Auckland-based rock excavation specialist Earthtec Projects has recently purchased 16 new Komatsu excavators.
Auckland-based rock excavation specialist Earthtec Projects has recently purchased 16 new Komatsu excavators ranging from 3 to 30 tonnes as part of a major fleet renewal program, with company management putting a challenging scenario to all stakeholders in order to come up with the best-possible equipment supply and support partner.
Working primarily in the Auckland region, Earthtec undertakes bulk excavation works for large commercial and industrial developments.
With Auckland located on a series of extinct volcanoes, the underlying material is volcanic basalt which, according to Earthtec's Nick West, "is as hard as".
The company has built up a reputation as a rock excavation specialist, with a mixed fleet of excavators from 3 to 75 tonnes, all fitted with rock breakers.
Once excavated, Earthtec then crushes and processes the rock, and on-sells it as a value-added product
With much of its fleet getting on in years, Earthtec management decided it was time to renew a significant portion; to assist in making the decision, it posed the following question to key company stakeholders: operators, workshop technicians, site managers and management:
"All things being equal, you have to dig a trench from Auckland to Wellington non-stop; the machines can't break down and your life depends on it all things considered, what would you choose?"
"From the start, most people responded with 'Komatsu'," said Nick.
"From our point of view, it was an interesting scenario to put to our guys, that if all bets were off, what make of machines would you choose to best do the job.
"I was surprised at how many of them came back and opted for Komatsu. As part of this process, we had informal chats with all our operators about what their preference would be in terms of sitting in the one machine for 10-12 hours a day.
"Based on these responses, we then went through the process of talking to all suppliers to see what they could offer us particularly in terms of service support.
"We were also looking at things such as reliability, durability, machine longevity and so on.
"We have a preference for Japanese steel in our machines, which experience has shown is superior to that produced in other parts of the world," he said.
"Sales like this in the Auckland market are a little unorthodox, so there was a lot of backroom work to make it all happen. In the end, Komatsu came through with a really good package from top to bottom for us.
"In the process of talking to Komatsu, Komatsu Finance also became involved; they really came to the party to aid the sale, and that worked very well for us and so we made our decision.
For their first three years or 2000 hours, the new fleet is covered by Komatsu's Komplimentary Maintenance for all service requirements, "and we are looking to extend our servicing from Komatsu past this period", said Nick.
"We also have our own workshop team, who monitor the KOMTRAX reports, as well as Komatsu, and that's working well for us.
"Certainly it will help us longer term, as we'll easily be able to see which machines are working the hardest and should maybe be turned over sooner."
In taking on a significant new fleet, Komatsu has also provided Earthtec with additional machine familiarisation and training.
"The whole Komatsu team here in Auckland has been great to deal with," said Nick.
"Geoff O'Leary, who provides the training/familiarisation package and has been dedicated to our account, has been really good. We've also developed very good relationships with our sales representative Dave Barnes and his sales manager Garth Dixon.
"On the whole, everyone is stoked with the new machines.
"Obviously it's a good image for the company having new machines, which is minimising our downtime because they are spending so much less time in the workshops," he said.