Case Study

Agtrans Harnesses premium power & performance of Liebherr PR 736 Dozer

Based in Hawera, in South Taranaki on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, lifting, transport and logistics specialist Agtrans has carved out a strong niche in the local market, establishing itself over the past decade as a leading supplier of heavy haulage, craneage and truck-mounted crane work.

Established in 2012, Agtrans operates a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week business, with the capacity to lift and move big, wide, heavy and oversized loads into awkward and hard-to-reach places, with it operating a state-of-the-art equipment fleet.

Owner CJ Mahony told EEM he had initially come from a background in equipment hire and commercial water-blasting, with Agtrans having evolved as it has added to its fleet of cranes and built its service suite.

“Over the years Agtrans has merged into becoming a crane company,” CJ explained. “I’ve now got six mobile cranes, and also have two new Liebherr mobile cranes on order, waiting for delivery at the moment.”

In addition to this, Agtrans provides general transport, oversize load pilots, riggers, man-cages, silo and vessel transport, and tip truck services, making it a one-stop shop service for its clients’ lifting, transport and logistics requirements.

While earthmoving isn’t an established component of Agtrans’ service offering (it does do some civil work for the oil and gas sector), CJ told EEM that he has long maintained an interest in the industry.

“I’ve always had a bit of a passion for earthmoving,” he said. “It’s actually always been a bit of a hobby for me. I own a number of commercial buildings, and I’ve always tried to do my own site works.”

This includes his current project, a 20-hectare commercial and residential subdivision, consisting of 31 commercial and 75 residential lots, with a total of 680,000m3 to cut and fill over a five-year span.

His ongoing relationship with equipment manufacturer Liebherr made it a logical first port of call when seeking a dozer to tackle the project, with CJ eventually taking delivery of PR 736 crawler dozer.

“We’re very familiar with Liebherr’s level of service, from a parts and support point of view, and also very familiar from a machine quality point of view.

“When looking at the PR 736, I was also pleasantly surprised by the price, which is very, very competitive compared with what this multifunctional tool can offer.

“Through the Liebherr hydrostatic drive, the machine automatically and continuously delivers the correct traction when ripping, without any gear changes. The undercarriage design also gives operators the added benefit of a low centre of gravity.

“Due to the electronic pilot control, not only can the operator set the speed of the machine, you can also select the reactivity and speed of the operating hydraulics in the display.

“I ended up buying it sight unseen. I was teed up to go and test drive one, but COVID kicked in the way of that. So, eventually I ran out of patience and I purchased it sight unseen. I was very comfortable doing this, based on my previous experiences with Liebherr.”

Craig Nicholson, Key Account Manager for Liehberr New Zealand’s Earthmoving Division, noted that while Liebherr’s Mobile Cranes Division has been working with Agtrans since 2016, he initially began servicing CJ mid-last year.

“CJ has been great to deal with, moving what he knows about Liebherr cranes into the earthmoving line,” he commented. “Liebherr is considered the best of equipment, and CJ knows this in regard to cranes, and has transferred this to the earthmoving productas well.”

Craig said the PR 736 is designed to provide a premium performance, with features including a high-torque Tier 4 final diesel engine, and hydrostatic travel drive for stepless power transmission, providing the right speed for each application, from pushing to ripping, with no loss of power.

The PR 736 additionally delivers outstanding manoeuvrability and maximum traction on any terrain, provides excellent fuel efficiency, with a high-efficiency travel drive and wear-free service brake, and features precise single-lever control with adjustable joysticks for comfortable operations.

Craig advised that CJ had ordered a unit decked out with: a 6-way blade (4.63m3 capacity), low ground pressure with 812mm single grouser track pads, LED lighting, 3-shank ripper to rear, Tier 4 final emission system, Topcon ready kit and a Liebherr rear camera.

Having taken delivery of the PR 736 last year, CJ told EEM he has put several hours into the machine, with it having met all his expectations.

“I’ve done 250 hours on the machine, all by myself,” he said. “That’s my little hobby project at the moment. I probably should let someone else in it, but that’s my passion and I enjoy doing it myself.

“I’m really pleased with its performance, really pleased with the comfort of the machine, and the Topcon 3D machine control has in particular proven to be really beneficial.”

It’s not just CJ who is pleased with the addition of the PR 736 to his fleet, with his four-yearold son, Sebastian, keen on the machine too – so much so, that CJ even built him a mini version, having got the idea after one of his staff showed him a YouTube video of a small homemade bulldozer.

“I knew straight away I needed to build one for Sebastian, and came up with a few ideas,” CJ explained.

“At first I thought about using a small (under 1 tonne) excavator, but came across a small tracked dumper, which was the perfect start point, and immediately gave me tracks, motor, hydraulic system with controls and enough rams to make everything work.

“Effectively, I’ve pulled the dump body off and fitted the seat and canopy in that space and used the rams from the dump body function to operate the blade.

“Sebastian is very keen on the PR 736, and has sat in with me operating a few times, but keeps telling me we need a new excavator to go with it!”

Both CJ and Craig expect that business will remain busy in 2022, with this momentum to continue into the foreseeable future.

“We’re certainly very busy,” CJ commented. “In fact, we’re struggling to keep up with demand, and in 2022 I see a continuation of that. I don’t see it slowing down in our area for some time.”

Craig told EEM that Liebherr has been steadily increasing its footprint within New Zealand in recent years.

“Customers are now taking into account lowest overall cost of ownership and lowest cost per tonne of product moved – spanning high performance, lower fuel consumption, machine reliability and easy maintenance – and this is where Liebherr exceeds,” he said. “We are growing as new customers come onboard.”

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