skip to content

Spring 2013

Charged up with Bobcat System

An electrical contractor replaces larger, less efficient excavating equipment with a Bobcat loader and excavator

Josh Grinde, owner of Right Choice Electric.

Josh Grinde, owner of Right Choice Electric.

Sometimes it pays to rethink how to get the most out of your equipment. That was the case for an electrical contractor who realized that he could be more productive with a Bobcat System — a compact track loader and compact excavator — than traditional trenching equipment.

Rethinking his approach to trenching, Right Choice Electric owner Josh Grinde purchased a Bobcat® compact track loader, compact excavator and attachments for use in his electrical business in the Grand Forks, N.D., area. He performs residential, commercial and industrial electrical projects, including quite a bit of service work. With two decades of electrical experience and four years as a business owner, Grinde has seen his productivity and utilization of his equipment increase dramatically since switching to Bobcat compact equipment.

“When I started this type of work, I had traditional trenchers and backhoe loaders,” he says, “but I got tired of making payments on equipment and them being paperweights. So, I purchased a Bobcat compact track loader and added attachments for it. In 2010, I added a new E35 compact excavator from Bobcat of Grand Forks.”

Repairing line breaks

One of the most common types of work for Grinde and his operators is underground line breaks. He’s regularly hired to excavate, repair electrical lines and backfill material, and operates his Bobcat loader and excavator together to perform the repairs efficiently.

Bobcat E35 and T650 compact track loader

A Bobcat E35 excavator and T650 compact track loader team up to trench a new underground utility line for a customer.

“We are able to dig much faster and more precisely with our Bobcat loader and excavator than we could with backhoes and trenchers,” he says.

With both machines on site, an employee operates the compact track loader with a trencher attachment. Meanwhile, the excavator helps dig and eventually backfills the trench. Together, the two machines form a productive excavating approach for electrical repairs.

“The excavator has terrific power for its size, and the minimal tail swing is convenient when we’re working in confined areas, such as next to buildings. It’s faster to use the equipment than it is to have an employee dig with a shovel, in these situations. I say, ‘work smarter, not harder.’

“It’s easy for us to change buckets, too. For example, I use a 39-inch bucket for ditching, and then I can easily switch to a 13-inch or 24-inch trenching bucket. I have the ripper (tooth) to go into the frost.”

Grinde says having multiple buckets helps him better size trenches for different applications, such as when he’s working on a residential project and laying new wire.

“A conventional trencher creates a 6-inch-wide, 3-and-a-half-foot-deep trench, and I can’t get my wires in there,” he says. “That’s why we switched to the excavator. Now we have all the room in the world.”