NEW ZEALAND: An award-winning aggregates producer in Auckland remains faithful to Volvo CE with a new order to replace an existing fleet of wheel loaders
by Nigel Griffiths
Bustling Auckland in New Zealand’s North Island is the country’s largest city. Known as the ‘City of Sails’, the lifestyle opportunities offered in terms of a warm and sunny climate, picturesque beaches and leisure activities such as yachting, as well as jobs, constantly attract new residents from other parts of New Zealand and overseas.
Continuous population growth in Auckland has helped the construction industry flourish. Feeding demand is Stevenson Resources, recognized as one of the largest and most modern quarry operators in the country, supplying millions of tonnes of aggregates of all types and qualities to underpin the construction boom.
No stranger to Volvo CE machinery, having run a fleet of the well-loved F-series wheel loaders since 2008, Stevenson Resources ordered a brand new fleet of Volvo G-series wheel loaders to help drive business, improve efficiency and reduce costs. The seven new L180Gs and one L250G are being used at the company’s Drury and Huntly quarries, servicing the Auckland and Waikato regions.
Founded in 1912, the award-winning family-run business has a long history of successful quarry management and
is recognized as being at the leading edge of technology developments as well as an environmentally and socially responsible company. Its quarries produce a wide range of hard-fill materials used in the infrastructure, commercial and residential construction markets.
“With over 60 years of experience in quarrying and mining industries – including bulk earthworks, mineral extraction and processing and distribution – we have a reputation for delivering competitive quality aggregates that consistently meet customer product requirements,” says Steve Ellis, Minerals Executive at Stevenson Resources.
“We pride ourselves on our technical services and support. We have a strong track record in research and product development for customers using our technical services and certified laboratory.”
Stevenson’s Drury quarry is one of the largest and most technically advanced in New Zealand, equipped with a laboratory to ensure the quality of the aggregate mixes it supplies, whether the standard product range, recycled aggregates, modified aggregates or made-to-order.
“Aggregates are essential to construction,” Steve Ellis emphasizes, adding: “It is said they are the most consumed product by mankind after water.”
One of the deciding factors in staying with Volvo machines was the quality of service the company received from Volvo Authorized Dealer, TransDiesel, Steve Ellis says. “Being a well-motivated private company they are always responsive to our requests for help. In a business when you cannot afford downtime, this is important.”
TransDiesel has been in business in New Zealand since 1980 and knows what it takes to keep customers happy.
Recognized as the foremost diesel engine and transmission house in the country, the company has been awarded the distributorships for some of the most highly respected brands in those industries. In 2011, TransDiesel then became the authorized New Zealand distributor for Volvo Construction Equipment.
Mark Keatley, Marketing and Dealer Development Manager at TransDiesel, does not deny that competition is tough in this sector, but says that the benefits of Volvo CE products, particularly in terms of fuel economy and comfort, are well recognized in the marketplace.
TransDiesel has certainly been energetic in promoting its Volvo CE affiliation. In 2012, when high-performance yachts competing in the nine-month-long Volvo Ocean Race – the longest lasting professional sporting event in the world – made a stopover in Auckland, TransDiesel turned the event into an occasion to get closer to its customers. Stevenson Resources provided the perfect quarry venue for a range of new Volvo machines to be put through their paces. Customers from as far afield as Singapore were invited to the launch of the L250G wheel loader and EC480D excavator in New Zealand as well as a demonstration of an A40F articulated hauler. Guests were also taken aboard a boat in the harbour to experience the excitement of the In-Port race.
Despite the close relationship with TransDiesel, the decision by Stevenson Resources to give the dealer the order for the new fleet was not a foregone conclusion.
“We did a full search before deciding on Volvo machines,” explains Steve Ellis. “The new Volvo G machines are compatible with much of our stock of accessories and while we were very happy with the F-Series machines, our experience with the first G-Series is that they are a big step above their predecessors.”
A key factor in the choice of Volvo machines is the cost saving on fuel.
“I estimate we use about a half litre per hour less with each wheel loader.” Over a five-year period, he predicts savings of NZ$500,000-600,000 (US$400,000-500,000).
“We are also able to fit the same-sized buckets on what
is basically a smaller machine than before. The L180G has the same bucket capacity as the old L220F, but is a lot more fuel efficient.”
The operators are really enjoying the machines, Steve notes. “They work a long day from 6.00-17.30 but are
leaving work almost as fresh as when they started,” he says. “They can breathe and work at ease in a clean, quiet environment which is an important factor for them. A lot
of the operating features, such as the reverse by brake function which gives more deceleration comfort, and the electro-hydraulic servo controls in the cab which allow consistent positioning, have met with their approval and genuinely make their job easier. The machines are so well sound-proofed you can stand right next to them and still hold a conversation.”