From clearing land, to digging irrigation trenches, to drilling planting holes, to sculpting golf courses, mini excavators are utilized for a variety of jobs across the landscaping industry. While some companies focus on a specialty niche, others perform a large range of landscaping projects. Evaluating how often you have to change out attachments and researching coupler options can play a significant role in helping companies increase efficiency on the job site.
Coupler Options and Assessing Your Needs
In the past, changing out machine attachments was a time-consuming, manual task that involved an element of risk, as the operator had get out of the machine and use hammers to slot pins on and off the attachment. Now, with advancements in coupler technology and options, operators can spend more time on the tasks at hand and less time changing out attachments.
Manual couplers require the operator to exit the machine to switch out attachments; however, when compared to a “pin-on” arrangement, they reduce the amount of labor involved and can save approximately 30 minutes for each attachment change. Manual couplers are a good option for companies that typically change attachments three to four times a week. This could reduce up to two hours of downtime per week.
Hydraulic couplers allow operators to change out attachments using controls from within the cab and in a shorter amount of time than with manual couplers. Hydraulic couplers are an ideal option for companies that must change out attachments several times throughout the day in order to complete the work. For example, if an operator is changing out attachments three times a day, a hydraulic coupler can reduce the amount of time spent on this process by close to a half hour when compared to machines with manual couplers. Hydraulic couplers can also help reduce operator fatigue.
Tilt couplers allow 180 degree rotation and give operators the ability to get in places they usually couldn’t with a normal coupler or pin-on arrangement. These are an ideal and almost essential solution for companies that regularly perform sculpting and shaping jobs, such as golf course landscaping. Tilt couplers are used in a lot of high-end landscaping work, especially when it involves creating shapes or working on hills. Without a tilt coupler, grading work would take more time.
Taking the time to evaluate how often you are changing out attachments throughout the work week/workday and considering which coupler option best suits your needs can be the key to increasing efficiency this season and being able to expand your workload capacity.
I am a Pre-Field Agriculture/Product Application Representative for Caterpillar. I recently graduated from North Carolina State University with a dual degree in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science, concentrating in Leadership and Environmental Technologies. I focus primarily on the relationships between customers, dealers, and the product specialists for the Building Construction Products division. Growing up on a beef cattle farm, I have several years of machine operation experience and agricultural knowledge. Thomas Jefferson said it best in that, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."
I’m a Compact Wheel Loader Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have 11 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant. I graduated from North Carolina State University with a Mechanical Engineering Degree, and wanted a job where I didn't have to sit in front of a computer all day. This job allows me to get out and get my hands dirty, with the goal of providing solutions to customers’ machine needs.
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