New CASE 1150M Dozer Improves Operator Control and Comfort
Over the past 40 years, the Walker family has learned a thing or two about adaptability and durability. They’re values ingrained in the company’s business since being founded by Chuck Walker and his sons in 1975, and they’re also the characteristics they look for in their equipment.
Being able to adjust to the often-tumultuous Detroit-area economy and transform their business to include everything from demolition and excavation to site utilities and finish work has given them the adaptability they’ve needed to survive.
Currently, the company’s business focuses on commercial site development, operating with six excavators, five dozers, three loaders, two track loaders, a skid steer, a roller, a crane, a 60-ton crane, and various smaller tools and machines.
ADDITION TO THE FLEET
Recently, when it came time to add a new dozer to their fleet, they were prepared to go with the same brand machine that they had stood by for the past 35 years. That long history of devotion was overturned, however, when they purchased the new 1150M dozer from CASE Construction Equipment and Southeastern Equipment Co.
“We buy our machines with the intention of keeping them for 20 to 25 years or more, so we want to buy something that’s built to last,” Matt Walker says. “I noticed right away that the front end of the machine is very heavy duty. The other thing that stood out to me was that all of the service and maintenance checks can be done from the ground.” From easily accessed body panels, all of the 1150M’s regular check points, electrical fuses, and filters can be accessed without having to climb on the machine. An easily removable floor panel in the cab also provides convenient access to the machine’s hydraulic components.
Their first impressions were reaffirmed once Walker Construction put the 1150M through its paces. They brought it to a site with between 8 and 12 inches of frost, and they were going to wait for one of their excavators to arrive and start digging out some of the frost. Instead, Matt Walker says, “That dozer got right into it and started popping off chunks of frost as big as the machine itself. It was pretty impressive.”
FEATURES AND BENEFITS
The CASE 1150M’s 127 horsepower, Tier 4-Interim engine uses advanced Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to produce 7 percent more power while using 10.5 percent less fuel than previous and competitive models. The 1150M also features a best-in-class 48,000 pounds of drawbar pull along with heavy-duty hydraulic cylinders and improved seals, giving it the power and ruggedness to handle extreme loads.
Matt Walker says the improved fuel economy was another significant factor in their decision. “Fuel is one of our biggest costs. The 1150M is every bit as good, if not better, than all of the machines we demoed, and it far exceeds the other machines in our fleet.”
Walker notes that adding the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) required for the SCR engine was a new task, but was simple.
Both Matt and Chuck Walker say they found the 1150M’s controls intuitive and easy to learn. “I ran the machine for 30 minutes, and I felt as comfortable with it as something that I’d been running for 2 years,” Matt says. “I was able to grade 400 feet of curb in that 30 minutes. I never ran a machine that had that fine grading setting, and it was really, really nice.”
The 1150M’s fine grading feature, which increases accuracy by slowing the blade up to 40 percent, enabled Walker to achieve the precise blade control that was needed. In addition, the 1150M offers smooth, moderate, and aggressive steering and shuttle settings, enhanced fingertip blade controls that allow for improved control over the blade angle and sensitivity, and blade shake for quick cleaning.
Walker Construction obtained the 1150M through a lease-to-own arrangement that includes CASE ProCare, which comprises a full-machine factory warranty and planned maintenance for 3 years or 3,000 hours, as well as a 3-year Advanced Subscription to the company’s SiteWatch telematics service. The SiteWatch service gives the company access to real-time data on the machine’s usage and location allowing them to identify excessive fuel consumption, reduce downtime through improved maintenance scheduling, and avoid machine failures through automated function alerts. Most importantly, it allows contractors to add equipment without worrying about unpredictable maintenance and repair costs.
“Maintaining the machines can be a big cost,” Matt says. “With the way everything from labor costs to oils is going up, it’s nice to know the maintenance for the first 3 years is locked in and that it’s going to be the dealer, who is the most familiar with the machine, doing the work.”
The Walkers have witnessed first hand the effects of increased costs and reduced demand. The past 10 years has seen Detroit bear the full brunt of the economic downturn and many of Walker Construction’s competitors have been forced out of business.
Determined to survive, Matt and Chuck Walker knew that adaptability, along with excellent workmanship and customer service, were critical elements to their success. Having traveled as far as North Carolina for work during the height of the recession, the company prides itself on deriving a substantial portion of its revenue from word-of-mouth and repeat business. Thanks to that approach, business has turned a corner.
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About the Author John Bauer is a brand marketing manager with CASE Construction Equipment. For more information on CASE Construction Equipment, visit www.casece.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, June 2014
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