Mark Edenfield, a Hillsboro, Ohio, contractor, long had a reputation as a Caterpillar man. That changed three years ago, when he found himself short on equipment for a commercial site prep job and ended up renting a Komatsu D61 dozer and WA380 wheel loader from Columbus Equipment Company’s Piketon branch. Before long, he purchased both machines, and was well on his way to becoming a Komatsu man.
“With the D61, I knew within an hour that I was going to buy it,” Edenfield said. “The performance was way above a Cat. That sold me on it.” Edenfield hadn’t been happy with how the newer Cats handled, and the Komatsu offered exactly the performance he wanted. “The Cats have a hesitation on the hydrostatic, and that really bugged me,” he said. With the Komatsu, there was no such hesitation. Instead, the power transfer was smooth, and Edenfield could tell “the machine was doing what it was supposed to do.”
Along with the smooth operation, he liked the comfortable operator’s cab, the dozer’s stability, and the fuel efficiency the Komatsu offered. It’s hard to make a machine-to-machine comparison, because his Cats and Komatsu are different sizes, but “I would say the fuel savings is easily 20 percent on a full-day run.”
The wheel loader provides the same smooth performance. “There’s no hesitation, the motor doesn’t rev, and there is a smooth transition between the motor, transmission, and power to the ground. I have two Cat loaders, and the Komatsu is three times easier on the operator, because there’s no high-energy surge to it. There’s a lot less fatigue on the operator,” he commented.
Edenfield added more Komatsu units to his fleet last year when he purchased two HM350 haul trucks. He already owned Cat and Volvo articulated trucks, but again he has found the Komatsus provide superior performance. “I really like the way the Komatsus handle the load. And I like the design of the hitch, which is stronger than on the older trucks I own. The 350s have also been low maintenance.”
Yes, there’s a pattern here. “I’m kind of switching over to Komatsu, because I’ve been happy with the service from Columbus Equipment Company and the equipment line,” he said.
One person who is excited about seeing more Komatsu equipment is Edenfield’s son, Heath, who works as a project manager and foreman for the company, along with his brother Grant. “I’ve run the Komatsu dozer and I love it. It is a heck of a lot smoother than the Cat, and more powerful. It has a comfortable cab. And I’ve run the haul truck, which is also smoother. The cab is a lot more spacious, and you don’t beat your brains out like in the Cat 730.”
When Heath works as an operator, he typically runs one of the company’s Cat excavators, although he’s looking to demo a Komatsu excavator in the next year.
Mark Edenfield Inc. provides site development services, basement excavations, concrete work, and fuel distribution in roughly a 70- to 80-mile radius of Hillsboro, including Columbus and reaching into Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. Recent projects have included site work and pads for a new apartment complex in Cincinnati and residential basements in subdivisions around Cincinnati.
Edenfield also owns Ervin Hill Quarry in Hillsboro, and equipment moves between the enterprises as needed. The HM350 haul trucks are primarily used at the sand and gravel quarry, but they sometimes work on construction sites.
The contractor has enjoyed a long relationship with Columbus Equipment Company’s Product Support Rep Ron Bixler and Branch Manager/Sales Rep Chester Gowen, dating back to 1982 when Edenfield purchased a farm in the area and needed someone to clean his ditches. When he couldn’t find anyone to do it for him, he purchased a dozer to do the work himself.
“Ron and Chester are extremely good people,” he said of the two. “I like their attitude and the energy they put into their work. They find out what you need and will take care of you every time. I have also had very good experience with the parts desk in Cincinnati, and the mechanics there are good to deal with.”
“Ron and Chester are great guys. They know their stuff. When we have a problem and can’t figure it out, they are the first ones we’ll call,” Heath added.
Edenfield employs his own mechanics, but he counts on Columbus Equipment Company to do the more complicated work for any brands he owns, such as servicing transmissions and engines. “Columbus Equipment’s mechanics are highly knowledgeable and do a good job,” he noted.
With such varied business interests today, it’s hard to believe Edenfield’s original plan was to simply become a farmer. After he purchased the dozer to clean up his own property, he started moving dirt for neighbors, and then got into excavating. He purchased the quarry in 2001 and added fuel distribution in 2006, diversifying his company bit by bit.
“Since I started, I have been blessed. I’ve always had plenty of work to do. I credit that to good equipment and doing the job you are hired to do. Once I got started into construction and equipment, it’s been a nice long ride,” Edenfield said. “I have enjoyed it, and I enjoy having equipment that does what it’s supposed to. That’s why I started moving to Komatsu equipment.”
Investing in reliable, hard-working equipment like Komatsu pays off, he added, sounding like a true Komatsu man. “If equipment works hard and does what it is supposed to, it will make you money. I’ve had brands that didn’t hold up, that I’ve had to replace every two or three years. They didn’t make the company any money. Komatsu equipment has helped me grow the company, as well as its profitability.”