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BTB 24: 480 MULCHER GOES TO WORK IN ALBERTA OIL PATCH

The first 480 mulcher sold in Canada went to work in late January.

Rod Motkoski, owner of the newly formed company, Motco Mulching based in Edson, Alberta purchased the unit from Barry McBride (Wajax Edmonton). Rod intends to service the oil patch with pipeline right-of-way (ROW) being one of the major applications. Other applications include seismic exploration work, road building and general land clearing.

The Tigercat 480 mulcher working in the snowy terrain in Alberta

The Tigercat 480 mulcher working in Alberta.

Rod describes the pipeline ROW as demanding on the machine, not necessarily because the standing vegetation is particularly difficult to mulch but rather because the job specification requires sub-soil mulching 75–100 mm (3–4 in) below grade.

“The below grade mulching is done to easily separate and preserve the top soil,” explains Rod. “Afterwards a dozer pushes it aside. They bury the pipe, spread the top soil back over and then plant grass over top.”

The 480 is already proving to be a great advantage over the other mulchers on the market on account of
the high lift boom. The machine can easily work over terrain with ravines. At the trough of a ravine, Rod can lift the boom to its maximum height and clear the mulching head above the far side of the trough and drive straight up the other side. Other machines with limited boom lift will bottom out the head on the far side of the ravine and sometimes will get stuck. Consequently, it is necessary to stop close to the bottom, turn these machines 90 degrees and then turn again to climb up the other side.

Rod also comments that the 480 has plenty of power. Observing the machine, it is readily apparent that the engine does not lug in difficult mulching and very little reversing is required to get an acceptable sized mulch.

In researching mulchers prior to making the purchase decision, Rod says that recommendations from logging contractors that run Tigercat feller bunchers and skidders weighed heavily in favour of the 480. He also spoke with 480 mulcher owners in Texas and received positive feedback. Characteristics such as build quality, fit and finish, hydraulic system efficiency and production all scored high. Rod sums up, “I bought the machine on the Tigercat name.”

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