Search Stories by: 

Education, Training

The ballet-like performance of “dancing” earthmoving equipment at Volvo CE’s Eskilstuna customer centre.
The ballet-like performance of “dancing” earthmoving equipment at Volvo CE’s Eskilstuna customer centre.

Environment award opens new doors for quarry manager

Past IQA award recipient Peter Allitt undertook a study trip to Sweden after being recognised in 2012 for his work in promoting environmental care in the workplace. He relates why he found this experience invaluable for his professional development and why other IQA members should also consider applying for the awards.
Peter Allitt, the manager of Holcim’s Bli Bli Quarry on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, has a new found respect for Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) and its extensive range of earthmoving equipment.
It came about due to his trip to Sweden last year as a guest of the company after he won the Volvo Travel Award at the 2012 Construction Materials Industry Conference in Melbourne, jointly organised by Cement Concrete Aggregates Australia and the IQA. The award recognised Peter’s contribution to environmental management in the quarrying industry.
Peter was acknowledged for co-ordinating the regeneration of the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Vine, which is found on the Bli Bli Quarry site. This is the only vine on which the butterfly larvae can survive. Timing of an approved quarry development is being managed to allow 10 to 15 years to establish vine communities in select parts of the quarry.
Other initiatives that formed part of Peter’s environmental management and which contributed to his award included:
  • Creation of an east-west fauna corridor.
  • Establishment of a wetland for the protection of the Tusked Frog and Elf Skink, both of which exist on the site.
  • Removal of topsoil employed in the rehabilitation of existing benches for a propagation program of plant species endemic to the region.
  • Regeneration of all disturbed areas.
  • Revegetation to visually screen the quarry.
  • Promotion of industry awareness about the impacts that quarrying operations can have on flora and fauna species and of the opportunities that exist to counteract these impacts.
Peter Allitt’s tour group pose in front of the Munktell Museum, site of the original Volvo factory in Eskilstuna.
Peter Allitt’s tour group pose in front of the Munktell Museum, site of the original Volvo factory in Eskilstuna.
Volvo CE sponsored the environmental award, enabling the winner to join the company’s annual tour for existing and prospective Volvo equipment users on a one-week visit to its facilities in Sweden. 
The quality and professionalism of Volvo representatives was apparent from the outset of the tour. As the tour progressed, Peter realised that Volvo expects those same qualities from all their employees, as this is what the Volvo business represents.
The trip commenced in August 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Peter and 30 others were taken on a canal cruise and then travelled to Växjö, Sweden, staying overnight in a Glass Art Hotel. 
On the second day, the group toured the Volvo articulated hauler factory in Braås, where they observed the complete process of fabrication and manufacturing of major truck components, commencing with large sheet metal plates right through to finished, painted products. 
Robotic welders were in use for chassis and body fabrication; this was of major interest to Peter who had been a boiler-maker and quarry fitter. 
A feature here is the high level of automation and quality control. While inspecting Volvo’s manufacturing facilities on the tour, it became apparent to Peter that safety at Volvo is paramount and so too is the company’s focus on quality, innovation and caring for its people and the environment. 
Trucks built at Braås source the motors, drivelines and cabins from other Volvo plants throughout Sweden. Each truck is built to order. There are minimum stock holdings and road trains bring components in overnight. Volvo has its own test track. The bus service in Braås accommodates Volvo employees, with a bus stop situated at the facility’s entrance.
The next stop on the itinerary was the engine factory at Skövde where Peter was fascinated to see casting, machining, assembly and test running of complete engines at the one location. An innovative environmental feature is the recycling of water used for cooling engine castings to heat the factory. 
Smart energy use was a recurring theme. Robotics were again in use for engine assembly. However, there is a strong emphasis on human quality assurance checks at each stage. Robotic trolleys are used to move assembly components around the pristine factory. Peter noted that safety is a relentless focus, typified by the collision avoidance system built into the robotic trolleys. 
The CJD-sponsored group toured the Volvo articulated hauler factory in Braås, Sweden.
The CJD-sponsored group toured the Volvo articulated hauler factory in Braås, Sweden.
Wheel loaders were next on the agenda, at Arvika, where Volvo has its own machine testing area and a small museum featuring early Volvo equipment and tools, including old welders. This was another immaculately presented factory.
A difference here is that the large L350F wheel loaders are hand-built, as they are too big and too heavy for the automated carousel assembly line used for smaller loaders. 
The individual assembler of the larger loaders is responsible for his or her section of the loader assembly and is made aware of a customer issue within 24 hours of a report to Volvo, wherever it may be in the world. 
Peter particularly noted the high quality of the equipment and Volvo’s focus on safety, environmental awareness, support for local businesses and its active caring for the local community. These were notable features in each city where Volvo is established.
Peter learned how proud of its history Volvo is, highlighted by the visit to the Munktell Museum (site of the first Volvo factory) at Eskilstuna, the city that houses Volvo CE’s customer centre. It was here that Peter experienced a fascinating ballet-like performance of “dancing” earthmoving equipment. 
A highlight for the visitors was the tuition and driving of any of the 90 Volvo machines assembled at the centre. Peter rated the machine show and test drive day as a sensation and a credit to Volvo CE and the organising committee at the Eskilstuna customer centre. 
The day was capped off by a gala dinner and performance by a Swedish cover band, showing that the glory days of Sweden’s ABBA live on!
The group departed from Stockholm after an informative week. Peter said the quarry industry can learn a lot about environmental care from Volvo CE, and Sweden in general, which appears pristine. 
On his return to Australia, Peter wrote to Volvo CE, thanking the company for the award and his unforgettable experience. He said he was privileged to have received the Volvo Travel Award and to attend the customer trip to Sweden. 

He made special mention and gave thanks to Gavin Smith and Chris Wolf of Volvo CE and Mark Weekes and Grayden Leaver of CJD Equipment. They displayed outstanding professionalism, hospitality, organisational skills and Volvo values throughout the tour.
Peter hopes to return to Sweden with his family and recommends others apply for the Volvo Travel Award for the chance to win the trip. “The Travel Award and Volvo Days Tour was a once in a lifetime opportunity, which I will appreciate and remember forever,” Peter said. 
He has a renewed appreciation of Volvo Construction Equipment and shares this with industry colleagues and Holcim senior management. 

Friday, 19 October, 2018 03:39am
login to my account
Username: Password:
Free Sign Up

Receive FREE newsletter and alerts

Display ad Delux
Display ad Delux
Display ad Delux