Earthmoving contractors have options when it comes to equipment that can get the job done. Whether it’s self-propelled scrapers, pull-behind scrapers, or the more traditional dozer to excavator to articulated dump truck system, all three options will accomplish the task of moving a large volume of material. In recent years, there’s been a purchasing trend toward the pull-behind scraper solution.
In this blog, our construction equipment experts at Papé Machinery Construction & Forestry weigh in on why pull-behind scrapers are growing in popularity and cover everything earthmoving contractors should know about this equipment before making a purchasing decision.
Why Are Pull Scrapers So Popular?
For earthmoving contractors, it all comes down to per-yard profitability and that’s the number one reason we’ve seen customers continue to move toward pull scraper solutions in the last decade. Pull-behind scraper systems cost approximately 50 cents less per cubic yard to move material. That’s not an insignificant number when you multiply it by the number of cubic yards that will be moved over the life of the equipment. That savings involves a number of different factors - let’s break them down.
Pull scrapers cost up to 70% less upfront compared to self-propelled scrapers or traditional excavator/bulldozer/dump truck systems.
Reduced Labor Costs
Hiring experienced operators and the associated labor costs are a huge expense for constructions businesses. Instead of having to pay multiple operators on every job site, with a pull scraper system there’s only one operator to pay.
With a tractor pull scraper combination, you have one engine working efficiently. When you compare that to multiple pieces of equipment idling while waiting to be loaded, you can imagine how quickly the fuel savings add up. The John Deere Scraper Special Tractor Series features an Efficiency Manager™ transmission setting which help improve fuel economy by up to 12 percent.
Because pull scrapers don’t have a motor, you don’t have the same type of maintenance costs you would for a diesel machine like a dozer or articulated dump truck.
Choosing the Right Configuration
Like with any equipment purchase, matching the right tool to the application is the key to a productive, profitable job sites and a quick return on investment. There are a lot of options to consider when designing the right set up for your needs. From the equipment that will tow your scraper to the right type and capacity scraper model, we can help you figure out the best solution for your needs.
Choosing A Towing Vehicle
Tractors are the go-to choice when considering towing equipment for pull-behind scrapers. John Deere Scraper Special Tractors are specifically designed to be paired with pull scrapers for ultimate productivity. The Deere line of scraper tractors feature a fully automatic transmission, reinforced front frame, high flow hydraulics, options for wheels or tracks, and models with engines rated from 470hp to up to 620hp. They are “scraper-ready,” equipped with a fixed undercarriage gauge, heavy-duty outboard planetary final drives, and a reaction arm mounted directly to the axle housing.
Some earthmoving contractors who already have ADTs in their fleet opt to convert their existing equipment to tow pull scrapers rather than purchase a tractor for the job. This can be a cost-effective option depending on the age and condition of the ADT. Reach out to the service department at your local Papé Machinery Construction & Forestry location if you’re interested in pricing out this option.
Matching The Scraper to The Soil Conditions
The right scraper will depend on the type of soil you are working with. For loose material or sandy soil, Carry All Scrapers are sufficient. They feature a simple dump action and handle lightweight material with ease. If you are working with heavier material, like wet or sticky soil, an Ejector Scraper is a much better option. The ejector function uses hydraulic cylinders to push material out for spreading controlled, consistent loads.
Calculating Capacity Needs
Heaped capacity on John Deere pull scrapers range from 15 cu. ft on the 1510DC Carry All Scraper up to 24 cu. ft. on the 2412DE Ejector Scraper. These scrapers can be pulled in a single, tandem, or triple configuration for a maximum heaped capacity of 72 cu ft. John Deere has a Scraper System Calculator to help buyers compare the productivity and cost savings of various scraper set ups. We typically recommend opting for the largest capacity scraper your towing equipment can pull because a larger capacity model limits the need for repeat trips saving you time and money. Some job sites can accommodate smaller capacity scrapers trained together, but for smaller sites, a single high-capacity model is going to be a better option.
Let Us Help
Choosing the most productive and cost-effective earthmoving equipment solution for your business involves really understanding the ins and outs of your application and the impact of how different configurations can impact productivity in that environment. Contact the John Deere equipment experts at your local Papé Machinery Construction & Forestry dealership today to speak with one of our knowledgeable sales staff about your typical job site, your current equipment, and the challenges you’re having. We’ll be happy to help guide you to the best scraper set up for your needs.