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An arsenal of attachments for construction equipment

January 13, 2021 -  By
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John Deere attachments (Photo: John Deere)

Get more done Attachments allow companies to get more work done with fewer socially distant workers. (Photo: John Deere)

With homeowners spending more time at home and showing more interest in hardscape projects, many landscape companies have been busier than ever this year.

“(This is) work that requires more physical effort and time,” says George MacIntyre, product manager, Case Construction Equipment. “Landscape contractors that intelligently match their equipment with attachments address both issues: getting more difficult work done and doing it with fewer workers working together in close proximity.”

Landscape Management spoke with MacIntyre and Jason Simmons, attachments & custom engineering supervisor for John Deere, about how landscape contractors can take advantage of attachments to help get more versatility out of their loaders and meet customer demands.

The right attachments

“We often talk about a piece of equipment as your base asset with a fixed cost and a fixed set of things you can do with it,” MacIntyre says. By adding the right attachments, contractors can considerably increase the types of work and jobs they can bid on and increase the amount of time that the piece of equipment is working.

As for the experts’ recommendations to help landscapers build out their selection of attachments, Simmons says that a power rake first comes to mind for its versatility. “It’s a great attachment that can help level a site, clean up debris and break up bigger chunks of dirt,” he says.

MacIntyre adds that a power rake can help save time in establishing the final grade and look of a finished landscape, and it also does a great job of creating a seed bed for grass.

MacIntyre recommends the following pieces of equipment:

  • A set of forks for loading, unloading and moving around palletized brick and block;
  • Augers for digging in fence posts and also preparing holes for planting when working in hard surfaces;
  • A four-in-one bucket, which provides the ability to dig, grapple, scrape and doze in a single attachment;
  • A mulching head that allows landscapers to be more involved with site clearing/site development work on existing projects. It also provides the capability to handle land clearing projects that may have otherwise been out of scope without that attachment; and
  • A laser grading box for projects like setting the base of a large patio or driveway, larger hardscape/paver projects and establishing consistent grade on more complicated landscape designs.

Things to remember

Simmons says landscapers should examine their business and attachment solutions for opportunities to reduce labor- and time-intensive operations.

He advises that a contractor should consider the connection requirements of any attachment they’re looking to purchase and ensure that it’s easy to connect the machine — including hoses and auxiliary electrical connections.

MacIntyre agrees and stresses examining the varying hydraulic requirements of a potential attachment.

“The general rule of thumb is to outfit your machine with a hydraulic system that exceeds what you use today, so you have the flexibility to add performance later,” he says. “For instance, you won’t effectively be able to run a mulching head on standard hydraulics.”

If you think you’ll eventually graduate to attachments with higher hydraulic capacities, he recommends outfitting your skid-steer or track loader with either a high-flow or enhanced high-flow hydraulic system. He says Case’s skid-steers and compact track loaders include a pressure relieving manifold system that makes it easier to attach and detach attachments, including in hot weather conditions where pressure can build up and detaching becomes difficult. This helps make switching between attachments easier.

Contractors should also consider a 14-pin connection, he says. Some attachments, like an angle broom or directional snow blower, require this auxiliary electrical connection and an auxiliary hydraulic connection.

Equipping your machine with that connection at the time of purchase makes it easy to add those attachments to your fleet, MacIntyre says.

Abby Hart

About the Author:

Abby Hart is the managing editor of Landscape Management. A native Clevelander, she spent 10 years in Chicago, where she was operations manager of a global hospitality consultancy. She also worked as managing editor of Illumine, a health and wellness magazine; and a marketing specialist for B2B publications. Abby has a degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication.

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