When selecting a UTV, make sure it is purpose built to withstand the rigors of construction applications. “Durability, reliability and safety are the three key requirements that contractors should consider when shopping for a utility vehicle,” says Muramoto. “While there are many utility vehicle brands that claim their products are designed for work, close examination of the robustness of the suspension and frames, as well as overall fit, finish and a choice of materials will indicate whether or not a utility vehicle is purpose built for ‘contractor grade’ jobsite applications.”
Gain Access with Crawler Carriers
Further up the food chain is the crawler carrier. “Applications for the crawler carrier are very broad,” says Mick Heibert, crawler carrier specialist, IHI Compact Excavator Sales. “They are built to take on terrain where you would not take a chassis truck due to the working angles or grade. The standard crawler carrier typically comes with a dump bed. Bed sizes range from 1.5- up to 10-cu.-yd. capacity, with maximum payload capacities ranging from 5,000 to 33,000 lbs.
A steel or rubber track undercarriage provides low ground pressure for working in soft underfoot and environmentally sensitive areas. Rubber-tracked versions add to the versatility because they don’t tear up the ground or road surface like steel track models.
“IHI has four models of crawler carriers with the highest fully loaded ground pressure measurement at just under 8 psi,” says Heibert. “This allows traveling in very wet or environmental areas without a large impact due to rutting or ‘pumping’ of the ground. Jobsite ground damage is a huge factor in today’s construction methods. The less you damage, the less you have to repair.”
Terrain-ability follows very closely after ground pressure. “Our crawler carriers have 30° gradeability on a track frame with floating ‘bogey’ style lower rollers and steel-belted solid rubber tracks,” says Heibert. “The floating rollers keep the track on the ground, while the rubber tracks give you the best traction on all terrains and ground conditions, whether it is mountainous terrain or sugar sand.”
The ability to customize crawler carriers to specific applications — with flatbeds, cranes, drill rigs, etc. — makes them a versatile addition to the fleet. They can be adapted to become mulching machines, mat carriers, hydroseeders, welding units on tracks, water tank carriers, off-road service vehicles, or anything else you can dream up where the advantages of a low ground pressure vehicle can be utilized.
“We customize for every application individually,” says Heibert. “If the crawler carrier is being used to move aggregate, we can offer a variety of different beds or tailgates for emptying materials.” Then there are different utility applications. “We can customize everything from electrical power sources, to hydraulic pump attachments, to frame adjustments to fit the attachment you want to install. Basically any attachment that you would add to a chassis on tires can be added to a tracked chassis.”