"This attachment is unbelievable to watch," says Thompson. "It can cut through 1/2-in. plate steel. With a 15-minute jaw change, you can go from cutting steel to pulverizing concrete. It's helped us in a lot of ways by allowing us to dismantle a building, then recycle any metal that is inside the concrete. In the past, we weren't able to retrieve that metal. But now we can pulverize the concrete beams and recycle the rebar inside. We can generate a lot more salvage steel than we used to be able to."
Since this attachment is costly - about half the cost of the excavator itself - maintenance to the host is critical. "We work the machine hard," Thompson says. "We change the hydraulic oil more often because we depend on the hydraulics so much. If the oil breaks down, the attachment won't perform as well, so we keep it changed out regularly."
Onboard Diagnostics Tell All
The onus of engine maintenance has always fallen onto contractors. But with the advent of computer diagnostics, that responsibility becomes even more important since, with sophisticated techniques, engine manufacturers can easily determine exactly what went wrong in an engine.
"Computers can tell the engine manufacturer how many times the engine overheated, how many times it had a fuel problem, etc.," says Dave Pooley, Hyundai. "They can tell the story in a lot of detail.
"It's up to contractors to do everything they can to maintain the engine," he continues. "For example, if an engine manufacturer analyzes that the oil went beyond its useful life, they may not warrant it if something goes wrong."