"We've continued to buy Komatsu excavators because they are a great product"
Sydney-based Menai Civil Contractors has recently taken delivery of three new Komatsu Dash 8 excavators, at the same time it has completely rebuilt a 1999 PC350-6 to bring it into line with current site and safety requirements essentially getting a second life from the machine.
Its latest machines are a PC270LC-8, a PC220LC-8 and a PC138-8, which will predominantly be used for bulk earthworks along with services and stormwater installation in subdivision works.
All three machines are covered by Komatsu's new Komplimentary Maintenance package, which was launched late last year.
Menai Civil Contractors is owned by Lee Fahey, who purchased the company in 2002 when it was known as Menai Excavations, and at the time specialising in plant hire.
Under Lee's management, the company has grown substantially over the past 10 years from around a dozen employees in 2002, it now has 65 while changing its focus to a civil construction company carrying out infrastructure projects, rail work, residential subdivisions for a number of major developers, as well as demolition and remediation work for Sydney Water and other government clients.
It operates primarily in the Sydney Basin and Illawarra regions.
The core of Menai Civil's fleet is 20 excavators the great majority of which are Komatsu machines with the relationship preceding Lee's ownership of the company.
"We've continued to buy Komatsu excavators since I took over, because they are a great product," Lee said.
"One of the big advantages with Komatsu is their customer support through their customer support sales representatives, and that has made a big difference to us across the company, from our initial sales negotiations with Knox Walmsley, right through to the service side of things.
"We run our own internal workshop, so we don't use Komatsu's service department very often, but we do find our customer support sales rep Myles Garner to be very supportive of us in terms of being able to get the right parts and the right information for our workshop," said Lee.
At the same time as Menai Civil took delivery of its three new excavators, it was putting the finishing touches on its rebuilt PC350-6, which will be used primarily for demolition work.
"The machine needed an engine rebuild when it spun a bearing after getting bogged pretty badly on site and running at a pretty severe angle, which probably starved the bearings of oil," he said.
"We rebuilt the engine, plus we're in the process of adding a roll over protective structure, safety handrails and other safety equipment, so it will fully comply with all current safety requirements."
Lee said the company looked at a range of options with the machine, including disposing of it, but decided it would be ideal to have a second life if set up with the right equipment.
"Sydney Water demolition work requires some pretty specialist guarding and protection, and we decided that, rather than set up a new machine and do all that work, this unit could have a good second life, set up with the right equipment.
"So we have decided to go through and put a ROPS cab and demolition guards on it, primarily for Sydney Water demolition work, but of course it brings it into compliance with current requirements on all sites anyway and enables it to be used in a wide range of applications."
With its three latest excavators, Menai Civil is taking advantage of Komatsu Australia's Komplimentary Maintenance package, which provides free preventative maintenance servicing for the first three years or 2000 hours (whichever comes first) of a machine's life and Komatsu Premium warranty.
"I am very curious to see how this works out," said Lee.
"In the past, we've done all our servicing and maintenance ourselves, but that causes issues at times with resourcing, so if we can get an option to use external resources at a cost effective rate, it is certainly something that we would look at.
"Komatsu will be using KOMTRAX to monitor the usage and hours of these machines, then coming out and doing the servicing according to the information they are getting back.
"For example, we've always done our engine oil changes at 250 hours, which has kept our guys pretty busy in terms of trying to get around all the gear.
"Now we will leave these at 500 hours and watch with interest to see how the Komatsu boys go in terms of getting the servicing done and keeping the machines productive on site," he said.