Rock Wheel Attachments for Skid Steers and Track Loaders
There are several factors to consider when choosing the right skid steer or track loader rock wheel to make concrete or asphalt cuts including location, ground conditions, depth, width, length, speed and hydraulic requirements.
First, you must consider the application. A rock wheel is a powerful excavating tool that is designed to work in hard digging applications where a trencher wouldn’t do the job as efficiently. If your application requires that you cut through several inches of asphalt, concrete, limestone and other rock, or even frozen ground, a rock wheel is the perfect attachment to get the job done.
We have seen customers use the rock wheel to run power lines across a large parking lot from their building out to the roadside for a new company sign. They are also used frequently by companies to bury water lines or maintenance crews to make quick cuts in a lot for patch work. A rock wheel attached to a skid steer loader would also be ideal when the job requires that you make clean and precise cuts for such things as roadway expansion and utility work where short or long distances are required. In heavy operating cases like this and especially when cutting concrete, it is advised to also install a dust control kit on the skid steer. This not only helps keep dust and debris under control, it also helps lubricate the carbide teeth on the rock wheel, keeping them running smooth for longer periods of time.
Some rock wheels are available with different features. One feature is the ability to hydraulically side-shift the wheel if the cut is needed to run close to a building, obstacles or in a confined space. Some rock wheels are also equipped with an operator sight guide arm. This features an arm with a small wheel at the end that can be lowered to roll alongside the rock wheel within clear view of the operator as it cuts. The operator can then align the guide wheel with markings on the ground indicating where the cut is to be made for precise and accurate cutting.
There are different types and sizes of rock wheels as well. Some will make the cut and leave the debris in the trench requiring another pass to excavate the remains. Based on the application, one might need the trench to be cleared out as the cut is made, and therefore choose a rock wheel that would disperse the debris to the side. The size is also a factor that should be taken into consideration. Rock wheels are available in different cutting depths and widths. Some rock wheels may not make the cut deep or wide enough for one pass and require another pass to create the depth of the trench needed. The full scope of the job should be considered when choosing the proper size.
Another factor to consider is the length of the cut needed. If the need is to cut a longer distance, a rock wheel attachment would be ideal as some are able to cut up to 15 ft per minute and get the job done quickly and easily.
All rock wheels will require high flow machines with at least 30- to 40-gpm hydraulic flow. Rock wheels are also available with single or dual circuit features. If choosing a single circuit rock wheel, you will have three hoses for all of the hydraulic functions and will most likely need to order a separate control box to run the rock wheel. Dual circuit rock wheels will most likely include a control box and have five hoses to run the rock wheel — two to run the side shift and height, and three for the motor. Special couplers and adapters will also be needed for running a rock wheel attachment.
Although there are certainly many factors to consider when choosing the right rock wheel, there are also many powerful dynamics a rock wheel can feature to help you accomplish the job requirements accurately and efficiently.
Ron Peters is a product manager with CEAttachments Inc., based in West Bend, Wis. Tags: Rock Wheels, skid steers, Track Loaders