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Summer 2014

Maximizing an investment in Bobcat equipment

Nearly two dozen attachments save money for a remote county in northern Alberta, Canada

Willie Schmidt, Mackenzie County mechanic shop foreman

Willie Schmidt, Mackenzie County mechanic shop foreman

Mackenzie County is willing to go a long way to provide services to residents, which is a good thing considering it’s the largest county by geographic area in Canada. Located about 500 miles from the largest city in Alberta and bordering the Northwest Territories, the Mackenzie County government needed to invest in reliable and versatile equipment that could handle a wide array of jobs.

They chose Bobcat® equipment: two S750s and a S650 skid-steer loader, a Toolcat 5600 utility work machine and 20 attachments, many of which are interchangeable between the loaders and the 5600 to maximize their use. “We are able to do some jobs that would have to be done by outside contractors if we didn’t have this valuable Bobcat equipment,” says Willie Schmidt, mechanic shop foreman for Mackenzie County. “The loaders, Toolcat 5600 and attachments allow us to not only save money, but also to provide our citizens with excellent service.”

Bobcat attachments provide county employees with the tools to deal with the snow season and to build and maintain facilities throughout the year. Snow removal attachments include snowblowers, snow blades, salt and sand spreaders, and angle brooms. “Our staff is responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks, walking trails and some parking lots,” Schmidt says. “This equipment needs to be ready to go every day throughout the long winter.”

For the non-snow season, the county owns pallet forks, industrial grapples, augers with multiple bits and several buckets. Jobs range from using the grapple to clear brush from walking trails and loading firewood to installing signage with the auger.

The Toolcat 5600 is operated principally to maintain parks and playgrounds throughout the county. The cargo box is handy for hauling materials, supplies and tools. “That feature alone is a big timesaver,” Schmidt says.

The loaders are kept just as busy. All are equipped with enclosed cabs with heat and air conditioning, two-speed travel and high-flow auxiliary hydraulics. The Bobcat 7-pin attachment control kit is necessary to operate the county’s snowblowers and angle brooms. Designed to provide enhanced communication between loaders and attachments, the setup is one of the components of Bobcat equipment that Schmidt really likes. “With it, the machines are all set up for use with hydraulic attachments,” he says. “That makes it easy for us to bring additional attachments onboard in the future.”

All of the versatile Bobcat equipment was purchased from Bobcat of the Peace (Grande Prairie). The dealership is six and a half hours away from the Mackenzie County public works maintenance shop in La Crete. “At one time, we thought that distance might be an issue,” Schmidt says. “However, the Bobcat equipment has been reliable and, as a result, our concern is a lot less than you would think.”