A Detroit Success Story: New CASE 1150M Dozer Tears Through Frost; Improves Operator Control
Posted on: 17 Jun 2014
Over the past 40 years, the Walker family has learned a thing or two about adaptability and durability. Being able to adjust to the often-tumultuous Detroit-area economy and transform their business to include everything from demolition to finish work has given them the adaptability they’ve needed to survive.
When it came time to add a new dozer to their fleet, they were prepared to go with the same brand they had for the past 35 years. That long history of devotion was overturned, however, when they purchased the new 1150M dozer from CASE Construction Equipment.
Power Makes a Punch
Their first impressions were reaffirmed once Walker Construction put the 1150M through its paces. They brought it to a site with between 8 and 12 inches of frost, and were going to wait for one of their excavators to arrive and start digging out some of the frost. Instead, Matt Walker says, “That dozer got right into it and started popping off chunks of frost as big as the machine itself. It was pretty impressive.”
The 1150M features a best-in-class 48,000 pounds of drawbar pull along with heavy-duty hydraulic cylinders and improved seals, giving it the power and ruggedness to handle extreme loads.
“This machine pushes right through straight,” Matt Walker says. “As we speak right now, this machine is probably twice as productive as what we have (now).”
The CASE 1150M’s 127 horsepower, Tier 4-Interim engine uses advanced Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to produce 7 percent more power while using 10.5 percent less fuel.
Matt Walker says the improved fuel economy was another significant factor in their decision. “Fuel is one of our biggest costs. The 1150M is every bit as good, if not better, than all of the machines we demoed, and it far exceeds the other machines in our fleet.”
Walker noted that adding the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) required for the SCR engine was new, but simple. “It’s not that difficult,” Walker said. “It’s just something that we have to get used to. The fill neck is right next to the fuel tank and it’s separated so that there’s no way you can confuse the fuel and the DEF.”
Proven Control and Visibility
Also clear from the beginning was the improved visibility of the 1150M compared to their other machines. With a new cab-forward design, floor to ceiling glass doors and a sloped hood, the 1150M emphasizes visibility in addition to power.
“I want to know what’s going on with that blade at all times,” Chuck Walker said. “We strip a lot of sites of top soil, and you’ve got to be able to see what’s going on with the blade so that you don’t get too deep.”
Another feature that assists the operator is the 1150M’s electro-hydraulic controls, which replace mechanical linkage controls to greatly reduce the amount of force needed to manipulate the blade.
“Especially in the winter, when the hydraulic fluid is thicker, our operators used to complain that their wrists hurt by the end of the day,” Matt Walker says. “The electro-hydraulic controls on the 1150M completely eliminated that, and the movement of the controls is a very natural motion and didn’t take long at all to get used to.”
The 1150M has a fine grading feature, which increases accuracy by slowing the blade up to 40 percent, and enabled Walker to achieve precise blade control.
“I ran the machine for 30 minutes, and I felt as comfortable with it as something that I’d been running for two years,” Matt said. “I was able to grade 400-feet of curb in 30 minutes. I never ran a machine that had that fine grading setting, and it was really, really nice.”
In addition, the 1150M offers smooth, moderate and aggressive steering and shuttle settings, enhanced fingertip blade controls that allow for improved control over the blade angle and sensitivity, and blade shake for quick cleaning.
Despite those positive first impressions, perhaps the most rewarding benefit of the 1150M arrives at the end of the day thanks to the comfort and sound quality of the machine’s cab.
“This machine’s a whole lot quieter than we’re used to,” Chuck Walker said. “You’re not worn out by the end of the day. Some of these machines work you harder than you work them.”
Determined to survive, Matt and Chuck Walker knew that adaptability, along with workmanship and customer service, were critical elements to their success. Thanks to that approach and, with help from the 1150M, business has turned a corner.
“We’ve been very fortunate, and it feels like we’re on an upswing.”