Throughout the time when WWII created a shortage of workers, the legendary Gradall excavator was founded in the 1940s as the brainchild of two brothers Ray and Koop Ferwerda. Partners in a Cleveland, Ohio construction business called Ferwerda-Werba-Ferwerda, the brothers faced a huge dilemma when lots of men left the labor force and joined the military, depleting existing laborers for the delicate grading and finishing work on highway projects. The Ferwerda brothers decided to make a machine which would save their company by making the slope grading task easier, more efficient and less manual.
Their very first design model was a device with two beams set on a rotating platform which was attached on top of a used truck. A telescopic cylinder moved the beams back and forth which allowed the fixed blade at the end of the beams to pull or push dirt. Soon enhancing the very first design, the brothers built a triangular boom to add more strength. What's more, they added a tilt cylinder that let the boom rotate 45 degrees in either direction. A cylinder was positioned at the rear of the boom, powering a long push rod to enable the machine to be equipped with either a blade or a bucket attachment.
Gradall launched in the year 1992, with the introduction of the new XL Series hydraulics, the most innovative adjustment in their machinery ever since their creation. This new system of top-of-the-line hydraulics allowed the Gradall excavator to deliver comparable power and high productivity to the more conventional excavators. The XL Series ended the first Gradall equipment power drawn from low pressure hydraulics and gear pumps. These traditional systems efficiently handled finishing work and grading but had a hard time competing for high productivity tasks.
The new XL Series Gradall excavators proved a significant increase in their lifting and digging ability. These models were made along with a piston pump, high-pressure hydraulics system which showed great improvements in boom and bucket breakout forces. The XL Series hydraulics system was also developed with a load-sensing capability. Traditional excavators use an operator to be able to choose a working-mode; where the Gradall system can automatically adjust the hydraulic power for the work at hand. This makes the operator's general job easier and also saves fuel simultaneously.
Once their XL Series hydraulics came onto the market, Gradall was basically thrust into the highly competitive market of machinery meant to tackle pavement removal, excavation, demolition as well as different industrial tasks. Marketability was further enhanced with their telescoping boom because of its exclusive ability to work in low overhead areas and to better position attachments.
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