Portuguese limestone quarry using new wheel loader to maintain highest levels of productivity
A PORTUGUESE limestone supplier has added a Hitachi ZW310-6 wheel loader to its fleet to help maintain the highest levels of productivity at its quarry near the town of Fátima. Family-owned Filstone Natural SA were established in 2002 by chief executive officer Ricardo Jorge and produce 900,000 tonnes of material per year at their 30ha site.
The Hitachi wheel loader is working on the second level of the quarry to load trucks, move limestone between different stockpiles and feed the crushing and screening equipment. The material being handled by the ZW310-6 is a secondary commodity created by activities on the quarry floor, where 13–14-tonne limestone blocks are cut.
‘I first learned about Hitachi on a visit to Japan in 1997 and I know that the company is associated with quality,’ said Mr Jorge. ‘Many of my friends in the industry own Hitachi machines and I have always heard positive statements about the servicing and maintenance. In time, we began discussions with Moviter (Hitachi’s authorized local dealer) to gauge what they could offer and agreed to invest in the ZW310-6.’
For Mr Jorge, the Hitachi wheel loader is essential to Filstone’s output, especially in a market in which limestone can sometimes be more lucrative than marble. ‘Japanese companies such as Hitachi are forward-thinking and the ZW310-6 has undoubted quality. We had high expectations for the wheel loader but were surprised by its low fuel consumption. In addition, the machine is stable and compact, and still performs as effectively as a larger machine.’
Mr Jorge’s cousin, Humberto Miguel de Jesus Santos, operates the ZW310-6, and he is in complete agreement about the merits of the Hitachi machine: ‘This wheel loader is like a Porsche,’ he said, ‘rapid, agile and smooth. Inside the cab there is near 100% visibility and it is very quiet. In terms of maintenance, it has well-positioned access points and is easy to clean.’