When selecting new tree-clearing equipment about a year ago, Complete Clearing Inc. ended up using two different strategies. For a feller buncher, they stayed with a brand they had experience with, adding a third Komatsu to their fleet. For stump grinding, they demoed three different brands and chose a product they’d never used before, a CMI C400.
In both cases, the company has been very happy with the purchases, according to Brock Dixon, land clearing supervisor with the Marengo, Ohio-based company. Complete Clearing, in business since 1995, performs land clearing and demolition around the state. Clearing projects are large scale, ranging from heavy highway to bulk clearing of acreage for subdivisions.
Complete Clearing owns several Rayco stump grinders, and they demoed a Rayco and a Bandit along with the CMI from Columbus Equipment Company. “We really liked the CMI machine itself. The design is flawless, in addition to being an extremely well-built machine,” Dixon said.
The CMI C400 is outfitted with an S400 stump grinder with a 38-inch-diameter Bucktooth wheel. Dixon can’t say enough good things about the stumping head. “The S400 stumping head is awesome. Maintenance on the teeth is about half of what’s required on other stumpers. A lot of that comes from the tooth design. For most stumpers the teeth are welded on and you can break the bolts, but these teeth are deeply set in the wheel [with steel cleats] so they don’t break. The only time you need to change teeth is when they simply wear out. The operator can work so much longer because he’s not out maintaining them.”
As an operator, Dixon appreciates the CMI’s comfortable, roomy cab. “You’re not stuffed in there, and you can see well almost all around you. In the other stumpers we have, you can’t see out as well. The comfort level is really good – the heat and air conditioning work great. The C400 is an awesome machine. It climbs hills and sticks, it’s easy to operate. I would rather run it than a Rayco.”
Complete Clearing already owned XT445 and XT425 feller bunchers from Komatsu. However, the new XT430L-3 has been redesigned, and the improvements are noticeable, Dixon said. The longer tracks result in excellent grip on steep slopes. “The 430 has tremendous power and it operates very fast. It’s quick, and I love the way it handles and how it sticks really well to the slopes.”
The redesign included an upgraded cab with improved operator visibility, thanks to a floor-to-ceiling front window and large side windows. The machine is also equipped with a state-of-the-art digital control system.
Complete Clearing, which also owns about a dozen Komatsu excavators, was a Columbus Equipment Company customer long before working with the Environmental Division. The Columbus branch has provided excellent service whenever the CMI or XT430 has encountered issues, minor as they may have been, Dixon noted. “I was in Aberdeen when the CMI kept cutting off. I called Jason Woods [field service technician] who walked me through the issue and we got it fixed.” Woods was also able to walk him through an issue with a bad breaker.
“Jason Woods is a super guy. He comes out immediately, and we haven’t seen anything he can’t fix,” Dixon added. “Columbus Equipment Company is really quick to handle any problems that arise. We are tickled to death with them.”
Sticking to one familiar brand and trying a new one with a better product has been a successful strategy for Complete Clearing. “We absolutely love the machines. We are confident we made the right decisions,” Dixon concluded.