Earthmover plays key role in recycling operation

Alex Fraser is one of Australia?s leading recyclers of construction and demolition materials. In November 2009, it completed the $45 million upgrade of its Laverton operation in Melbourne, where five Komatsu machines ? a PC400, PC300 and PC300LC excavators, plus WA500 and WA600 wheel loaders ? are playing a key role.

The company is in the middle of a major upgrade of its Melbourne and Brisbane facilities, a process that will continue over the next few years.

In addition to the Laverton upgrade, Alex Fraser has just opened a new site at Clayton, in southeast Melbourne, and work has started on an upgrade of its Epping site, to be completed in 2012. In Brisbane, Alex Fraser?s Nudgee and Archerfield operations were upgraded in 2009.

The Laverton site manager, Brent Alford, said Alex Fraser Group purchased Komatsu machinery because of its reliability and operator comfort. ?We have used other brands and the WA500 size machine has been tried and proven as a face loader at all of our sites,? he said. ?Two of our sites use WA500-6s and three use WA500-3s.?

The WA480 has also been a good sales loader for the operations at Nudgee and Archerfield.

Brent said that operator comfort and efficiency of operation were important elements with excavators and he also praised the ability of the HydauMind hydraulic system.

?The ability of Komatsu excavators to carry out dual functions simultaneously when operating is very advantageous to us,? he said. ?For example, we?re able to track the machine while operating the boom at the same time.

?We use hydraulic pulverisers on the excavators, which we can operate at the same time as the arm. This gives us quicker cycle times which leads to more tonnes of production per hour.?

Brent Alford added that Alex Fraser?s operators were also involved in new equipment purchases. ?Before we buy a piece of equipment, we make sure it?s been test-driven by some of our operators, is fit for the job and that it provides good operator comfort, and our operators are more than happy with the Komatsu range.?

Peter Murphy, Alex Fraser?s chief operating officer, said regular dialogue was an important part of the company?s operational relationship with key suppliers like Komatsu.

?Our team constantly reviews the operational aspects of our plants,? he said. ?Komatsu makes up a major part of our fleet, with 34 pieces of Komatsu equipment.

?We find we get good back-up. When there?s an issue, Komatsu will try to work through it with us. The machines are a good fit for our operations, and there?s good long-term consistency between the models of the machines.  

?This is important in Melbourne where we do most of our own maintenance. Some of our gear is brand new and some of it is 15 years old, so some parts interchangeability is an advantage,? said Peter.

?In Brisbane and on our demolition sites, we use the Komatsu field service regularly and the feedback from our operations people is good.
?Our demolition crews carry out very specialised works in locations around Australia and New Zealand, so reliability of equipment and good
field service support is critical,? he said.

Alex Fraser?s upgrades and expansion is in part possible due to the involvement of the Swire Group, based in Hong Kong, which purchase a majority share of the company some years ago.

?This is allowing us to grow our business in a secure way, with the additional resources available to us,? Peter Murphy said.
?Alex Fraser has always been an innovative business, run successfully with a strong degree of forward thinking ? and we are looking to see the business grow further.

?Our major upgrade process is focused on two key drivers for our customers?the consistent quality of our products, and fast truck turnaround time. Any piece of gear that turns our customers? trucks around quickly supports a crucial part of our business.?
Alex Fraser?s plant upgrade process also includes a three year equipment purchasing programme to meet the requirements of its plants.
To put it all into perspective, at the opening of the company?s upgraded Laverton facility, Jamie McKellar, Alex Fraser Group?s managing director told the assembled guests ? which included Victorian Premier John Brumby and John Swire and Sons Australia chairman Bill Rothery ? that over the past 20 years, the company had recycled about 22 million tonnes of material.
?That represents 22 million tonnes of quarried material that?s still available to be used, and 22 million tonnes of material that didn?t go to landfill,? said Jamie McKellar.

Source: Komatsu Australia

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend