"If I suggested I was going to take either one of these machines off the boys, I would have had a mass walkout"
A delivery of two new Komatsu machines to Coonamble Shire in the Central West of NSW has delivered higher productivity, significantly lower fuel consumption and better operator acceptance compared with the machines they replaced.
The two machines, a WA430-6 Wheel Loader and a PC270-8 Excavator, were delivered to the council's quarry operation in August - September 2012.
The excavator is used at the bottom of the quarry, excavating blasted material to feed the crusher, as well as feeding crushed material to the quarry's slipscreen 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.
"I will tell you something," he said. "If I suggested I was going to take either one of these machines off the boys, I would have had a mass walkout"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," said John.
He said the operators appreciated the performance and stability of the excavator which is bit larger than the machine it replaced while the loader "basically is a really nice machine to drive.
"Mate, 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," John said. "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; every second day with this Komatsu which is a size larger, we are putting 265 to 270 litres of fuel so we are getting two days' work for the nearly the same amount of fuel," John said.
"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 can 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 John.
"The bucket on it is a metre and a half, so it is a fairly decent sized bucket that we have on it, and it can load our truck in nine buckets, against the previous excavator, which took 13.
"So we are saving time there And 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, he said.
Another area where the quarry is saving money on the new machines is in 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. 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," said John.
"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."