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Digger’s scraper dream becomes a reality

Digger Blogger | 18:45, Thu October 13 2011

Ever since I was a young lad back in the early 1970's going to work on the motorway jobs with my father on the weekends, I had always wanted to try my hand at operating a scraper, sadly I had never been able to fulfil that dream, but thanks to the wonderful team at Caterpillar I got my chance during my recent trip to Malaga.

The following old photo reminds me of how I used to sit and watch the motor scrapers in action. I was always totally mesmerised by these earthmoving giants as they went about their business. The lads that used to operate them were very efficient, fast and in some instances a bit crazy!

With the decline of scraper usage in the UK, I figured I may never get to spend some time at the controls of these ultimate earthmovers, but thanks to a conversation I had with Caterpillar product specialist Wrenn Miles at the launch of the Caterpillar B Series ADT’s in Peterlee earlier this year, my hopes were raised that I might finally get my chance.

At the end of the recent press event held at Caterpillars superb demonstration and learning facility in Malaga, Spain, some time was set aside for me to “try out”  one of Caterpillars 627G models.

I was given a brief overview of the machine by product specialist Angel Luis Gonzalez Suarez, who very kindly agreed to take some action photos too. My instructor for the afternoon was demonstration operator Carl Marlow who gave me a quick introduction of the controls, then with Carl sat behind me off we went.

There is a lot to think about in the cab of a motor scraper, but  I soon picked up the idea. I came around for my first cut, opened the apron and lowered the bowl into the cut, I was then prompted by Carl to use both engines to full effect. The 627G has a Cat Acert C15 330hp engine in the front tractor unit and an Acert C9 239hp engine at the rear of the scraper, so when flooring the pedal you are getting a combined power output of 569 hp!

  

The sound and power of the machine was awesome as I powered on and the bowl started to fill up, initially I had a bit of wheel spin as I bit too deep, something I knew was not a good thing to be doing with such expensive tyres underneath me, but I soon rectified that by lifting the bowl and in no time it was full and it was time to close the apron to retain the load ready for travel to my discharge point.

At the discharge point, I lifted the apron and started to eject the material using the ejector blade, I was instructed to keep the bowl as low to the ground as possible so that I would be levelling the material as it was ejected, in no time at all, the bowls 22 cubic yards of earth was levelled out behind me. At this point Carl decided to get out and let me loose on my own in the 62,099 kg monster! He was going to join me with the other scraper and demonstrate the push loading technique by pushing me from behind with the other machine.

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As soon as we were back in the cut you could sense the doubling of power as Carl push loaded my scraper from behind, it was a great feeling to be let loose in one of these machines and as my confidence rose I started to get faster on it. Mind you I don’t think I was ready to go at the top speed of 32 mph that these machines are capable of just yet!

Of course these G model scrapers have recently been superseded by the new H series models that were featured in a post here on the Digger blog earlier in the year.

We continued to cut and spread and then after a while I was instructed to pick up the spread material and put it back in the cut area. I attempted to clean up the area, but I think a dozer or grader may have been required after my departure.

All in all a fantastic experience for me and a lifetime’s ambition fulfilled, I personally cannot thank the team at Caterpillar enough , here in the UK, in Malaga and indeed in America, as a company they have really embraced the Digger Blog concept.

Thank you and I look forward to covering many more of your products over the coming years.



 

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