Compact Equipment

SEP 2018

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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M ulching attachments are be- coming increasingly popu- lar among a wide range of industries. They extend the versatility of compact equipment such as track loaders and compact excavators as they efficiently and effectively remove unwanted veg- etation in right-of-way clearing projects, fire fuels reduction thinning, residential and commercial site preparation/land clearing and more. They eradicate trees and stumps down to ground level — shredding standing trees as well as those already on the ground. Depending upon horsepower, they can often handle a steady diet of 4- to 6-in. diameter mate- rials and ingest 6- to 8-in. diameter ma- terials intermittently. Many manufacturers offer mulchers and attachments, so there are numer- ous options to choose from. But one size doesn't fit all when considering the purchase of a mulching attachment. The following paragraphs will serve as a primer on what to look for and thus what to avoid in your search for a mulching attachment. While there are differences among the various mulcher attachments available, they all have some common components — namely a hydraulic motor, rotor, cutting tools and housing. We'll look at these in turn, as well as consider some options. Rotor The rotor is a drum which holds the cutting tools. Several rotor styles are available to suit customer prefer- ences, depending upon what kind of conditions will be encountered and what type of cutting tools will be used. While the cutting tools are where the rubber meets the road so to speak, the rotor design is also vital to the success of any mulching venture. A staggered or spiral tool design is more aggres- sive in feeding materials and helps with material sizing. Tool holders are important, as this portion of the rotor takes huge impact forces while mulch- ing. Tool holders that are not prop- erly matched to the rotor or tool can fail, causing damage to the rotor and downtime for the operator. Let's look at some options available. A smooth rotor surface with a spiral tool pattern delivers efficient mulching performance — especially when work- ing in deep snow or in the soil. When constructed of heavy-duty materials and with components like forged bolt- on rotor stub shafts and severe-duty ro- tor bearings, this style is well suited for the rigors of mulching in remote areas. A depth control type rotor with a smooth rotor surface and cutting tools arranged in a spiral pattern helps di- rect material flow so that energy is re- served for production. Depth control rings control the depth of the cutting tools' bite while providing impact pro- tection to the tool body and reduced shock loading to the driveline. This style promises faster cutting of mate- rials, better fuel efficiency and more uniform particle size. Rotors with low- profile rotor bars, strong forged tool holders and a staggered tool pattern provide a balance of durability and performance, along with aggressive in- feed of materials. This design guards against wrapping of materials. It prom- ises versatility in a variety of wood shredding applications. One of the most important factors related to both productivity and ma- chine maintenance is how well the rotor is balanced. Most of these rotors are turning 2,000 to 3,000 rpm. While a well-balanced rotor with the proper tools will produce, a rotor that is out of balance will not only not produce, but it will also shorten component life and increase machine maintenance costs. The Right Tools for the Job A variety of different cutting tools are available to suit differing rotor styles, with some tool types better suit- ed for certain applications than others. Whenever possible, match the cutting tool to the projects that you anticipate — understanding that nobody predicts perfectly. All tools will perform to some degree in virtually all settings, but the closer you can match your tool to their optimal feed, the more efficient and productive you will be. Knives feature a sharpened cutting surface that cuts rather than pulver- izes the material. They are similar to the knives found in a tree chipper. They typically produce a finer, more uniformly sized material than car- bide tools, for example. Knives can be sharpened numerous times before they require replacement, and some knife UltraPlow and QuattroPlow Series snow plows from Burns- ville-based SnowWolf are now available with an optional re- designed A-frame that allows the plow to float up and down with the contours of a surface while maintaining consistent, effective down pressure on the plowing surface. This new performance add-on feature is known as the FlexFrame. The original A-frame design is rigid, which means the snowplow's moldboard is a fixed construc- tion that'll always be at a con- stant elevation. When there are dips or low areas, the cutting edge would typically leave the plowing surface due to lack of vertical travel. To combat this problem, skid steer operators would simply tilt the machine up taking the front wheels off the ground to provide greater down pressure on the blade. The problem with doing that is the operator will lose grip by exerting all the forward drive to the back wheels only, limiting traction. The new FlexFrame design allows the plow to rise and fall with all the machine's wheels riding on the ground, resulting in a cleaner surface and greater traction. For more info, visit snowwolfplows.com . SNOWWOLF INTRODUCES NEW FLOATING TECHNOLOGY PLOWS

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