Komatsu NZ's Christchurch branch team recently assembled and commissioned a new PC1250SP-8R excavator in extreme winter conditions

snow-pix-2-1.jpgincluding snow, sleet, rain, fog and hail to ensure on-time delivery for the customer on the South Island's rugged West Coast.

The 125 tonne excavator had been purchased by specialist ground engineering contractor Geotech Ground Engineering Ltd, which is carrying out contract mining operations at the Strongman Mine near Greymouth.

Geotech's Komatsu fleet at the mine includes a PC750-7 excavator, a PC300-7, a D155A-3 dozer and two HD605-7EA trucks, plus the new PC1250SP-8R.

Komatsu's Christchurch team was required to assemble and commission the new PC1250 without delay, in order to meet Geotech's requirement to have the machine in production as quickly as possible.

The process was carried out within a total of 10 days.

The Strongman mine, situated north of Greymouth, has portals at an elevation of 600 m above sea level, requiring it to be accessed via a 6 km, 1-in-8 grade road from the coastal highway.

The topography is extremely rugged and, being so high, the mine is prone to experiencing extreme and challenging weather conditions. It produces approximately 120,000 tonnes per annum of low ash, bituminous high volatile B rank coal.

To date, coal from Strongman has primarily been sold to Japan, China and India as thermal coal, although there is now a strong demand for it as semi-soft coking coal in Japan.

In addition, approximately 5% is sold as graded domestic product and a further 10% to the cement industry.

Geotech is a specialist ground engineering contractor, specialising in tunnelling, ground stabilisation, precision blasting and a wide range of earthmoving projects, with the ability to mobilise plant and operate anywhere in New Zealand.

Its main focus is on high-end contracting projects in extreme, challenging and environmentally sensitive sites. With all three companies Komatsu,

Geotech and SENZ-Strongman placing top priority on safety above all else, the key criterion was for the machine s commissioning to be carried out safely.

Komatsu's team working on the excavator build consisted of Rob McGregor, John Lewis, Dan McKay, Glen Inwood-Reardon and Scott Bout. Key elements in achieving this included ensuring everyone involved was appropriately dressed with the correct PPE gear, thermals and waterproof clothing, taking frequent breaks for warm food and drinks, and ensuring there was adequate visibility to work safely.

"A few times we had to stop the crane operation when visibility got really bad," said Rob McGregor, Komatsu NZ's Christchurch manager."But this sort of weather is fairly typical of a site this high up on the West Coast in June, so we knew we may have had to deal with it.

"In addition, the excavator came over from Christchurch on six trucks, one of which got stuck on Arthurs Pass for a few hours on the Monday when the front came through. On completion of the assembly and commissioning, Geoff O'Leary, Komatsu NZ's national operator trainer, carried out handover and training on the new machine.

Gordon McGlashen, Geotech's plant manager, was full of praise for the way in which the Komatsu NZ team worked on the PC1250."They took the challenge on and did a really good job.

"John Lewis, (Komatsu's head mechanic from Christchurch) was excellent through the whole job, right up until when he and I had to sit down and go through the paperwork to sign everything off once the machine was put together," said Gordon.


Day 1

Secure build site, establish

layout. Install upper structure

centre frame to left-hand and

right-hand track frames and

connect travel motor piping.

Day 2

Install counterweight and

platforms, torque all mounting

bolts, inspect all oil levels and

start machine.

Day 3

Install boom and lift cylinders

into place, install arm cylinders to

boom assembly and bleed.

Day 4

Install bucket cylinders to arm

assembly and install arm bleed all


Day 5

Inspect hydraulic oil levels and

flush system. Continue with

fitment of guards and handrails.

Day 6

Fit site-specific handrails, install

fire suppression system.

Day 7

Fitment of bucket and electrical

site-specific lights, continue to

install fire suppression system.

Day 8

Complete installation of handrails,

fire suppression system, carry out

grease system modifications.

Day 9

Two-way radio and radio access

lights and decals installed;

assembly work completed.

Day 10

Full preventive maintenance

clinic and pre-delivery performed,

swing motor modifications

carried out.

Day 11

Machine goes to work ?