CASE Alpha Skid Steers help Extra Mile Landscape, in West Bend, Wis., diversify in order to remain profitable year-round.
A true four seasons state, Wisconsin landscapers must diversify in order to remain profitable year-round. For Aron Rodman, owner and founder of Extra Mile Landscape in West Bend, Wis., there may be no more important piece of equipment in allowing him to do this than his skid steer.
“As the economy changes, we’ve found the skid steer loader is more and more important,” Rodman explains. “One skilled operator can use it for just about anything—putting new lawns in during the spring, mulching garden beds, drilling holes for trees, tree spades and brush cutting in the fall. Come winter, we rely on skid steer loaders for plowing snow and loading it into trucks. I can move more snow in eight hours with a skid steer loader than I can in 20 hours with a truck.“
Electro-hydraulic Controls Drive Evolution
As electro-hydraulic controls were introduced to the industry and began replacing mechanical linkage, Rodman added a skid steer to his fleet from a leading manufacturer. After some time, he and his operators had concerns over the sensitivity and responsiveness of the controls.
“With the competitor's model, there was just such a loss of sensitivity with the electro-hydraulic controls,” Rodman says. “We would drive up to where I had an operator, I would stop and it would coast forward a couple more (feet). We felt that was dangerous.”
Electro-hydraulic controls allow for new and more intuitive ways to dial in skid steer performance to the preference of the operator. CASE skid steers come with nine pre-set settings as part of its EZ-EH control setup.
“With the CASE system,” Rodman says, ”we’re able to maximize the speed, agility and responsiveness of the tires, yet slow down the curl, which means we can drop the plows more gently, without the slamming and jarring we had with other loaders. With competitor's models, we found that the only way to slow down the curl and the bucket speed sometimes is to slow down everything; the turning, the acceleration.”
CASE Alpha Series skid steer loaders also offer both radial and vertical lift configurations. Rodman chose radial lift mostly for visibility, although this design also offers benefits in digging, prying, grading, dragging and back-filling applications.
Rodman adds, “I've got glass going almost all the way down to my feet. I can see the load I'm picking up. I can see about a foot in front of the tires. Looking back, the downward curve lets me see objects closer to the machine; and looking above me, the windows curve upward towards the top. It’s just all around a wonderfully visible machine.”
Easy, Simple, Comfortable
Snow plowing often requires long shifts in brutal conditions, so Rodman knows that anything he can do to reduce his operators’ stress also improves productivity. The CASE Alpha Series offers the industry’s lowest entry point that makes getting in and out much easier, and also provides a lot of room with one of the widest cabs in the industry.
“The CASE Alpha Series is second to none when it comes to cab comfort, “ he says. “The man who runs this skid steer in the winter is 6 foot, 4 inches and looks like he could start on the offensive line for the Packers. He fits in here wonderfully.”
CASE Alpha Series machines have the option of switching between ISO or H-Pattern controls with the flick of a switch. Rodman likes the flexibility so operators don’t have to learn a new system.
Ride Control is another feature that makes operation easier on the CASE Alpha skid steer loaders. Rodman says, “I never saw anything like it on competitive machines, and now, I’d never be without it. Basically it’s like a shock absorber for the loader arms when you’re traveling at higher speeds. It virtually eliminates bouncing up and down. It makes for fewer spilled loads, a smoother ride and fewer mistakes.”
Rodman is dedicated to going the “extra mile” to serve his customers whatever the season. He’s found the right skid steer loaders to help him do that. “The real difference between machines is not always on paper,” he concludes. “With the CASE Alpha skid steer loaders, we get all the power and lift capacity we need, plus the electro-hydraulic controls, visibility, comfort and easy serviceability. You have to use one to really appreciate the advantages.”