More Than a Bit of Savings

Cat® Master Grade Cutter Bits: Longer Life, Lower Overall Cost

The cold planer cutter bits used by Steve Foster’s crew worked just fine. Why change?

“I was set on the teeth we used,” said Foster, a milling crew supervisor for Branscome Paving, Manassas, VA. “The production was good. It wasn’t a bad tooth. It cost a bit more, but we were willing to pay that price for the production. There is more to cost than the initial purchase price.”

Still, the sales rep for the local Cat dealer continually approached Foster about giving Cat Master Grade Cutter Bits a trial use. What harm could result from comparing bits? And what if the Cat bits performed equally—and ultimately provided more value?

Eventually, Foster agreed to test the Cat Master Grade bits. “First, in a side-by-side comparison, the Cat bits look almost identical to the competitive bits,” Foster said. “There’s not much difference in them, at least in terms of appearance.”

The differences emerged when Branscome’s two Cat cold planers went to work.

“We discovered it is rare that we lose any rotation on these Cat bits,” Foster said. Rotation is important because it enables the bits to wear evenly, which greatly extends their lives.

“We hardly ever lose rotation,” Foster said. “I can wear those Cat bits down to pencil thin. The carbide stays sharp and they continue to cut.”

The trial resulted in a switch to Cat bits and produced many benefits:

  • A boost in overall value.
  • A reduction in fuel. “I seem to be using a lot less fuel,” Foster said. “I don’t know how much, but I do know that we burn less fuel when we use these bits.”
  • Extended life. “We change the Master Grade bits less often,” Foster said.
  • A smoother cut. “The Cat teeth stay sharp longer, which provides that smoother cut,” Foster said.
  • Overall, costs were dramatically reduced and production increased. “I have less cost and I feel like I’m getting two-thirds more wear out of the Cat teeth compared with the others.”
  • Easy installation and replacement, which saves time, reducing labor costs.
  • An advanced sleeve design that provides optimal holder protection.

While Foster has found many reasons to stay loyal to the Master Grade Cutter Bits, it was the purchase cost that initially persuaded him to try the Cat product.

“Straight up, it was price,” Foster said. “It’s not my money, but I believe I owe it to the company to provide value where I can.”

Foster is a firm believer that there is more to value than the initial cost of the bits, which are available for milling, reclamation and stabilization applications. He watched the Cat Master Grade Cutter Bits closely, from the time they arrived until they eventually were replaced. “They exceeded my expectations, which were high enough to begin with,” he said.

He will continue to use the Master Grade Cutter Bits. “The machine isn’t working as hard, which will extend its life as well,” Foster said. “There are so many cost-savings benefits that it’s hard to add them all up.”

“They exceeded my expectations, which were high enough to begin with.”

– Steve Foster
Branscome Paving

Steve Foster's crew working with a cold planer