Soil stabilization is taking on a new look with the availability of Stehr soil stabilization attachments in the United States. With products such as standard and dust-free stabilization grinders and bonding agent spreaders that mount to the front and rear of agricultural tractors, contractors have an economical alternative to self-propelled equipment. As a result, they can readily use native soils in stabilization projects.
These attachments offer a range of additional advantages, including reducing fuel costs; avoiding unwanted compaction caused by driving over processed material; greater maneuverability; and ease of transport. Plus, the tractor is available for other jobs once a soil stabilization project is finished.
Until recently, there have not been any tractors that could move slowly enough to work with the stabilizer attachments. But now, JCB, Fendt, John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Case and Landini all offer tractors with the horsepower and creep speeds needed to handle the task. And with three attachment sizes available, you can stabilize soil at depths down to nearly 2 feet and widths up to 8 feet.
More capacity for less
Several contractors across the country are realizing the advantages these attachments provide.
One such contractor is Kokosing Construction Co. Inc., Fredericktown, OH. This general contractor specializes in commercial and institutional buildings, heavy industry process plants, waste and water treatment plants, underground sewer and utility lines, heavy/highway construction and industrial waste management projects in and around the Midwest.
In March, the company purchased a Stehr SBF 24-6 dust-free stabilizer, which is a combination of an SBF 24 stabilizer and a 9-cubic-yard spreader attached in tandem for spreading the binding agent. Acquired through Mountain Valley Equipment, Grand Junction, CO, the system is mounted onto a John Deere 8530 tractor.
The attachment is currently being used on an Army Corps of Engineers project in Belle, WV, where Kokosing is working in conjunction with Fru-Con, based in St. Louis, MO, to expand the Marmet Locks and Dam on the Kanawha River. Per Corps specs, all excavated material must remain on site, says Tony Raubenault, Kokosing's master mechanic. And per EPA regulations, all stabilization has to be accomplished dust-free.
Initially, the plan called for a subcontractor to handle all of the stabilization work. However, the sub wasn't able to accommodate the dust-free specs, so Kokosing purchased a dedicated stabilizer unit. "But then we saw a need for another stabilizer to meet production needs," says Raubenault. "That's when we purchased the Stehr attachment. Both pieces of equipment are still on the jobsite."
Kokosing opted for a stabilizer attachment rather than a second dedicated unit largely due to the ease of mobility and the considerably lower cost ? less than $200,000 for the attachment (not including tractor costs), compared to about $600,000 for a second dedicated stabilizer. "And when we're finished with this project, we can use the tractor for other applications," says Raubenault. "Using an attachment rather than a dedicated machine lowers our operational costs."
It also allows the contractor to stay on task and save time. "We stabilize the soil on our embankment area," Raubenault explains. "Without the stabilization
equipment, we could only move dirt about two days out of the week, since it takes about a week to dry it naturally. With stabilization, we can mix in hydrated lime, till it in with the attachment and pour our next lift the following day, and still meet the core specs.
"This attachment has been a great addition to our stabilizing operations," he adds.
More versatility, utilization
Beaver Excavating, Canton, OH, also recently added a dust-free SBF 24-6 to its equipment fleet. The company is nationally recognized, moving over 12 million cubic yards per year as it provides site development, underground utilities and concrete services to the commercial, industrial and heavy/highway industries.