A switch yard expansion job for a utility customer called for at least a year-and-a-half commitment working around difficult jobsite limitations. Complicating factors included energized, high-power overhead electrics. OSHA clearance requirements and narrow access to the work area left little room for machinery. Jason Lapp, HP2X Construction project manager and estimator, said his crews often used skid steers or rented cement buggies to move material and cement at confined jobsites like these. Moving material that way on this job would take way too much time, so they went looking for larger volume site dumpers.
That’s when they discovered the category of equipment called dedicated dumpers (popular in Europe where skid steers aren’t). Harvey Pelley, HP2X vice president and co-owner, said he knew immediately that a dedicated dumper (specifically a Fiori D 40) was perfect for this job. It is the smallest dumper in the Fiori line, a four-wheel drive, diesel-powered dumper with an articulated body. It has a 8,818-lb loading capacity, yet at its broadest point is just 7.8 ft wide.
Other brands offered site dumpers with similar features, such as a 180-degree bed rotation that enables an operator to dump to the left or right of the vehicle, as well as straight off the end. None, however, offer reversibility. Wait, reversibility? It means the operator station swings around 180 degrees so you can drive straight out the way you came in. That’s pretty cool.
These units are also literally cool: Enclosed, climate-controlled cabs are standard throughout the entire Fiori product line. The cab was an especially attractive feature for HP2X Construction but not for the air. “We work in Ohio,” Pelley said. “Winters can be harsh here, especially driving around in an open vehicle at 20 degrees.”
Pelley promptly purchased a D 40 Fiori from Dominion Equipment Parts. Dominion introduced the Fiori line to North America in 2016. Headquartered in Richmond, Va., and perhaps better known as a manufacturer and distributor of rubber tracks, Dominion provides sales, service and product support from seven regional locations in addition to its Richmond headquarters — including one in Cincinnati not far from HP2X’s facilities in Cleves, Ohio.
Self-Loading, Automated Mixer
Next, HP2X Construction invested in a Fiori DB 460 concrete batch vehicle. It is a four-wheel drive self-loading cement mixer system with four-wheel steering and a drum that can be oriented anywhere along a 240-degree arc. Like the Fiori site dumpers, it features reversibility of travel. Although the DB 460 bucket makes it easy to manually load cement by the bag, they also purchased a mobile horizontal cement silo, increasing operational efficiency for bigger jobs. Pelley said the mixer system is like having a mobile batch plant at a fraction of the cost of building, operating and maintaining its own. The cost just to build a plant could run at least a half-million dollars, he said. Cement trucks he ballparked at a quarter million each.
Jobs that HP2X can use its mixer system on eliminate the need for a batch plant, cement trucks and transfer vehicles altogether. HP2X can make up the exact batch size needed for a specified mix design right at the jobsite, complete with printed batch ticket. It also means they do not have to work around a plant’s operating hours. Work can be done at night if a job calls for it. The ability to adjust batch size saves HP2X money by reducing waste, and there are no partial batch fees. Plus, they can make up their batches at significantly lower cost per yard than they can order them to be delivered. To put it another way, HP2X can now pay itself to mix and deliver cement for every yard it pours. The savings represents a competitive advantage for bidding jobs.
HP2X put the system to work on its first job making up precast work for a soldier pile and lagging job in their own yard. Mixing is an automated process. “Get your mix dialed in,” Lapp said, “and it’s all push-button after that.” Once HP2X has a mix fine-tuned, it’s added to the onboard computer’s memory. From that point on, the operator simply selects it from the menu of stored mix designs and inputs a batch size. The system electronically controls the rest, ensuring repeatable consistency for any given mix design batch after batch, even after switching from one mix design to another and back. That’s handy, Lapp said, for projects requiring 3,000-psi cement for one batch and one-day or three-day, 4,000-psi cement for another or different slumps within a given mix design.
To begin, the operator uses the rig’s integrated loading bucket to scoop up aggregate from the pile. Raised above the drum opening, the bucket functions as a hopper, with its bottom hatch controlled by the operator. When the weight of material in the final bucket load exceeds what is required for that batch, Lapp said, “The computer tells the operator to shake a little out.” A tip-off function lets the operator empty out the bucket to the correct amount. Aggregate now loaded, the operator drives to the sand pile and repeats the process. At the cement silo, the mixer and silo communicate wirelessly as the DB 460 bucket fills up the required amount of powder.
Next, the mixer adds water from its onboard water supply. The system factors in moisture already present in the aggregate to get the proper mix. Admixtures, if needed, are stored in the rig’s admixture tanks. Their flow is also electronically metered and controlled.
Becoming a Dealer
Harvey said he and his wife, Jill Pelley, president and majority owner of HP2X Construction, believe so strongly in the reversible equipment that they founded a sister company in 2018 to sell them. HP2X Equipment is an authorized Fiori dealership making its product line available to other contractors and offering full-service sales, financing, technical support, training and consultation.
“That we use them in our own construction business,” Lapp said, “makes us a unique kind of dealer.” HP2X Equipment offers much more than sales and product support. They are application experts who know the capabilities of these machines firsthand and fellow contractors who are interested in forming long-term relationships.
Although the Fiori brand is still unknown to many in the industry, Pelley believes it to be a wave about to sweep through the North American market. HP2X Equipment is now positioned to help the local industry get out in front of it — never having to look back over their shoulder.
10 Frickin’ Years
Yanmar Offers New Decade-Long Powertrain Warranty on Compact Tractors
Yanmar America’s Agricultural Division recently increased the limited powertrain warranty to 10 years or 3,000 hours (whichever comes first) on all new Yanmar tractor purchases from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019, doubling the length of the previous five-year limited powertrain promotion. Tim Fernandez, president, Yanmar America, added, “In addition to our industry leading warranty, our customers can experience unparalleled customer support every day through our extensive and passionate dealer network.” For more info, visit yanmartractor.com.
Joe Bradfield is senior writer for Ellenbecker Communications.