The nation’s largest waste-by-rail company, Tunnel Hill Partners handles millions of tons of non-hazardous waste across the northeast United States every year — and for that, the New York-based company relies on a fleet made up almost entirely of Cat® machines.
For Founding Partner Joseph Rutigliano, the reasons for choosing Cat equipment are threefold: Performance from the factory. Durability on the job. And product support after the fact.
“I’ve been around equipment for 30 years,” Rutigliano says. “Can you buy a cheaper product? Can you buy one-off machines for a specific industry? Sure. But Caterpillar offers the best equipment and support from the landfill face to the transfer station floor.”
Tunnel Hill’s fleet of several hundred Cat machines includes landfill compactors, articulated and rigid-frame trucks, full-size and mini excavators, plus skid steer, track and wheel loaders.
“We buy the whole product line,” Rutigliano says. “We’re loyal to Caterpillar because these are well-engineered machines that fit the specific tasks we want to do over and over.”
Two of the newest models on the job are 950M and 966M wheel loaders, which Rutigliano says are sized right for loading and unloading at landfills, transfer stations and recycling centers.
“The 950M is a great indoor machine with a smaller footprint that works really well in tighter quarters,” he says. “The 966M is the perfect combination of machine size and turn-ability. It does the work of a 972, but it’s more compact and fuel efficient.”
Based on his past experiences with Cat machines, Rutigliano expects both new wheel loader models to stand up to the rigors of waste operations.
“We really put our machines to the test. We cycle them in tight areas. It’s dirty and dusty. They’re breathing heavy,” he says. “Even in that environment, our equipment has to have 100% reliability. Lesser machines aren’t ready to give you that performance.”
Tunnel Hill operates its Cat wheel loaders around 60 hours a week — sometimes more — and with proper maintenance, typically gets 10,000-15,000 hours of use out of each machine.
“We just want to go to work and rely on the equipment,” Rutigliano says. “We’re very happy with the years we get out of these machines.”
When there is an issue with a machine, Tunnel Hill counts on Caterpillar to make things right — fast. Because the company’s operations cross five different Cat dealer territories, Rutigliano often turns to Caterpillar Commercial Waste Manager Bob Gorman for support.
“Bob has a great grasp on our business and makes us feel like a respected customer,” he says. “With Caterpillar, you get the whole corporation behind you. When you need a part, you get a part. When a machine breaks down, someone is there to help.”
That after-the-sale commitment is a big factor in Tunnel Hill’s purchasing decisions.
“You could buy another shade of yellow, but you have to do the real math — add the cost of downtime, add the cost of a rental when your machine goes down,” Rutigliano says. “Between the dealer and corporate support, you get what you pay for with Caterpillar.”