BAXTER QUARRIES | KOBELCO’S HIGH WATERMARK OF QUALITY
Innovative thinking and an adaptive design have conquered a Victorian quarry’s unique floodplain setting.
Baxters Quarries, located on the bank of the Murray River, helps deliver high-quality concrete to clients around northeast Victoria and the southern Riverina.
The concrete and quarry business has developed strong relationships across the industry since the concrete plant was established around 34 years ago.
Relationships with their suppliers Kobelco and local dealer Capital Construction Equipment became crucial as the sand and gravel quarry needed to adapt to external changes.
Baxters Quarries’ directors Andrew and Brendan Baxter remembered the challenges they faced at the time.
The company was forced to shift away from dry extraction to wet extraction and effectively dig out from the water.
“It came about because we’re a floodplain quarry and what governments are now looking at with potential flooding of quarries,” Brendan tells Quarry Magazine.
“We determined this was the best strategy.” Increased government regulation and red tape had necessitated Baxters Quarries to purchase an excavator with a long reach arm.
The unique nature of the Wodonga quarry being situated on the floodplain required experience and knowledge of local conditions and equipment market.
This is why Andrew and Brendan leaned heavily on their long-standing relationship with sales manager Paul Shephard at Capital Construction Equipment, one of Kobelco’s longest-standing and highest market share dealers in Australia. “We went down the Kobelco path because we already knew about its reliability and the service from Paul,” Brendan said.
“We knew we had to look at the larger end of their machines to get as much depth as possible to suit our strategy.”
The lower ground pressure allows it to easily navigate the floodplain’s tough terrain.
The customised set-up enabled Baxters Quarries to improve its sand production, which was high in demand as a scarce resource around the region.
Sand supply is set to become increasingly important after the United Nations stated the world was facing a sand shortage earlier this year.
“Kobelco’s are super reliable and fuel-efficient which is a benefit for this site,” Shephard said.
“This was a real work in progress, we worked on it together with the estimates and proposal they had to put to the government authority for about 18 months before we got the green light.
“Once the excavator was ordered from Kobelco we had to import the long-reach boom and arm from Malaysia from EIK which is something they specialise in. Then we were able to fit the package in our Albury workshop ready for the site.”
The SK500LC’s 257kW engine has powerful torque (1400 Nm), allowing it to work on tricky terrain without chewing up fuel.
The fuel economy is helped by the SK500LC’s hydraulic system which minimises fuel consumption to maximise power. It incorporates Kobelco’s boom-to-arm hydraulic regeneration system.
“The operator comfort was important as well, our operators love the Kobelco machines and we’ve found they have great fuel economy,” Andrew said.
“We’ve been able to customise all the Kobelco machines we’ve got from Paul and spec it the way we want it.
“Whether it’s been the long undercarriage, extended dipper arm or the grouser plates, Kobelco has been able to get it to us quickly.”
Baxters Quarries has four Kobelco excavators on site and no plans of stopping any time soon. While Andrew and Brendan had no issues with the performance of the Kobelco machines, they know help is just across the river.
“The service and back-up from Capital Construction has been one of the main drawcards,” Andrew said.
“We’ve dealt with Paul for about three generations now, so we’ve got a lot of faith in Paul and Capital Construction.
“We’ve had excellent support from them, if we have any problem, they’re on to it straight away for us.”
They’ve been able to be very adaptable and schedule our services when we’re not using the machines and they’re excellent machines.Andrew Baxter, Baxters Quarries
“Everyone that we know that’s looking for a machine we point them Kobelco’s way.”
Shepard said he looks forward to continuing the successful partnership.
“Baxters Quarries is a long-time Kobelco customer and our relationship with them as Capital Construction Equipment being two locally owned businesses is important,” Shepard said.
“They’re both gentlemen and have been great to work with for a long period of time.”