Gippsland-based plumbing and civil contractor Laser Plumbing Sale and Traralgon has been a long-term owner of Komatsu excavators.
Finding the complete package of service, support, machine quality, operator preference, and the "visibility" provided through the KOMTRAX remote monitoring system, serves the business very well.
Now owned by Daniel Smolenaars, the company was started by Daniel's uncle Peter around 40 years ago as Smolenaars Plumbing, initially as a plumbing business and branching into civil construction in the late 1990s.
In 2008, Daniel joined up with the national Laser Plumbing group, an alliance of non-competing plumbing and draining specialists who share business tools, staff, human resources and PR expertise and business development assistance.
Today the company is heavily involved in Gippsland's water and infrastructure sectors, carrying out sewer, water supply and stormwater installations for developers throughout the region, along with working for Gippsland Water and local shires on infrastructure and asset management.
The company's fleet of equipment includes a PC200-6, a PC300LC-8, a PC138US-8 delivered new in 2013, plus a second new PC138US-8 and a new PC18MR-3, both delivered in September 2016.
To support the needs of clients from inception to completion of a project, in addition to its Komatsu excavators, the team at Laser Plumbing offers a large variety of specialist equipment, allowing it to deliver large and small hydraulic and civil construction projects.
This specialist equipment includes directional drills, non-destructive vacuum trucks, backhoes, drain cameras, specialist drainage repair equipment and others.
Laser Plumbing also invests heavily in operator training across the business's many disciplines.
"This investment ensures a progressive approach to the development of operators and team leaders across the business so that we continually up-skill staff and have the capabilities to support emerging market opportunities and changes in industry compliance," said Daniel.
Laser Plumbing Sale & Traralgon's 'Gun Operator' Brad Langford with the Project Manager Adam Helmke. "Any time we get a new machine, Brad goes in it first, and any time we get a very technically challenging project, Brad will operate the machine," says owner Daniel Smolenaars.
He bought his first Komatsu, his PC200-6 as an exdemo machine with 200 hours on it in 2003 and has had it ever since.
"We'd had other brands, but as we shifted our machines around, we realised Komatsu served us best, with the least amount of downtime and maintenance requirements," he said.
"Then in 2013, we won a large commercial project at East Sale RAAF base, so we bought the PC138US-8,
then a couple of years later bought a used PC18MR-3.
"Both these machines worked really well for us, and as a result of some new contract work, we swapped over our original PC18 for the new one.
"This machine had served us unbelievably well, with excellent breakout force and operator approval, so we
purchased a new one that would present better for our new client," said Daniel.
"Around the same time, we bought our second PC138 new, along with a used PC300LC-8, to handle the growth in our operations. We had been really stretching our machines to their capabilities before that.
"We sourced the 30 tonner because it helps us with our pump station installation and delivery; we can capably complete this style of work with a 20 tonne excavator, but the larger machine increases site productivity and lets us deliver a more effective client program."
Daniel said one factor keeping him returning to Komatsu was the high operator acceptance. "Our guys are very comfortable using Komatsu machines; they enjoy all the creature comforts they have, the power, the useability, the access and the reliability.
"And from a management point of view the visuals we get of our machine usage through KOMTRAX is second
"It shows us that the machine efficiency is excellent, with very good fuel consumption.
"Also, with some of our projects, we are required to provide an indication of CO2 usage; that comes as
standard as part of the KOMTRAX reports, and I can just submit it to our clients."
Daniel has also been very pleased with the service and support he's received from Komatsu.
"Our nearest branch is Morwell, and Toby Piper there is brilliant. It may be 70 km away, but that's no barrier
to fantastic service," he said.
"While I don't necessarily believe in standardising our fleet around one brand, I do know that Komatsu's turnaround on breakdowns and scheduling services to complement the efficiency of our business is just another factor that keeps me coming back."