Case Study, Cat, Caterpillar, Earthmoving Machinery

Cat® Next Gen excavators excel for Earthworx

 

Sydney-based family earthmoving business Earthworx has evolved into a leading provider of site preparation and early works services, thanks largely to the performance of its fleet of Cat® Next Gen excavators.


On the back of a personable approach and solid family ethics, the company started small in 2006 and transitioned from family jobs to corporate projects.

It now caters for large commercial and infrastructure early works projects and its state-of-the-art, clean, scratch-free equipment symbolise an attention to detail that really resonates with clients.

Earthworx handles site clearing, demolition, remediation, bulk and detail excavations, haulage, piling and shoring projects, and currently boasts more than 100 earthmoving machines and a fleet of about 65 trucks operating out of its bases in Macquarie Park and Yatala.

Managing Director Anthony Maroun told Earthmoving Equipment Magazine that the company grew after identifying a need in the market for a niche earthmoving contractor.

“My family were working in property development and construction and we noticed that demand was growing and people were after a company that was reliable, affordable and experienced,” he said.

“The history dates back to when my father was involved in the construction industry. We always felt that excavation formed an exciting milestone in a project, being in the ground and establishing the foundations.

“It’s not the cleanest part but I believe it’s the most rewarding phase of the project. It enables projects to start from nothing where the foundations are going to establish to grow the building or structure.”

Anthony said one of the reasons for their success and growth has been the reliability of good partnerships and quality equipment like Cat® machines.

“The first machine we ever owned was a Cat brand and it performed so well we’ve just kept buying yellow gear,” he said.

“Today, our fleet is made up of about 100 pieces of plant equipment, with predominantly the majority of them being Cat equipment.”

“The Cat machines are ideal and the range is extensive; not only excavators, but dump trucks, dozers, skid steers, and more.”

Anthony said his favourite were the Cat Next Gen excavators, which feature standard technology in the cab that offers better safety outcomes, reduces fuel consumption, results in up to 45 per cent increase in efficiency, lowers maintenance costs and improves operator comfort.

In 2021 alone, Earthworx took delivery of 12 new Cat excavators, and another 9 in 2022, comprising an order of 21 units across four sizes. This makes them one of the largest owners of Cat Next Gen excavator fleets in Australia.

Worksites are now strengthening safety requirements and the restrictions are tougher, which is why it’s critical to have Cat technology in use to protect staff.

Safety first

The built-in Cat Technology features a suite of products to aid operators in their grading operations, including standard Cat Grade with 2D that provides guidance for depth, slope, and horizontal distance to grade through the standard touchscreen monitor.

Cat VisionLinkTM hardware and software allow for remote monitoring and provide customers with machine-critical operating information, ensuring maximum operator safety.

Indeed, the safety features on all Cat machines, not just the Next Gens, are among the machines’ most impressive assets.

For example, the hydraulic safety interlock system on the excavators is designed to prevent accidental machine operation. This means equipment won’t start unless the interlock lever is in the “up” position. Then, once the engine is running, nothing will operate on the excavator until the lever is put back down.

Caterpillar uses three-inch fluorescent seat belts so that supervisors and safety officers can more easily see that operators are wearing them.

Cat excavators also come equipped with a seatbelt monitor switch that triggers a display to the in-cab monitor to remind operators when their seatbelts are not engaged.

Meanwhile, the Next Gen excavators have a swing control protection feature called E-fence, which can be set to prevent the boom from swinging out of the protected range, so the machine does not contact people, walls, power lines, etc. E-fence gives total zone protection, covering the circumference of the machine, below grade, above grade and at the front of it.

Travel alarms and backup alarms also let others know when a machine is in motion. There’s even a setting for lights to stay illuminated for up to 90 seconds, in case workers need to walk through a dimly-lit site filled with potential pitfalls and debris.

“That’s the biggest thing: the technology is very advanced,” Anthony said.

“More importantly, the safety aspect of the machine is next level. For us, the biggest concern in running a very large operation with machinery and road trucks is the chain of responsibility in regards to loads and capacity of load on a truck.

“With these inbuilt scales, it enables us to be very productive but very safe.

“Worksites are now strengthening safety requirements and the restrictions are tougher, which is why it’s critical to have the latest equipment and tech in use to protect staff.

“We believe the Next Gen series is the best all round excavator for bulk excavation, especially in some of the tighter sites. It’s very nimble, but it’s also got great capacity and safety.

“And the dump trucks are clearly the best on the market, in regards to safety and comfort.”

Anthony said importantly, feedback from operators has also been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s been ideal. The operators like to operate good and safe equipment, so the feedback with these Next Gen excavators is that they’re the best machines on the market and they’re definitely the Rolls Royce of the industry,” he said.

This year WesTrac is celebrating their 20th anniversary in NSW and Earthworx has been a long-term customer from day one.

“WesTrac has proven to be an end-to-end solution,” Anthony said.

“They provide unbeatable aftermarket service  in a wide range of areas, from supplying parts to field servicing, which is most important to keep these machines going.

“With their enormous branch network, experienced team, and in-house servicing capabilities, they’re able to assist me in all facets of equipment management.

“From sales service to their servicing and maintenance, I do believe the combination of WesTrac and Caterpillar is unbeatable when it comes to the excavation market.”

Thumbs up for Caterpillar: Anthony Maroun (left), David Carrier, and Kimberley Petkovic.

 

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FitFleet® for purpose

And indeed, much of the attention to detail has been supplied as a result of Earthworx signing on to WesTrac’s FitFleet Premium Customer Value Agreement, which provides peace of mind with all maintenance servicing being taken care of by trained WesTrac technicians.

“This means we can remain focused on delivering quality work knowing that all machine maintenance is in the best hands,” Anthony said.

FitFleet Premium benefits include:

  • Access to machine health data
  • Advice and instructions through asset condition monitoring reports to assist clients with the machine and operations
  • Field service technicians will bring the genuine Cat parts needed when they complete preventative maintenance events
  • WesTrac will handle all preventative maintenance events with a Cat certified maintenance plan and recorded service history
  • Known fixed costs on preventative maintenance events and genuine Cat parts for the term of the contract, offering smoother cash flow and peace of mind.
  • A proactively maintained machine that leads to a longer life and increased productivity.

Key to WesTrac’s Sydney operation is Product Support Representative Kimberley Petkovic, whose personal approach as a dedicated sales representative is valued by clients.

“Kimberley’s been perfect. We deal with her on a week-to-week basis,” Anthony said.

“She always calls in to make sure our machines are working and she works hard to ensure the servicing is always completed on time. She’s reliable and ultimately that’s been the best thing about being a WesTrac customer.”

“It’s enabled our machinery to always stay very well-maintained and I think for us that’s the key to the success of our business: making sure that we have limited downtime. Kimberley is fantastic, she knows our equipment as well as we do.”

For her part, Kimberley said FitFleet Premium was a smart choice for businesses like Earthworx, with pay-by-the-hour costs aligned with utilisation and known costs, ensuring accurate budgeting for jobs, as well as providing predictable costs for maintenance and repairs.

“The regular maintenance and inspections can extend the lifespan of machinery and reduce downtime.

“Our technicians are trained on maintaining Cat equipment.

“This ensures that the Earthworx fleet is handled by technicians who know the machinery well, as well as giving them peace of mind, knowing that we have their equipment covered, allowing them to focus on their core operations.”

Kimberley said FitFleet provides data- driven insights and support needed to keep  equipment running at optimum levels.
“It takes all the stress and hassles away from  managing parts, maintenance, and repairs. With Premium, WesTrac take care of everything and the client can focus on other areas of the business – while knowing and trusting WesTrac will keep their equipment running.

“The FitFleet Portal is also a great tool/ platform that provides businesses with easy access to key information about equipment, service schedules, work orders, invoicing, finance and more.

“The entire team can use the portal, from any device. It’s so intuitive and easy-to-use as well.”

For Earthworx, the Cat Next Gen series is the best all round excavator for bulk excavation.

WesTrac sales representative David Carrier had been working with Earthworx from a very  early stage to help the company secure Cat equipment.

“Earthworx has been impressed with Cat gear since buying their first one all those years ago. They’re happy with the reliability of the machinery and the technology on the newer Next Gen models, especially the payload system and features like E-Fence Assist 2D,” he said.

“It was an easy choice for them to make, to go with the Next Gens.

“The quality of the gear wasn’t the only deciding factor though, it goes deeper than that.

“After sales service is a critical factor in their decision-making process.

“For Earthworx, it was important that they go with a dealer who really looks after their customers. They want a team who genuinely cares and shows up.

“So that’s what we do – we show up and do whatever we can to help them. That’s our differentiator.”

The point of difference is certainly not lost on Earthworx.

With the in-built cutting-edge technology of the Cat Next Gen excavators, the company is in no doubt that the machines are the best on the market, placing them far ahead ahead of competitors.

 

 

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