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Summer 2006

Loaders Pass Test in Extreme Conditions

Derek Duarte

Derek Duarte

Derek Duarte knows all about the reliability of Bobcat® loaders.

"We've had this equipment for years," says Duarte, a project manager with Total Development Solutions, Gainesville, Va. "The Bobcat brand holds up very well and has given us top performance for a long time. We've had very few maintenance problems."

He also knows about another type of Bobcat reliability-operating loaders in some of the most severe working conditions you can imagine.

Duarte is a member of the U.S. Naval Mobile Battalion, otherwise known as the Seabees. His reserve unit was stationed in Kuwait and Iraq for six months during 2004-2005. Among their assignments: Building camps, outposts, huts, roads and repairing bridges.

"I operated an S185 during the time we were in Kuwait," says Duarte. "I did a lot of camp maintenance including grading between tents and moving supplies around. It wasn't hard work for the loader, but the days were long, usually about 12 hours."

And that's where Duarte and his fellow Seabees really tested the reliability of Bobcat loaders.

"When we arrived the temperature was 138° F," he says. "It was extremely dusty, with sandstorms that reduced visibility to less than 30 ft. It is hard to imagine more difficult working conditions. Our Bobcat loaders held up very well."

Bobcat System

A trio of machines owned by Total Development Solutions cleans up the grounds around a new housing community.

Back home, Duarte returned to a fleet of Bobcat products-seven compact track loaders (four T200s, two T250s and a T300), four skid-steer loaders (two 863s, a 763 and S185) and three excavators (325, 334, 341), along with several attachments.

Total Development Solutions does site development and bond release work. Duarte works in the bond release division.

"We repair what other developers don't finish," he says. "When a developer designs a new housing community they have to give a bond to the county. The bond won't be released until the job is completed satisfactorily. Our job is to make sure everything is done correctly."

The company has ten crews in the bond release division, and about 90 percent of the time each crew takes a Bobcat machine. That's because Bobcat products are the perfect fit for the range of projects done by the firm-repairing yards, installing utilities, building stormwater management ponds and re-doing wetlands.

"Once we arrive at a jobsite we discover all kinds of things that have to be fixed before the bond can be released," says Duarte. "We have great flexibility because our Bobcat equipment is so versatile. The addition of the compact track loaders to our fleet enables us to do just about anything, even where situations such as wet ground conditions and limited access locations present unique challenges."

During the past few years, Duarte has found that reliable Bobcat equipment is more than up to the job, whether in new housing developments along the East Coast or in the deserts of the Middle East.