Safety features, operator comfort and working efficiency, combined with the KOMTRAX remote monitoring system as a management tool were behind Sydney-based Ku-ring-Gai Council's decision to purchase a Komatsu WB97R-5EO backhoe/loader.
Based in the northern suburbs of Sydney, the Ku-ring-gai local government area covers approximately 84 square kilometres and features a wide variation in landscape and wildlife, with significant areas of urban bushland identified as having high conservation status.
Of the residential area, 95% is occupied by low-density housing, bounded by Garigal National Park in the east, Lane Cove River Park in the west and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in the north.
According to Ian Taylor, Ku-ring-gai Council's Manager, Engineering Services the new Komatsu backhoe, which replaces another make, is mostly being used for smaller civil works around the council's area: road shoulders, footpaths, light construction and maintenance works.
In deciding on which make of backhoe to purchase, the council evaluated three leading brands of backhoe, said Ian.
"This one came out on top. It's a good cross-over between an excavator and a backhoe, and it was certainly the preferred machine from the operator's point of view," he said.
"And from a management point of view, the KOMTRAX system made it very attractive, as we can track its use and utilisation, see where it's been going, and monitor machine condition.
"Other factors included value for money, and our familiarity with the Komatsu name.
"Our operators enjoy the machine; it's a very modern machine, with very good safety systems, such as the hose-burst protection system.
"It's also very comfortable , plus it's faster travelling from site to site, which makes it more productive, and again makes the operators happier."
The council did have some initial issues with the KOMTRAX system, but which actually served to increase its confidence in the effectiveness of it, said Ian.
"We had a few teething problems with the GPS, and it turned out it was preventing the machine from being used. However, since then, it's giving us very detailed and reliable data.
"We've never had anything like this before, and it's proving to be very successful for us," he said.
"In fact, that initial issue is giving us confidence in how the technology works, because we know if it ever gets stolen, we'll quickly know where it is, and it won't be able to be used by unauthorised people.It's been very well received by everyone at the council. We're very happy with the purchase," Ian said.