Load & Haul

Hi-Quality tailors fleet for future challenges

Hi-Quality Group, which operates quarrying, waste management and resource recovery facilities in New South Wales and Victoria, is tackling head on some of the challenges it sees facing the industry over the next few years.

Managing director Pat Hallinan said the two big issues confronting the quarrying and construction materials sectors are the availability of resources close to key markets, and the introduction of some form of carbon trading or carbon tax system.

The two issues are intertwined. The closer resources are to major markets – such as Sydney or Melbourne – the lower the carbon costs involved in bringing them to customers.

In recent years, Hi-Quality Group has built a strategic network of quarries, waste management and resource recovery sites close to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne – and has started investing in low emission, low fuel consumption equipment to extract those resources.
In February, Hi-Quality Group purchased six new Komatsu WA470-6 wheel loaders. Five are for use in its quarrying operations in Sydney?s south and southwest, and one is for its Melbourne operations.

At the same time, Hi-Quality purchased three items of low hour used Komatsu equipment: two excavators (a PC200-8 and PC450-8) and a D375A-5 dozer.

According to Pat Hallinan, the company opted for Komatsu equipment because its ecot3 new generation engines promised lower emissions and low fuel consumption.

?We are developing a carbon conscious business model, with an overall objective of reducing our company?s carbon footprint as much as possible,? he said.

?One of our means of achieving this is by purchasing carbon effective equipment such as our latest Komatsu machines. These purchases are the first stage in the Hi-Quality Group?s plans to change over to ecot3 low emission, low fuel consumption engines.

?This will ultimately limit the production of carbon emissions through reduced haulage distances, which we see as a significant cost facing the construction industry in the future.?

The company?s network of quarrying, recycling and landfill operations in NSW and Victoria is integrated with its own large transport fleet to service its customers.

?Our facilities are strategically located near Sydney, Goulburn, Canberra and Melbourne, making us ideally placed to service these key markets with long term, quality resources at a time when availability from other sources is becoming increasingly restricted,? Mr Hallinan

Hi-Quality?s resources include over 80 million tonnes of material in NSW and Victoria, with over 40 million tonnes of approved sand and sandstone quarry materials available to the construction market within the Sydney Basin.

?We have developed our resource profile to service the construction market and our customers for the long term,? Mr Hallinan explained.

?The proximity and reserves of these sites also have the potential to provide future resources for the waste industry, with increasing demand on landfills and growing populations in these cities.?

Products supplied by the company to customers in NSW and Victoria include naturally quarried materials and recycled products, as well as soils, gravels, aggregates and roadbase materials.

In Sydney, Hi-Quality is affiliated with Brandown Pty Ltd and together the two companies own and operate over 120 items of heavy mobile plant and equipment.

Hi-Quality?s WA470-6 loaders replace a fleet of WA470-3 loaders purchased new 10 years ago, and which logged 20,000 hours.
?We had an excellent performance from those machines, they were very reliable and the operators liked them, plus we had excellent
service and support from Komatsu over the years,? said Mr Hallinan.

?We tend to buy a mix of new and low-hour quality used equipment. We?ve had good advice from Chris Tweedie in used equipment on what best suits our needs, which led to the sale of new equipment, assisted by Knox Walmsley, Komatsu?s sales representative for this area.

?The support we?ve had on the sales side really helped us develop and grow the business over the past eight years. They understand where we are coming from, where the business is and the footprint that our business has in the industry.?

For Pat Hallinan, an important feature of the new wheel loaders is the KOMTRAX remote monitoring system. ?We?ve had satellite tracking on our road trucks for about four years now, so we always know where our trucks are and what they are doing,? he said.

?Now with KOMTRAX on the loaders, we will know which loaders are doing what job, their performance and the sorts of fuel savings we are getting – and also how different operators are handling different types of operations.

?And if we see some operators using more fuel, or taking longer to perform certain tasks, then we?ll be able to identify if an operator needs more training.

?It will let us gauge the performance of the drivers, and also let them gauge their own performance compared with others. To assist their development in the company, we can tell them, ?This is the best way to drive this machine and this is the way to operate so you save fuel.? Doing all those things will save money.

?It?s important that everyone works together to get the benefit out of the business, so it will be great to know that of the six drivers out there in the loaders, three could be very good, and perhaps the others need additional training.?

In addition to the new loaders, Hi-Quality purchased a low hour D375A-5 dozer for ripping virgin rock and pushing blasted rock in its four Sydney sandstone quarries.

According to Pat Hallinan, the D375A-5 is proving as productive as a D375A-3 the company previously hired.

?It?s got a nice, slow track speed for ripping, and a very low gear ratio.

?We brought this machine in because we have a lot of ripping to do; we?d been getting a bit behind with our rock, and we needed to boost production.

?In terms of fuel consumption, we?re averaging 450 litres per day, working 10 to 11 hours a day, which is very good. In comparison with other makes of dozers this size, it?s heaps better.

?It?s also definitely better at ripping, because the ripper is further out from the back of the tractor, combined with the very slow track speed, giving us very good production and performance,? he said.

Source: Komatsu Australia

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