Another tool for the wheelhouse

     Imagination, creativity and skill have once again combined to benefit motorists who travel Banner County’s rural road.

     You may recall reading an article in March/April issue of the Interchange about Tim Grubbs, a mechanic for the county’s road department, and how his ingenuity led to a Caterpillar skid steer being outfitted with a surplus snowplow blade, giving the road department added maneuverability during its snow removal operations.

     At the time that article appeared, Grubbs was working on a project to fabricate a customized “profiler” that would be attached to the Balderson lift group on the front of a motor grader.

     “The profiler is not our invention,” says Grubbs, “we borrowed the idea from Garden County and we saw a demonstration in Keith County.”

     While the idea may not be original, Grubbs improvised his design to allow the profiler to extend beyond the motor grader’s front tires.

     “We made this one 10 feet wide instead of 8 feet,” Grubbs says, noting that extending the profiler width helps keep the machine’s front tires from bouncing as it moves along a road.

     The primary use of a profiler is to groom the quarter crown of a road and smooth out washboards.

     “It also helps bring back gravel up to the surface to some extent and moves clumps to the sides of the tires,” he adds.

     The county had an unused front-mount scarifier attachment sitting on a junk pile for some time which served as the base for the profiler.  A scarifier is an apparatus that uses shanks – or teeth – to tear up road surfaces as the motor grader moves forward.

     Grubbs says the profiler he designed consists of two sections of steel square tubing that are welded to the scarifier, then four cold rolled steel plates to which a series of cutting bits are attached.  All of the materials were purchased by the county at a very reasonable cost.

     From start to finish, the project took about a week to complete, says Grubbs, who adds, “Now that I have the design down, I don’t have to recreate it.”

     At this time, three of the county’s seven motor graders have profiler attachments.  Highway Superintendent Tom Neal says he would like to have the remaining machines outfitted with one as well as the profiler helps prolong the life of the grader blades and keeps them square.

     While it may not be used every time an operator is out in the motor grader, the profiler is viewed as another tool in the road department’s wheelhouse and there when it’s needed.