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Roadkill Retriever Relies on Hydraulics

The S6-WSKThe S6-WSK from Perkins Mfg. is designed to pick up and dispose of large animal carcasses that are too big or heavy to be handled manually. Hydraulics provides the power to handle this undesirable task with ease.


Talk about a niche market. It’s not unusual to see a raccoon, opossum, or other dead animal on the side of the road as you travel our nation’s highways. In most cases, ridding the landscape of these carcasses poses no great challenge. A crew of one can simply drive to the site, scoop up the roadkill with a shovel, and toss the critter into a waste receptacle.

But what if the animal is too big or heavy to scoop up with a shovel? Deer fall into this category, but depending on their location, highway workers might also have to deal with disposing of elk, caribou, and even bears. That’s where the model S6-WSH disposal unit comes in handy.

Designed and manufactured by Perkins Mfg. Corp., Bolingbrook, Ill., the S6-WSK consists of a 6-yd3 dumpster that fits into a standard pickup truck bed. The dumpster has two doors that can be opened and closed by hydraulic cylinders.

Isolated unitThis isolated view shows the workings of the S6-WSK, including some of the hydraulic cylinders that lift the doors and the bucket assembly.

However, the business part of the S6-WSK is its shovel. The shovel is actuated by a pair of hydraulic cylinders and mechanical linkages that move it to ground level for easy loading of the animal. The shovel can lift loads weighing up to 1,200 lb. from a hydraulic working pressure of 2,100 psi. The hydraulic power unit is sized to provide a 16-sec cycle time—fast enough for quick operation at a safe speed.

Designed by Carlos Arrez, of Perkins, the S6-WSK comes with manually operated hydraulic directional valves mounted at the rear of the unit. An operator can open and close either of two doors on the dumpster from this valve station. After opening a door, the operator actuates a valve to raise the shovel, which pivots 50 deg. to drop animal into the dumpster. Once the operator closes the doors, the hydraulic cylinders ensure that they stay closed.

Perkins also offers optional remote controls for the S6-WSK that can be mounted in the vehicle cab or provide wireless remote control. Jimmy Rimsa, a design engineer at the firm, points out the S6-WSK doesn’t have to be used only for roadkill. It can also handle tree stumps and other landscaping, along with construction waste, trash, and other loose materials.

He says that because the S6-WSK attaches to the bed of a standard pickup truck, it can be removed when not in use. And because the vehicle is a standard pickup, it can be deployed in areas too narrow or rugged for a garbage truck.

Rimsa also acknowledges that the unusual application of the S6-WSK is somewhat of a novelty and drew a lot of attention at Waste Expo 2016. But, he says the goal was to showcase the S6-WSK as just one example of the custom-built machines Perkins Mfg. is known for—in addition to its extensive line of standard industrial and vehicle-mounted products powered by both hydraulics and pneumatics. Visit for more information on their products, services, and capabilities.

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