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Rokbak RA30 delivers on all fronts for Skene Group

Skene Group quarry operations director Kevin Hill with the new Rokbak RA30
Skene Group quarry operations director Kevin Hill with the new Rokbak RA30

Scottish construction materials business shops local and adopts Rokbak hauler into the fold

WHILST Rokbak continue to build a global reputation for their robust and reliable articulated haulers, just 50 miles east of the company’s headquarters in Motherwell, Scotland, Skene Group Construction Services Ltd have put an RA30 to work.

Well known around the local area for having its own weather system, Soutra Mains Quarry in Pathhead, Midlothian, has provided the conditions to demonstrate the best of the Rokbak RA30.

 

‘The RA30 has been a very good, strong asset to Soutra Mains,’ said quarry operations director Kevin Hill. ‘It’s rugged and robust, it can stand up to the conditions it’s subjected to, and it suits the type of rock we’ve got here.’

The RA30 arrived on site in late September 2022 to replace an old hauler, with Skene Group having worked once again in collaboration with long-time dealer Molson Group.

‘When we needed to find an articulated hauler manufacturer, we were already attracted by Rokbak’s proximity to us,’ explained Skene Group managing director Darren Forrester. ‘Initially we were speaking to our contact at Molson, but we soon discovered that we would also have close contact with Rokbak throughout the process, which helped us to fine-tune the product to our specific needs.

‘It was great to have that touch and feel of the Motherwell factory, to be able to jump in the car and see the hauler in its manufacturing stage and meet the guys that were building it.

‘But what most impressed me about Rokbak as a manufacturer is that they allowed us to try both the RA30 and RA40 to see what would suit us personally on site. Rokbak actually invested in Skene Group before we had even placed an order.’

At Soutra Mains, the RA30 is utilized predominantly in the lower benches of the quarry for load and haul, from the bottom level up to the site’s concrete aggregate wash plant. The loading shovel fills the hauler in three passes before the RA30 sets off on an 800m round trip across different site levels to the plant and back.

‘They’re generally dirty conditions for a dumper,’ explained Skene Group services and quarry manager Alex Brodie. ‘The Rokbak is running on compacted Type 1 sub-base with a few ruts here and there, but it’s nothing the machine can’t cope with. We’ve had no issues – the RA30 goes everywhere and does everything we’ve asked it to do.’

Skene Group’s RA30 customization involves the popular tailgate and a green beacon which is activated when the cab seatbelts are engaged to ensure operator safety. In addition, side extensions on the truck maximize payload and help prevent spillage while travelling on the haul roads, an auto-lube system ensures everything is greased at the right times, and heated mirror arrangements offer greater visibility down the side of the machine, with an additional mirror on the bonnet providing even greater safety while manoeuvring.

‘This customization is specific to the demands of Skene Group and the Soutra Mains Quarry,’ said Kenny Price, Rokbak’s regional sales manager for EMEA. ‘Winter conditions are always a challenge, particularly when the quarry endures a lot of rainfall, but the RA30’s capabilities make it more than adept at operating in adverse conditions. The high-performance engine balances controlled power with maximum fuel efficiency and the modulating transmission retarder is coupled with an efficient exhaust brake and fully enclosed oil-cooled multi-disc brakes for total control – even on steep slopes.’

‘I’ve been using the Rokbak since it arrived and it’s really nice to operate,’ said quarry operative Robert Robertson. ‘When I first arrive on site in the morning, I do the initial checks of the oil, water and hydraulic levels. The layout makes everything quick and clear to see.

‘The rear-view camera makes my life a lot easier when you’re reversing the hauler, and the large windows offer a lot of visibility. With any operation, comfort is very important, and it is a very comfortable truck to drive. Personally, I like the amount of room the cabin offers, as well as the stereo of course.’

The RA30’s spacious ROPS/FOPS-certified cab has been designed to avoid fatigue – with low noise, air-conditioning, cushioned steering and tough suspension. Easy operation and service data extraction are gained through clear instrumentation and an LCD display for operational and service feedback, including fuel consumption, whilst smart data identify any faults and damage before they cause downtime.

‘One of the most important things is that the machine is consistently available and ready to be utilized,’ said Kevin Hill. ‘That goes a long way in terms of having the right equipment and minimizing the amount of downtime.

‘My biggest things are that the guys are happy and that they’re comfortable using it, and that there’s a minimal amount of downtime and low fuel consumption. Obviously, we’re looking to make savings. Bringing the Rokbak in with its low fuel consumption is helping us to reduce the fuel usage in terms of average litres per hour and our overall operational costs.’

‘When Skene Group were considering replacing an existing hauler, we were able to demonstrate how the RA30 met all of their requirements including safety, efficiency, productivity and operator acceptance,’ said Mark Proudfoot, managing director of Molson Group. ‘Feedback on the RA30 has been extremely positive in terms of performance, efficiency and reliability – customers, including Skene Group, like that it’s modern but down to earth.

‘In Soutra Mains Quarry we now have a piece of heavy engineering made in Scotland, performing in Scotland and supported in Scotland. We very much see the relationship with Rokbak and Skene Group as a partnership.

‘Working closely with our OEM partners allows us to ensure we meet the needs of the customer as smoothly as possible, and having the customer included in this relationship closes the cycle – common interest, common goals, with all sides pulling in the same direction of having equipment working efficiently on site as part of a profitable operation.’

 

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