Canberra Sand and Gravel (CSG’s) production manager, Steve Trevillian, discusses the company’s operations and why Volvo equipment is the equipment of choice for its concrete and landscaping jobs
CSG recently took delivery of its first Volvo EC250ELD excavator. It is the first machine CSG has operated with the Dig Assist feature and the team is impressed with the latest technical improvements in the new Volvo.
“It is one of the rare machines we have that has been wrapped with our company logo and signage,” says Trevillian.
“It has come up really well and our team is excited about the latest features, including Dig Assist.”
Powered by the high resolution in-cab Volvo Co-Pilot, the Dig Assist is an intuitive technology that allows the operator to quickly and easily manage all excavator functions from a single in-cab system.
It gives operators access to a range of tools to improve machine control, accuracy and uptime.
Powered by a Volvo D8J engine that delivers 159kW net power and 1,110Nm torque at 1,350rpm, the EC250ELD is a high productivity excavator in Volvo’s crawler range.
The 26+ tonne excavator has a bucket capacity of 1.32 cubic metres. The CSG team is clearly pumped at the prospects of its use.
CSG is a family-run business that was started around 50 years ago by two football buddies, Tom Trevillian and Wayne Gregory. Their sons, Steve Trevillian and James Gregory, have since taken over the business’ operations.
Today, CSG is one of Canberra’s leading landscape supplier companies. It has three landscape centres located in the suburbs of Hume, Belconnen and Mitchell, and a sand mine that supplies concrete sand for about 50 per cent of the town’s sand market. CSG also does contract work such as on-site crushing and screening, and house pad excavations, as well as supplying bulk materials to civil jobs.
It supplies raw materials from the sand mine to retail outlets as well as ‘mum and dad’-type businesses and households.
“We’ve had organic growth in the past 50 years,” explains Trevillian.
“We’ve grown with Canberra. From a one-location service that was very DIY originally, we’re currently in the best position we could be. We’re still a very hands-on business but James and I have started to upgrade our equipment regularly. We’re covered for five years’ warranty on our equipment so we don’t have the need for frequent or huge repairs.
“In the past 10 years we have seen an increase in demand for concrete and, in the past year, we have been busy on our landscape work side. We’ve been busy since the start of COVID-19 and, in fact, we had one of the busiest winter periods last year.
“Currently, we have around 60 people working in the business and we’re looking for more people. We have a fairly high percentage of staff members that are long-term employees, some of whom have been with us for several decades.”
One of CSG’s long-serving employees is Ed Young, who recently celebrated his 40th anniversary with the company. His primary role has been house pad excavation, a job where he has over 30 years’ hands-on experience.
Young started with front-end loaders before moving on to excavators and is currently using the new Volvo EC250ELD.
Trevillian says that it is exciting to see Young embrace new technologies over the past four decades with so much enthusiasm.
“Ed has always been at the forefront of Canberra’s geographic expansion. He is one of our longest-serving employees after my dad,” he says.
“When Ed started the job we were still using tape measures and then we went on to use laser technology and now we have GPS features, which means he won’t have to hop in and out of the machine so much.
“At first, we were unsure whether he’d be interested in going with newer technology at this stage of his career but he has been very enthusiastic about it. Ed has always preferred Volvo and he had his heart set on the E model since the trial.”
On the fleet side, CSG has a wide range of Volvo equipment, including four dump trucks in the 20- to 40-tonne range, six excavators ranging from 25 to 38 tonnes and 19 front-end loaders, starting from small loaders to the L180 loaders working in the sand mine.
While Volvo prides itself in making equipment that is constantly pushing its fuel efficiency standards, for CSG, user comfort is the clincher.
“For us, operator comfort is the biggest factor, particularly in frontend loaders, and we feel that other brands haven’t captured that aspect as well as Volvo,” says Trevillian.
“People are looking to be more comfortable at work today and we feel Volvo has taken good care of that. We’ve trialled other models of dump trucks but, since we deal with a lot of soft and boggy materials, we have noticed that Volvo dump trucks can pull a load out of the ramps in our quarry a lot better in that sandy application.
“In our landscape centres and our production facilities, because we are actually not quarrying or mining out of a rock face per se, a lot of our material is loose, so it involves transferring raw materials into a screen or crusher and stockpiling a lot, and the Volvo linkages allow the buckets to roll back further.
Therefore, we can generally fit more material in the bucket and have less spillage when travelling with it. A lot of our work is load and carry, so it is an important factor for us.
“I know that Volvo spruiks fuel efficiency but, for our operations, that is not a huge consideration. For us other factors come to play like I wouldn’t buy a machine for which there is no Canberra-based workshop or mechanic. Another thing is the ability of the machine to do a job like we’d want it to do. Volvo ticks off both those aspects.
“All our Volvo equipment is from CJD Equipment. One of the great things about CJD Equipment is their parts sourcing capability. We’ve never had to wait long to get a spare part for any of our Volvo equipment, which reduces downtime for us.
We have a great professional relationship with CJD’s regional sales manager Ross Forsyth and trust his expertise on the mechanical side of things.”