EA Hire, major supplier of excavators & earthmoving equipment to major infrastructure projects around Australia, purchased two Komatsu HB215LC Hybrid excavators part of an order for over 35 Komatsu excavators ranging from PC45MR-2s to eight PC350LC-8s.
The company was established by Laurence Eales and his wife Prue in 1999 initially as Excavators Australia changing its trading name to EA Hire in 2005 when it expanded its fleet to other types of equipment.
It started with a single excavator on Sydney's M5 motorway, working for Baulderstones, and quickly grew from there.
Today it runs around 150 items of plant 80% of them excavators carrying out works along the east coast of Australia, including major road construction projects, tunnelling projects, railway lines, dams and other infrastructure.
The two Hybrid machines will be going to work on the $1.65 billion Hunter Expressway project, providing dual carriageway between the F3 exit west of Newcastle and the New England Highway near Branxton.
Laurence is putting the Hybrids into applications which will maximise their fuel savings, taking advantage of Komatsu's Ultra Capacitor system, which uses the slew braking to charge the capacitor and then quickly convert it back into power for slewing and to assist the engine.
"They will be digging out table drains, pulling batters, where we will have to swing to the side a fair bit, along with trenching works, drainage work, loading trucks all the kinds of works where it is going to be the most advantageous," he said.
Laurence said that this new Hybrid-type technology was becoming increasingly important on projects and would be sought after by his clients.
"We've had interest from other projects for the hybrids, and it is creating a bit of a buzz out there, because the environmental elements of projects are so critical to a lot of projects these days.
"It is a big part of the business now and, with just about every contract, clients are looking at innovative ways of reducing their carbon footprint," he said.
"It is a very important step going forward for all businesses.
"In a number of projects that we have tendered, the environmental side can actually play a big part in winning the contract.
"Clients and head contractors want to know what type of machines we are running, down to whether or not we have Tier 3 engines, and even if they can run on bio-diesel.
"So having the hybrid machine, which with its reduced carbon emissions, gives us a huge advantage in our tender process and shows that we are serious about our environment and for all our major clients as well," said Laurence.
The Hybrids, along with all EA Hire's new Komatsu excavators over 20 tonnes, have been set up to take the very latest Topcon 3D GPS excavator kits.
"We've got the latest Topcon GPS systems on them, and we'll be making use of that to ensure we are digging out those drains as accurately and precisely as possible which will also contribute to fuel savings," he said.
"But they are also very flexible machines. For example, we have them fitted up for hammer work, where you don't get the advantage of the hybrid system so much, as they are not slewing
all the time.
"That means for us, they can still be used in other applications, but when you have a more environmentally sensitive project, then you've got that flexibility where can use it in an application where it's slewing much more and reduce your carbon emissions," said Laurence.
"We have always aimed to be the market leader in ourhire business; we always want to be one stepahead of our competitors, being innovative, looking at new technology, and looking at new ways to improve our business so the hybrid is a very good fit for the business."
In addition to this major Komatsu excavator purchase including the two Hybrids EA Hire has entered into a national service agreement with Komatsu Australia, which is overseen and managed by Paul Chenery, Komatsu Australia's major account manager for NSW construction
and utility sales.
Under this agreement, all repairs and maintenance of EA Hire's equipment Komatsu and non-Komatsu equipment is handled by Komatsu Australia.
"Our machines go through Melbourne or Brisbane if they need a service, but if there are any issues at all, Paul here in Sydney manages it as far as parts and services go," said Laurence.
"This includes most of our service and repair work on another brand of equipment that we own," he said.
"We've gone with Komatsu now because we find them very reliable and durable, especially in
the hydraulic pumps.
"The service we've had from Komatsu in NSW has been great, and we have a very good relationship with the local service people.
"That's why we've decided to go with Komatsu nationally for all our servicing requirements,"