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Installation Solutions: Attachment insight

June 7, 2021 -  By
Mini skid-steer with attachment (Photo: Vermeer)

Make it mini As the mini skid-steer market expands, so has the demand for mini skid-steer attachments. (Photo: Vermeer)

Attachments help maximize equipment by offering specific tools to get jobs done more efficiently.

To get a handle on the state of the attachment industry, LM spoke with Brett Newendorp, landscape market manager at Vermeer, and Keith Kramlich, national product and training manager with Takeuchi-U.S., about where the attachment market is going and what contractors look for when it comes to attachments.

Kramlich says contractors most often ask for “plug-and-play” attachments that are also low maintenance.

“They want to hook the attachment up and go to work,” he says. “They don’t want to spend too much time having to maintain or dial it in between carriers.”

Popular attachments

Along the lines of working more efficiently, Kramlich says contractors often approach choosing attachments from the standpoint of using the equipment to boost productivity.

For excavators, tiltrotators are an option designed to increase an excavator’s productivity and versatility.

“The tiltrotator attachment functions as a ‘wrist’ between the arm of the excavator and bucket or any other tool connected to the quick coupler,” he says.

Buckets are another popular skid-steer attachment for contractors, Newendorp says. They can move loose material, grade, level and dig. Contractors also like the flexibility of using trencher and vibratory plow attachments for irrigation jobs, he says. Grapples and forks are popular for use with mini skid-steers to move materials on job sites.

Newendorp says he’s also noticed that contractors are using specialized attachments, such as log grapple attachments to move logs and augers to install trees and shrubs.

“They also depend on site-prep attachments like a Harley rake and soil renovator to help reduce labor when reseeding, laying sod or preparing planting beds,” Newendorp says.

Future outlook

Newendorp and Kramlich say technology will continue to play a big role in manufacturers’ attachments advancements.

Machine using attachment (Photo: Takeuchi-U.S.)

On the go Contractors often lean toward attachments that are low maintenance and easy to switch out. (Photo: Takeuchi-U.S.)

For example, Takeuchi’s forestry mulchers come equipped with variable torque drives that allow mechanical adjustments. This, Kramlich says, boosts the productivity of the attachment and carrier.

“Takeuchi’s latest TAK IQ tech is a load-sensing system with pressure and speed sensors that can electronically adjust the drive motor to maintain optimum rotor speed when mulching,” he says. “This technology results in fewer rotor stalls and increased production, as well as less load on the carrier.”

Newendorp foresees more demand for mini skid-steer attachments.

“As the size of this category of tool carriers expands with more powerful mini skid-steer models, so will the ability to operate attachments that require higher hydraulic flow,” he says. “This opens up the possibility of using more attachments that typically would have required a full-size skid-steer loader.”

Attachment advice

Newendorp says it’s critical to work with a dealer to help understand which attachments work with what machines.

“When you use authorized attachments, it means that the manufacturer has tested it on that machine and determined the pairing delivers optimal productivity,” he says.

Kramlich says purchasing a new attachment is a big investment for a company, but it’s important to look to the company’s future needs and productivity when considering that purchase.

“Contractors who’ve been ‘getting by’ for years without a particular attachment often feel that they can continue to get by without making another investment,” he says. “I encourage contractors to look at the long run. Look at all the other (jobs) you could have now or in the future and figure out how much faster you could perform those jobs with a specific attachment.”

He says that efficiency on job sites translates to more revenue and more future work.

“The investment may seem large at first, but not only will it save money in the long run, but it will also present additional money-making opportunities,” he says.

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University and has been in B2B publishing for seven years. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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