making the right choice
The latest piece of quality gear that Bryce is referring to is a newly delivered Cat 299D3XE Land Management package – a specifically tailored combination of a Cat 299D3XE Compact Track Loader and a Cat HM418 Mulcher.
Building on the success of a smaller Cat 289D3 Compact Track Loader that BKA took delivery of earlier in 2023, Bryce says his and Matt’s volume of work started to demand something a bit bigger and more powerful.
“After looking at some of the competition on the market, I just couldn’t be swayed,” he says. “My experiences just kept bringing me back to Caterpillar, and the 299D3XE Land Management just ticked every box and more."
“It just offered everything we needed in one package. Plus, the way the tool is combined with the machine – it’s tuned perfectly.”
According to Nina Zeidan, WesTrac Product Advisor for Cat Attachments, Bryce opted for the HM418 Mulcher because of its Bite Limiter technology.
“The advantage when using a Bite Limiter mulcher over standard carbide mulchers is the ability to cut and mulch material in a single pass rather than the initial cut with the front door open, then reversing over the material with door closed to break it down further for a neater finish,” she says.
“While the daily maintenance and sharpening is a bit more involved than with a standard carbide tooth mulcher, Bite Limiter mulchers are used by professional forestry operators who understand that, like a butcher or a barber, sharp tools are what enable them to provide an expertly finished product on the first cut.”
Bryce says having the machine and attachment interact seamlessly is a big win for ease-of-use, and streamlines the process of switching attachments – especially for any contractor with multiple operators on the tools.
“It’s one less thing to have to run your operators through, because there’s only one way it can be hooked up,” he says.
“With this mulcher, you just hook every single hose into the machine, and it knows what to do as soon as you switch it on. It detects that it’s a high-flow attachment and engages high-flow automatically."
“So, there’s no worrying about whether you’ve got the right flow rate for the unit. It makes it a no-brainer to go with Cat attachments and Cat machines – it just takes all the guesswork out.”
According to Joel Newton, WesTrac Sales Representative for Building Construction Products in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region, this is just one of the reasons the package was the perfect choice for BKA Earthworx.
“Having the mulcher specifically tuned to the hydraulic output of the Cat 299D3XE is big for maximising productivity,” he says.
“It’s also equipped with a hydraulic oil cooler, reversing fan, and a range of seals and guards that make it perfectly suited to Bryce’s application.
“The sealed and pressurised cab also keeps the operator cool, comfortable, and in a quiet working environment for long days in harsh conditions in applications such as mulching.”
Bryce can attest to how tiring a day of vegetation management under the Australian sun can be, but he says arming yourself with the right tools goes a long way.
“For any operator sitting in a cab all day long, it can be really fatiguing,” he says. “But the Cat machines offer a really great cab layout – everything is very simple to use, and it’s extremely comfortably to sit in for long hours.”