Although S&S Utilities and Excavation in Grand Prairie, TX, has been in operation for more than 50 years, it’s relatively new to the excavation business. Two years ago S&S created an excavation division and hired Shawn Smithey as vice president. As the division grows, an important part of Smithey’s job is adding new equipment, such as stabilizers, to the S&S fleet.
“We don’t own any stabilizers right now,” reports Smithey. “I’d like to own two of them. Currently we have to rent them with each project, and it’s hard for us to be as competitive as we’d like on large projects since we don’t own them.”
Recently Smithey has been renting a number of manufacturers’ stabilizer models to get a feel for what each has to offer before making a purchase decision. “I am attempting to try them all out before I buy,” he says. For a project that began in mid-March–the new Irving High School Academy site in Irving, TX–he rented two Bomag MPH100 Recycler/Soil Stabilizers from Progressive Tractor Corporation in Dallas.
North Texas Contracting of Keller, TX, was the project’s general contractor. “During phase one of the project, 160,000 cubic yards of earth was moved,” explains Robert Farrow, North Texas Contracting’s project manager. “We also did infrastructure work–utilities, water, storm, sanitary sewer, telecommunications conduit, and site paving. We performed all the work except for the excavation and lime stabilization.”
“Our part of the job covered 36,000 square yards. That’s a good-size job for us,” remarks Smithey. “We had to stabilize the existing soil, get the material back on grade, and get it ready for graders. We also were responsible for making sure all the density and moisture tests and requirements were taken care of.
“Basically, we cut, filled, and rough-graded the site to plus and minus 10. The lime was put out in slurry off-site from a batch plant. Then, with the MPH100s, we processed and manipulated the lime into the existing sandy, claylike material to make it a more suitable subgrade for paving,” Smithey continues. “We were putting in 8% lime at a depth of 6 inches.”
The output of the MPH100s impressed Smithey. “We did 660 tons of lime in three 10-hour days with two machines. Typically you can expect to put out around 100-125 tons of lime per day with two machines, and we did 220-250 tons a day. That’s really working. We only had to make two passes–one in some areas–with the MPH100s. In most cases with other stabilizers, we have to make two to three passes. That alone sells the machine.”
Farrow and North Texas Contracting were pleased with the S&S crew’s production. “The time line was great. He hit it faster than I thought he could,” Farrow says. “The whole stabilization process went very well.”
Smithey was also impressed with the overall design of the MPH100, including its rear-slung rotor design. “I like the way it’s set up, with the wheels in front and the rotor in back. I think the maneuverability is better with that design.” He found visibility for the operator superior to that of competing models. “It’s very important to be able to see where the edge of the mixing teeth are to make sure you’re overlapping.“Anytime you can put out 650-700 tons of lime in three days, you’ve got a good machine. It’s a considerable savings over putting out 150 tons a day with two competitive machines. I’ve got another job in about three weeks, and I’m renting the Bomags again.”