‘Mud Rat' makes itself indispensible
By Maria Hadlow02 December 2008
Since buying its first Genie Trax S-65 self-propelled telescopic boom, Australian rental company Dubbo Booms and Scissor Lifts has not had the machine off hire. The popularity of the Trax S-65 (called Mud Rat by the company and customers) has led to the purchase of two more machines, the latest of which was delivered in November 2008.
It was November 2007 when Jim Furney and David Cole of Dubbo Booms & Scissor Lifts P/L took delivery of their first Genie S-65, fitted with a Loegering Quad Track system - and it's been on permanent hire ever since. Dubbed 'Mud Rat' by the team in Dubbo, New South Wales, the Trax S-65 is believed to be the first self-propelled boom of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
The S-65 had a number of features that appealed to Mr Furney, but the main one was the unit's stability. The fixed four-point track system means the S-65 can be manoeuvered over a wide variety of ground conditions. The system works in conjunction with an active oscillation axle system, which senses terrain and adjusts the axle position based on ground conditions. Each point moves individually and is powered by a positive traction drive system which maintains equal power to all tracks, even if one point loses its grip. "It'll drive around on some pretty soft ground and has proven to be a reliable performer," said Mr Furney.
As well as being suitable for challenging terrain, the S-65-boom's four rubber tracks are designed to steer like a wheeled boom so the system can pull into tight spaces, close to walls, foundations and pillars.
The machine has been on permanent hire since its purchase, with much of its employment being bridge maintenance work. Mr Furney said that while the environments in which the Mud Rat is working aren't particularly harsh, they do have their own particular challenges - such as soft sand and loose mud and the potential problems they can present for heavy machinery. "The biggest thing with any industry today is safety first," he said.
The S-65's popularity has led to more work for Dubbo Booms & Scissor Lifts. Another S-65 was delivered in July 2008, and it was working as soon as it arrived. The machines appear to have captured customers' imaginations, "With everyone calling the first one the Mud Rat," said Mr Furney, "you know, they just ask 'where's the Mud Rat?' The new one's called Swamp Fox. If you can give them a bit of a natty name, it sticks to them." The third machine will be called "Prairie Dog".