Designed and built by New South Wales-based company Stabilcorp, the road repair and widening skid steer attachment can safely and effectively fix dangerous narrow roads and crumbling road shoulders.
Aside from its inherent efficiency benefits, the ShoulderMaster has numerous safety advantages that have garnered praise within the industry. Its evolution from a simple concept to innovative attachment has seen it gain considerable traction and uptake in the Australian road maintenance market.
Echuca-based company Rich River Asphalt (RRA) was one such firm whose interest was piqued from the get-go.
“We’d seen the ShoulderMaster at an industry conference in September last year,” says Garry Baker, RRA Business Development Manager. “We identified that it had some applications for us in Echuca. We work in quite a regional rural area, which has the types of roads the ShoulderMaster is designed to be used on.”
RRA wanted to see not only how the machine could work for them, but how it might help improve local roads.
In November, RRA hosted a working demonstration of the ShoulderMaster on McKenzie Road in Echuca, Victoria, for representatives of VicRoads, councils and contractors as a means of exploring the potential of the technology.
“The 250 metres of asphalt widening work, including profiling, was completed in just under three hours with minimum impact on traffic. This resulted in a one-metre upgraded shoulder with heavy vehicles being able to drive on it that afternoon,” says Mr. Baker. “Passing truck drivers were even asking us if we could keep doing the shoulder work all the way up the road.”
The fact that the work could be undertaken safely and the road open to traffic that same day were major benefits of the technology that resonated with attendees at the demonstration.
The ShoulderMaster’s most recent showing in the market exemplifies just how far the innovative concept has come in a short period of time. For Stabilcorp, it is one of many milestones for the product in 2016. This past year, Lockhart Shire Council in New South Wales became the first local government body to purchase the ShoulderMaster. Thanks to the capabilities at Stabilcorp’s new manufacturing facility in Wauchope, the council’s unit was modified to be fitted to its 930H Caterpillar wheeled loader, which is now a valuable asset in how the council undertakes road repairs.
Western Australian firm SuperCivil is the latest contractor to focus on making roads safer and wider by adding the ShoulderMaster to its fleet this past November. Wasting no time putting it to work, SuperCivil is using the unit on widening works on the Eastern Highway Northam for Main Roads Western Australia.
Not only has product uptake been rapid and consistent, but the ShoulderMaster has also been frequently recognised for its innovation by industry, most recently through the Australian Business Awards, where it was a winner in the New Product Innovation category.
Peta Pinson, Stabilcorp Managing Director, says the awards and the sales of the attachment have helped the ShoulderMaster’s brand strength increase in a short time.
“It has been acknowledged that there has been a gap in the area of road shoulder maintenance due to expensive methods of repairing damaged or narrow road shoulders,” she says. “The creation of the ShoulderMaster has now filled that gap.”
Following Stabilcorp’s successful past year, Mrs. Pinson says the company has big plans for the ShoulderMaster in 2017.
The manufacturer is in discussions to build and trial a new road maintenance prototype. It is also planning a trip to the CONEXPO in Las Vegas, US, in March 2017 where the company aims to build relationships with possible distributors for the Australian made and owned attachment. “Now with the American election over, there is a growing confidence in the US market for job creation with President-Elect Trump’s promise of ‘making America great again’,” says Mrs. Pinson. “While the ShoulderMaster is being made in Australia, it would be shipped in kit form, allowing for light fabrication to put the attachments together, creating work opportunities in that area of industry.”