City Of Arlington


Jul 17, 2013

Versatility is advantage of Komatsu WA320-6 loader

About this time last year, a tornado tore through Arlington, Texas, leaving a wide path of destruction across the Dallas suburb that’s home to more than 360,000 people. Tasked with cleanup was the City of Arlington Public Works Operations, which also handles maintenance of nearly 5,000 lane miles of roadway.

“When something like that happens, we have to mobilize swiftly to assess the damage and any inherent danger that comes along with it,” said Mike Norton, City of Arlington Public Works Operations Supervisor, North. “Some of that danger comes from debris that’s left on the streets, sidewalks and other places. Getting that cleaned up as quickly as possible is essential.”

As soon as the twister had passed, City of Arlington Public Works crews set to work. While it already had a vast number of pieces of equipment it uses for day-to-day operations at its disposal, the storm forced the city to augment its fleet. It turned to Kirby-Smith Machinery for rental wheel loaders to work alongside the Komatsu WA320-6 loader it had purchased a few months earlier.

“Kirby-Smith had equipment to us in short order, and that made a huge difference in speeding up our efforts,” said Norton. “We already knew what Komatsu loaders could do because prior to the storm we’d had the WA320 for few months. It worked great for the cleanup, but it’s also been an ideal machine for us due to its versatility.”

Working with Kirby-Smith Texas Governmental Sales Manager Sol Geiser, the City of Arlington rented the WA320 when it was looking to replace an old loader. The city demonstrated several brands before deciding on Komatsu.

“Sol and Kirby-Smith were excellent about ensuring that the loader was the right fit for us,” said Norton. “We have worked with them on other machinery purchases, including a paver and compactors, as well as Komatsu equipment, so we knew they would stand behind it with good parts and service support.”

“It was definitely the loader of choice among our operators,” said Richard Carmichael, Public Works Operations Supervisor, South. “One application where it really stood out was milling projects, which we do nearly every day. We have an asphalt zipper for removing small patches, and it takes quite a bit of force to keep it in a straight line. That’s not a problem with the Komatsu loader. We attach the zipper to a bucket and away it goes.”

A ‘Swiss Army Knife’

The City of Arlington uses its WA320 for much more than zipping asphalt. Equipped with a quick-attach system, operators can easily switch from buckets to a wide array of attachments.

“It’s a true multitasker, and it gives us the advantage of cost savings, as we have one machine that can handle the work of three, four or five machines,” said Carmichael. “In addition to buckets, we have forks, a material handler, telescopic boom, brush grapple and a friction broom. We wanted a loader we could use daily to handle a myriad of jobs, and with the Komatsu WA320 we have that in a versatile package.”

“When we were looking for a new loader, we told ourselves we wanted more than a simple pocket knife,” said Norton. “With the Komatsu loader and its ability to run a variety of attachments, we got what we were looking for. We got the Swiss Army Knife of loaders.”