Bobcat Boot Camp Offers Great Info and ‘Stick’ Experience

My first week on the job, my editor informs me I will be attending Bobcat Boot Camp in Fargo, ND in just three weeks. Umm… what? Putting the words Bobcat and Boot Camp together sounded terrifying. She explained that many companies invite editors to events to experience running heavy machinery. Yup, terrifying. Being a city girl, the thought of operating equipment was not even on my radar – I just started to mow my own lawn! Nevertheless, Fargo called and off I went.

The Attachments Boot Camp I was invited to, was a concentrated equipment training for Bobcat salesmen. It was apparent on the first day, these guys really know their stuff. Luckily for me, the product specialists know their stuff too. At each site, someone was there to walk me through operating each machine. They stayed close (but not too close – for their own safety) in case I ran into any trouble or had questions.

Within minutes of buckling myself in to an E26 Excavator, I was using the breaker attachment to bust up huge chunks of concrete. One word – amazing. Throughout the next two days, I grappled, dug, broke, shredded, cut and yes, even mowed the grass (although at a much grander scale than I was used to), with various attachments added to a Bobcat skidsteer or excavator.

Sounds fun, right? It was. Funny thing about fun is that it can have a tricky way of teaching you things too. While watching the asphalt preservation presentation, I found myself enthralled in the process.

This simple process allows for repairing cracks and potholes on site – no asphalt mix transportation required, no cold bonds. All it takes is two attachments – a generator with an infrared asphalt heater and the Bobcat Processor Attachment – and three steps.

  • Place a heater over the repair area with a Bobcat loader. In this case, a Doosan generator was attached to an infrared heating element and placed with a Bobcat skidsteer. The 3,000-lb. generator, and its three infrared heating elements, heat an area as large as 30 sq. ft. to soften the asphalt for the milling process. The heater should sit over the area for 30-40 minutes or until the temperature is 300° F.
  • Once the heater is removed, the Bobcat Processor Attachment is used to mill the area. The attachment is repositioned to become a screed, lowered and moved forward over the milled area to level it off. A small amount of asphalt rejuvenator is added, and the mix is re-milled and leveled until consistent.
  • Finally, a roller compacts the patch along the edges. It is worked over the middle and rolled until it is tight and smooth

According to Bobcat, this system saves an average of 60% of costs associated with other repair methods. Not only does it reduce the consumption of raw materials, it also eliminates the purchase, storage and transportation of additional resources. Plus, the process requires less manpower and conducts work within one lane, minimizing traffic disruption. The patch will be ready for traffic after just 24 hours.

In the month since I started working here, I continually hear about sustainability and the use of recycled materials to complete a job. This process is the epitome of green, seamlessly fusing recycled asphalt with surrounding asphalt to create a strong, durable bond.

Reading articles can only do so much for a new editor learning the business. Being given the opportunity to operate these machines was invaluable to my growth and education in this industry. Can’t wait for my next adventure!