The IBBZ bin is manufactured out of a small shop in Loomis, Neb., about eight hours from the location of our operation just outside Tulsa, Okla. When we arrived at the shop in Loomis, we had our chance to look at the frame of the machine. I was immediately impressed by how heavy the frame rails were constructed and the level of care that was used to weld everything together. We had some difficulty custom-fitting the bin into my truck, but did some measuring and welding and had everything fitting snug. Install time was around seven hours, including welding and fabrication of new lift arm brackets, but could easily be completed in around an hour if all the dimensions are correct prior to install.
Back in Tulsa, rain persisted for nearly a week while the bin remained unused and my anxiety persisted. When the skies finally broke, we had plenty of grass to pick up. Utilizing our two Walker mowers equipped with 9.5-bushel grass handling systems, we were ready for the field test. After checking all the hydraulic fittings and looking over the system, we did a few trial runs with the empty basket. The operation of the lift arm is simple and can be controlled by a remote.
Our first dump into the lift arm basket was slightly less than a full load for our Walker, but completely filled the lift basket. Full of moderately damp grass, we pressed the up button on the hand-held hydraulic control and up it went without a hitch. The basket flipped and dumped its entire contents into the bin. In subsequent loads, we used the entire capacity of our Walkers and found they slightly overfilled the basket, but we were not able to bog down the hydraulic arm; it continued to work as advertised. The only noticeable drawback was that, at times, the weight of the grass caused part of the basket’s lining to fold over and prevent a small portion of the clippings from being dumped. This was easily corrected by a slight lowering and reraising of the basket, which released the remaining grass. I believe a small increase in the basket’s capacity would eliminate this problem altogether. (Walker makes two sizes of boxes, including a smaller 7-bushel box, which I believe is the size box the lift basket was designed for.)
Over the course of the next week we determined the bin would hold about 20 to 22 dumps from the 9.5-bushel Walker box. Using our smaller-sized accounts to approximate a residence, I believe the 6-cubic-yard bin has the capacity to hold clippings for up to 20 residential accounts before needing to be dumped. Now that we knew how much the bin could hold, we got to the more important question: Can the IBBZ bin lift and dump the clippings without a problem?
We allowed the grass to settle overnight and sit through a modest rain shower before driving to the Tulsa Green Dump. The bin was 7/8 full with a fair amount of moisture when we positioned the hydraulic valve setting to dump the bin. This was definitely going to be a test. As the bin began to lift up and lean over the edge of the truck, I felt the passenger side of my 2000 F-250 begin to get a little lighter. Right about the time I got a little nervous, I stopped the hydraulic mechanism to look at the position of the bin and realized only a few more inches of lift would allow the grass to begin to flow. Out it came! The second time we dumped, I continued to hold down the up button on the remote to see how smoothly the removal went, and I was definitely impressed. We had a minor amount of clippings on the lip of the bin, which was easily removed with a light tap on the canvas. I realized this machine can dump in less than one minute what would’ve taken me over an hour with a pitchfork and rake, not to mention the strain it saved on my back. In a future dump, I took pictures to illustrate how the machine rolls everything out in one simple motion. As the bin is retracted by pressing down on the hydraulic control, a light tug on the canvas helps it to settle back into place. I was now in and out of the green dump in five minutes. I would estimate this machine saved six to eight man-hours per week in my program, and perhaps hundreds of dollars per month in reduced labor costs. I also enjoyed avoiding the physical stress of removing clippings by hand.
In conclusion, we’ve found there are many aspects to consider when purchasing this machine, as with any other. For us, the width of the truck with the attached arm sacrifices too much visibility out of the passenger side mirror and reduces driver confidence on the narrow streets of Tulsa, however, this may be less of a concern for many makes and models of trucks, and no concern at all to those who use the trailer or landscape truck application of the IBBZ bin. On the other hand, I really like having the option to move this equipment from truck to trailer, or vice versa, if necessary. We also liked the cost of this machine compared with other options. If you’re looking for an economical way to reduce labor while still handling significant amounts of grass and debris, I would recommend the IBBZ bin as a solution.
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