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Spring 2007

Loader Cuts Delivery Expenses for Lumber Yard

Bobcat S300 Loader

Eldon Pinke uses an S300 skid-steer loader to unload building supplies

Eldon Pinke figured he'd save time and labor delivering lumber to construction sites when he purchased a new Bobcat® skid-steer loader and a trailer. He just didn't know how much. "This equipment is much handier that I ever thought it would be," says the owner of Pinke Lumber Company, Inc., Wishek, N.D.

He purchased his S300 loader from Wentz Equipment, Napoleon, N.D. It replaced an aging tractor, which had been used for clearing snow at the lumber yard and, from time to time, for light landscaping work. With its 3,000-lb. rated operating capacity, vertical lift path for long reach and the ability to use dozens of different types of Bobcat attachments, the S300 proved an ideal choice.

Every minute saved delivering materials is especially important for Pinke. His market covers an area measuring about 140 miles north to south and 80 miles east to west. Now, instead of dispatching a loaded straight bed truck of lumber to a job with a two-man crew to unload it, he can send the truck and driver, pulling a 26-ft.-long, three-axle trailer carrying lumber and the S300. Once at the jobsite, the S300, equipped with the Bobcat pallet fork attachment, makes quick, easy work of unloading construction materials.

This approach also saves time when loading lumber with a forklift at the yard. "When we were unloading materials by hand at the jobsite, we'd have to load them in a nice tight package on the truck so that we could raise the hoist and slide the unit off the bed and onto the ground in one package. It took a lot of time and planning to match the lumber and other materials to fit properly in the load so that the items the carpenters needed first would be on top," says Pinke. "Now we can load lumber in individual units of the same length and arrange them on the jobsite so the carpenters can grab what they need from separate piles."

The S300 and forklift are used together at the yard on either end of unusually long items, such as metal roofing products, to reduce the risk of bending them when unloading.

In some cases, the S300-trailer combination eliminates delivery trips, which helps cut fuel bills, too.

"In the past, we'd make as many as three trips with our truck to deliver a garage package," Pinke says. "Now, using the S300, the trailer and our big truck we can deliver all or most of the package in one load. Then we can use a pickup truck to deliver any finishing products."

The powerful S300 can also handle Pinke's heavy lifting requirements. "We haven't run across anything we can’t lift," he says. "We can even handle packages of 4 x 8-ft. sheathing by splitting them in half and rebanding before lifting them. It takes two guys several hours to unload a delivery of shingles, one package at a time. Using the S300 with pallet forks, I can do the whole job in 20 minutes."

When needed, the S300 is used for landscaping work at jobsites. Also, Pinke equips it with a Bobcat snow blade to clear snow in the winter. That's when the enclosed cab with heater adds to Pinke’s satisfaction with the performance of his S300. It's been a good machine for us," he says.