Articulated Truck and Scraper Puts Bypass Ahead of Schedule

Articulated Truck and Scraper

Articulated Truck and Scraper Puts Bypass Ahead of Schedule

The 13-person excavating crew from C.J. Moyna & Sons, Inc. has 240 working days to move 1.2 million cubic yards of earth at the Southwest Arterial, an Iowa Department of Transportation bypass around Dubuque.

No problem.

“So far, we’re ahead of schedule. We were allotted 240 days. We will finish way before that, depending on the weather, of course,” said Dan Harwick, project superintendent, C.J. Moyna & Sons. “The early completion date is definitely because of the type of equipment we’re using. We’re able to move a lot of dirt—fast and efficiently.”


The mission at MTS is to haul dirt. The increased productivity of their pull pan scrapers with Cat® Articulated Trucks means hauling more payload with less input costs at the end of the day.


The crew is using five Mobile Track Solutions (MTS) Articulated Truck and Scraper Pull Pan Combinations, in which a Cat® 745 Articulated Truck chassis is converted from a dump body configuration to a scraper power unit. The scrapers are being push loaded by a pair of Cat D9T Dozers and a Cat D8T Dozer. Additionally, a Cat 352F and Cat 374F L Excavator are top loading the scrapers from time to time, depending upon material needs. The crew works 10-hour shifts, six days a week.

MTS in Elkader, Iowa, manufactures earthmoving equipment to complement the current line of Cat products. MTS builds a variety of pull pan scraper models and construction-grade tractors developed specifically for excavation and grading.

John Moyna is the owner and founder of MTS, as well as the owner of C. J. Moyna & Sons, a large earthmover that works primarily in Iowa.  “We complement each other. The whole reason that John started the manufacturing was to help fill the niche in his own network, to meet the needs of all customers,” said Lee Zapf, MTS sales manager.

Moyna’s efforts have improved productivity for his crews, as well as other excavation contractors.

“On side-by-sides with competitors that we’ve done, we’re from 10 to 30 percent more productive,” Zapf said. “Typically, our fuel burn will be right where the other guys are, but the yardage at the end of the day is going to be where you’ll see your bonus with our machines. It’s really about what you’re actually hauling—your total yardage.”


Double Duty

The MTS Articulated Truck and Scraper Pull Pan Combinations being used on the Southwest Arterial are Cat 745C Articulated Trucks that utilize an MTS conversion package for scraper use, and are easily converted back for truck applications. “That’s a really good platform for customers who maybe don’t have enough scraper work to have a dedicated scraper fleet,” Zapf said. “You can go back and forth from a truck to a scraper in about a half-day. When you can do that, you’ve taken one asset and made it fit multiple areas. This improves efficiency greatly.”

Weather has been the biggest variable on the Southwest Arterial, which has affected moisture content of soil. “Optimal is between 17 and 19 percent, and we’re coming out between 23 and 27 percent. That’s five to six points over,” said Dan Harwick, project superintendent. “The weather has been a little bit against us, with the rain.”

The good news? MTS machines shine in wet soil conditions. The machines’ higher flotation is helpful when they are working on sites where it is soft underfoot, but there is still a need for power for steep grades and other challenging conditions.

For high flotation, MTS equipment uses the largest tires reasonable for the machine’s size. “We’ll use four-tire configurations (MT-35 LGP) on the scrapers for the high flotation needs,” Zapf said. “We have a niche with the Cat Articulated Trucks that have dual wheels (ADT LGP Kit) to help the flotation, so you can meet your compaction specs. You can really manage the fills by having the high flotation unit.”

MTS also manufactures tracked machines. Thinking outside the box enabled the company to devise a unique solution—the MTS 5000 Series Tractor, a Cat 740B on tracks. This unique quad-tracked machine complements the scraper pull pan line and expands the low ground pressure offerings. MTS developed a track roller frame and track link design to provide a quiet and long-lasting undercarriage and minimize owning and operating costs. 

Continuing to think outside the box, the company developed a true construction-grade tractor—the MTS 3000 Series Tractor. Available as either a tracked or wheeled model, the MTS 3000 Series Tractor combines a 630 hp Cat C18 Tier IV Final Engine with a Cat TA-22H Transmission. The tractor, especially when paired with an MTS-30 Pull Pan, far exceeds the production, reliability and durability of agricultural tractors working at construction sites.

C.J. Moyna & Sons completes a great deal of heavy highway work, primarily for the Iowa Department of Transportation, and also does excavation work for big box stores and large residential developments.

Working a variety of jobs also means variable conditions. Scrapers have been moving several dirt varieties on the Southwest Arterial. “On top we have three to four feet of class 10 soil and then we have sandy loam. Below that, some select material and then we get into a shale. There’s between seven and 12 feet of shale in here,” Harwick stated. 

Shale has been ripable, so far. “Underneath our cut right here there will be about 30 feet of limestone shale that we will be drilling and blasting,” Harwick noted.  

Other than the MTS machines, C.J. Moyna & Sons is running mostly Cat equipment on the job. “Our company primarily runs Cat equipment because of its service and dependability. We know we can rely on the Cat machines,” Harwick said.

On the Southwest Arterial, dependable, high-capacity machines that can operate in diverse conditions, and highly skilled personnel who operate and maintain the fleet, are keeping the job ahead of schedule.   





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