Geology Talk

Shire makes smooth transition to yellow gear

The two machines, a WA430-6 wheel loader and a PC270-8 excavator, were delivered to the council?s quarry operation in September 2012. 
The excavator is used at the bottom of the quarry, excavating blasted material to feed the crusher and feeding crushed material to the quarry?s slip screen, which produces the council?s DGB20 roadbase product.
The loader works around the stockpile area, stockpiling and mixing materials, loading out trucks and cleaning up the area. 
Quarry manager John Smith said operator acceptance of both machines had been outstanding.
{{image2-a:r-w:200}}?If I suggested I was going to take either one of these machines off the boys, I would have a mass walkout!? Smith joked. 
?Bryan Thurston, our loader operator, has had four loaders since he has been here at the quarry and he reckons this one far outweighs all of them,? he added.
Smith said the operators appreciated the performance and stability of the excavator ? which is larger than the machine it replaced ? while the loader is a ?really nice machine? to drive.
?It?s quick, it?s quiet, I couldn?t recommend it more highly to be quite honest with you. We are pretty stoked with it. Bryan has got a bit of professionalism in him and he likes to see our work area nice and neat, which is why he is on the loader.? 
Fuel consumption of the two new machines is also significantly less than the machines they replaced, despite the two Komatsu units being larger than their predecessors. 
?With the previous loader, every day we put 220 to 230 litres of fuel in it,? Smith said. ?Every second day with this Komatsu, which is a size larger, we are putting in 265 to 270 litres of fuel, so we are getting two days? work for nearly the same amount of fuel.?
?And it?s even better with the excavator. Our previous machine was a 20-tonner and we used to fill it up twice a week. This Komatsu, we only fill up once a week.?
Having opted for larger machines, the council is also seeing improved production ? all the while cutting its fuel bill. ?The excavator sits up on a metre high pad, taking all the material out of the rock face and loading it onto the truck. It?s nice and stable, so there?s no rocking about,? said Smith. 
?The bucket on it is a metre and a half, so it is a fairly decent sized bucket and it can load our truck in nine buckets, against the previous excavator which took 13. So we are saving time there. 
?With the loader, because we went up a size, when loading a road train we are down two movements. We used to use five buckets to load a trailer but now we can load it in four a trailer, so again we are picking up time and money there.?
Another area in which the quarry is saving money on the new machines is the service agreements it has with Komatsu. 
?Both machines are around the $6 an hour mark under our service agreement with Komatsu, which we can opt out of any time we want,? Smith said.
?With our previous excavator, the service agreement was more than twice that, so over the life of that machine it cost us a lot of money. I sat down and worked out that if we keep both machines for 7000 hours, we?ll just about have one of those machines for nothing due to the fuel and service savings we are seeing.? ?
Source: Komatsu Australia

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