NEWS 27 Aug 2008


Operators with Main Roads Western Australia have been "wrapt" in the performance of their new Komatsu WB97R-5 backhoe, which was delivered in late January 2008.

The machine operates out of Port Hedland in north Western Australia, covering the Pilbara region for the department, primarily searching out soils and gravels suitable for road pre-construction activities in this very remote region.

It will also be used for excavating around bridge pylons after floods and cyclones which the region is prone to and inspecting the condition of pylons that have been silted-up. Other activities will include clean-up work after cyclones and pit rehabilitation.

Pat Matthews, Perth-based plant manager with Main Roads WA, said the senior project manager in the region had discussed the WB97R-5 with him about three weeks after it was delivered.

"Over that first three weeks, they've been wrapt in it after having it out to work," said Pat.

"Already he tells me we are getting a return on our investment and it's more than meeting our expectations.

"A major factor in how much the operators like it is the machine's comfort.

"He and the other operator find it very comfortable to drive; something that's very important when you have to travel 5 to 10km in very hot temperatures from job to job," Pat said.

The MRD purchased the backhoe after going to tender, which Komatsu won.

"When we drew up the tender specs, issues included driver comfort, performance and reliability," he said.

"We also spoke to other owners who had the same model and the feedback was very good.

"Komatsu's reputation for after-sales service and in terms of spares holdings was another important consideration.

"And considering they have a branch in Port Hedland for spares backup and support meant that we were very happy to go with Komatsu," said Pat.