The tribe's first job was a small one -- just less than a mile of county roadway. He went conservative, charging just $500 an hour for the milling machine, plus labor, figuring it would be a solid two-day job. Of course, the work went faster than that with the tribe's new Volvo milling machine, which is equipped with an 86-inch drum and a high-production conveyor, capable of moving more than 35,000 cubic feet of material per hour. The MT 2000 also has three distinct cutting speeds to fit any possible job.
“It's hard for four or five dump trucks to stay up with it,” LaSarge said. “It's a hoss.”
In the end, the tribe was off the job site in just over a day, but still with a hefty $9,500 in its pocket. That money was funneled back into its equipment fund. Now, if the tribe needs a new dump truck or backhoe, there's a growing source of money to use. But why Volvo?
“It was the top-notch milling machine out there,” LaSarge said. “I looked at other milling machines that couldn't match up with this Volvo. The safety features, the computer updates that were available -- it was overall a better milling machine in our book.”
Part of the appeal of the MT2000 is its advanced diagnostics technology. Multiple screens give operators details about the machine's performance, with messages displayed in common language instead of confusing codes. The Volvo's One Touch system makes for easy maneuvering, allowing operators to shut down the conveyors and adjust the grade controls to move over manhole covers and other obstacles. The stability control system monitors the cross slope of the milling machine, automatically adjusting the support legs on uneven ground. Plus, the MT2000 has a walk-in service compartment allowing easy access to the engine, hydraulics, and coolers.
John Brown, an equipment operator on LaSarge's crew, gave the Volvo MT2000 high marks recently as he guided the milling machine down a stretch of worn out county road. He and the other operators were working safely in a protected environment, with all of the controls to the key components of the milling machine – the engine, hydraulics, fan, and coolers – within easy reach. The dual control panels with LCD display showed the real-time track positioning of the MT 2000.
“It's really reliable. It's smooth,” Brown said.
LaSarge and the tribe struck their deal on their Volvo MT2000 after visiting the World of Asphalt convention with Laine Rieger, a salesman with G.W. Van Keppel Company in Tulsa. The tribe has found a good match with Volvo and Van Keppel. A Volvo representative provided job site training with the new MT2000, and tribal staff attended a formal customer school at the Volvo factory in Shippensburg, Penn.
“It seemed like the technology was better with Volvo,” LaSarge said. “Plus, they were willing to give us all the training we needed. (Van Keppel) is right here in Tulsa if there's anything we need. They come right down when I call them. Volvo has treated us really well.”