When K-Five Construction purchased a new Wirtgen W 220 Fi large milling machine in May, the company knew it was packed with features that would help them boost their productivity and efficiency on large milling projects in the Chicagoland area. One benefit unrelated to production, however, has provided one of the most significant return for the company.
The new F-Series WIRTGEN mills include the option to add a customizable wrap around the machine. While most companies utilize this to add a logo or company colors, K-Five Construction’s shop manager, Dave Gorski, came to them with the idea for a pink wrap as a way to promote cancer awareness. This cause was important to the company as founder George B. Krug passed from cancer in 2019 .
“We have been very involved in cancer awareness and philanthropic causes,” Jennifer Krug, executive vice president at K-Five, and George's daughter says. “It is a very personal cause for us. In addition to my father’s fight with it, my aunt (co-owner Jody Schulte) is a breast cancer survivor. To have the opportunity to showcase our involvement was wonderful.
“We couldn’t be prouder,” she added. “It’s very noticeable. Within the first weeks of having the milling machine on jobsites, we received calls from people asking about it. It’s a tremendous testament to just bring awareness. We’re always trying to make sure our investment in equipment and our people is top-notch. This helps us do that.”
Power and Versatility
K-Five Construction is one of northeastern Illinois’ largest highway contractors and has been a leader in Chicago’s heavy-highway construction industry since 1977. Company officials know that to compete in this challenging, they need the right equipment.
The W 220 Fi delivers the complete package with an output of 812 horsepower and the ability to perform a range of applications from surface layer rehabilitation to complete removal. The DUAL SHIFT transmission makes it possible for the mill to achieve powerful milling drum output at low travel speeds, which results in improved milling execution.
“We were looking to improve our performance,” Mark Lindbloom, K-Five operations manager says. “The two-speed transmission of the W 220 Fi was attractive to us. It carries the horsepower for the big mainline runs, yet it is also versatile enough to perform deep cuts. We compared it to a competitive machine and were impressed with the results. We are confident in our decision to go with Wirtgen.”
I-55 Project Puts Machine to Test
K-Five Construction wasted little time in putting the W 220 Fi to work. Its first job was a full-depth excavation of both the on and off ramps at the intersection of Interstate 55 and Weber Road in Bolingbrook, IL. With the MILL ASSIST program as standard on the machine, the W 220 Fi was able to optimize performance by matching the speed of the engine and milling drum to the traction drive, water system and the machine’s advance rate. The result was K-Five Construction achieving its depth goal of 18 inches in two passes.
“The machine has a lot of really nice features that make it easy for both the ground guy and the operator,” K-Five Construction foreman Ed Mesko says. “It has a lot of technology and power. Overall, it’s an awesome machine.”
For the complete two-layer removal of the entire road surface in Illinois, the W 220 Fi was equipped with a standard 2.5 m milling drum fitted with 196 picks. The job needed to be carried out in a cost-effective manner. As a result, the W 220 Fi milled in ECO mode, one of three operating strategies that machine operators can select from on the new large milling machines from Wirtgen. In ECO mode, Mill Assist always seeks the machine operating point with the most favorable fuel and pick consumption per cubic meter of milled material. At the same time, it also reduces CO2 and noise emissions .
WPT Enhances Offerings
“The technology is what makes WIRTGEN equipment top of the line. ” Lindbloom says.
WIRTGEN PERFORMANCE TRACKER (WPT) was included in the W 220 Fi purchase. This program can precisely monitor milling performance and display other machine metrics on the control panel in real-time. For a company that primarily competes for low-bid work, the more information on-hand to base bidding decisions is vital. The addition of WPT will provide K-Five Construction with more data for making estimating, performance and purchasing decisions.
“When we purchase a machine, we want dependability, versatility, value and performance," Lindbloom says. "The W 220 Fi provides all of those plus a significant technological upgrade with WPT. This will allow us to measure our output in a very precise way. We have used telematics systems before, but we’ve never had anything on this level. We are confident the technology will help us improve our efficiency.”
The WPT is an innovative component of CONNECTED MILLING, which is designed to vastly improve the flow of information among the machine’s components, operator and service workshop. WPT makes this possible by using a laser scanner to measure the cross-section profile and measuring with GPS positioning and other sensors. Operators can view the data collected in real time on a 7-in. control panel. When the job is complete, the program automatically generates an email report. The seamless sharing of information makes processes such as billing, estimating and evaluating performance simple and transparent.