"A fantastic machine for our clients"
A NSW Southern Highlands contractor has found its recent purchase of one of the first Komatsu PW98MR-8 wheeled excavators in the state has paid off, with strong demand for the machine from its local government clients in the surrounding region.
Divall's Earthmoving & Bulk Haulage, based in Goulburn, south of Sydney, purchased the excavator in July last year, shortly after its release on the Australian market.
Company principal Andy Divall had long considered there was a good potential market for a wheeled excavator among councils in the Goulburn and Southern Highlands regions, and this had proved to be the case, said company project manager Dave Matthews.
"Andy had been keen on this type of machine for a while, and he'd always thought it would be a fantastic machine for our clients," Dave said.
"Once we'd established there would be a market, and that there were the projects to utilise it, we took the opportunity to purchase the Komatsu wheel excavator when it became available.
"Since taking delivery, we have been very pleased with this machine. It has performed extremely well; it's been a very cost-efficient, economical machine for us in terms of fuel consumption, plus it has the mobility to get around by itself, saving our customers the float costs," he said.
"We initially purchased it to carry out a few kilometres of drainage work for a local council.
"We didn't need a float to manoeuvre it up and down the road, so it was saving the council that cost, plus it was moving the project along a lot quicker, and we weren't disturbing the road pavement at all compared with a crawler excavator," said Dave.
"Since then, it's continued to be successful in that we have won a lot more work with the councils, because we can get around projects now quite quickly.
"And we are not damaging curbs, roads, even good grass: we can get in and do a project quickly, then move out."
Dave said Divall's operators got used to the wheeled excavator very quickly, understanding that it has different stability characteristics to a conventional crawler machine.
"Having experienced operators understanding the machine and making sure the feet and blade are put down at the appropriate times and being able to understand how it moves is essential," he said.
"You can't just put anybody in it, but once you've got the right operator, they can do anything with it. It's a fantastic machine."
More recently, Divalls put a tilt bucket on the excavator to increase its versatility.
"We were finding it was very hard to get all the angles, so we purchased a tilt bucket to work with it; now it works very well in getting all different angles and shapes, as well as not having to put the machine at risk by working it at a bad angle," Dave said.
He described the Komatsu package of support, sales and service as "excellent".
"They are very good at bringing their service vehicles to site, working their way through the machine, and ensuring that the machine is operating and working well.
"The spare parts department is very good and, really, the Komatsu product sells itself.
"They are great machines; they never seem to break down for us. They go forever," he said.
In addition to the latest PW98MR-8, Divalls has two Komatsu Hybrid excavators, part of a considerable fleet of 16 Komatsu 20 tonne machines, three Komatsu mini excavators, plus three 30 tonne articulated dump trucks.
"We have a great relationship with Komatsu and their product, which is fantastic.
"And we've got excavator operators who will only operate Komatsu excavators," said Dave.