Victorian contractor Horsburgh Earthmoving is finding a recently purchased Komatsu D51EX-22 dozer matched with Topcon's 3D-MC2 high-speed GPS-based machine control system is allowing him to deliver increased production, faster completion times and work mo
Horsburgh Earthmoving is a newly established bulk earthworks and wetlands construction specialist based near Geelong, south-west of Melbourne owned by Travis Horsburgh.
Travis took delivery of the new D51EX-22 in July this year, and found its final trim and grading abilities made it invaluable, allowing it to work throughout one of Melbourne's wettest winters in the past decade.
"The D51EX-22, combined with Topcon's 3D-MC2 has been very useful for time-saving and cost-cutting," he said.
"We don't find ourselves doing things two or three times where we can do it first time round, plus it saves on surveying costs and having an extra man on the ground to be constantly pegging stuff out.
"It's also great having the dozer at this time of year being the wettest that we've had in 10 years there have been a lot of areas where we can't get graders in, because it's just been too wet to run rubber tyred machines, so I've been able to work when others can't.
"The dozer has just taken over with the 3D-MC2, because we are getting that finished quality," he said.
"For example, the last subdivision job I was on, we cut the time needed for a grader by boxing out all the roads, through to the topsoiling pretty much start to finish, the job was done with the dozer.
"I was able to go in and box the roads out to subgrade, then push the dirt into piles for the excavator just to load out, so we reduced a lot of time by not having an excavator there to box the roads out.
"From start to finish, we did the whole subdivision except for the drainage, including all roads and topsoiling; I guess we'd saved five to six weeks compared with conventional methods," Travis said.
The end result has been that the Komatsu dozer/Topcon system combination has given him more working hours.
"Last month, I estimated my turnover in hours with the weather and stuff, averaged about 50 hours a week. If I hadn't had had the Topcon system on, I wouldn't have gotten close to that.
"Having this system on has probably given me another 10 to 15 hours a week work by being able to have other work to go on to," Travis said.
He's also been very impressed with the comfort and performance of the dozer.
"It's one of the most comfortable dozers I've ever driven," he said.
"From an operator comfort point of view, it's great the noise levels are next to nothing inside, you've got full visibility of the blade from inside the cab, the ergonomics are really well thought out and its power is unbelievable.
"I've driven a lot of other brands of dozer before all the other brands and I find this to be one of the best," said Travis.
He described the service and support from Komatsu Australia as being very good.
"I've had a few little issues and the guys have been real quick to jump on it, and we got it sorted out, so we haven't had any downtime."
In addition, Travis makes full use of the KOMTRAX remote monitoring system.
"Each night, I can get home and look at an estimate of fuel usage, running temperatures for the day, where the workload has been, percentage workload, and keeping track of where the machine is.
"Then at the end of the month you get a statement to average out your working hours and the percentage of, for example, load rates and fuel usage.
"That has also been a big help in keeping an eye on how the machine is running."
And because of the benefits of KOMTRAX, Travis intends to keep buying Komatsu equipment.
"I can see KOMTRAX being enormously valuable across a fleet of machines, as a way of monitoring operator practices and comparative machine performance in addition to the other machine monitoring benefits."
Travis said he went for the D51EX-22 because he was after "something different".
"It was, I suppose a new class of dozer, and I wanted a finish dozer that had enough power, but was small enough to be able to do a wide variety of work.
"And this dozer has certainly worked out to be the right package for what we are after, in the type of work that we are chasing," he said.