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Are Scrapers Becoming Obsolete?

Discussion in 'Scrapers' started by swampdog, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. tippatone

    tippatone Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
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    Occupation:
    Future heavy equipment operator
    Location:
    NYC
    I love the bumps and the heat of scrapers. It gives you the feeling that you are working in the same conditions that past generations worked in.
     
  2. CatSkinner77V

    CatSkinner77V Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    228
    Occupation:
    Earthmoving business owner
    Location:
    Sperling, Manitoba, CANADA
    We moved 3.5 million yards of red river clay on the Winnipeg floodway a few years ago, 8 motor scrapers and about 10 D8's + 463's. and we never once had a "leveling" cat on our dump piles. Good operators and everyone was on the same page, 2 D9G's push loaded them all.

    The 4 "Wiggle" wagons however had a D7G or 8K working with them 24 hours a day.
     
  3. mikef87

    mikef87 Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    owner/operator/mechanic/laborer/truck driver
    Location:
    waltham
    Yeah Borgaard, I haven't seen or heard of them other than they have no work. All the big dirt work up here is dried up. No big condo communities, big office buildings. There will be on big site job in Waltham where I live, but its all ledge. Other than that all the big guys are hurting. Who else do you know of that has scrapers up this way?
     
  4. N.CarolinaDozer

    N.CarolinaDozer Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Heavy Equipment Operator
    Location:
    Granite Falls, NC (U.S.A.)
    Our company uses a lot of them but we also have a lot of ADT's. Like many have said it depends on the type of earth moving.
     
  5. Showpony

    Showpony Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Canterbury New Zealand
    Scrapers are not becoming obsolete, scraper operators, and honest contractors are.
     
  6. N.CarolinaDozer

    N.CarolinaDozer Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Heavy Equipment Operator
    Location:
    Granite Falls, NC (U.S.A.)
    I agree totally with you Show. As simple as it seems to operate a scraper, it seems that is the hardest to train and get new operators to understand. I also see it with our company it is hard to find good push dozer operators. I see to many times cut slopes started in the middle or bottom of a cut. I also see a lot of slopes undercut or cut vertically. It makes it hard on the D6's to keep track of the fill and then have to come back up to fix they're problems.
     
  7. Wolf

    Wolf Senior Member

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    Location:
    California
    Scraper Operators

    There seems to be a lot of mystique operating a scraper, as compared to other yellow iron. What's up with that? What is so distinguishing about it?
     
  8. heavylift

    heavylift Senior Member

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    Location:
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    I think scrapers have less work involved.... don't need something knocking down piles or loading sometimes.... AT'S you have to load & knock piles down & maintain haul road... scraper hands can pan their own haul roads if needed.
    AT's can't stock pile.... now a scraper can stack it to the moon

    They all have there place.... sometimes you wonder why are we using AT's or vise versa.

    Heck I have even loaded scrapers with a hoe

    pull pans cause the most work.."hole diggers" they gouge because the drivers don't pay attention for the most part... 2 pans together is even worse, they dump piles that don't over lap,
    For the most part they all require a machine on both ends ... for the push , or finishing....
    I would rather see a scraper on the job. less work on fills... hit it with a blade.. then let the roller do it's thing.
     
  9. N.CarolinaDozer

    N.CarolinaDozer Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
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    Occupation:
    Heavy Equipment Operator
    Location:
    Granite Falls, NC (U.S.A.)
    We load scrapers with trackhoes all the time, nothing unusual about that!
     

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  10. surfer-joe

    surfer-joe Senior Member

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    Location:
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    This idea keeps going around like an annual flu shot. I remember having the discussion in Peoria at Cat corporate offices in the 1970's. Scrapers have lost some market share with the advent of large haul trucks, loaders and excavators. But no matter what, for a contractor already equipped, there is no quicker nor cheaper way to move dirt.
     
  11. dozerdave

    dozerdave Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
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    182
    Location:
    Philippines
    Hi Wolf,

    Most anybody can learn to herd a scraper down the road but a real skilled operator is a pleasure to watch. Especially 637s and 657s. They cut and fill in a continuous manner and keep the cut and fill smooth enough for a pickup. They will also just about climb a tree in steep country. Most of the scraper operators I have known have to much pride to turn in a shabby job.
     
  12. Deeretime

    Deeretime Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
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    Occupation:
    superintendent
    Location:
    High River Alberta
    my modo for scrapers are HEART BEAT IN A SEAT a trained monkey can learn to cut and fill all u need is a good lead scraper d6 to finnish and a 16 or a 24 to get the finnishing done
    Please dont take it as a poke at scraper oporators but its just the way things seem to be going , I have rarely met a person that i can train in a couple weeks to make sompthing look decent on a scraper, so instead i use a good dozer and blade to make up and pay dummies off the street to move the dirt.

    if u find some good oporators let me know
     
  13. tripper_174

    tripper_174 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2009
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    173
    Occupation:
    Heavy Equipment Operator Trainer
    Location:
    Manitoba, Canada
    Pretty hard to expect new guys off the street to learn the trade in a couple of weeks. As with pretty much all equipment there is a pretty steep learning curve in running a buggy. You should remember that once upon a time you were one of those "dummies" off the street. The only way to get good operators is to spend the time with them to get them to that point. We all know that not everyone is cut out for the job but if you find a kid who shows up on time and is eager to work, with patience you'll have an operator. It's time well spent. I can thank my Dad and a couple of excellent foremen for having the patience to teach me the basics and then let me learn the ropes. Hopefully there are more men like that who will help the next generation of operators attain a decent skill level.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
  14. Mass-X

    Mass-X Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
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    Location:
    CA
    Wheel tractor scrapers will never become obsolete. They fill a niche in earthmoving that no other machine can compete with. For short distance bulk earthmoving they’re lower cost and faster than any other haulage unit.

    Over the last few years ADT’s have become popular in the United States. Contractors leaned heavily towards utilizing ADT’s largely due to the fact they require no skill from the operators who run them. The reason that contractors have leaned this way is due, in my opinion, because the operators in this industry have drastically changed over the last 40 years.

    In the 1960’s and 1970’s, during the heyday of big dirt when large scale infrastructure and other projects in the US involved tremendous quantities of earth to be moved, this industry held a class of operators who possessed true skill as scraper, dozer and blade hands. The scraper hands (and other operators) you had at that time were overall, much more skilled than we have today. At that time, operators were able to spend enough time in the seat of a scraper, on large earthmoving projects to really see that the learning curve on a scraper isn’t nearly as flat as “scraper operators” these days think it is.

    Take Deeretime’s above post as an example; too young and too inexperienced to know what scrapers are capable of, therefore a false conclusion is drawn about what is needed and required of a scraper hand.

    Twenty to thirty years ago, you were dealing with an era of operators and supervisors who actually knew how to run a scraper spread. Bladehands who actually knew how to work with and ahead of the scrapers they were supporting. Dozer hands who knew how to support a scraper cut and push-cat hands who knew how to properly run a cut. Dirt bosses of that time didn’t earn a seat in a pickup because they just graduated as construction managers or hired on as P.E. interns. They spent time as operators and grade setters and worked their way into the position as a dirt boss once they’d earned it.

    These days it’s a rare case that a crew running a scraper spread consists of anyone who has multi-millions of cubic yards of material under their belt supervising scrapers. This lack of experience has lead to improperly running the operation, which has directly fostered the widespread negative attitude towards scrapers. It’s damn hard to fill the seat of a scraper with an operator who doesn’t have a lot of bad habits developed from running scraper for a company/crew/dirt boss who didn’t know what they were doing. It’s getting even harder to find operators who know how to properly support scrapers. I’ve hired blade operators who were excellent finish hands. But when they’re put on a blade to work with/ahead of a spread of scrapers they can mess things up and do more harm than no grader at all in short order.

    This is largely stemmed from being able to find a lot of operators who’ve not been around scrapers, or operators who didn’t get a chance to be around the “old school” of operators and dirt bosses who knew how to actually run scraper spreads.

    It doesn’t take long before enough of these factors, bad operators, rough haul roads, poorly run jobs, etc., that contractors started leaning heavily towards ADT’s. Scrapers by nature move material fast, and it takes a skilled crew and supervision to build cuts and fills with scrapers that don’t get over cut or over filled, which leads to a lot of expensive time spent fixing the mistakes made by the poor operators and supervisors. With ADT’s, things move much more slowly and in a controlled manner that allows any idiot to build things correctly.

    This factor compounds itself by creating a whole lot of scraper operators these days that, without any other way of putting it, don’t deserve the title of operator.

    So, as scrapers get a bad reputation because it takes skill and experience that most of today’s “dirt bosses” do not have or have the ability to train, the market is ripe for any easier way out, which has been via ADT’s. It’s even to the point where CAT/dealers are having to publish memo’s to educate contractors that ADT’s are not “rock trucks,” as contractors are utilizing ADT’s in rocky material and conditions suited for rigid frame trucks, where the ADT has become the cure-all answer for dumbass earthmoving.

    So talking about the wheel tractor scraper becoming an obsolete machine is asinine. It will always fill a role that no other machine can. The change in their utilization is because without the class of true operators that this industry used to have, you will never see scrapers utilized in the same manner, or nearly as efficiently as they once were.
     
  15. Buckethead

    Buckethead Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Operator
    Location:
    Porkchop City
    I agree with Mass-X about how (with some contractors not all) some of the younger foremen and superintendents don't know much about pans (scrapers) and what the machines are capable of, and where it's productive to use them.
     
  16. surfer-joe

    surfer-joe Senior Member

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    Couldn't have said it better myself Mass-X. I've experienced both the old and the new.......
     
  17. heavylift

    heavylift Senior Member

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    about 5 years ago... a boss tells me to set toe stakes for one side of a ditch... which was going to be about 4' deep with 10' bottom and several hundred feet long... I then go back to removing trees.... the boss comes on the radio screaming.... they had just cut the center out... instead of the center slope slope center......
    I suppose that if he had stayed on the job instead of hitting all the garage sales..
    I had to go and pull the slope into the middle... then they kinda started over..

    They have a few good scraper hands....
     
  18. terexkerry

    terexkerry Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    new zealand
    Mass-X You are so right in your comments terexkerry
     
  19. ravenseye

    ravenseye Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Occupation:
    ex cat skinner
    Location:
    Scotland
    The problem with Scrapers is wet working because they have to trail through their work and over spoil heaps and fill then rain stops play a little to often. With truck and shovel if the work is kept tight there is no problem with wet working. Scapers realy need virgen land to work in, truck and shovels can cope with any thing with a decent haul road
     
  20. Deeretime

    Deeretime Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
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    Occupation:
    superintendent
    Location:
    High River Alberta
    I learned the same way u did im 20 and im running our under ground spread, i have moved alot of dirt with buggies and adt's but the thing is that un like u and i, people jst want to sit and not be challenged or take pride in their work there for they wont get any better or worse than a heart beat in the seat, when and if i find a guy that is ambitious i will take him and invest my time and his on a dozer, hoe or blade sompthing that is more technical than gouging and filling.
    this way buggie oporators are trained in a couple weeks and are disposible !!! if they dont show up.
    Sorry to say but its a sad sad world for construction companies and oporators Every one on this fourm is a dying breed
    :beatsme