Rosthern, Saskatchewan is a small community of 1,800 people located 68 kilometers north of Saskatoon with a municipal budget. 
Play button

Rosthern, Saskatchewan is a small community of 1,800 people located 68 kilometers north of Saskatoon with a municipal budget. 

When they lost their only road grader in a recent shop fire, they were faced with replacing it on short notice. It had been a busy machine. The town’s Rural Municipality spans 324 square kilometers, with 265 kilometers of gravel roads that keep the grader in daily use for the entire summer and actively clearing snow during the winter. So they needed something dependable, versatile, fuel-efficient, long-lasting, comfortable, and with a solid warranty and service plan.

"It's a big ticket item for a small town, so you want to make the right investment choices,"

"It's a big ticket item for a small town, so you want to make the right investment choices,"

says Owen Green, Head of Public Works and Utilities. “So first we looked at used equipment. But then we thought, let’s try out a few pieces.” They elected to trial and demo graders from four manufacturers. “SMS Equipment came up right away with a Komatsu GD655-6 grader for us to use for two weeks,” he says. Municipality operators put the graders through their paces. 

Not only must it be effective, but "a piece of equipment must be suitable for our workplace,"

Not only must it be effective, but "a piece of equipment must be suitable for our workplace,"

says Green. That includes operator comfort and efficiency—Rosthern’s operators range from five foot-eight to six foot-five and they can spend up to 16 hours in the cab doing multiple moldboard operations. “How everything is laid out from the rack to the steering wheel is important. You don’t want to reach too far, or have awkward movements. If it doesn’t fit the person right, he’s going to be jumping up and getting out every half hour.”

Visibility is critical too.

Visibility is critical too.

The view offered by the Komatsu's angled glass cab is praised by operators. "You can see everything all around you—very few blind spots," says six-foot-four operator Tyler Roth. Adds operator Jay Thille, "I don't need to lean forward continuously to see what I'm doing. I can actually sit back comfortably and see the moldboard clearly. That's important because it's the part of the equipment that maintains the load." Moreover, the Komatsu's power topped its rivals. "I was told to try and stall the graders," says Thille. "And the Komatsu was the only one I couldn't stall."
Fuel efficiency, stability, reliability, longevity were winning factors too, as was the warranty package.

Fuel efficiency, stability, reliability, longevity were winning factors too, as was the warranty package.

"The service guys do all the service and repairs right in our shop," says Green. "I don't have to truck or drive the unit to Saskatoon for service. They even bring the oil and filters for the maintenance program. So I don't need to stock additional equipment." 

How did he sell the Komatsu to council? "I didn't have to sell it," says Green. "My guys sold it for me."