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Customized, purpose-built Terramac crawler carriers keep Hickman Utility productive no matter where the jobsite takes them

Based in Rocklin, California, Hickman Utility removes and sets power poles, underground enclosures and splice boxes, often in remote locations with inhospitable conditions such as steep and muddy terrains.

“Every job is unique, and that’s what I like about what we do,” stated President Dan Hickman, who has done heavy equipment work his entire life and started Hickman Utility in 2016 with his wife, Shannon. “We have what we describe as normal everyday jobs, but we really enjoy working in extreme areas and challenging conditions.”

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To meet the challenges head on, Hickman Utility relies heavily on purpose-built and customized Terramac crawler carriers, including an RT6 and an RT9 with digger derrick and pole setter attachments as well as an RT7U with an aerial device attachment. Hickman Utility utilizes the RT6 and RT9 rubber-tracked crawler carriers to remove and set poles, screw in anchors, auger holes, and compact soil around poles with the built-in tamper system. The company uses the RT7U compact utility crawler carrier with a two-man bucket and a jib boom to replace transformers.

“We are often on sites that have been affected by storms, so there are trees down and mud, in addition to the normal terrain, which can be rocky and steep,” said operator Josh Hattrup. “You have to be able to navigate without having a clear shot to the job. The Terramacs are powerful and give us the ability to get almost anywhere. If these machines can’t get you there, you most likely need a helicopter.”

Specific Requirements Met

Hickman Utility’s first Terramac purchase was a customized 155-horsepower RT6 with 5.3 psi of ground pressure, which is used for work on poles up to 60 feet in length. Hickman Utility acquired a 225-horspower RT9 with 6.4 psi of ground pressure to handle longer poles. Like other straight-frame models, the RT6 and RT9 are built to allow for complete customization with an exclusive design that makes them capable of accommodating an array of specialized support equipment.

“I did a lot of research on tracked utility equipment that met our requirements, read a lot of reviews, and Terramac stood out as the right choice,” Hickman recalled. “I contacted Terramac’s sales team about the RT6, gave them a list of what our specific needs were, and they were able to accommodate everything. The size of the job and the location usually dictate which unit we use on a particular job. They all have low ground pressure, which is great for handling the challenging and sensitive conditions we encounter with minimal ground disturbance. I also like the climate-controlled enclosed cabs and the overall functionality of the machines.”

Hickman Utility often uses the RT6 and RT9 crawler carriers in tandem with the 155-horsepower RT7U that has 5.8 psi of ground pressure at its maximum weight. The purpose-built compact utility crawler carrier has front and rear frame extensions and various hydraulic pump configurations that allow support equipment to be easily installed. Currently, Hickman Utility’s RT7U is equipped with an aerial device with a 2,000-pound jib capacity.

“The Terramac crawler carriers give us the ability to get to where we need and get the job done efficiently,” said Hattrup. “You park the machine, set the outriggers, and go to work. It’s a relatively quick setup. It has joystick controls on the machine and the bucket, so you can run it from the ground or while you’re in the air. We get to see a lot of different terrain, and having the machines that we do makes our jobs easy and lot of fun.”

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Customized, purpose-built Terramac crawler carriers keep Hickman Utility productive no matter where the jobsite takes them

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