Queensland's Maranoa Regional Council (based around Roma, 500km west of Brisbane) has recently purchased 2 new Komatsu machines, following successful use of 7 other Komatsu machines, both in quarrying & in the region on general construction & maintenance.
The council, which covers an area of 58,800 sq km, services a population of 13,000 and has 450 employees, took delivery of a GD555-3 grader in late March and a WB975-5EO backhoe its third Komatsu backhoe in late April.
Komatsu equipment already owned by Maranoa consists of four loaders, a WA470-3 delivered in late 2005, a WA480-5 delivered in mid 2006, and two WA480-6s delivered in mid 2009 plus a PC300-7 delivered in late 2005 all of which are used in the council's Roma Quarry operation.
At the quarry, Maranoa runs two separate crushing operations: one for general gravel and crushed rock products, and one for roadbase.
Its two existing backhoes are a WB97R and a WB97S, both of which were delivered last year, said Andrew Byrnes, Maranoa's Director of Operations,.
"Our two backhoes are used for general maintenance and construction applications, roadworks, sewerage and drainage works by our plumbing teams, general backhoe duties including grave-digging!" he said.
According to Andrew, the decision to purchase the new Komatsu grader its first from Komatsu was based on a number of factors, including price, value for money, service and support and fitness for purpose.
"Overall, we've been happy with Komatsu, the machines it's supplied and the support we've received."
He said Maranoa had been buying Komatsu machines for about the past four years.
"We bought them all new or low-hour. The excavator and both the backhoes we bought new, while the three WA480s and the WA470 we bought low-hour from the Bracalba Quarry in Brisbane, where Komatsu has an on-going maintenance contract.
"Our decision to start buying Komatsu was primarily due to our regional Komatsu representative, Pat Munro," he said.
"Pat works very hard on maintaining a good relationship and he chipped away at us for a long time before we bought our first Komatsu machine.
We've now got a very good relationship with Pat, as well as with Komatsu's spare parts people in Sherwood, in Brisbane," said Andrew.
"The parts blokes at Sherwood are very good to deal with; they make sure they get us any parts we need overnight, which is very good, and minimises our downtime."
One thing Andrew really appreciates about the latest Komatsu machines is the KOMTRAX remote monitoring system, which the council has on the two newer WA480s, and on the WB97S.
"We find it really helps us with the duty cycle on the loaders, as well as giving us very early warning of anything that may be going wrong," he said.
"And if there is a problem, Komatsu in Brisbane can dial in and get a good idea as to what might be the cause, so they don't have to send a fitter all the way out here to find out what the issue is before starting to fix it.
"It narrows things down, and vastly reduces the time involved in troubleshooting and repairing the machines," he said.
Andrew said the council aimed to rotate its plant fleet on a regular basis to ensure that operating and maintenance costs are kept to a minimum, which in turn optimises each unit's return on investment.
"This rotation practice also ensures that we continue to operate a relatively new and modern plant fleet," he said.