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Also known as a wheel saw, a skid steer rock saw attachment cuts through a variety of materials, including asphalt, concrete, frozen and hard ground, macadam, reinforced concrete, and rock. It's a popular attachment for trenching to lay pipes and cables of all kinds, as well as performing a variety of road work. A rock saw gives you a precise cut with minimal damage to the surrounding area, especially when compared to air and hydraulic hammers. And, the attachment provides greater versatility and portability, not to mention cost savings, than a dedicated cutting machine.
Styles vary mainly by cutting depth and width. To choose the right saw attachment, consider your job requirements as well as your skid steer's capabilities, as each model has its own gpm (gallons per minute) requirements.
Look for a rock saw with features that help improve productivity and ease of use for the operator. For example, the hydraulic side-shift allows you to cut near obstacles and in confined spaces. There is also a sight guide arm, a small saw that rolls along with the wheel saw. This guide saw lies within the operator's line-of-sight, allowing him or her to align the saw according to ground markings for even greater cutting accuracy and precision.
Rock saw attachments come in different cutting depths and widths. Depth typically falls in the 18" or 24" range, with widths varying from around 2.5" to around 4.5". If your wheel saw attachment does not reach the depth or width your job requires, the operator typically needs to complete more than one pass. This makes a big difference in productivity, so consider your job requirements carefully before purchasing your rock saw. Also, some wheel saws leave behind the debris created while cutting, which may require an excavation pass. If your job requires a clean trench, choose a saw attachment that disperses debris to the side rather than leaving it behind.
Pricing varies according to cutting depth and manufacturer, but generally falls between $15,000 and $22,000.
- Spartan Equipment 18" depth wheel skid steer rock saw, requires 31-33 GPM, solid hardened steel wheels, greasable manifold pins, secluded greased zerks, price range: $17,200 to $17,700
- Spartan Equipment 24" depth wheel skid steer rock saw, requires 35-39 GPM, standard electro-hydraulic controls, depth controls, and side-shift, price range: $19,200 to $19,800
- Bradco 18" skid steer rock saw, requires 22-44 GPM, 2.5" cut, solid hardened steel wheels, greasable manifold pins, secluded greased zerks, price range: $18,500 to $19,500
- Bradco 24" skid steer rock saw, requires 22-44 GPM, standard electro-hydraulic controls, depth controls, and side-shift, 2.5" general purpose set pick, steel planetary drive delivers high torque, price range: $20,000 to $21,000
Protect your investment with a set maintenance schedule. Keep moving parts lubricated and remember that the wheel saw's teeth should spin freely. When not in use, protect the attachment from the elements and store it above ground.
To ensure you get the right attachment for your needs, consider your application. How deep and wide do you need to trench? What are cutting through? Answering these questions helps ensure you get the skid steer loader rock saw attachment that best handles your needs. You also improve productivity by purchasing equipment with the power necessary to do the job right in one pass.
Rock saws also have varying cut speeds, with some capable of cutting through 15' per minute. For longer trenches, you want faster cutting speeds, particularly if productivity is a concern.
A single circuit saw uses three hoses to handle hydraulic function, meaning you likely need a separate control box to operate the rock saw. Dual circuit models typically include both the control box and hoses needed for operation, although you may need to purchase couplers and adapters.
Of course, no matter how great the attachment is, if your loader doesn't meet its minimum requirements, you'll never experience its full capabilities. Rock saws need a high-flow loader, meaning at least 30 to 40 gpm. Look carefully at the specs for both the attachment and your skid steer to ensure compatibility.
Finally, you may want to add a dust control kit to your loader, which not only protects the machine from dust and debris, it also helps keep the saw's teeth lubricated, extending the lifespan of both pieces of equipment.
A rock saw attachment carries a hefty price tag. But, it also provides accurate, precise cutting, increasing productivity and profitability.
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