IS KEY FOR WEST WIMMERA SHIRE
In July 2013, Victoria's West Wimmera Shire Council purchased its second Komatsu toolcarrier loader, a WA250PZ-6, based on the stability, reliability and ease of operation of its three-year-old WA320PZ-6.
With both loaders requiring to be operated by large number of operators, including the shire's truck drivers and contractors using them to self-load, ease of operation and stability were critical criteria for the council.
Located in western Victoria on the South Australian border, and about 400 km west of Melbourne, West Wimmera Shire is a predominantly rural area based around the towns of Kaniva and Edenhope.
Shire Works Manager Terry Ough said a major element in the decision to buy the second Komatsu loader was based on its experiences with the older WA320PZ-6.
"We bought the WA320 in February 2010, and while the decision was a fair bit based on price, it wasn't the cheapest loader and wasn't the dearest," he said.
"At the time, we looked very closely at loader stability and it seemed to stand out in that mid-budget field of loaders.
"While they are essentially yard loaders, our loaders also need to be all-rounders, able to load trucks in rugged terrain.
"That's what we are about, and that's why we are very aware of stability in a loader," Terry said.
"The Komatsu loader is one of the most stable loaders around.
"And since we went with the WA320, we have been more than satisfied with the performance and its ability to load our larger trucks," he said.
"We use it mainly as our truck and trailer fleet loader and in fact, for the three years, we've never had a complaint about it.
"That's what really swayed our decision for the second loader when we went again.
"This time we needed a mid-range size loader, so we could do the smaller jobs, such as shoulder sheeting, with our patrol units," he said.
"It's also a better loader for emergency works: you simply back it on to the tagalong trailer and off you go.
"That's also why we got a four in one bucket on the new one: for emergency situations such as tree removal, as well as for the minor maintenance stuff, like the patrol units.
"And once again, it fell in the mid budget range, and we really had no qualms about Komatsu's ability, having already owned the WA320," said Terry.
The shire's WA320 is its primary loader for its 11 different quarry sites, and during the season is constantly on the move between sites to load its larger trucks.
With both loaders used for self-loading of the shire's and contractors' trucks, they don't have a single dedicated driver.
"They are driven and operated by everyone and anyone, those loaders," Terry said.
"And having two loaders with the same controls configuration also exactly aligned with their operations. It was certainly a point of consideration when we bought the second one."