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Landmark deal for Chepstow Plant International

Volvo L350H

Fleet growth continues with 103 new Volvos, including first L350H loading shovel to be sold in Great Britain

CHEPSTOW Plant International (CPI) have signed a landmark deal with SMT GB for the supply of 103 Volvo machines for their mineral, aggregates and earthmoving fleet.

The assortment of machines includes 20 excavators, ranging from the 25-tonne EC250E to the 75-tonne EC750E; 24 wheel loaders from the L70H up to the 24-tonne, 5.6 cubic metre capacity L260H; and 58 articulated haulers, of which nearly half are 30-tonne A30G models.

In addition, CPI are the first to take delivery of Volvo’s flagship wheel loader, the 51-tonne L350H, for a major contract in the north-east of England.

‘Opting for premium brand equipment helps us and our customers in many ways,’ explained John Corcoran, managing director of Chepstow Plant International. ‘Primarily it benefits with safety, uptime, fuel efficiency, residual value and image, and I’m pleased to say that Volvo equipment now accounts for the majority of our fleet.

‘With significant continued growth and new business opportunities presenting themselves, it is vital that we can rely on performance and service back-up, along with advances in machine telemetry and operating data,’ continued Mr Corcoran. ‘To this end, we are at the vanguard, working proactively with SMT GB and Volvo Construction Equipment in helping to shape and influence enhanced safety in our equipment.’

For example, with the Volvo articulated haulers purchased last year and the 58 being delivered in 2019, CPI have collaborated with SMT GB and Volvo CE in developing ‘Haul Assist’. Phase 1 of this development has concentrated on providing an efficient ‘on board’ weighing system, whilst Phase 2, which is in the final stages of development, is the ‘Haul Assist Maps’ option, allowing the machine operators and site manager to monitor on-site hauler traffic in real time.

Following a comprehensive development partnership between SMT, Volvo and CPI, Haul Assist now becomes an integral component within the quarrying contractor’s updated standard articulated hauler specification. The new functionality from Haul Assist will be integrated into CPI’s unique custom-built analytical platform, Titan. This complex AI system takes information from Volvo’s CareTrack system and delivers extensive data analysis, whilst simultaneously providing rationale to each situation to enhance operational performance.

CPI’s asset manager, Ross Hayward, explained: ‘Titan allows us, as a specialist contracting company, to fully realize and utilize the data that our fleet provides. With constant asset data uploads across our fleet, we can quickly identify health and safety or maintenance concerns, whilst also tracking operational performance in close to real time.

‘Haul Assist, in particular, will provide data to a granular level unseen so far in the quarrying industry, allowing CPI to explore in depth each load, the material type moved and where on the site it’s been deposited with the map and geofencing possibilities.

‘In this sense, Haul Assist goes way beyond the traditional industry weigh-loader option of just providing us with the tonnes carried per truck. This, in turn, allows us to support and manage customer expectations, to further provide added value to our services.’

Chepstow Plant International are in the final stages of trialling the Haul Assist Maps option in a sand and gravel quarry just off the M25, in collaboration with Tarmac. ‘We are really excited about the amount of meaningful information this is going to provide both us and Tarmac as we trial the system in real time,’ added Mr Hayward.

Andy Bate, Tarmac’s area director for materials - London and South East, added: ‘From the activity so far, we are impressed with the benefits that Haul Assist can deliver as part of our ongoing commitment to the highest standards of safety and productivity.

‘New technological innovations such as the telemetry feedback available through this system provide a great opportunity for sites to improve traffic management and risk prevention in loading and deposition, as well as providing visible performance data to help optimize production.’

Keeping the focus on safety and safe operations on site, all of the new articulated haulers are equipped with a Volvo-designed inclinometer along with the on-board weighing system. If the operator attempts to tip the load when the hauler is sitting at a nine-degree-plus lateral angle, the body will not raise and the attempted tip will register as a ‘fail tip’ or near-miss occurrence.

This is recorded by CareTrack, which will lead to subsequent investigation and corrective action being taken. ‘The good news is that since we have been equipping our articulated haulers with this system, we have witnessed a significant decrease in unsafe tipping,’ continued Mr Corcoran.

‘However, it’s dangerous to assume that by fitting this safety device the problem goes away. Part of the equation is supporting the use of such systems with rigorous and continued training to eliminate complacency and, again, we are at the forefront of providing training programmes for both our own as well as our clients’ operators.’

Apart from safety, fuel burn and tonnes per litre moved are equally important subjects for CPI’s customers, and when it comes to re-handling materials, Mr Corcoran considers Volvo wheel loaders with OptiShift to be amongst the leanest in the industry in terms of fuel efficiency. ‘In fact, all of our new Volvos, whether they are articulated haulers, wheel loaders or excavators, are now installed with Stage V engines, which is a huge positive in the drive to reduce our overall carbon footprint,’ he said.

The recently launched L350H has been added to CPI’s portfolio of equipment, equipped for heavy-duty rock extraction. This includes a 6.8 cubic metre spade-nosed rock bucket with teeth and segments plus additional wear parts, 875/65 wide-profile Goodyear L5 wheel and tyre assemblies, and the long-boom option along with a host of safety features required for quarrying operations.

Thus rigged, the 51-tonne loader offers a full-turn tip load of 32.8 tonnes, a breakout force of 376kN and a dump clearance height of 3.63m. The L350H is powered by a Volvo 16-litre Stage V engine that develops 540hp at just 1,700 rev/min and maximum torque of 2,532Nm at 1,400 rev/min. This coupled to other fuel-saving devices, such as the Volvo Eco pedal, encourages the operator to run the machine at its optimum rev/min in the engine’s torque curve, whilst OptiShift with torque converter lock-up makes the L350H a particularly efficient and productive loading shovel in its size class.

For material transport, John Corcoran believes that Volvo articulated haulers are very much the preferred option. ‘Volvo ADTs are hard to beat for operator comfort, durability and residual value,’ he said. ‘And the latest G-series haulers with Stage V engines have an increasingly important role to play for our mineral and aggregates clients. When it comes to litres per tonne moved, there is little that comes close to the efficiency of a Volvo ADT.’

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