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Tracked for comfort

17/12/2008

After 26 years in the earthmoving and asphalt game, Gary Wilkins says his choice is a tracked machine.

That’s not just in wet winter clay, where benefits are well known, but all year round for stability.

“Rubber wheel machines are bouncing you around. I set myself up like a digger with tracks and with a bucket on the front.”

Gary has a Takeuchi TL130 3.5 tonne skid steer loader, using OEM tracks obtained through Eastwood. His business is Workin Bobcats Ltd and he worked on diggers up to 15 tonnes, traxcavators and scrapers, first with Stevensons then Kay & Sons. Later he became an owner operator to Experienced Bobcats with the support of wife Keely on the books.

Gary has warning words for young bobcat operators about bucket safety.

Injuries are usually to do with the bucket if operators lose their balance. They can be thrown from the machine with serious consequences, he says.

It also pays to recognise the steel cab is there to protect you. There is usually a hydraulic cutout connected to the seatbelt to prevent bucket arm movement. Injuries happen where people stick out an arm or head then lean on levers. Down come the lifting arms like a guillotine.

Treat the skid steer bobcat with respect and it’s a great tool. And always keep the bucket down.

“You can see better and you’ve got the weight under control,” Gary Wilkins says.