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Spring 2007

More Work With Less Labor

Bobcat S185 Loader

The pallet fork attachment moves pipe for the Rome, N.Y., Public Works Department

Keeping a pair of skid-steer loaders busy all year long isn't a problem for the Public Works Department of Rome, N.Y. There’s plenty of work for the Bobcat® S185 and S250 , loaders both of which are equipped with enclosed, heated cabs.

"We use them more than we first thought we would because of the many different attachments available," says Tony Nash, assistant superintendent of public works. "Also, our workload has increased since we purchased them four years ago and they make the work easier for our employees. We can do more work with a single machine and less manpower than we could before."

That productivity reflects the power and agility of the loaders as well as the use of several different Bobcat attachments.

Bucket. In the fall, one of the Bobcat machines pushes leaves along curb lines into the bucket of a large front-end loader which empties them into trucks. Working six days a week, it usually takes about six weeks to complete the job.

Bobcat S185 Loader with Angle Broom

An angle broom helps keep the city of Rome, N.Y., clean.

Angle broom. This attachment is used to sweep sand from the edges of streets and from parking lots and sidewalks. It's faster, easier and does a better job than using a front-end loader, Nash notes. "Before, we had to use shovels and brooms to clean up what the front end loader couldn't get with its bucket," he explains.

Industrial grapple. In the spring, this attachment is mounted on the S250 for loading branches and hedges, which homeowners pile up along curbs. "We used to use a tractor-loader-backhoe to load this green waste into a larger front-end loader," Nash says. "Now we can do the job with just one machine."

Pallet fork. This attachment saves time moving a wide variety of construction materials, such as sewer, water and culvert pipes and pallets of concrete mix.

Planer. At one time, Nash's crews used a wet saw to make the initial cut for asphalt repairs, followed by a jackhammer to break up the materials and a tractor-loader-backhoe to dig it out. Now, he reports, they use the S250 with the planer to mill out the edges of the patch and a bucket to clean out the area. "With the Bobcat equipment, we can do the work in one-third the time with one-third the effort," Nash says.

Snow attachments. The S185 and snowblower attachment replaced two track-driven, blade-equipped snow removal machines for clearing snow from sidewalks at schools and in the business district. This unit blows the snow into a dump truck that drives alongside. In places where the snowblower can't be used, such as around parking meters and in landscaped areas, the V-blade attachment is used.