As a multifaceted company with divisions for large concrete structures, residential concrete, excavation, and foundations, Carroll, Ohio-based Thompson Concrete Ltd. depends upon reliable equipment. Because the company likes to keep the equipment consistent across all divisions for ease of maintenance, that equipment also has to be versatile.
Three years ago, the company decided to update the compact loaders in its fleet, which was full of Caterpillar units at the time. The company demoed units from Caterpillar, John Deere, Kubota, and other brands for several months, with all the divisions getting to trial all options. In the end, Kubota’s SVL75 and SVL90 compact track loaders were the clear winner.
Power, stability, visibility, and ease of maintenance were just some of the factors that led to Thompson choosing Kubota. Currently the company has 18 of the Kubota SVLs across all divisions, according to Bob Sykes, vice president of operations for Thompson Concrete Construction, the division that specializes in large concrete structures such as hospitals, parking garages, schools and prisons.
“The Kubotas have great visibility, stability, and power. They are steady on the ground and they offer the horsepower we need to do the type of work we do,” said Sykes, whose division owns 10 of the track loaders including both the SVL75 (74.3 hp) and the SVL90 (92 hp).
Thompson Concrete Construction, whose current projects include the new IKEA store in Columbus, uses the SVLs for a variety of support work, including backfilling with large volumes of gravel, handling material such as lumber and rebar, moving concrete forms, and digging with augers. They also use a laser grader box on one of the SVL90s.
“We put quite a few hours on them; it’s not uncommon for us to put 500 to 700 hours per year on one of them,” Sykes said. “They are holding up very well. They are good on uptime. We have had no major issues at all.”
Eric Markins, field operations manager for Thompson Concrete Ltd., has four of the SVL75 units in his division, which does all the concrete pouring for the company and works residential and commercial projects such as condominiums and retirement communities.
“We use the Kubotas daily in a variety of ways,” Markins said. The division frequently uses the SVLs with post-hole diggers, augers, hammer attachments, forks, and with a shooter box, which allows the compact loader to haul concrete up and down banks where regular concrete equipment can’t go. In the winter, the division uses the loaders to snowplow.
“I have never had a guy complain about a lack of power,” he said. “We have had them in mud where you couldn’t see the tracks and it still had enough power. They have exceeded everything we’ve needed them to do.”
The rubber tracks glide on top of the muddiest of jobsites, Markins added, and “they turn in a super-tight radius. With the forks, you could probably lift a house.”
He also likes how easy it is to clean the tracks on the Kubota, something he first noticed during the demo period. “It was definitely the machine that was easiest to keep the tracks clean, and the cleaner you keep something, the longer it lasts.”
Like Sykes, Markins finds the Kubota SVLs very dependable and problem free.
Sykes, who joined the company in 2000 to help start the larger commercial concrete division, has been dealing with Columbus Equipment Company for that entire period. “Columbus Equipment Company service is just phenomenal for the type of work we do. When we have a breakdown, they are a huge resource in getting it fixed. They realize downtime is costly, and they are good at getting us parts in short order, whether they have to overnight them or truck them in. They jump in and take care of us.”
About three years ago, he signed up for Columbus Equipment Company’s maintenance program for the division’s Kubota equipment and Komatsu excavators, and he is highly satisfied with the program. “It’s easy. I just make a phone call and the maintenance gets done,” he said.
Markins—who joined Thompson Concrete in 1992, when there were six employees (there are about 265 now)—also reported excellent service from Columbus Equipment Company. “You call, and they deliver,” he said. “They have always been able to get me what I need.”
For 24 years, Thompson Concrete has grown its business by creating repeat customers who know and appreciate a job well done. “We thrive on working with clients and repeat business,” Sykes said. “We chose Kubota because of the product and what the compact track loaders offered in support of our build projects.”