes it easy to move the equipment from site to site - an important consideration for a mill that can perform on a variety of jobs from shoulder repairs to parking lot milling, bridge deck repair, and pavement profiling.
"That's why we refer to it as a little Swiss Army Knife of mills," Hood says. "You can take your crew out there and you can saw cut and excavate the traditional way - or you can use a mill instead. We're seeing a pretty strong uptick in that kind of work because of the labor involved. It doesn't take long to override the cost of utilizing this piece of equipment, and by the time you saw cut and excavate the milling machine can be 10 times faster.
Other features include:
- Simple operator control station enabling the operator to sit right above the drum and look out over the drum and over the entire jobsite
- Standard grade and slope controls to control depth and slope of milling automatically. Hood says Bomag integrates its controls into all its mills, making it easy to program and teach someone to use in an hour or less
Hood says one of the most important features of the 1300 is its operator-selected coordinated steering system that enables the operator to steer using the front two tracks, the rear two tracks, or all four tracks simultaneously
"Any time you're milling a straight line it's pretty simple, but when you are milling on a radius, such as in a cul-de-sac where you need to maintain a curve, that can prove difficult if your machine only steers with two tracks. It can be hard to maintain that curve without getting off track," Hood says. "With the 1300 the operator can decide which steering approach he wants to take for each job and can use all four for coordinated steering to help keep the machine in line."
The 1300 also features a center-mounted drop, just like BOMAG's main line mills, and Hood says there's a specific reason for that.
"We apply the same operating principles and technology throughout our entire line, so if you use a small BOMAG mill you can get on a half-lane mill and be running it within 15 minutes," Hood says. "If you are using any one of our milling machines you can easily use another one."
Size, versatility, and power: Roadtec's X500
Another versatile mill is Roadtec's X500, a 600-hp machine that is the company's most-popular model according to John Irvine, Roadtec's vice president of sales and marketing.
"This smaller mill with its high horsepower makes it a versatile piece of equipment," Irvine says.
Available in four-track or three-track models (Irvine says Roadtec is the only manufacturer to offer both designs), the X500 allows cutting up to 13 in. deep with drums of 6-ft., 3-in.; 6-ft. 7-in; or 7-ft. 2-in. widths. Transport weight for the four-track model with the 6-ft., 3-in. drum is 49,850 lbs; transport weight for the three-track machine with the same drum is 48,720 lbs. Both units offer a tight turning radius, 5 ft., 8 in. for the more maneuverable three-track machine and 6 ft., 8 in. for the four-track machine, and both offer a right-hand flush cut.