Scot Paulitsch, president of Burton Scot Contractors, has only recently entered the world of intelligent Machine Control, but he has strong opinions on the subject. “On bigger projects, or when you’re building something from the bottom up, iMC is a must,” he said.
Currently, his Newbury-based company is running two intelligent dozers at the site of a new Amazon distribution center in Euclid. Burton Scot bought a Komatsu D39i and a D51i through a rental-purchase agreement with Columbus Equipment Company, and the Amazon project is the first job for those dozers. On the Amazon site, Burton Scot is installing over 1.45 million square feet of new asphalt pavement over a stone base, using more than 40,000 tons of hot mix and 40,000 tons of limestone subbase.
Paulitsch wanted the iMC equipment because the project has tight specifications, a tight timeline, and logistical constraints created by the number of contractors working at the same time. Whiting-Turner is the construction manager.
In the past, the company has employed GPS through a base station and rover configuration, mostly to spot-check grades, Paulitsch said. “With iMC, the difference is night and day, GPS and iMC aren’t even comparable. It’s a massive change for the good.”
He knew he’d see better production, but “I just didn’t realize how much better it would be.” When the crews were installing stone on a cement-stabilized subgrade, he found production doubled compared to using conventional dozers. With both intelligent dozers working, “we were installing over 2,000 tons a day to finish grade. With conventional methods we’d expect to get about 1,000 tons a day. The accuracy and efficiency of the iMC equipment is what really brings it home. We always do quality work, but with intelligent machines, we get there quicker.”
The learning curve was negligible for operators, he added. “Our operators adjusted very quickly. They love iMC. It’s made their life a lot easier.”
Burton Scot operators had prior experience with machine control systems. In 2017, the company completed a $10 million reconstruction of a runway at Cuyahoga County Airport, taking it from a super elevated runway to a crown runway. The company used a Topcon system that allowed them to control multiple machines and rovers at the same time, and they completed a fast-track job in just 45 days, although the contract gave them 52 days. That experience helped pave the way to iMC for Paulitsch.
The airport job wasn’t typical, Paulitsch pointed out. For the most part, Burton Scot does road work and is known for city streets. The primary focus is laying asphalt, although the company will do dirt and pipe jobs associated with an asphalt project. The company has also completed specialty contracts that include soil nails, slope drape and bridge netting. The company has about 60 field employees and has a dozen projects or more working at any one time. Most jobs are in Cuyahoga or surrounding counties.
Burton Scot Contactors dates to 1985, when David Paulitsch, started Scot Excavating. It became Burton Scot in 1996, when Scot joined forces with his father after graduating from Bowling Green State University with a degree in construction management. Both had a background in asphalt, so within a few years the company became an asphalt specialist.
In addition to David, CEO, several other family members are involved in the company. Scot’s son Wade is a laborer; his nephew, Cole Peters, is an estimator; his sister, Jackie Peters, works in the office. Scot’s uncle Eugene and cousin Clifford Carey have also been loyal employees for over 20 years.
The family has been a Columbus Equipment Company customer since the 1980s. “We’ve partnered with Columbus Equipment Company for over 30 years. That fact tells its own story,” Paulitsch said. “It’s the service and the quality and the dependability.”
For example, “we do a lot of night work, and Columbus Equipment Company’s service department has always stepped up when we needed them to. They’ve come out on nights and weekends to help us with technical problems,” Paulitsch said. Burton Scot has in-house mechanics, “but there are sometimes problems we are just not equipped to handle. Columbus Equipment comes out and they handle it efficiently and quickly.”
One constant in the partnership is Columbus Equipment Company sales representative Mike Swan. “Mike has been our salesman since Day 1. He has been a great partner,” Paulitsch said.
Burton Scot owns a range of Komatsu equipment, mostly dozers and excavators. In addition to the new intelligent dozers, the company owns a D37, D39, D41, some D65s and a D68. Its excavator fleet includes a new PC228 along with a variety of models ranging in size from a PC78 to a PC200.
By acquiring Komatsu intelligent machinery, the company is preparing for the future. “With the efficiencies that come with iMC equipment, we will have a more opportunity to procure more large-scale projects,” Paulitsch said.