LTE Construction Group

Kobelco’s massive new SK850LC excavator has taken durability to the next level for LTE Construction Group.

How many is too many? When it comes to Kobelco excavators, it seems that no amount is ever enough for Victorian earthmoving contractor LTE Construction Group.

Melbourne has been a hive of activity in recent years when it comes to construction work, as the city advances through Victoria’s Big Build programs.

 And if you look at any of the many works being carried out in the city, chances are you’ll see that they’re carried out by LTE, a family-owned and operated foundation piling contractor, civil earthmoving contractor and transport provider, with a combined relevant industry experience of 40 years.

Operational manager Nemanja Maric said the love affair with Kobelco has lasted for the 18 years he’s been with company, with purchases of at least 40 of the blue machines in that time, and a total of 87 since the business began.

Kobelco Customer Lte Construction Group

And there’s good reason for that.

Owned and started by Managing Director Nick Maric in 1998, LTE carries out tasks that range from bulk excavation, rock drilling, CFA piling, basement retention system design to various constructs.

The clients typically include major property developers, large construction builders,

local and state government authorities, civil infrastructure companies, landfill operators and private developers.

“Our team consists of experienced engineers, piling and machine operators, truck drivers and traffic controllers,” Nemanja said.

“They have the capability to re-design projects to provide clients the greatest flexibility and most cost-effective solution for even the most difficult challenging projects.

“Our fleet comprises piling rigs along with a diverse array of heavy earthmoving equipment such as excavators, cranes, loaders, bulldozers, graders, compactors and truck and trailers.

“And of these, Kobelcos make up the majority. They’re resilient, durable, dependable, efficient.”

The worth of the machines was demonstrated aptly on a recent project involving the completion of a five-level office basement for the Pace Development Group in Flemington.

“Our confidence in undertaking such a large-scale project stemmed from having our range of reliable Kobelco excavators,” Nemanja said.

“We had excellent service support from Kobelco, which gave us the assurance and peace of mind needed to successfully complete the project.

“The project site was all rock. We used a range of excavators which efficiently handled all the detailing.  We had a 23 tonne Kobelco, a 38-tonner and a 52-tonner, topped off by our new SK850LC 85t monster on the job.

Kobelco Customer Lte Construction Group
Kobelco customer LTE Construction Group

“We’re doing the slabs on-ground for the site, including two crane bases, with the required strip and pad footings.

“Completing such a large-scale project like this is always a great feeling.  It’s a testament to the hard work, dedication and collaboration of everyone involved, and of course the machines.”

The SK850 is currently the biggest production-class excavator in the company’s range.

While it’s a far cry from LTE’s first Kobelco purchase, an SK100, it maintains the same high standards of performance.

“We bought this about six months ago and initially used it for a project at Truganina where we were carting out one million cubic metres of dirt,” Nemanja said.

“Then we got this machine out over here at Flemington because of the hard rock. It’s very easy to rip off all the rocks with the SK850, and it’s easy to load.

“And the production is really fast and the fuel consumption is really good. The efficiency of the machine is fantastic as well.

“This machine is helping us out in having very efficient and very productive timelines when we cart out the dirt.”

SK850LC specifics

The excavator features cutting-edge power and efficiency capabilities. With a base operating weight of 80,800 kg and built to withstand the rigours of the toughest jobsites around the world, the SK850 takes durability to the next level.

The SK850LC has undergone extensive development, after being put to the test in demanding quarry and mining conditions across the globe.

Kobelco Customer Lte Construction Group

The 12.9 litre turbo-charged and intercooled Hino engine delivers an outstanding 380 kW of power for superior strength and unbeatable performance. Class-leading work volume is achieved with powerful bucket breakout force and arm tearout forces, delivering fast digging cycle times and impressive productivity.

Combined with an intelligent hydraulic system an impressive average fuel consumption of under 50 litres per hour—substantially boosting operating profit in a production environment.

Operators can climb stockpiles with ease with the class-leading drawbar force, ensuring plenty of tractive power for the most extreme site conditions. Three heavy-duty track guides are also installed on each crawler side frame to further increase undercarriage durability.

Kobelco excavators are also highly regarded for their advanced technology in fuel efficiency, and the SK850 is no exception.

The enhanced hydraulic system design reduces energy loss to ensure outstanding performance by minimising hydraulic pressure resistance.

The excavator also features Kobelco’s latest cooling system – a hydraulically-driven twin fan engine cooling system.

This hydraulic version also prevents over-cooling by use of integrated sensors to reduce the speed of the twin-fan unit, helping to improve fuel economy and reduce noise, a feature welcomed by Nemanja.

“Fuel efficiency holds significant importance for our business as it helps minimise our operational costs,” he said.

“We are continuously upgrading our fleet to the latest Kobelco models to ensure optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness.”

Users can select the best operation mode for the job at hand, with three work modes to choose from: H-mode, S-mode and ECO-mode, allowing for minimum fuel consumption while optimising digging efficiency.

Inside the cab, it’s an operator’s dream. They can look forward to staying safe and comfortable, thanks to an air suspension seat, combined with a 25 percent reduction in lever control force that reduces fatigue during long hours of operation.

A standard 12V port and AUX jack is provided, while the standard Bluetooth integrated stereo system allows the operator to stream audio.

The operator friendly colour multi-display LCD screen uses easily recognisable graphics for quick navigation of important information, including fuel consumption and maintenance intervals. An intuitive one-touch attachment mode switch lets the operator confirm the proper configuration at a glance.

“The feedback from most of our operators regarding the Kobelco machines has been consistently positive, highlighting their high reliability and ease of use,” Nemanja said.

Kobelco Customer Lte Construction Group Sk850Lc-10

The Melbourne Tractors connection

LTE sources its Kobelcos from Melbourne Tractors, a leading Victorian supplier of new and used construction and earthmoving equipment, with four branches throughout the state, including Melbourne branches in Somerton and Dandenong.

The relationship stretches back to the first time Nick bought a Kobelco from salesperson Brad Miller, who established a firm rapport with LTE over the next few years.

That legacy has continued to today, with current Melbourne Tractors Managing Director Ken Bennett keeping in frequent contact with Nick.

Ken was quick to reiterate the strong relationship that Melbourne Tractors has had with LTE.

“Over the years this connection matured enough for LTE to invest in the heaviest and most reliable dirt moving monster available in Australia, the SK850,” he said.

“Only 10 of these units were produced globally in 2023. Three have now been sold in Australia, and two of those went through Melbourne Tractors.

“It’s a premium product and if you need an 85 tonner, then this is probably the one you want.”

Ken said Melbourne Tractors first began more than 20 years ago and continues to grow from strength to strength.

Now leaders in both construction and agriculture machinery within Australia, Melbourne Tractors stock everything from excavators and backhoes to tractors and skid steers.

“We take pride in providing quality products, exceptional service and training, and boast a very knowledgeable team so you can get the most out of your machine – and Kobelco is our main brand,” he said.

“Melbourne Tractors is all about the customer. Regardless of whether you buy an 85T machine, or an SK008 (1 tonne) – we will do our best to give you after sales service that is second to none.”

Nemanja said having established a partnership with a trusted supplier of excavators in Australia had consistently resulted in a smooth business operation.

“With minimal issues with the machinery and a reliable service support from our Kobelco dealer, it greatly aids our teams in completing projects on time,” he said.

“We relied on Melbourne Tractors’ guidance for selecting machinery that aligned with our project needs and meet our company’s expectations.”

Nemanja also had nothing but praise for the follow-up and maintenance services available from the dealer.

“It has been excellent thus far.  We’ve established a professional and personal trust between us,” he said.

“It’s just another reason why we have become repeat buyers of Kobelco excavators. Not just their reliability, but also the dependable service backup provided by Melbourne Tractors.”

Nemanja said LTE’s vision of future growth involves staying integral to the vibrant building and construction industry.

“We aim to evolve alongside the industry, remaining at the forefront and sustaining our strong position within it,” he said.

“We are strategically focused on nurturing existing business relations while expanding our operations and actively pursuing the expansion of our fleet to meet the growing demands and to enhance our operational capabilities.

“Continued support from both Melbourne Tractors and Kobelco is instrumental in fostering the growth of our business, ensuring we receive the high level of service needed to thrive.”

And did we say LTE never has enough of Kobelco?

LTE has just purchased another 10 additional machines, ranging from eight to 38 tonnes.

“Our latest delivery was in March and I think the next delivery will be this month (June),” Nemanja said.

Earthmoving Equipment Magazine

Kobelco Customer Lte Construction Group Sk850Lc-10
Kobelco Customer Lte Construction Group Sk850Lc-10