Two Case crawler excavators have been purchased by Kings Bay AS, a Norwegian government research facility that is run by the country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The excavators will be used to provide infrastructure construction and support to the settlement of Ny-Ålesund, on the island of Spitsbergen, including the Ny-Ålesund Airport at Hamnerabben. The remote site is the most northerly settlement in the world for research staff.
Kings Bay and the Norwegian Mapping Authority are building a 1.5km road to a new geodetic observatory at nearby Brandal. This site will house a VLBI antenna, which is part of a global network of VLBI antennas that measure the earth’s rotational speed and how this is affected by solar storms and disturbances, helping to predict earthquakes and tsunamis.
The Mapping Authority’s Geodetic Institute also measures and establishes a national reference for coordinates, geoid reference, height reference and post-glacial rebound. It operates a nationwide system of accurate, satellite-based GNSS positioning, which can in turn be used by construction companies to accurately define excavation parameters and property boundaries.
Hallgeir Reitan, technical manager at Kings Bay, said: ‘We needed a machine to use in the city for smaller digging jobs, so opted for the CX130C, but the CX210C was chosen for road construction and ditching jobs as we will install fibre cables in 2014, so there will be a lot of trench digging in 2013 and 2014.
‘Two new stations are planned for 2014 and 2015 and there will be new roads and trench routes to be built.’
These are the first Case machines that Kings Bay have purchased, though Norwegian Case dealer Dagenborg Maskin AS has been supplying the company with wear parts for some years. Salesman Kjell Hansen says that Kings Bay had researched the excavators thoroughly before concluding the deal, so the company was well aware of the Case reputation for durability and reliability in tough working conditions.
‘The main reason for choosing Case was the attitude towards service and back-up from the dealer,’ said Mr Reitan.
‘There are only two flights a week here and it is therefore imperative that any problems can be solved swiftly with the service tools from the dealer. The solutions that the dealer has provided with regards to troubleshooting and the back-up of service engineers were a big factor in our decision.
‘In addition, we are a research community with a focus on a clean environment and the machines’ diesel combustion system was sweet music to the ears of our scientists,’ said Mr Reitan.
‘They really knew a lot about the productivity of Case machines. However it was when I demonstrated to them that they didn’t need a computer to do regular checks and service resets on the machines, but could do everything from within the cab, that the sale was finalized,’ said Mr Hansen.
‘Plus we had machines in stock, so as soon as they had the go ahead from the Norwegian government we were able to supply the excavators to the site.’
In such a remote location, Kings Bay requires maximum reliability and durability from their equipment. As well as keeping the airport open, the company provides power, water and catering facilities to the research team and administers Bjørnøen AS, a government enterprise that owns the island of Bjørnøya (Bear Island).
The location is so far north that in the harsh winter months it will be almost impossible to operate the machines, due to the very low temperatures and strong freezing winds. This means that the equipment has to work particularly hard in the summer months, though Kings Bay is hoping for many years of faithful service.
‘We will store the machines inside for the winter, so we expect a long life with up to 20 years of service from the Case excavators,’ said Mr Reitan.
Dagenborg Maskin visited the customer on site to provide operator and technician training. The two excavators have been equipped with upgraded operator seating, additional LED work lights, roto-tilt attachments and additional cab heating systems to cope with the harsh winter conditions. Kings Bay have already expressed their delight with the Case machines, in particular mentioning the controllability of the hydraulics, the low external and internal noise levels and the low fuel consumption.
Lene Thornholm, business manager for Case Construction Equipment, Nordic region, commented: ‘We are delighted to have been chosen as the main supplier for this arduous site application.
‘The C-Series CX crawler excavators have proven particularly efficient and productive, and with the support of our dealer Dagenborg Maskin the Kings Bay organization can be assured of many years of reliable service.’