• 8/14/2023

A DEVELON wheel loader equipped with a grapple attachment lifts a stack of logs.

Discover how A. Johnson Company in Vermont benefits from upgraded construction equipment. Using DEVELON wheel loaders, this hardwood lumber mill efficiently manages logs, resulting in a significant reduction in fuel consumption compared to their previous supplier.

A. Johnson Company is a family-owned hardwood lumber mill nestled among the picturesque Green Mountains in Bristol, Vermont.

Trucks deliver logs to the facility, where they are processed and eventually shipped to supply material for furniture, flooring and cabinetry.

Visit the sawmill and you’ll witness a flurry of activity, with various construction equipment moving throughout the facility. Two wheel loaders serve as the backbone of the company’s operation.

With 22 years of experience at the company, Loran McNally, the fleet maintenance manager, depends on the wheel loaders to ensure an uninterrupted workflow for essential daily tasks, such as log transportation. The reliability of the wheel loaders is crucial for employees who rely on them to feed logs into the sawmill.

Although A. Johnson Company’s partnership with DEVELON, along with the local dealer, isn’t that old, it has already blossomed into a prosperous relationship. When the need arose to replace an old wheel loader, Loran contacted G. Stone Commercial, the local dealer, to seek their recommendation.

Initially, the company leased a DL350-5 wheel loader from G. Stone Commercial. This successful arrangement eventually led to the acquisition of another machine from the dealer, conveniently located just 12 miles away from A. Johnson Company.

“When the lease came due on the DL350, it was a no-brainer for us to go right back to see Jamie McCray and start talking about a replacement machine,” Loran says. “I felt very comfortable with G. Stone Commercial and the machine. I had no interest in going anywhere else.”

As a result, the company purchased a new DL320-7 wheel loader to replace the DL350-5. “The DL320 has performed very well. There was no learning curve at all. It was just like getting out of one machine and right into another,” he says.

While transitioning from the first wheel loader to the second was seamless, Loran discovered a significant improvement in the new DL320-7. He states, “The single largest improvement we found was the third hydraulic control function on the boom, which we utilize all the time. The log grapple is equipped with a hydraulic arm that grips the logs in the forks. The grapple is controlled by a thumb switch on the joystick.”

The operators appreciate the proportional control that facilitates the easy opening and closing of the hydraulic clamp.

In addition to improved functionality, A. Johnson Company noticed a significant difference in noise levels and fuel consumption. Loran shares his thoughts on the machine upgrade, saying, “We had a 25-year-old piece of equipment, and that machine was noisy. Getting into these newer loaders is a night-and-day difference. Inside the machine, it’s quiet with the cab door shut, like riding in a passenger car.”

Newer DEVELON wheel loaders consume less fuel too.

“We’ve cut our fuel consumption easily by 50%, which in a year is a considerable amount of money,” he says.

A. Johnson Company and other sawmills are essential to the timber industry.

Their operations run smoothly thanks to seasoned employees like Loran, who work diligently to oversee the equipment and supply materials to their valued customers.

A DEVELON wheel loader operator unloads a stack of logs with a grapple attachment.

Passion for Timber

Loran McNally has a deep affection for his work and the industry his company serves. “I was born and raised in this area, and I love Addison County,” he shares. “I’m proud to be an employee of a family-run operation that’s been in business for well over 100 years. I think the wood and timber industry is important not only to Vermont and the local area but the world in general, to supply some of the best-quality hardwood products used worldwide to make furniture, flooring and all kinds of goods.”

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“We’ve cut our fuel consumption easily by 50%, which in a year is a considerable amount of money.”
Loran McNally, Fleet Maintenance Manager, A. Johnson Company