September 2015 Vol. 70 No. 9


SK850 Thrives On Multiple Applications

Ditch Witch SK850The mini skid-steer loader concept

The skid-steer loader concept, introduced in the 1950s for working on farms, has evolved into a versatile, multi-purpose piece of equipment that is a common sight today on construction sites, moving and loading soil, gravel and other materials, and performing various tasks using specialized attachments.

Mini skid steers are routinely used by electricians, plumbers, landscapers, utility providers and contractors, fence builders and general contractors.

Standing out among the many mini skid- steer models available today is the new Ditch Witch® SK850. The SK850 is the largest of four SK models offered by Ditch Witch today.

“The SK850 is a powerful, productive and easy-to-operate mini tool carrier,” said Andrew Schuermann, Ditch Witch product manager.

It is much more than a front-end loader. “With interchangeable attachments,” Schuermann continued, “the SK850 is able to handle a variety of construction jobs including trenching, vibratory plowing, backfilling, making short bores and site restoration. Other popular attachments include auger, rake, pallet forks, plate compactor, tiller and a variety of buckets.”
The SK850 is powered by a 37-horsepower Tier 4 diesel engine. The rugged, steel frame is mounted on tracks to easily travel across finished lawns, paved surfaces and uneven terrain. The operator stands comfortably on a platform at the rear of the unit.

The innovative high-drive track system has exclusive bolt-on sprockets which allow them to be interchanged to maximize wear life. Standard track width is 42 inches, with optional 36-inch tracks. The track system has a low-maintenance tensioning system with a grease cylinder for easy adjustment and track removal.

The industry-leading hydraulic system efficiently transfers the power from a 37-horsepower diesel engine to the attachments. This allows the SK850 to be one of the most productive SKs in its class.

The SK850’s operator platform is positioned higher than those of competitive models for increased stability, visibility and operator comfort. Dual-lever ground drive controls are standard with a single-lever joystick available as an option. An auxiliary control foot pedal helps the operator maintain hydraulic flow to the attachment while freeing hands to control loader arm functions and ground speed.

A standard auto-throttle function automatically reduces engine rpm when hydraulic functions are not in use, improving overall fuel economy. The engine returns to the operator-set engine rpm when any hydraulic function is engaged.
The SK850 is the largest of four
SK models.

Many duties
Schuermann said typically most users of SK models equip their machines with one of several loader bucket options and attachments that meet their specific needs. For example, a Minnesota utility contractor has multiple uses for his SK skid-steer equipment with attachments that include trencher, auger, vibratory plow, rake, tiller and stump grinder.
The company’s owner likes the machines’ small footprints that allow them to work in back yards, on narrow easements, inside buildings and other areas where larger machines can’t go. Each machine has its own trailer and basic attachments, so all are always ready to go.

A Texas contractor describes his compact SK machine as one of the keys to successfully launching his landscaping business. On typical jobs, the rugged machine is used for site preparation, including light grading, moving material around work sites, digging fence and post holes and trenching for installation of pipe for irrigation systems.
“This one machine is able to do most everything that needs to be done,” the contractor said. “In addition to the loader bucket, attachments include a trencher, auger, pallet forks and tree fork.” Plans are to add rake and backhoe attachments.
A Connecticut fence company’s SK is equipped with a bucket for transporting various types of materials, including bags of concrete, mixed concrete and anything else that needs to be moved or loaded. An auger attachment digs holes to set fence posts.

A New Jersey firm that installs septic tanks uses a SK for grounds restoration, stockpiling fill dirt, and using a Harley® rake attachment to regrade areas disturbed during septic work. The company’s owner said the rake provides near-perfect restoration without the need to purchase screened topsoil, and eliminates hand raking which greatly speeds work and frees workers for other tasks.

Good visibility from the rear operator platform is important, because the machine often has to maneuver around PVC clean-out pipes and tank lids that would be damaged if they were run over.

More and more equipment buyers, Schuermann said, are recognizing the value of the mini tool carrier with multiple attachments that enable one machine to do several jobs and move quickly around the job site wherever it is needed.
“And the Ditch Witch SK850 is best in its class,” he concluded. “This latest addition to our SK fleet incorporates a number of improvements, many generated from input from customers who use SK models. It has more power, better ground clearance and an improved operator station. We listen to what our customers say, because we understand that we’re in this business together.”

Ditch Witch SK850 equipped with special digging attachmentNew Footings Machine Provides Unique Solution

Now there is a better way to dig footings for residential and commercial slab foundations.

The new Ditch Witch® SK850 footings machine is comprised of a basic SK850 skid-steer loader equipped with a special digging attachment that bolts directly to the SK’s frame.

“The SK850 footings machine digs cleaner trench than an excavator or backhoe and does it much faster,” said Andrew Schuermann, Ditch Witch product manager. “It is more compact than most excavators and can work in areas where larger equipment can’t go. And the SK850 is much more mobile than an excavator, and its rubber tracks take it across lawns, paving and rough terrain.”

The trenching assembly can be manually positioned at the center point or moved to the left offset position for trenching adjacent to the backer board.

Using a 50,000-pound test digging chain, the SK850 footings machine can dig trench to widths of 16 inches or depths to 36 inches, depending on boom and chain set up. The chain accommodates cup digging teeth or combination cup/Shark® teeth. The machine has the stability and power to cross trench when necessary.

The SK850 is powered by a 37-horsepower Tier 4 diesel engine. The footings model’s set-up width is 42-inch wide tracks. It has dual lever ground drive controls. The track system has a low-maintenance tensioning system with a grease cylinder for easy adjustment and track removal. With the footings trencher installed, the SK850 cannot accept other attachments.
“For years,” said Schuermann, “footings have been dug by whatever equipment was available. The SK850 footings machine fills that need and is the best most efficient, productive and cost efficient way to dig clean, precisely made footings for building slabs. It’s another example of developing products for real needs because we and our customers are in this together.”

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