Transmission Gulley project was for some months up to 50 percent of their total
volume, so competitive advantage was vital. The answer was in securing an
excavator so powerful, with so much capacity and yet so cost effective, that it
would set new standards.
went down to Wellington Harbor to welcome my new Komatsu PC850-8EO Super
Excavator when it arrived on the ship from Japan - and there were two of them
on board," Shane Hagai, Manager of the Winstone owned Belmont Quarry said,
adding, "I asked who owns the other one, but I already knew the answer.
There was only one other quarry that would order it."
Hill, Quarry Manager of the Horokiwi Quarry which operates just seven kilometres
from Belmont Quarry, both equidistant from the Transmission Gulley project,
chuckles at the recollection: "Just ask Shane who took delivery first -
he'll tell you it was him, and I reckon it was us." In fact, the
commissioning occurred simultaneously, although Shane concedes his was held up
perhaps two days, mainly because of some sign writing he wanted done.
operator is just so proud - he parks it up each night high on the hill so it
can be seen by the whole Hutt Valley, and there's not a scratch on it,"
Hill added. For five years both quarries have competed for, and shared, most of
the massive supply of aggregate to the 27 kilometre four lane motorway, due for
completion at the end of this year.
call for material has led to the quarries digging deeper into their resource of
hard Greywacke rock unique to the region, made possible by the strength and
power of the PC850 - the largest of Komatsu's construction excavator fleet. The
coincidental-Komatsus have levelled the playing field, to the benefit of their
Transmission Gulley client. Drill and blast, to loosen rock, has become a thing
of the past for both quarries.
used to blast once every three months, now not at all," Shane said. "Our
PC850 operator can extract more rock with greater efficiency and in far greater
comfort than ever before," Matt said.
companies are filling their 40 tonne Komatsu dump trucks with five passes of
the PC850, compared to six to seven passes with machinery they were previously
using. Fuel efficiency through streamlined workload has been increased compared
to previous machines. Komatsu's push-to-activate boom power mode has been the
key to more efficient extraction.
quarries also share the same service arrangement, with Komatsu appointed
Machinery Specialists, an investment in Komatsu operators in the Wellington
area which has substantially increased the company's local footprint. "They've
turned out on Sunday to service our PC850, to keep us competitive," both
Shane and Matt independently volunteered.
Hagai estimates his Belmont Quarry has contributed better than 1.6 million
tonnes of aggregate to the Transmission Gulley project; Matt Hill is less
specific, but it could be about the same. "I sit in my office and watch
his trucks go by," Shane said. It's a friendly rivalry - the companies
tend to lean on each other to ensure they both service the project, made
difficult by extremes of terrain, climate and external factors, like the 2016
Kakoura earthquake which diverted resources for some time.
all got together for a beer at Christmas," Matt said. Both quarries
acknowledge that their new acquisitions have given them opportunity to better
service their long-term client base at the conclusion of the Transmission
is uniquely placed in New Zealand, and the ability for civil and infrastructure
projects to be serviced locally, reducing transports costs, is paramount for
efficient future development. According to Matt even greater earthquake
proofing measures had placed increasing demand on aggregate for new building
projects. But both also are eying new roadworks programmes recently announced
in a sweeping $NZ6.8 billion commitment by the NZ Government.
of them is just up the road from here, right between us," Shane said. The
rivalry, it seems, will continue.