Allens Contracting is a family owned and operated business that has been catering to the South Gippsland and surrounding areas for over half a century. The company has evolved over that time, now offering an extensive range of services including excavation, earthmoving, cartage, and agricultural services.
“In 2000 we purchased a rundown quarry at Toora, which we still own. The quarry supplies pebbles, sand and gravel to our customers, it’s been a good addition to the business,” says Mike.
Established by Geoff and Jenny Allen, the business is now managed by their son Mike and his wife Tina, who have very happily taken the reigns. “Jenny still helps with the accounting side of things and Tina takes care of the administration. Geoff is mainly retired but he still comes in and out to ensure that their knowledge & experience is passed on to the team.”
The Story Of Allens Contracting
The business began when Geoff, who was working as an operator for a local earthmoving contactor, asked for a pay rise. Rather than a pay rise, he was instead given the advice by his boss that he should go out on his own and start his own business, and that he did.
At age 16, Mike finished up his schooling and jumped straight into the family business. “When I first came onboard, we had a handful of older machines, a bulldozer, tractor and an excavator. Now we have a team of four full-time employees, a couple of casuals that help throughout the year, and a range of 25 machines.
“When looking at what machinery to purchase for the business, we knew we wanted to stick with a Japanese manufacturer, as we have had experience with non-Japanese built machines and weren’t impressed with the reliability and how they operated. We have been very impressed with our Kobelco SK135 excavator as we have found it to be very smooth to operate, you can be at ease in them, not all out of control or rocked around a lot.”
A feature that is exclusive to Kobelco’s short radius machines, is the trademarked Integrated Noise & Dust Reduction Cooling (iNDr) system. Not only does the system make for a quieter operation, but it also provides all the core equipment protection from dust and other particles. The ease of maintenance is also something that Mike has appreciated for his line of work.
“The iNDr system in the machines have been brilliant, they have saved us so much time. We spend a lot of time working in topsoil conditions, where there is a lot of fibrous material. A lot of machines would suck that straight into the radiator, resulting in a lot of downtime needed to blow it out at least once a day, which can be hard going on a zero-swing machine as they are very compact and limited on space. So, when looking for a new machine that would have a better system, we found Kobelco was far superior in this area.”Mike Allen, Allens Contracting
“With the two stainless steel woven screens, it’s so easy to take them out and scrape them off with your hand or blow the dust out and put them back in and away you go. We do a lot of mulching and what we have noticed on our latest 24 tonne machine, the Kobelco SK235, even if it gets quite blocked up, it doesn’t get hot. It’s a brilliant system as everything behind it is protected, the air intake for the engine, condenser core for the air conditioner, the oil cooler and the radiator are all behind those screens, so it just doesn’t get in, so we have never had to blow the cores out.”
All the excavators that Allens Contracting add to their fleet are zero swing machines that feature a blade.
“The main reason we go for machines with a blade is for stability and you can finish a job off quicker because you have the blade to scrape up to. Digging small dams or stripping topsoil off is much quicker with a blade, rather than using a bucket. They are just great for cleaning up, you can leave the site nice and clean. I’ve found the design of the blade on the Kobelcos to be much better compared to other brands. Kobelco has a good curve in it so the dirt just keeps rolling over, whereas other brands blades we have used are too flat and the tracks stall out because the resistance is too high.
“The fuel efficiency and layout of the cabin in the SK235 is also good, and I find it to be far stronger in the tracks than others. Overall, it’s just easier to use. The blade control on Kobelcos is also on the right-hand side, which I’ve found isn’t always the case. On other brands it’s on the left so you can’t use the blade and slew at the same time.”
“Next time we upgrade, we will be looking at getting another Kobelco, they are just really smooth machines. Of all of the different types of excavators I’ve driven they are the pick, and our operators would rather drive the Kobelcos. People I’ve worked with over the years have had a go on it and reckon it’s one of the best machines they have driven.”