It is no secret that the slowing of the construction sector has meant that many quarries do not have the same budget for capital expenditure they would have had two years ago. This presents problems when construction equipment is nearing the end of its life.
As a quarry manager, do you persevere with inefficient equipment and cop the loss of inevitable downtime or settle for inferior equipment for your quarry because it is all the budget will allow for?
Many quarries are finding leasing construction equipment an attractive option in these difficult economic times, according to National Plant and Equipment managing director Mark Ackroyd.
He said that numerous clients were leasing for the first time and were realising the benefits outside of saving on capital expenditure.
?A lot of our clients are new to leasing and they are starting to investigate because it saves them on ownership cost,? Mr Ackroyd said. ?It is much more expensive to own the machine than it is to rent it.
?With the current economic climate we have a lot more clients because their capital expenditure has been pulled back and they are looking to lease equipment. Leasing equipment really reduces their cost per hour but they are also finding that there is a maintenance advantage.
?We look after all the maintenance and if something breaks down we will have someone there within an hour.?
This is an advantage for quarries that, depending on the balance of leased equipment to owned equipment, can rely on less maintenance staff, another cost saving.
Mr Ackroyd explained that Hanson?s Central Coast Sands leases a Komatsu D475 dozer (used 90 per cent of the time for ripping sandstone on site) and has found the maintenance aspect of its contract of particular benefit.
?The nature of the material at Somersby acts like a grinding paste and is quite abrasive on the machinery, but we are able to fix any problems that have come up for them on site,? Mr Ackroyd said.
Another benefit of leasing is that the machines are all top of the range. National Plant and Equipment mainly leases Komatsu and Caterpillar machines, whereas in purchasing equipment, a lot of quarries will settle for inferior products.
Mr Ackroyd said the company supplied plenty of suitable products for the quarrying sector, including wheel loaders, dozers and excavators, including WA470s, WA500s, WA600-6s, WA900s and 992Gs.
?One of the biggest machines we leased to a quarry was a WA900 to a Readymix quarry in Townsville,? Mr Ackroyd said.
?All our loaders have weight scales in them and printers. They all have auto grease systems fitted and we supply different buckets – either straight edge buckets, or buckets with teeth, depending on the individual needs of the quarry.?
National Plant and Equipment has offices in New South Wales and Queensland.
By Ben Hocking