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They Just Haul More Dirt

John Deere excavators loading an articulated dump truck

It's as simple as that for the folks at Turner Contracting, Inc. of Bedford, Indiana. Operating by a standard of "pure performance," their reason for choosing the John Deere 460E Articulated Dump Truck doesn't come as much of a surprise. And while the truck's hauling capacity was its biggest selling point, Turner Contracting has been pleasantly surprised by the loads of additional benefits the truck brings to the jobsite.


Starting from one

Steve Turner has worked in the mining industry the majority of his life, and in 2004 he decided to establish his own outfit. Starting with a single-dozer job in Illinois, Turner Contracting has branched out across the country, growing to a force of 75 employees and scheduled to soon start work in Canada. "We managed to grow so quickly just with good hard work," says Turner. "I think that's what companies look for, and when you do a good job, the word spreads."


Whether working on a sediment pond, landfill, site development, or mining project, that solid reputation is continually reinforced, and Turner's favorite work is true to his roots. "We like mining. Our favorite type of project is mass excavation where we’re moving large volumes of earth. We do things a little differently than most contractors. We take each job individually, look at the whole scope of work, and try to figure out just how we’re going to do it from beginning to end."


Perfecting team chemistry

At today's jobsite, the Lehigh Permanente Quarry in Los Altos, California, Ryan Bailey, foreman of Turner Contracting, is the man responsible for matching up the right people with the right tools. "I like the challenge of being the foreman — being able to determine how fast and how well things are done. I make sure we get the best result by putting the right people on the right machines." The same strategy applies to deciding which machines work together. "The fit of the 870G LC Excavator and 460E ADT works really well and helps our cycle times. Four buckets and they're good to go."


Through thick and thicker

Once those four buckets are in the bed, the 460E's 13.5L EPA Interim Tier 4/EU Stage IIIB certified engine, exclusive downhill-descent control, and adaptive suspension get busy proving its worth. "The other week we had torrential rains and heavy winds making a mess of the jobsite," says Bailey. "But our 460E ADTs did wonderfully. They still performed like when it's dry, and didn't miss a beat." That's saying a lot, considering the 85-foot haul roads with 20-percent inclines the trucks are traversing. This stellar combination of power and agility delivers across all Turner Contracting jobsites. "We work our John Deere trucks from one extreme to the other," says Turner. "Even axle-deep in mud, they've performed excellently."


Comfortable and customizable

All that hard work is made more enjoyable by a cab designed to enhance efficiency — after all, comfortable operators are productive operators. "I used to drive a competitor's ADT, and this is a Cadillac in comparison," says David "Bull" C. Dotts, an operator for Turner Contracting. "As far as the bells and whistles, I love the heated seats. They're nice on an old man's back."


According to Bailey, operator appreciation isn't uncommon. "Everyone we've had in the trucks has really liked them. The seat, the pushbutton controls, the ride — everything's quick and easy. They're very user friendly. And a great benefit for me is being able to set restrictions, like speed and how operators dump. Our current jobsite has a lot of dangerous areas, and being able to limit risk is a great benefit."


Combining brain and brawn

In addition to being user friendly, the trucks are also financially friendly for Turner Contracting. "What we once accomplished with four competitor trucks, we can do with three Deere," says Bailey. "That saves us on manpower and maintenance, which makes my job easier."


It also makes Keaton Turner's job easier. Steve Turner's nephew and right-hand man for estimating projects, Keaton works to ensure optimum efficiency on each job, and he likes what he sees in the 460E. "The biggest selling point with the John Deere trucks was the cost-per-ton versus the competitor. They haul more payload with comparable fuel consumption, so that brings our costs down considerably."


Another asset helping Turner Contracting keep costs down is its implementation of JDLink™. "I get alert notifications for things like low tire or oil pressure, which helps us prevent premature failure," says Keaton. "We have a lot of tires on the ground, so catching small issues before they snowball makes a big difference."


Here for the long haul

One of the greatest assets of John Deere equipment is a robust dealer network, which is prepared to do what it takes to keep you running. "John Deere parts and service have been really great," says Bailey.


"Anytime I have an issue I just make a phone call, and they're all over it. We've had a few little issues, but the uptime on the Deere trucks has been wonderful. We have a few John Deere dealers we work with, and the support has been excellent," says Turner. "Every time we call, the situation ends well."