Jack of all trades

With interests in a vast array of civil construction, consulting, cartage, transportation and agricultural infrastructure work, the Rooney Group Ltd place a lot of trust in the flexibility and reliability of their machinery. That's where Komatsu comes in.

Ask how crucial Komatsu is to the many divisions of South Canterbury-headquartered Rooney Group Ltd and General Manager Colin Dixon is unhesitating in his response.

"Komatsu is an integral part of what we do. We've been utilising Komatsu gear since the early 1980s and, as company founder Gary Rooney says, it's companies like Komatsu that make our business."

That's no empty platitude either. Look at the huge line-up of equipment relied upon by this trusted multi-disciplinary operator and you'll see the Komatsu nameplate featuring highly.

With interests in civil contracting, consulting, cartage and transportation, irrigation scheme and waste-water pond development, the Rooney Group requires a vast array of machines for myriad tasks, all maintained by 22 technicians spread across two workshops.

"Three of our mechanics are set up to operate remotely too, so we can address any issues in the field as they arise," says Colin.

"With regard to our Komatsu gear, we find the technical support offered by the distributor to be very comprehensive. Often one of our team may just require some advice on solving an issue; the information they require is generally just a phone call away thanks to the Komatsu support desk."

What started with one man and one machine nearly 40 years ago has grown substantially, now employing over 250 personnel across five regional offices. Rooney Group's varied interests means it operates a lot of different equipment too; 18 bulldozers, 27 motor graders, 28 rollers, 22 articulated and rigid dump trucks, 50 motor scrapers, 19 loaders, a whopping 120 excavators and around a hundred truck and trailer units. The list goes on.

Komatsu equipment features highly among the Rooney Group roll-call; of those bulldozers, 12 are Komatsu. The lion's share of the excavator fleet 85 in all is supplied by Komatsu. The company's latest acquisition is a new 196hp Komatsu GD555-5 motor grader, featuring the new Power Shift nonstall transmission, 12-foot blade and Komatsu's signature versatile moldboard geometry.

"This is the second 'triple five' we've purchased. The model offers a good foot print and plenty of power for what we need it to do. It's versatile too, and works just as compliantly whether its placed in an agri environment, such as the boarder dyking projects we have here in South Canterbury, or if it's tasked with civil work on a sub-division."

"There's a range of reasons why we look to Komatsu gear," continues Colin. "They offer good valuefor-money over their lifetime. And believe me; we get a long life out of all our gear. We don't buy equipment because we want to sit and look at it, that's for sure.

"Across the board they're very reliable machines and economical too. From an operator feedback point-of-view, I subscribe to the theory that the less you hear about a machine the better; if our team members are happy with their gear then the work gets done a lot quicker. We don't hear anything back about Komatsu plant, so to me that speaks volumes, that's why we intend to have ongoing orders in place with Komatsu"

Of course, while silence might be golden in this instance, Colin says the Rooney Group has also seen huge benefits in utilising data gleaned from the Komatsu KOMTRAX wireless remote reporting system.

While the KOMTRAX system offers a vast catchment of data, such as service meter readings, geo-tagged location information and operational activity logs, it is crucial data concerning machinery running costs that Colins's team keep a watchful eye on.

"If we were to look at one machine against an identical machine and discover one is using more fuel than the other; that gives us a baseline to work against and solve an individual issue.

"But analysing that same running cost data across an entire project gives us crucial information that we can then utilise during the tendering process. KOMTRAX is a great tool in this regard; helping to ensure we're budgeting future work precisely and realistically."

The versatility and robustness of Komatsu gear means the Rooney Group will continue to exceed expectations in a variety of disciplines and get the most out of the many machines on their fleet.