Advanced Stone Slinger System Achives Lower Costs
When Andy Crocket put his first blower trucks into service, he was breaking new ground in Ontario’s landscape business. Thirteen years later, Crocket’s Toronto-based business, Landsource Organix, is still innovating.
“When I started with my four trucks, I had the business to myself. Now there are a half-dozen businesses operating about 30 blower trucks in Ontario. I have to keep looking for new ways to be competitive and stay ahead of the pack,” he says.
Stone Slinger deployed as a cost-effective delivery system
“The Stone Slinger costs about half as much as a blower truck. It made sense to me to use a slinger-type of truck as the delivery tool, so my blower trucks can continue operating without being interrupted to reload with material,” he says.
Two innovators collaborate on new conveyor truck features
Mr. Nelson admits that he and his team appreciate the challenges brought to them by customers. “We are always developing new ways to improve the Stone Slinger. When customers bring us a wish list, as Andy did, it opens our eyes to new possibilities. We’re always interested in expanding the capabilities of our equipment in order to increase the productivity, profitability and reliability of our units,” he says.
After Mr. Crocket presented his requirements to Scott Nelson in the Fall of 2012, he ordered a new Western Star power unit in the Spring of 2013 to become the platform for his Stone Slinger. About 6 weeks later, Dahms delivered the custom unit. Its new features not only fit Crocket’s original application, it unexpectedly opened the door to new business opportunities and operating benefits for Landsource Organix.
“The first thing we needed was a higher, deeper box to carry 40 yards (30.5 m3) of material, to match the capacity of the blower trucks. Then we wanted to extend the discharge conveyor to reach right over the edge of the blower body. We don’t actually use much stone – we specialize in lighter materials like mulch, compost and wood fiber. By discharging the material directly into the blower truck, we minimize our clean-up times and put more material where we want it.”
Advanced controls for remote operation
“This is an excellent example of what you can do with CAN Bus technology,” Mr. Nelson says. “We introduced CAN Bus on the Stone Slinger to support remote control for the conveyor and drive systems. But its flexibility gives us a great platform for adding additional features to the system to suit customer requests.”
While most conveyor trucks are equipped with remote controls for the discharge operations, Stone Slinger now offers a remotely operated hydrostatic drive. The remote control can be used to move and reposition the truck wirelessly from outside the cab. Operators can maneuver the Stone Slinger to complete an entire project without once having to stop and get into the truck, disengage the PTO, move with the conventional drive, then set up again.
“It’s ideal for roadside seeding,” Andy Crocket reports. “Where you’re close to the edge of a ditch or a slope and you want to seed, the operator can be walking along the side of the road and make a precise application, applying the soil and seeding it all in one smooth operation.”
Scott Nelson and his team reworked the CAN Bus control system so Mr. Crocket’s operators could operate the seeder with the same remote control package. They also developed an extra wide feeder belt to increase the Stone Slinger’s discharge rate and further expand the range of products that can be handled.
New business in playground surfaces
Apart from the difference in the cost of equipment, the Stone Slinger requires just a single operator, while the blower trucks typically travel with a crew of two. The Stone Slinger’s remote control makes it an ideal system for operating in close quarters around existing playground fixtures.
Remote control: A safer way to work
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