Family-owned contractor AB-Wil Excavations has long been servicing the Sydney metropolitan and Southern Highlands areas, with owner Frank Ciantar drawing on a vast pool of experience accumulated over the course of his four decades in the industry, spanning all aspects of earthmoving operations.
Frank told EEM that he had established AB-Wil in 1983, initially starting out small and thereafter adding new machinery as required, as he built the scope of his service offering, putting in the hard yards and forging a reputation in the local industry.
“I’ve been involved in the industry for 40 years,” he commented. “I had been down in the Riverina, driving dozers and Bobcats, and then I moved to Sydney, out west, when I first started the business off.
“After a time, I bought an excavator, and over the years I’ve had four excavators, however I’ve still got my original Kobelco.”
Having given this Kobelco, an SK140 MK-IV model, a fresh coat of paint a couple of years ago, Frank noted that not only does it still look as good as new, but also continues to run smoothly, having well and truly stood the test of time.
“It’s always been looked after,” he said. “It has done 11,500 hours and is now working at home in the quarry hole.”
KOBELCO MACHINES PROVIDE FOR PRECISE OPERATIONS
Frank told EEM that durable equipment is a strong priority, with AB-Wil – which he runs as a one-man operation – providing a range of services, from dam construction and cleaning to driveway construction, general earthworks, land clearing and trench construction.
For this reason, when weighing up the pros and cons of a new excavator, he was inclined to draw on his past experience and explore other Kobelco options, pointing in particular to the precision provided by Kobelco machines.
“With the Kobelco, if you lifted your bucket an inch off the ground, and start rotating back, with the stick coming in and the boom going up, you could stay an inch off the ground all the way through,” he commented.
In addition to this, Frank noted that when it comes to final trimming works, his experience with Kobelco machines was a strong motivating factor when considering his various options for a new machine.
“I had a look at other machines, but to me the Kobelco’s the number one machine,” he told EEM “I’ve always been in final trimming, and the Kobelco is just so precise – with the Kobelco I can comb my hair with it.
“I’ve been working with machines for a long time, and doing final trimming, and when I sit in a Kobelco, even that machine which has done 11,500 hours, I can sit there and let it work – it just does it.”
KOBELCO SK55SRX-7: PREMIUM POWER, PERFORMANCE, AND OPERATOR COMFORT
Frank has recently taken delivery of a Kobelco SK55SRX-7 mini-excavator, noting that he has taken the opportunity to put the machine through its paces ahead of deploying it on site, stating that his first impressions have been very positive.
South Coast Trucks & Machinery (SCTM) Sales Representative, Steve Jones highlighted the robustness and all-round performance provided by Kobelco machines, with the SK55SRX-7 incorporating a range of modern features and designed to go the distance.
“Frank’s decision to come back into the Kobelco fold centres around the fantastic durability and reliability obtained with the original SK140 MK-IV, which by our best guess is a 1994-96 model, and which is still very photogenic,” Steve commented.
“Whilst the years have seen much progress on operator comfort, safety and onboard technology, Kobelco has maintained a focus on whole-of-life ownership that today still resonates with the modern earthmoving equipment contractor.”
The 5.09t SK55SRX-7’s short tail swing is designed to improve operating efficiency in limited spaces, while its larger boom and arm provide for a wide working range (maximum digging depth of 3.89m, maximum digging reach of 6.27m and maximum dumping clearance of 4.44m).
Running a 29.1kW Yanmar Tier 4 Final engine, it also delivers in the power and performance stakes, providing 12 per cent faster travel speed (compared to previous models with two speeds), and 10 per cent faster hill-climbing speed and digging cycle times shortened by 11 per cent (compared to previous models).
Durability is also a key focus, with the boom, arm and swing bracket equipped with large cross-section segments for added attachment strength, while a high-strength cab/canopy meets ROPS, TOPS and OPG Level 1 (Top guard) standards.
Meanwhile, when it comes to the interior, there are a number of features designed to deliver operator comfort, including a Grammer suspension seat and enlarged wrist rests, keeping the operator’s forearms in a stable position.
Additional air vents, switches with LED backlights, a smartphone holder, USB and AUX ports, and Bluetooth connectivity contribute to comfortable and convenient operations, while a colour monitor displays machine information and can be used to adjust attachment hydraulic flow.
In addition to this, the SK55SRX-7 sports lever angles which allow for comfortable operations, while a wide-opening door provides for easy access, with a slide-open window capable of being opened and closed both forwards and backwards.
SCTM PROVIDES COMPREHENSIVE, NO-FUSS SERVICE
Servicing the Illawarra, Wollongong, and ACT regions, SCTM, a branch of Sydney Trucks & Machinery, assisted with Frank’s recent acquisition of the SK55SRX-7, with Steve telling EEM he had been struck with the spic-and-span appearance of Frank’s SK140 MK-IV.
“The machine is approximately 25 years old, and has been worked regularly, whilst still being in remarkable condition,” he commented.
As Frank noted, the machine certainly still has the ability to make an impression, telling EEM, “when Steve saw it he thought it was brand new”.
As for adding the SK55SRX-7 to his equipment line-up, Frank said that SCTM has gone out of its way to provide assistance, paving the way for a quick-and-easy, no-fuss process, from ordering the machine through to taking delivery.
“They’ve been terrific, especially Steve,” he said. “He gave me the price for it, and it was all over the phone. He ordered the machine, got it in for me, organised a set of grabs for it, and I paid him the money – that’s where it was.”