Latest heavy-duty trencher is the star of the show
By Drainage Contractor
A North American introduction paving the way for widespread use.
By Drainage Contractor
In 2011, Port Industries introduced the new Mastenbroek M-3500 heavy-duty mechanical trencher to its product line, the first time the company has offered a chain trencher on tracks. The machine made its debut at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, one of the biggest farm equipment shows in the US, in July, attracting unprecedented interest for a drainage trencher.
Previously, Port Industries lacked a track-driven chain trencher in its lineup of trenchers and plows, but the machine cements a 10-year business relationship between the US and UK companies. The M-3500, built by Mastenbroek of Boston, Lincolnshire, UK, one of the world’s leading trencher manufacturers, will be especially attractive to the US drainage contractor.
Kevin Shimp, president of Port Industries, says it was well received, with contractors travelling hundreds of miles just to see the newly imported machine. “We delivered the M-3500 to Kurt Leichty of Leichty and Sons in Wayland, Iowa, in September. They are currently renting the machine for the fall season.
“The M-3500 fits well into our own existing line of trenchers and plows. All of our trenchers are on rubber tires, so the track-driven M-3500 fills a need in our product lineup for our customers here in the US. This will be the first time Port Industries has offered a chain trencher on tracks. It is the right size machine for the US drainage contractor. It has plenty of horsepower, without being too heavy or too large to move from job to job.” says Shimp.
“We have worked closely with Mastenbroek to make sure that the M-3500 will be accepted into the US market. The heavy-duty mechanical drive, along with the oscillating and slewing undercarriage, are very important features in the United States. It has a Cummins engine and Sauer hydraulics and controls. Port Industries already uses the same suppliers, and even the same components, on our own trenchers. This machine is also fitted with components manufactured by Port Industries at some key wear and service areas, so replacement and service parts will be readily available to our US customers.
“Since we made the digging attachment here, all of the normal wear items are in stock at our factory. This includes the digging chain, cutters, sprockets, and bearings. The entire machine is painted the same color as other Port Industries trenchers. Mastenbroek uses many major components that are already widely accepted in the US.”
Shimp continues: “These include Cummins engines, Sauer hydraulics, and Berco undercarriage components. To make the machine even more attractive to the US drainage contractor, Mastenbroek has provided the machine with inch-size hydraulic hoses and JIC hydraulic fittings. These are common to all drainage contractors and easily replaced if needed.”
So far, so good
Leichty already has a Hydramaxx 2500 trencher and it has the same digging unit. Commonality of the parts between the two machines was a big factor in his decision to give the MP-3500 a try.
So far, Leichty is impressed with the production of the MP-3500. It is consistently running from 50 to 70 feet per minute at depths between four and five feet. The MP-3500 had more than 100 hours of service, at the time of going to press.
Shimp notes: “Although this isn’t a lot of time, there have been no service issues to this point. Kurt also says the cab is very comfortable for his operators, and it has good visibility. The operators really like how quiet the cab is. The controls are arranged in a very well-thought-out manner. The controls are also very smooth and easy to operate. The fuel consumption is good and they are getting exceptional footage between refuelling.”
Based on the performance of the MP-3500 to date, and feedback from contractors, Port Industries says the MP-3500 has a solid future in the US drainage market.
The M-3500 has a potentially bright future in the US. “Right now, the market here in the states is at an historically high level. Interest in farm drainage has never been as strong. The M-3500 gives Port Industries the opportunity to take advantage of this strong market in a number of ways,” adds Shimp.
“We currently have new trencher orders booked several months into 2012. The MP-3500 allows us to get a better market share. We are increasing production of all of our Hydramaxx trenchers, but this is a slow process in what is almost a custom-built, or one-of-a kind, production environment. By working with Mastenbroek we can get, or keep, more customers.
“Port Industries does not manufacture chain-type trenchers on tracks. Traditionally, our North American customers have been left with only one choice if they want this particular configuration. The M-3500 gives our customers another choice.
There are a certain number of contractors who will only consider a trencher on tracks. Since we only offered a rubber-tired trencher we never got a chance to engage with these contractors. Now we can offer them a superior chain trencher. This allows us the opportunity to introduce our other products and services to these customers.
“Now we can offer a chain type trencher on tracks that has more desirable components for the US contractor. It also has important design features that include a mechanical chain drive, a slewing frame for better turning, and a cab that provides superior comfort for the operator. Mastenbroek has always made well-built, solid machines that are robust and durable. Now we have the opportunity to let the drainage contractors in the US compare their quality
Mastenbroek provides the tractor portion of the M-3500 and Port Industries supplies the digging attachment, both with proven designs.