Next, be aware of the excavator?s increased circle of operation. "The most important thing that I have found over the years is people tend to get complacent with their surroundings," says Wever. "When you have a longer stick and a boom, the circle you are working in has increased dramatically. So now the guy who always used to be safe because he was 40 or 50 ft. away ? that is no longer a true statement. Your work area is larger and work is farther away, so you have to pay attention to swing speed and blind spots in the machine. It is those types of things that you don?t get to ignore when you have a long reach boom."
The swing speed of the attachment increases proportionally with the length of the boom and stick. "Since the attachment is longer, the speed the attachment is traveling will be greater than with a shorter attachment," says Jacobson.
"When you swing your tractor, your bucket is at a certain speed at a certain distance from the centerline of the tractor," Wever points out. As the distance from the centerline increases, so does the speed at which the attachment is moving.
For example, a bucket that travels 25 mph on a standard machine may travel 60 mph on an excavator equipped with a 30-ft. extension. "Your reaction times all change," Wever notes. Consequently, the operator needs to be conscious of this difference and slow down a little.
This is where proportional controls can be a big advantage. "Most excavators are equipped with multiple working modes," Jacobson comments. "The operator of a machine with a very long attachment should choose a mode that will decrease the hydraulic flow, so that the attachment can be easily controlled and the excavator will work smoothly."
Attachment Yields Versatile Solution
Odessa, FL-based PAW Materials is a diversified demolition contractor and materials supplier that shares synergies with a sister trucking company. The contractor thrives on unique jobs.
"We want to be creative and skilled at what we do," says Rick Wohlfiel, owner. "We work on projects other people pass over. We want to work on those really tough ones." The company tackles residential, commercial and industrial projects. "You have to be diverse," says Wohlfiel.
This diversity carries over to the equipment fleet, which includes three crushers and over 20 pieces of heavy iron. "Diversity in any tool that I buy is of huge importance," says Wohlfiel.
"When I am purchasing a piece of equipment, I want to make sure it has the ability to do multiple tasks." When Paw Materials ran across a job calling for concrete to be broken over 50 ft. in the air, a solution was needed that could complement the existing fleet. After doing some Internet research, Wohlfiel found it in the Extend-A-Boom from Paul Wever
Construction Equipment (PWCE). The Extend-A-Boom transformed a Caterpillar 325 into a long-reach machine that could operate at 51 ft. with a hydraulic hammer. Paul Wever advised Wohlfiel on the correct stick size for the job, as well as the proper size hammer to mount on the end of the stick.
Wohlfiel has been pleased with the results. "I was very impressed at how well I was able to apply pressure with this hammer," he states. The machine performed without a hiccup throughout the project. "I never had anything go wrong with it. Everything worked fantastic for me."
Wohlfiel credits this success to carefully following instructions. PWCE worked out the math and advised him on what could be done with the excavator and stick, including proper sizing of the attachments and buckets.
Next, only experienced operators were allowed to run the machine, initially under supervision.
"I use only my most skilled people. You want your most cautious people on it," Wohlfiel emphasizes. In the wrong hands, this setup can be dangerous. "When you are dealing with the Extend-A-Boom, you can actually reach up and hit your own cab. You want to make sure you use your most skilled people and go through the risks involved. Make sure they understand them before you just hand them the keys. I ran it myself and I worked with the operators on the jobsite. I managed them and made sure there was a clear understanding what it will and will not do before I let them loose."
Now that the project has been completed, the Extend-A-Boom is still proving to be an important piece of the PAW Materials equipment arsenal. In addition to working as a demolition tool, it is being used to clean ponds. And when it?s not needed, the Caterpillar 325 can be quickly transformed back into a standard excavator.