The Holmes County Highway Department has found an unusual, cost-effective and efficient way to grind up roads for repair. Instead of investing in a large, expensive, difficult-to-move milling machine, the county purchased an FAE MTM 225 multi-task head from Columbus Equipment Company.
The FAE 225 multi-purpose machine works as a rock shredder, stone crusher, asphalt shredder and soil stabilizer … all in one compact attachment.
Holmes County, home to one of the largest Amish communities around, is largely rural, traversed by 250 miles of two-lane county roads. Like all roads in Ohio, these roads are subject to freeze-thaw damage, and they also suffer from traffic—both from heavy industrial trucks and from steel-wheeled buggies and horseshoes.
“We wanted something that was versatile and affordable. The FAE was extremely heavy-duty and it would do everything we wanted. It offered good value,” said Ron Sherer, garage superintendent for the engineer’s office.
“We were looking for something that was easily transported,” added Holmes County Engineer Christopher Young. “We needed something that would do full-depth grinding, and we travel a lot from one road to another. We might grind a couple hundred feet, then go up the road a way.”
The county uses the FAE attachment on a tractor. When the operator finishes grinding one section of the road for reclamation, he lifts the attachment and drives to the next damaged section.
The head can grind to 16 inches and pulverizes the material to less than three-quarters of an inch. It grinds as well as a milling machine, Young noted. With FAE’s unique design, the rotor penetrates the ground while the attachment’s body remains on the surface, resulting in lower fuel consumption and faster operating speeds.
In addition to saving money by purchasing the MTM 225 head instead of a large, one purpose milling machine, the county is also increasing efficiency by using smaller road crews with the FAE. “Before purchasing the FAE head, a road repair crew typically had at least five people. Basically, we would shut the road down and get a backhoe or trackhoe to dig it up. We needed an operator, a couple of truck drivers and laborers,” Young said. “Now we use a three-man crew and can assign the other workers to other projects.”
County crews use the machine to grind and pulverize damaged roads, then compact the reclaimed materials on the roadbed and prepare them for a contractor to do a final paving, thanks to a county sales tax that covers the paving contractor, Young added.
“I’m very happy with how the FAE head has held up,” Sherer said. “All it needs is maintenance on the gearbox and on the wear parts, and we knew that going into it. It’s easy to maintain.” In fact, the road crew has an air hammer on their pickup truck and can change out the wear parts themselves.
Columbus Equipment Company has the wear parts in stock or can order them for delivery in a few days, Sherer said. “It’s never been a hold-up. I just email a list to the parts department. I’m very happy with service from Columbus Equipment Company.”
When fellow county engineers ask Young how the FAE head has worked for Holmes County, “I explain we have been very satisfied, and suggest they try one out to see if it performs as well in their situation,” he said.