Why Ravensthorpe Shire decided to standardise on Komatsu

Western Australia’s Shire of Ravensthorpe has recently taken delivery of a Komatsu WA430-6 wheel loader – its seventh Komatsu machine, following a decision by the shire some years ago to standardise on a single brand as much as possible.

The new WA430-6 loader, delivered in early June, replaces a loader of another brand, and is the shire’s primary production loader, loading road trains and tippers from its various gravel pits for road resheeting, as well as general construction and maintenance works.

The Shire of Ravensthorpe is located on the southern coast of WA in the Southern Goldfields/Esperance region, and about 530 km from Perth. Covering an area of 13,500 sq km, it services a population of just over 1700.

Its road network consists of around 1200 km of dirt roads, and 200 km of bitumen.

The Shire’s Komatsu fleet, in addition to the newest machine, consists of a WA200PZ-6 and a WA320PZ-6 loader, two GD655-5 graders and a GD555-5 grader, and a WB97R-5EO backhoe/loader.

Works Supervisor Greg Plunkett said Ravensthorpe decided to standardise on Komatsu machines some years ago.

“We bought our first Komatsu machine, the GD555-5 grader, about five years ago, and it worked out well for us; the operators really liked it.

“We primarily went that way so that we could standardise as many of our parts and consumables as possible,” he said.

“We’ve found that not having to deal with different filter makes and types, as well as other parts, makes it so much easier for us. Before that, it just got all too messy.


“For example, with the graders, they are very similar bits of gear, with the same set up,” said Plunkett.

“We use the newer GD655-5 for our road rebuilding, resheeting and road reconstruction, doing more of the heavier work than the other two.

“The other two graders are primarily doing maintenance grading, and we try to keep them in their own work areas, so they can get over the roads as often as possible, so we can keep them in the best condition,” he said.

Ravensthorpe’s WA320PZ-6 loader is used in its rubbish tip, covering waste material to ensure it doesn’t blow away.

The WA200PZ-6, which has bucket, rake and fork attachments, is used – along with the WB97R-5EO backhoe – for general utility works, cleaning road verges, and other small-scale projects.

According to Plunkett, the service and support the council receives from Komatsu is very good.

“We primarily deal with Curtis Bateman (Komatsu’s Sales Account Manager for the South West of WA), and we have a very good rapport with him.

“Because we’re in a fairly isolated area – we’re 300 km from Albany, 200 km from Esperance and 500 km from Bunbury – we tend to do all our minor servicing ourselves, while Komatsu does all the major ones,” he said.

“We and Komatsu use KOMTRAX to stay on top of our servicing needs; they’ll ring us up when a service is due.

“We are reviewing the machines on KOMTRAX all the time, particularly with our three graders to keep an eye on their fuel consumption and compare how they are going. Being able to do this is a lot better,” Plunkett said.