Quality is key
Costello Industries has exclusively Wirtgen milling machines in its fleet. In addition to high-output large milling machines (three W 220s with 8”/2.5-m milling drums and four W 210s with 7’ 3”/2.2-m milling drums), the milling specialist has a variety of small milling machines from different machine generations, including two W 500s, four W 50s and one W 50 DC.
Jim Cook, Head of the Machine Fleet at Costello, is proud of his cold milling machines. “The Wirtgen Group manufactures great products. You can be sure that each and every component has been tested before the machine is delivered. When milling machines arrive, all the bolts have been tightened and marked as such. All parts are painted prior to assembly. Everything is professionally designed and manufactured.”Cook is even impressed with the interior fittings, because “the electrical and hydraulic systems are clearly marked. That’s very helpful when we need to locate the source of a problem. For example, we can test every single, labeled cable directly via the cabling system. In other machines, the hoses and cables are painted, making fault diagnosis more difficult.”
Todd Nedzweckas, who has worked with milling machines from various manufacturers, adds: “I took the Wirtgen training course and find the machines to be extremely user-friendly. What is more, we get great support at any time from the Wirtgen America applications experts and service engineers. Whenever we have a problem, we just give them a call and they come out right away to help us with the diagnosis.”
Getting top performance with routine maintenance and machine training
The two W 500 small milling machines have each clocked over 5,000 hours in operation. “It’s all a matter of the right maintenance,” says Cook. “These machines are extremely reliable as long as you regularly change the operating materials, keep an eye on wearing parts and reliably conduct scheduled maintenance.
It’s just as important to teach machine operators on site about the right techniques and daily maintenance requirements. For instance, the daily maintenance program at Costello includes inspecting a machine at the end of a milling job. “If necessary, Jim and his team go to work and make sure the machine is in top condition again,” Nedzweckas says.
A maintenance program helps to extend a machine’s service life. “We know at all times exactly how many hours the machines have been running and which maintenance tasks need to be done. And we create standard orders for service after 250, 500, 750 and 1,000 hours of operation,” explains Cook. “We do that for all our machines and maintenance is carried out in our own workshop.”Regularly attending training courses at Wirtgen America further helps the Costello team to continuously deepen their know-how about the machines. “We took both the electronics and hydraulics courses,” says Cook. “We send both the supervisors and the machine operators to the courses, and then we train each other.”
The team from Costello has already gotten to know several generations of Wirtgen milling machines and can therefore appreciate the changes the machines have gone through in recent years. And even if the operator’s stand on the latest models, such as the W 220, look extremely complex with all the computer displays, video screens and lighting, the Costello Team says the new milling machines still are easier to operate.
“They are clearly much more user-friendly than other machines,” says Cook with conviction. “If an error message comes up, the machine tells you where to look and how to diagnose the fault. It even asks a series of questions to find out what caused the problem; in other words, the machine can get back to work much more quickly.Most of all, the new generation of Wirtgen large milling machines offers a better work environment,” adds Cook. “The W 220 has a lower idling speed and three different milling drum speeds. It makes a lot less noise.”
“Wirtgen has been really alert to the needs of machine operators: Even with the increased output, the noise level is much lower and the vacuum cutting system (VCS), which sucks up the odors and fine particles, is definitely a big help to the operator.”
Cook is also impressed with the ergonomics. “The way the control panels and seats can be swung into position is clearly a feature that increases operator comfort. And when you spend 14 hours a day on a machine, that makes a tremendous difference.”
Optimized visibility in every situation
“You could say that the all-around lighting makes the milling machines look like UFOs,” jokes Nedzweckas. “We do much of our work at night and the instrument displays and lighting systems are excellent. You can see all the controls and everything is brightly illuminated all around the machine.”
Thanks to the "wasp waist" of the W 220, the operator has a better view to the front of the milling drum unit, towards the front crawler unit. The cameras keep an eye on everything the operator can’t otherwise see: “The monitors in the operator's stand show us the end of the loading conveyor and the rear of the machine,” explains Cook. “That makes a major difference in productivity and safety for the operator. He has more control over the loading process, because he can see what’s going into the truck. The view of the loading conveyor is restricted, especially in turns. Thanks to the camera, the operator can see the material and truck bed perfectly.”
When traveling in reverse, the camera also shows what’s happening behind the machine, for example passing cars or people. That increases safety on the job site and you don’t have to rely solely on instructions from the ground man. “In other words, the camera eliminates a critical blind spot,” says Nedzweckas.
Costello: Know-how and leading milling technology – a basis for success
With over 100 years of milling experience, the management team at Costello knows exactly what’s important. The company’s success for three generations has been based on delivering excellent results using premium products, technologies and services. Jim Cook says it all: “In my opinion, Wirtgen milling machines are the best.”