The use of hydraulic hand tools offers advantages to contractors, including reduced dust, less noise, and smoother operation. Compact machines including skid-steers, mini-excavators and wheel loaders are being used to power hydraulic attachments.
Valentino (Tino) Piazza of Piazza Masonry in Vassar, Mich., uses his Bobcat S185 skid-steer loader to power hydraulic hand tools he needs to complete jobs in sensitive environments. He bought a hydraulic flow converter and job box that attaches to his skid-steer.
One of Piazza's recent jobs was at Zehnder's of Frankenmuth—the 7th largest independent restaurant in the United States, with 10 dining rooms and more than 10,000 square feet of retail space. The 5,000-square-foot basement was dug by hand and houses Z-Bakery, Z-Gifts, and Z-Chef's Café. The job was two-fold: First, Piazza Masonry had to remove a concrete wall to expand space in two of the basement stores and, second, they had to cut a trench in order to install cables that had to run under the floor.
Three hand tools were used on the job—a concrete chainsaw, 90-pound hydraulic breaker, and a concrete cut-off saw. They also used a chipping hammer to break concrete from the trench. One of the challenges Piazza faced was that he needed 150 feet of hose to reach the site, but he said the tools still operated with full power.
"Hydraulic hand held tools open up a huge market that may not have been accessible to a contractor with gas or air powered hand tools," says Sarah Bemowski of CEAttachments. "And, you can operate these tools with a hydraulic converter and equipment that you already have like a skid-steer loader, compact excavator, or backhoe-loader."
"A job can get started in the evening when a business closes," Piazza says, "and that business can be open again for customers the next morning. There is no need to wait for the place to 'air out.'"