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Sponsored Information Section: Clearing the way
Posted By Equipment World Staff On October 5, 2008 @ 12:20 am In In the Magazine | No Comments
Employee-owned Lewis Tree Service has proven an exception to the struggling logging business.
Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Lewis Tree provides vegetation management services to utilities and governments primarily in the eastern United States. “We’ve tripled in size in the seven years that I’ve been with the company, and we are continuing to grow at a pretty good rate,” says Mike Moser, director of fleet and purchasing. “In the last few months we have seen utilities reducing their vegetation maintenance some, but I don’t expect that to continue long term,” Moser says.
Founded in 1938 as a small family-owned local tree service, the company is now the third largest company in its industry, according to Moser. By 2000 the company was 100-percent employee-owned.
A handful of employees work in the corporate office, but most are field personnel spread out in 15 states with a few in Canada. At least 90 percent of the company’s business comes from utilities, both investor-owned and co-op, providing vegetation management around distribution power lines.
The growth business, however, is vegetation management in the right-of-ways for high-voltage transmission lines.
“The utilities are investing more into better maintaining the transmission right-of-ways, so we’re bidding on that type of work more often,” Moser explains. “I think the blackout in the Northeast a few years back contributed to a renewed concern for maintaining transmission lines. There is a big push to upgrade the lines, which means the vegetation needs to be reclaimed and right-of-ways widened back to spec, if they have been let go.”
Whether the work is under distribution or transmission lines, vegetation management involves primarily mowing and tree trimming. Herbicides and tree growth regulator products are also tools for controlling vegetation growth.
Another facet of the business is storm emergency response. Lewis Tree crews, equipped with either man buckets or Prentice self-loaders mounted on trucks with dumping log/brush bodies, are dispatched to clear vegetation so power can be restored.
Moser is responsible for purchasing, assigning and managing the maintenance schedule for 3,600 pieces of equipment – everything from small brush cutting attachments to large site prep tractors.
Transmission work requires more heavy-duty equipment, and with that business growing, Moser has added to his fleet. Last year he purchased two 220-horsepower Prentice 2764 site prep tractors, the workhorse for the company’s transmission jobs. The Prentice tractors are all equipped with self-recovery winches and ride on standard Firestone 28L x 66 tires. The two newest tractors are powered by Cummins QSB 6.7-liter engines that meet Tier 3 emission requirements.
For most jobs the tractors are equipped with the Prentice MR-244 rotary ax, which clears an 8-foot path and cuts down and mulches trees up to 7 inches in diameter. “That’s what we’ve always used. We’ve tried drum-style brushcutters over the years and found them to be high maintenance and too expensive to operate, where the rotary ax from Prentice has been great for us – economical to maintain compared to the others.”
Moser said that the drum-style brushcutters produce a finer chip. “But to justify the added cost of acquisition and maintenance, we needed more production and we just weren’t getting it,” he says. “The rotary ax does what we need it to do.”
When Lewis Tree is called on to take down trees to reclaim a transmission right-of-way, the site prep tractors are equipped with a Prentice feller buncher attachment.
The company’s standard vehicle used in both distribution and transmission line work is an aerial bucket truck towing a wood chipper. Chippers are Bandit Model 200XP and Altec Model 1200, both 12-inch, control-fed, disc style. A ground person feeds the tree trimmings into the chipper with the chips blown into the enclosed dump body of the truck.
“Then we have to find somewhere to dump the chips, and in many areas we have to pay,” Moser explains. “If the work is rural, it’s not as much of a problem because the farmers love to put the chips along their fence line for weed control. But in urban areas, especially in New England, it’s an issue.”
Basic communications in such a far-flung organization are easily handled by cell phone, but the company is also exploring something more high-tech. GPS systems are being installed in 400 on-road vehicles in the second stage of a pilot test. “This is a tool that will allow us to better manage the equipment fleet. Field supervisors can track the location of their equipment and also use the data to monitor and score driving habits to enhance their safety program,” Moser says. Eventually the whole fleet will be equipped if the pilot test goes as they expect. Off-road equipment would be the final implementation stage.
With more than $10 million spent every year on maintaining and repairing equipment, the GPS system is also a tool to control and reduce these expenses by allowing the company to schedule maintenance based on actual equipment use, report fuel tax electronically and monitor engine overheating conditions. Equipment operators handle the day-to-day maintenance and repairs on their own machines, but the company relies on outside vendors who usually provide road service for major repairs and maintenance.
Lewis Tree lists seven values on its website, with safety as number one, for good reason. “Our industry is dangerous for a lot of reasons. We’re working around high voltage power lines, on the side of the road dealing with traffic, 70 feet up in the air in a bucket truck, and we’re operating chain saws and wood chippers,” Moser says.
The company gives safety more than lip service. “We’re always out there promoting safe work habits and actively caring for each other,” Moser says, “which is the basis for being safe. It’s not just watching out for ourselves; it’s not accepting someone else doing something he or she shouldn’t be doing.”
The number of field safety supervisors has doubled in the last year and a half, and the company conducts quarterly safety meetings that everyone attends from the company president on down.
Moser predicts that the company will double in size in the next five years through a combination of organic growth and acquisition.
“We have a reputation of high integrity that starts with our president, and I think that goes a long way. Because of that and the high level of quality that we try to give to our customers, we are often looked at as the vendor of choice,” Moser explains. “Typically, larger customers will have multiple contractors maintaining their vegetation. That works well for us because now they have something to compare us to and we typically come out on top. That is where most of our growth has come from over the years.”
Reprinted in part from Timber Harvesting & Wood Fiber Operations, Sept.-Oct. 2008.
Perform precision grading with maneuverable motor grader
Experience enhanced maneuverability with LeeBoy’s 685B motor grader, which features 18-degree articulation. Powered by a 100-horsepower Caterpillar diesel engine, the 685B also has a 10-foot sliding and tilting moldboard with a total sideshift reach of 36 inches for hard-to-reach areas. An enclosed turntable design prevents wear from dirt and moisture.
Side dump trailer has 50-degree dump angle
Achieve a fast, clean release with Side Dump Industries’ 50-degree dump angle trailer, which also features a low center of gravity for safety and stability. Suitable for dirt, rocks, concrete debris, gravel and demolition cleanup, the side dump trailers are available in tandem, tri- or quad-axle, or converter dollies. Custom models are also available.
For more information write 751 on Reader Service Card
Filter offers two-stage filtration technology
Extend your filter’s life cycle with Donaldson’s Pulse Jet Air Cleaning Ultra, a self-cleaning air filter that features minimized filtration servicing. Short duration pulses of compressed air clean the filter elements, designed with Donaldson UltraWeb Nanofiber Filtration Technology. The PJAC Ultra air filter provides 99.997 percent efficiency and has a filter life greater than 200 hours.
Clear right-of-ways quickly with mulching head
Reduce vegetation to ground level quickly with Loftness Attachments’ KwikAX, a mulching head available in 53-, 63-, 73- and 83-inch widths. The KwikAX combines the fixed blades of the TimberAX with the body design and forward rotation of the G2 Carbide Cutter, enabling the KwikAX to rotate down in front for an aggressive feed rate in high production applications.
Extend service intervals with forestry mulcher’s cooling package
Mulch everything in a 6-foot path with Rayco’s Predator PM638 mulching head, which features 38 fixed teeth and attaches to Rayco’s C100 Super Crawler. The steel-tracked C100 is powered by a 96-horsepower Kubota turbo diesel and features Rayco’s Super Flow closed loop hydraulic system and a forestry cooling package for extended service intervals.
Clear marshy areas with amphibious excavator
Perform clearing applications in marsh and wetland areas with Wetland Equipment’s amphibious excavator, which features a Daewoo 200 long reach unit that has 32-foot-long, 5-inch-wide, 5-foot-4-inch-high pontoons and a transport width of 19 feet 6 inches. The pontoon fits on a standard 8-foot lowboy with outriggers.
Clear a variety of material with grinding head
Grind stumps and cut brush and standing trees in one pass with ProGrind’s Series 50 grinding head, which has a 50-by-26-inch smooth drum head. The Series 50 features fixed carbide teeth and a 440-horsepower Caterpillar engine. The ProHead is useful for clearing low-lying limbs, ditch lines, creek banks, fence lines and locations where a conventional mower cannot be used.
Increase density with compaction wheel
Compact dirt efficiently with M.C. Faulkner and Sons’ compaction wheel. A custom front lip allows dirt to be moved quickly and easily in a trench, while broad based feet increase soil and compaction density. During compaction, the front lip can be tipped up and out of the way.
PTO system increases grinding capacity
Simplify land clearing and right-of-way maintenance tasks with FAE USA’s Wood Devil 125, which features a heavy-duty steel frame and undercarriage and a 125-horsepower John Deere engine. The Wood Devil uses a PTO system to power the mulching attachment, increasing grinding capacity and decreasing the possibility of the engine overheating.
Increase traction on 1-ton and larger pickups
Improve traction on your pickup truck with Mattracks’ Model 200 series track conversion system. The 18-inch-wide rubber track delivers enhanced traction with low ground pressure, improves fuel economy and minimizes heat buildup.
Camera system installs on fleet vehicles, heavy equipment
Reduce risk with Safety Vision’s collision avoidance camera system, which offers operators an unobstructed view of their surroundings. Designed for rugged duty, the camera feeds live color or black-and-white video to an in-cab monitor. The audio feature enables personnel outside the vehicle to communicate dangers to the operator.
For more information write 760 on Reader Service Card
Simplify landclearing, recycling and clean up applications with loader rake
Feed grinders easily with Pemberton’s loader rakes, which feature long teeth for loading and piling and have high strength and tensile material construction. The units’ clamps enable them to handle 75 percent more material than a loader rake without a clamp, according to the company.
Non-metal core rubber track offers smooth ride
Experience minimal vibration with DRB America’s non-metal core rubber track, developed to fit Caterpillar and ASV compact track loaders. Elimination of metal embeds increases driver comfort and machine durability through lowered vibration.
Mulcher handles hardwoods of almost any size
Chip softwoods and hardwoods with Gyro-Trac’s GT-25XP mulcher, which has a Cummins 260-horsepower Tier 3 turbo diesel engine. Standard features include a low profile enclosed tilt cab, auxiliary hydraulics, rear sweeps for cab and systems protection and a hydraulic push bar. The Toma-AX 700HF cutter head has planar fixed teeth that are individually mounted and replace in minutes.
Grading box’s dual controls add precision
Grade up to 1/8-inch accuracy in elevation and cross-slope with ATI’s Level Best grading box for skid-steer loaders. The unit fits most skid steers and uses Apache, AGL, Laser Alignment or Topcon laser controls. The fully-automatic grading box has dual controls to enhance precision, and comes in 72-, 84- and 96-inch widths.
Grapple aids in forestry, recycling and landscaping tasks
Rotobec’s mini-power attachment grapple increases a compact excavator’s flexibility by handling debris, waste or stones. Sealed rotators keep out water and dust for use in various climates and integrated selection valve requires single hydraulic circuit to operate the grapple’s opening, closing and rotating functions.
Trailer has range of sizes available
Choose from 20- to 50-ton capacities with Landoll’s hydraulic traveling axle trailers, which feature Grote Ultra-Blue wiring harnesses as standard equipment. The trailer also features a centralized grease system to easily maintain greaseable areas of the undercarriage. Standard powder coat paint offers rust protection.
Reduce vibration injuries with seat cushion
Prevent back injuries related to whole body vibration with Impact Safety Products’ Spine Saver, an ergonomic seat cushion made of a viscoelastic polymer designed to reduce shock and vibration by up to 80 percent. The cushion also alleviates back pain symptoms while working.
Downsize wood debris prior to grinding with stump shear
Pull tree stumps from the ground and split them before grinding with Vail Products’ Model 4050 and 5500 stump shears, which improves your grinder’s efficiency and enables removal of uncrushables from the wood debris. Designed for excavators in the 55,000- to 100,000-pound size class, the stump shear features a 9-foot 8-inch mouth opening and 4-foot 6-inch throat.
Perform landclearing applications quickly with mulcher
Mulch trees, brush and stumps with IronWolf’s mulching attachment, which features a high-torque design to maximize power from the crawler to the cutting head. Available in widths from 6 to 11 feet, the mulcher installs on a variety of crawler tractors.
Telescoping light now available for towable generator
Baldor’s TS35T towable generator can now be equipped with a 30-foot telescoping light kit, which takes just two hours to assemble and mount. Specially designed brackets and ballast box means no drilling is required; and the telescoping mast is self-contained. The provided cord plugs into a 120-volt/50-amp twistlock outlet on the generator’s control panel.
Handle a variety of material with low-profile scrap bucket
Move rocks, dirt, brush, wood and metal with Worksaver’s LPSB-72 skid steer low-profile scrap bucket, which has a 72-inch overall length and 3,000-psi cylinders. The bucket’s cutting edge accepts an optional replaceable beveled cutting edge, and flat-faced couplers are standard.
Turn your skid steer into a track loader with over-the-tire tracks
Install Solideal’s over-the-tire rubber tracks in as little as 30 minutes. The tracks minimize ground disturbance, enabling the operator to work on soft ground without sinking and cross sidewalks without scuffing or chipping the concrete. The tracks can be easily removed by pulling a connector pin.
Attachment handles screening and crushing duties
Scoop, shake and separate soil from other materials with Allu’s SM screener/crusher attachments for skid steers, wheel loaders and excavators. Available in 48 different models, the SM attachment handles a range of applications including cleanup of coarse material and soil screening.
Solid cushion tire rides like a pneumatic tire
Increase fuel efficiency by reducing your skid steers total weight by up to 30 percent with TY Cushion Tire’s aperature structure solid tire, which has less rubber than regular pneumatic tires. The aperature tire rides like a pneumatic tire while eliminating punctures and wearing evenly.
Grapple available in range of sizes
Handle bulky loads securely with Anbo Manufacturing’s GR-X-HC high capacity grapple. Manufactured from rugged components, the Anbo GR-X-HC is available in a variety of sizes.
Fan cools engine, then reverses to remove dirt and debris
Keep your engine cooler with Novatrax’s Cleanfix fan, which pulls air through the radiator system and reverses to blow dirt and debris out of the radiator and engine compartment. The fan features nine blades that turn 180 degrees while the engine is running. The blades can be adjusted to maximize effectiveness, and each blade rotates on an individual axis to cool the blade and dislodge debris.
Select from a range of ground protection mat sizes, treads
Virtually eliminate ground restoration costs with AlturnaMats ground protection mats. Manufactured from 1/2-inch-thick polyethylene, AlturnaMats can withstand loads up to 60 tons and are guaranteed for six years. The mats are available in a variety of sizes and treads to suit most applications.
Mulch large trees with forestry mower
Simplify landclearing and right-of-way clearance projects with Bandit’s Model 4000 forestry mower, which can easily handle 18-inch-diameter, 60-foot-tall trees. Equipped with a 325-horsepower diesel engine, the Model 4000 can also be equipped with a removable stump grinding head.
Self powered stump grinder requires no hydraulics
Thomas Grinding’s self contained Stump Eater stump grinder fits 29,000- to 44,000-pound class excavators, while requiring no hydraulics. The Stump Eater features the Sandvic Dura Disk II stump cutting system in an environmentally friendly, fuel efficient machine. A six-cylinder air-cooled Deutz engine powers the 110-horsepower machine. The grinder’s four bearings ensure low maintenance.
Complete wood waste processing with mobile track unit
Carry out mobile processing applications with Morbark’s Model 3800 Track Wood Hog, a low-maintenance machine with a factory balanced hammermill with forged hammers, an interplanetary drive, 320L Caterpillar tracks and an Iqan system. Morbark now offers five models mounted on tracks in its lineup of wood waste processing equipment.
On/off-highway drive delivers traction in severe-service applications
Experience improved traction in severe-service applications with Firestone’s FD835 on/off-highway drive. An aggressive block tread pattered and angled sipes in each block cut are useful for solid wet-surface handling. The FD835 also has an extra-deep open shoulder design for traction on mud and snow. To reduce cuts, chips and punctures, the FD835 has split-belt construction and tough tread compounds. Computer designed groove shapes enhance casing life by preventing trapped stones from pushing into the tread grooves and piercing the belt layer.
Tackle deep roots with stump mill
Sneller’s stump mill attaches to the company’s Multi-Task Carrier or to an excavator, with no modifications. Available in 170- and 275-horsepower models, the stump mill can clear up to six acres per day.
Create detailed reports with software for contractors
Generate detailed staking reports with Tally Systems’ EarthWorks software, which includes reports for cut and fill volumes, import/export volumes and stripping quantities for the entire jobsite. The software can measure from paper or digital – PDF, DWG and DXF – blueprints.
Protect engine from contaminants with polyurethane filters
Keep dirt from entering your engine’s air intake system during filter servicing with Wix Filters’ polyurethane inner safety air filters, which feature heat-seamed media. The filters, available for tractors, loaders and excavation equipment, create a tight seal with the original equipment housing.
Fine-tune your grinder for any application
Customize your grinder to match your needs with CW Mill Equipment’s HogZilla TC Series, which features an adjustable swing hammer mill. The hammer mill assembly can be changed to a variety of different swing diameters in the field to match your specific grinding needs. Standard equipment includes a clog- and leak-resistant radiator that pre-filters dirt and contaminants.
Produce hot water with used oil boiler
Recycle 3.6 gallons of used oil per hour and produce hot water with Clean Burn’s CB-500-CTB used oil coil tube boiler. The boiler has an input rating of 500,000 BTU and can be used for in-floor, baseboard and space heating, as well as to melt ice. Thirty-seven gallons per minute flow through the coil, and the unit’s low mass design holds 20.6 gallons of water.
Site prep tractors feature muscle and maneuverability
The Prentice site prep tractor line includes three models: the 260-horsepower Prentice 2864, 220-horsepower Prentice 2764 and the 190-horsepower Prentice 2664. A tight turning radius offers easy maneuverability around obstacles. They are equipped with a Cummins QSB Tier 3 6.7-liter engine, and a Quik-Flow selection system allows easy installation and operation of attachments. The harness connection to the attachment automatically identifies the tool and dictates the proper flow from a dedicated variable displacement hydraulic pump.
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