As operators can spend considerable time in their vehicles, Volvo CE ensures its construction equipment has enough creature comforts to have them looking forward to the day ahead every day. Quarry spoke to two such professionals to gather what it’s like working with Volvo CE gear.
Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) provides all kinds of options on loaders, haulers and excavators, fit to provide for several applications across the quarrying industry. But without a trusted supplier like CJD Equipment, quarry businesses would be left in the dark, struggling to source the most effective vehicles for their operations.
CJD was founded in 1974 as a supplier of industrial and agricultural equipment. Where back then it was John Deere and Chamberlain that were prominent in the earthmoving equipment market, CJD has now partnered with Volvo CE for almost 30 years. It was a humble beginning for CJD, with the licence to supply Western Australia with Volvo CE products, however, it took less than 10 years before the company ventured to the east coast to eventually became Volvo CE’s national distributor.
Much more has happened since then, and it’s the company’s countrywide presence that has won it the trust of quarries across Australia. According to CJD regional sales manager Steve Wilson, it’s an “easy sell” to convert potential customers into long-term clients.
“CJD is a national company so you’re not dealing with different suppliers for different gear with branches all over the country,” Wilson said. “That’s definitely a major selling point.”
A mechanic by trade, Wilson has been in the industry and with CJD for 19 years. With an added background in sales, he knows the tips and trends of the market like the back of his hand. On selling CJD’s extensive range of Volvo CE gear, Wilson said it’s simply a matter of getting customers into the vehicles.
“Volvo products speak for themselves once you get into one,” he said. “It’s a matter of trialling one and giving the operators a chance to sit in a seat and see what they can do. Once that happens, very rarely do we miss out on a deal.”
But exactly why Volvo CE’s vehicles are so popular is a much longer conversation, due to the extensive list of advantages that come with the range.
“[CJD are] the number one wheel loader choice in New South Wales at the moment, so Volvos are very popular, especially in the sand quarry applications for loading trucks and hoppers because of the geometry of the torque parallel linkage. It gives them a better carry and gets more product from one spot to another without losing it out of the bucket,” Wilson explained.
Managing director of PF Formation Luke Graham swears by Volvo’s wheel loaders and by the service provided by CJD Equipment.
“[The Volvo L150H wheel loader] has been fantastic for productivity,” Graham said. “It’s very well fit for purpose. We’ve always been able to get the job done but it’s more the availability of the equipment. They are extremely reliable, we don’t have unscheduled downtimes almost ever, so the availability has been 100 per cent.
“It’s only, typically, our scheduled service intervals where we manage the business to have services carried out intermittently.”
Graham especially appreciates the quality of Volvo’s CE gear on behalf of his operators. Across three sites in Maroota, outside Sydney, the second-generation family-owned business has relied on its operators since 1983, so a comfortable workhorse is absolutely imperative.
“The guys like to use them, and they appreciate the comfort over a 12-hour shift,” Graham said. “The operators spend more time in their Volvo than they do in their bed at home so the need for us to manage our business to provide a good and comfortable environment for operators in the machine is important, and Volvo has allowed us to do that.”
Graham echoed Wilson’s point that Volvo CE’ vehicles are perfect for the sand quarry game, which is exactly what PF Formation requires. The operator’s three sites quarry both friable sandstone and tertiary sand which has been used for projects like Canberra’s Department of Foreign Affairs building, the Olympic facilities at Homebush, Star City Casino, and Sydney’s M2 motorway. PF Formation produces more than half a million tonnes of sand each year.
“We’ve got 35 pieces of equipment, including loaders, dump trucks, excavators, and then we have an extensive range of mobile screening and crushing gear,” he said.
BACK FROM TRADITIONAL GEAR
After a stint with a rival brand, CJD were able to convert Graham back to Volvo CE. He said he came back to the Volvo CE brand in 2015. “Feedback from other quarry operators and plant operators was that the Volvos are a superior loader,” he said. “It’s definitely the operator comfort and feedback, they prefer to drive a Volvo over anything else.
“(CJD) came in with good pricing originally, and that was a big enough carrot which was dangled that we could justify switching from my traditional gear.”
Wilson believes there are multiple factors behind PF Formation’s conversion back to Volvo gear.
“They recognised that the Volvos are more operator-friendly,” he said. “The vision that the Volvos have obviously makes them a lot more comfortable because [the operator] can see their surroundings. But also, it’s the way the cab is set up. All the switches are ergonomically set, easy to reach, and the cab sits on good suspension using viscous cab mounts.
“Also, [PF Formation was] saving more fuel by moving into Volvos, while being a lot quicker on the ground and moving more product.”
Graham complimented CJD Equipment’s support services, which have enabled his business to maximise its productivity almost constantly.
“All my Volvos are tied up in long-term service contracts with CJD, so they maintain all our Volvos and they’ve been really good,” he said.
“[Working with CJD], we don’t have breakdowns virtually ever and the cases where we have, the response has been almost immediate.”
Wilson agreed it comes down to CJD’s friendly support which has maintained not only the equipment, but the partnership too.
“It’s certainly the back-up and the service because we maintain their machines for them as well. It’s the relationship we’ve built with them over the years initially to get them into the Volvos, but it’s sort of an ongoing and all-round relationship,” Wilson said.