Andy?s Earthworks covers the greater Sydney area and he says he relies on excavators because they are robust and deliver returns that make good economic sense. His operation runs on the back of eight Kobelco excavators.
?Kobelco excavators are good on fuel, they have good warranties, it?s easy to get parts for them and they have a realistic price,? Irwin explained. ?I am sick of machines that are too much hassle to get parts and services and are too thirsty and too dear.?
Andy?s Earthworks takes on a wide range of contracts and Irwin?s fleet has a Kobelco machine for every job, including an SK17SR for tight access jobs and an SK75SR with an offset boom.
The biggest machines in the operation are three 20-tonne SK200s. They are usually based in Irwin?s quarry where they saw out blocks of sandstone for retainer walls. On a good day they move 600 tonnes so machine strength and endurance are important.
?Kobelco is a steel company so they make a better machine, with stronger steel that lasts longer,? Irwin said. ?The arm of my 20-tonner is bigger in comparison to other brands. I wouldn?t buy anything else.?
With Kobelco?s quick hitch, Irwin?s staff constantly swap attachments to best meet the job at hand: mud buckets, trenchers, rippers, grabs, hammers and rock saws.
?The SK75 is good for jobs where we have to do rock sawing, as the offset means you can get closer in,? he said. ?With its short rear swing the operator only needs a 3m working space.?
He also has three Kobelco SK135s. Two are long carriage with larger booms and one has an offset knuckle-boom. ?The knuckle-boom is for rock-sawing, so I don?t have to keep moving.?
A feature Irwin appreciates in the larger models is the ability to crank up the hydraulics when needed. The operator can choose to run on one pump or two.
While he relies on his machines to be strong and gutsy, Irwin said the Kobelco excavators also offered excellent operator comfort.
?It?s beautiful inside, everything is adjustable to suit the operator. There?s good air conditioning and it?s a very quiet machine.?
The cab layout has been designed so levers and controls utilise natural arm movements, while safety is enhanced with good visibility.
Irwin used to run a mix of excavators but is phasing out the other brands in favour of Kobelco. The last two will be replaced this year.
?I have to fill them up every day, compared to the Kobelcos which go two days on a tank,? he said.
The replacements will be a Kobelco SK200 and an SK135SR long carriage.
He said the Kobelco SK135SR was a handy machine for medium-sized jobs.
?It?s bigger in the arm, with more reach, and it?s more stable for jobs like loading crushers and trucks.?
When it comes to maintenance, most of it is done by Irwin?s dealer Sydney Truck and Machinery.
?The workshop manager Andrew Carrington is a terrific bloke and knows his stuff. They call when the machines are due for servicing and if anything goes wrong they?re here within two hours.?
Irwin buys new with a warranty of 6000 hours or six years. He works them up to 10,000 hours before even thinking of trading them in and most he keeps a lot longer.
?I?ve tried a mix of machinery and these are just better. They?re good machines and I want to keep everything the same so there?s no hassle with service, warranties or parts.? ?
Source: Kobelco Excavators