For example, a set of forks coupled with a Rototilt attachment can be used to lift pallets to the second story of a building. "If a cleanout bucket is used with a Rototilt, a machine with a two-piece boom will allow the operator to front face the bucket next to the dozer blade and push more dirt in the trench, making for reduced operating time," Escalante points out. "Likewise, a hammer can be operated at all angles without the need to reposition the machine."
Wheeled machines typically come with a dozer blade. "A refined parallelogram blade better handles backfill and cleanup duties, while serving as a third stabilizer during digging," says Hendry.
Even though the blade is standard, some customers only want the outriggers, says Escalante. But both are recommended.
"[The outriggers and blade] can be used to make work easier on the jobsite and improve the efficiency of the machine," he explains. "You can use the blade as an add-on attachment in addition to any attachment you have on the end of the stick. For example, if you are moving a large-diameter pipe and you have a bucket or a thumb, you can just bring that pipe against the blade and transport it very easily." Simply grab it between the attachment and blade, lift it and transport.
Also, the dozer blade provides more surface contact area than two outriggers.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Escalante believes the wheeled excavator is the "machine of the future." "The wheeled excavator has not impacted the market yet," he states. Customers are still being educated.
"For those customers just going into business, the wheeled excavator is the most versatile. You can dig like with a tracked excavator and move the wheeled unit around from site to site without having to invest in a truck and trailer," he notes. They are also well suited to urban areas. "For a customer who works in landscaping or a small contractor who is working in subdivisions, the wheeled excavator is the proper machine for use, mainly because you can move it from one place to another without any additional transport unit."
Even so, don't expect wheeled excavators to achieve mainstream status in the near future. "I think [they are] going to maintain their niche market. They are still going to be a staple for municipalities where they can road that machine... They can just travel to where they need to do the utility work or maintenance work without tearing up asphalt," says Ellis. "[Wheeled excavators] may lose a little traction in road construction because of all of the new reduced tailswing machines. With the reduced tailswing machines, you don't have to shut down that extra lane."