A more efficient way to work
Underground cable installation company switches from tractor loader backhoes to compact excavators for improved performance on urban construction sites
Dale Jansen, Central Cable Contractors, and his E42 compact excavator
While Dale Jansen didn’t shout “eureka” at the time, the discovery of what a Bobcat® compact excavator could do for his company turned out to be as good as gold for Central Cable Contractors and its employees.
Jansen is president of Central Cable Contractors, Waupun, Wis., an installer of underground telecommunications cable throughout the Midwest that was founded in 1974. The company’s employees are always looking for a competitive advantage. When the company purchased its first compact excavator about 14 years ago, its employees very quickly knew the company had hit “pay dirt.”
“In our continuous search for a better way of doing things, we wondered if a small excavator would produce better results than the traditional tractor loader backhoe (TLB) we had been using, particularly in urban areas,” Jansen says. “After we identified Bobcat excavators as the best brand available, we were still apprehensive about whether the compact machine could deliver the power and production we were accustomed to from a 100-horsepower TLB. While the TLB could outperform the excavator in open-field digging, much of our work is done in an urban setting with plenty of restricted-access areas.
“We didn’t know what to expect, but our first Bobcat excavator turned out to be powerful, smooth, easy to maintain and very productive,” he continues. “It worked out so well that we went from one to five to 10 to 15 in a few years. Today our company has 20 Bobcat compact excavators of varying sizes, although we are moving toward having all E42s, which are the best combination of size and power for our purposes.”
Bringing fiber optics to homeowners
More than 90 percent of Central Cable’s projects today are fiber to the home. That means replacing or upgrading existing buried copper cable with new fiber-optic cable, which allows the telephone company to offer homeowners high-definition video and other services by streaming 20 to 100 megabytes of bandwidth.
“It’s a competitive business,” Jansen says. “While price is important, our performance (quality plus productivity) is what gets us on that narrow list of firms that are selected to do these projects. Our Bobcat compact excavators, used in conjunction with directional boring equipment, allow us to consistently produce the results necessary to stay on the bid list.”
When one of Jansen’s crews is sent to an urban area — that is any place where they have to work on a lawn or in a limited-access area — they will typically take a couple of Bobcat excavators.
“We use the machines to dig so conduits can be coupled together and for installing below-ground vaults and above-ground cabinets that are used to enclose the telecommunications equipment,” he says.
Among the benefits of the compact excavators that Jansen cites are:
- • Good visibility to the work area
- • Much less ground disturbance
- • Exceptional maneuverability
- • Low fuel consumption
- • Superior operator comfort
- • Easy serviceability
“The broad network of Bobcat dealers available to provide service is important,” Jansen says. “It’s just another benefit of operating Bobcat compact excavators — a real difference-making decision.”