Tomahawk Wisdom: Top Tips from Tomahawk

CASE is passionate about our customers, and no one in the organization spends more quality time with them than the professionals at the CASE Customer Center in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. A state-of-the-art facility sitting on about 500 acres in the North Woods, the CASE Customer Center offers hands-on personalized training, product demonstrations and maintenance training opportunities to customers from all over the world.

Here are their thoughts on some of the most frequently asked questions in Tomahawk.

Radial vs Vertical Lift: What’s the best for my application?
With skid steers, this is one that comes up a lot, and ultimately it depends on the application. If you’re loading trucks all day, then a vertical lift machine is going to give you the extra height you need to clear the truck bed. If you’re mostly doing grading or general dirt work, then a radial lift machine would be best. Radial lift machines have fewer pins and lube points and are generally geared towards more heavy-duty applications.

– Robb Coenen

Do CASE Tier 4 Engines have to go through a regeneration cycle?
Many of our Tier 4 Final models feature SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) technology. This system does not include a DPF or any other components that require intensive/long-term maintenance or manual regeneration. As long as you keep the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank topped off you won’t notice any additional regular maintenance with this type of solution. SCR is also a more efficient use of a machine’s fuel, as all the fuel is put towards productive work instead of burning off accumulated particulate in a DPF. It also helps lower exhaust temperatures compared to machines with a DPF.

Another topic that often comes up here is DEF handling and storage. Storing and transporting DEF in unapproved containers is not recommended. As SCR and DEF become more common in all types equipment, it’s important for our customers to get quality DEF from a trusted source. It is also important to understand the proper way to handle DEF—using approved totes or bulk handling systems—in order to prevent contamination from water and debris, which can cause serious damage to a machine.

– Jeff Jablonski

Why are my rubber tracks wearing out so quickly?
We tell compact track loader owners that they’re going to wear out very quickly if they’re spinning around on hard pavement or on concrete. They’ll say, “Well I only get three, four hundred hours out of a set of tracks.” That is typically an indication of an abusive or uninformed/untrained operator. Avoiding counter-rotation and high-speed operation on hard surfaces, and being mindful of curbs, debris and other obstacles on a job site can go a long way towards extending the life of the tracks.

– Steve Cudd

What can I do to optimize fuel efficiency?
There are a lot of things that an operator can do to make a machine more fuel-efficient—minimizing idle time, etc.—but the biggest tip that comes up the most often here is to utilize any automation features on a machine. On our wheel loaders, features like return to dig, return to travel and height control immediately return the bucket to a desired position at the touch of a button. This ensures that the machine is spending more time being productive.

On excavators, the “free swing” feature lets the upper carriage “swing free” to minimize pendulum swing while craning. Another example is CASE backhoes have what’s called Pro Control, a feature that allows the boom to stop at the precise moment the operator releases the hand control. This reduces operator fatigue and saves fuel because the operator is not correcting an excessive movement.

Little things like that can pick up a few seconds here and there on cycle times—you do that over 50 times a day and it adds up.

Another question specific to excavators that we get a lot in regards to fuel efficiency is “what throttle position should I be operating in?” There’s three settings that we have: A (automatic), H (heavy duty), and SP (speed priority). The most fuel efficient setting for nearly all applications is on that A. The auto setting will automatically adjust to the needs of the application, power boost will automatically kick in when needed and that’s going to give you the most fuel efficient, most productive operation.

– Jeff Jablonski

What’s for dinner?
You might laugh, but this is one of the most frequently asked questions that we get up here. The Tomahawk Customer Center is a unique place—we offer housing accommodations and meals here on site. Our staff prepares amazing food. Other major manufacturers don’t have the kind of all-inclusive experience that we offer. It’s a much more personal experience. That’s a huge advantage for us, and for our customers.

– Robb Coenen