Going full tilt with Trimble and engcon

trimble engcon

A engcon tiltrotator paired with Trimble grade control is helping Shamrock Earthworks shape skateparks in Calgary.

The combination of an engcon tiltrotator and Trimble Earthworks is proving to be a lucky charm for Shamrock Earthworks.

The company was recently hired to tackle the earthworks for a new skatepark at the Genesis Centre of Community Wellness in its hometown of Calgary, Alberta.  

While the final trim work for the 2,500 square metre park’s ramps and halfpipes would normally require a couple of days with a few smaller machines and a couple labourers with rakes and shovels, the tiltrotator/Trimble Earthworks 2D combo significantly reduced the timeframe.

“We did it in about four and half hours. We trimmed the whole park up for them,” said Sean Coghlan, owner of Shamrock Earthworks. “With the tiltrotator and the grade control as a combo, it goes pretty quick.”

Coghlan is using the tiltrotator/Trimble combination on a Volvo ECR145EL excavator — a recent upgrade from a Volvo ECR145D.

“The Volvos have been pretty good to me. There’s a few other machines I’d like to try out, but I’ve had the Volvos for about four or five years. They’re good solid machines,” Coghlan said. 

“I’d put them up against any other brand.”

While the tiltrotator is effective at creating the contours required for the park’s ramps, it is also helping to save time due to the ease of swapping attachments.

“All the hydraulics, electrical connections, auto lube, everything swaps automatically,” Coghlan said. “I find if you’re doing a job, and it’s easy to change attachments, you’re always going to use the right attachment for the job.”

The tiltrotator also assists with prolonging the life of the excavator’s undercarriage, as the machine doesn’t have to be repositioned as often.

“Usually with a standard setup you have to square the machine up to the work, but with the engcon you can just steer the bucket wherever it needs to go,” Coghlan said. “Way less repositioning means less wear and tear on your undercarriage over the long run.”

Genesis Skatepark

The Genesis project is the second skatepark in Calgary that Shamrock Earthworks has helped take shape, and the company has a few more parks booked for later this year and going into 2020.

For Shamrock, the project begins with stripping the topsoil and vegetation from the site. 

The accuracy of the tiltrotator helps to reduce any excess removal of material.

“If we can be really accurate with stripping the grass/vegetation, which is difficult and expensive to dispose of, we can save on removing a few truckloads of material. It seems like a small savings, but every bit adds up.” Coghlan said.

After the site is stripped, Shamrock tackles drainage installation, which includes catch basins, lawn drains, French drains and tying into the city’s drainage infrastructure.  “When putting gravel in the trenches, being able to constantly square the bucket to the trench without moving the machine really helps to cut down on wasted gravel” 

From there, they start on the gravel build up to create the park’s ramps.

“We build up the side where the top of the park will be and pack it all in at a 45-degree angle according to the survey stakes they’ve given us,” Coghlan said. “They have all their custom concrete forms for each specific section, so they just tell me what the profile is for any given section and I trim it out for them.”

Coghlan started Shamrock Earthworks in 2007, after working for other companies as an excavator operator.

“I figured I might as well give it a try on my own,” he said. “I started with a 5-ton excavator, a pickup truck and a trailer.”

The company’s fleet of equipment began to grow after Coghlan began building retaining walls for a custom homebuilder.

“We do a lot of custom rock retaining walls. That’s sort of our niche market,” Coghlan said.  

His scope has since grown to include grading, septic system installation, basement excavation and trenching.

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“We can be the one-stop-acreage-shop. We can do all the dirt work for an acreage,” Coghlan said.

Now, the fleet includes a VolvoECR58D excavator, a John Deere 333E compact track loader, a single axle dump truck and the ECR145EL. 

“I just got the pallet forks, those things come in so handy,” Coghlan said. “A lot of stuff shows up on pallets, whether it’s the catch basins, an order of pipe or the porta potty.”