excavation companies Prescott AZ

The 4 Most Versatile Excavation Tools of the Trade

Fun with excavation equipment

It seems like a young boy’s dream to want to grow up and play in the dirt with really cool, big and powerful machinery. That was exactly Shawn Denny’s dream when he was younger. Shawn Denny grew up to be the founder and owner of Prescott’s Specialty Grading, an excavation company in Arizona.

Denny’s excavation business in Prescott has grown to learn that working with excavation tools is a serious business. They are heavy pieces of machinery that require a lot of training and skill to maneuver to properly accomplish the precise task of each job. Denny will explain that experience handling these machines goes a long way. He’s been in Arizona excavating for over 20 years; by sight he can distinguish types of soils, and by feel of the ground below, by method of compaction with a loader, he can tell if the ground is level—and of course the proper tests are performed to confirm soil type, compaction and that it is level.

Only Special Land Grading and Excavation Tools Used by This Specialty Grading Contractor

“We use state of the art, top-notch Caterpillar equipment. It’s important for constant upkeep, maintenance and service. We use Empire machinery out of Prescott. We’ve been partners with them for 23 years. They have a fleet of awesome mechanics that are reliable to do all the upkeep and service.

Denny and his team are service driven so eliminating any risk of a machine breaking down is crucial, as well as saves time and money for both the customer and his excavating company. Relying on the local Cat distributor, Denny can be assured that the equipment is serviced regularly and that he has a service tech team available to work on a machine if necessary.

“I am very particular about the equipment I use. Poor, worn out equipment that’s banged up, has broken windows, leaking oil or has a hydraulic leak, I will not use it on a job site.”

So, what dirt work tools does Denny like to use for his specialty grading projects?

He has a heart for the 938 Caterpillar, and occasionally the 950 motor which affords a bigger capacity loader to move more cubic yards of material. 

Get a load of this:

The loader is described as the most versatile piece of equipment, with a 3-in-1 functionality. It has:

  • A high-volume bucket to hold a lot of dirt
  • Teeth for digging
  • A lot of weight, which makes great for wheel-rolling compaction

Loaders are more often than not seen on a land excavation project preparing a lot for a new site build. They are also great for digging trenches to lay piping, drainage, and utility lines.  They look similar to farm tractors and are easily transportable because they are wheel-driven.

The Finest Skid Steer Work Around!

Specialty Grading uses the skid steer for fine grading projects to establish the proper drainage around a house, referring to the Uniform Building Code for accurate slope and swale.

Skid steer loaders are smaller in size and are better outfitted for more constricted spaces. Their size also allows for less impact on finished dirt work, less likely to disturb soil compaction. This machinery can also be equipped with digging, drilling, compacting, log and snow removal, and jack-hammering capabilities. They are driven with wheels, not tracks, which secures the traction underneath in wet, slippery and muddy environments.

Loaders are more often than not seen on a land excavation project preparing a lot for a new site build. They are also great for digging trenches to lay piping, drainage, and utility lines.  They look similar to farm tractors and are easily transportable because they are wheel-driven.

Call on the Dozer to Move the Big Stuff

As the name implies, bulldozer work requires strong and heavy moving capability. Rocks and rockier soils need more power to be moved more efficiently.  The bulldozer is equipped with a wide flat blade to push dirt in a large capacity.

Operated on a track opposed to wheels, this machine is considered a crawler with the continuous tracked movement. Denny’s team relies on the steel tracks to travel on rock, and to handle the heavier weight more efficiently than the other machines. Bulldozer rippers are used to break up a densely packed ground and its weight is used to crush boulders too.

Now We’re Moving Earth!

Who knew earth work excavation could be so cool – scrapers are a self-loading dump truck that can haul a good amount of dirt at a pretty impressive pace, like up to 33 mph!The scraper spreads out dirt as it traverses the land. It’s an extremely efficient way to move dirt on big sites.

Specialty Grading prefers the 657 Caterpillar. Cat.com touts that the scraper is quick loading, with high travel speeds and can load and dump on the run yielding fast cycle times. This allows the Cat 657 “to consistently deliver high productivity at the lowest cost per ton.”

Denny explained that the scraper can be hooked up to other scrapers, forming a train of 6 or 7 running together to move a ton of dirt at one time. Each scraper has the max capacity of moving up to 73 cubic yards.  Moving this amount of dirt would be required on a large-scale subdivision development, like Granville in Prescott Valley.

This piece of equipment is extremely heavy, which also makes great for compaction.

Efficiency Matters for Excavation Companies

Every local excavation company has their own favorite go-to excavation equipment they depend on. Specialty Grading has been in the earth work business for quite some time and has learned to make the most with fewer pieces of equipment, using them in different capacities to decrease cost and time spent on each project. Specialty Grading’s specialty seems to be efficiency in earth work excavation. They know the lay of the land and how to move it for every specific job’s needs.

Experience this Local Excavation Company’s Expertise

Specialty Grading is a locally-owned family business in Prescott Valley, AZ. They provide top-notch care and service to each of their homeowners and developers, whom they feel honored to work with. Established in 1995, the land excavation company has over 20 years of experience providing high-quality services at a great value. Diligent, hard-working professionals and sensible solutions provide clients with a satisfactory end result by a trusted crew who gets the job done right the first time. Specialty Grading is committed to their clients, taking the time to listen to their needs and to work with them within budget and expected time frames.  Come to Specialty Grading for your Arizona residential and commercial excavation needs. We provide solutions specifically for you. Contact us via email or phone today for a free estimate.

1 thought on “The 4 Most Versatile Excavation Tools of the Trade”

  1. What I appreciate most in hiring really good excavation contractors is that they are able to maximize a few effective pieces of equipment to do the most number of tasks effectively. If Grandpa would have some excavation job done in his ranch, I’d suggest he goes for a trustworthy contractor with a long track record. Not only would save on costs, but he’d also save valuable project hours–and trouble–in his old, country ranch.

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