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Marino Excavations and CJD Equipment

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Locally owned and operated Marino Excavations has grown steadily over the past decade, providing services in and around Cairns in the Far North Queensland region, with it placing a premium not only on the quality of work it undertakes, but also the quality of customer service it provides.

Owner Grant Marino has been working in the earthmoving and excavation industry for close to 15 years and draws on an involvement with machinery which stretches back to his childhood.

“I grew up around machinery because my family had a cane farm and a small quarry,” he told EEM. “As a young fella, I helped my father on the farm, then once the farm finished, we started working on the quarry.

“I eventually purchased my first machine. I then onboarded an operator, and we worked together at the quarry and a few subdivisionsaround Cairns. The quarry came in handy to fill the gaps between jobs, as that’s one of the biggest challenges.”

In the years since, Marino has expanded its capabilities in line with its growing fleet. Grant said the business has been focused on developing its operations across the board, with it now overseeing 10 excavators, with nine operators, along with a team of administration and service employees.

EXCAVATOR AND GPS INVESTMENTS SUPPORT GROWTH
Looking back, Grant noted that while Marino’s first few years were steady, with the business initially building a name for itself in the region, he had subsequently “picked up things quickly, both on the machine and the managing side”.

“In 2016 I purchased my first Volvo excavator from CJD Equipment,” he said. “It was a new ECR235CL, fitted with a 3D Trimble GPS system. It was and still is a beauty, and it’s still going strong today.

“The following year business picked up, and I purchased another one. However, this time I requested the latest GPS system from Trimble. I was the first to buy the new Trimble Earthworks GPS system in Australia.”

Having in short time added two very advanced Volvo excavators, decked out with the latest technologies, to his fleet, Grant told EEM, “from there, things took off”.

“We currently offer plant hire with a fleet including subcontractors,” he said. “We can source most plant for any sized construction project in Far North Queensland.”

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND QUALITY EQUIPMENT BOLSTER SERVICE OFFERING
Grant, who is a fourth generation Cairns local, said Marino stands out in the market due to its local knowledge and reliability, complemented by skilled operators, friendly service and management, and consistent safety records.

In addition to this, he pointed to the quality equipment that makes up the Marino fleet, which has been strategically fitted with the latest technologies, with its machines kept in top operating condition at all times.

Grant said the business is “constantly evolving and creating relationships with new clients”, with it supplying plant to the Cairns Regional Council and various civil contractors, and currently undertaking a number of different projects.

“One of the projects we are working on is the Edmonton to Gordonvale project (E2G),” he said. “E2G is a $480 million highway project, run by a tier one contractor. The most spent on infrastructure in Cairns to date.

“We are the primary plant supplier to the HSA Group, a John Holland, Seymour Whyte and AECOM joint venture. We currently have over 30 machines on this project, including subcontractors consisting of excavators, trucks, water carts, loaders and floats.”

He said Marino has also set about forging strong connections with local businesses – including mobile crushing business Nitro Crushing and heavy machinery hire operator FLGT, both of which he has family connections with – adding another element to the scope of its operations.

VOLVO EXCAVATORS PROVIDE SMOOTH AND EFFICIENT PERFORMANCE
Marino has recently added a Volvo EC250EDA excavator, which it has paired with Volvo’s Dig Assist machine control system, to its fleet, with Grant stating that Volvo excavators deliver a range of benefits.

“Apart from being a very sleek machine, the smoothness of operation with the Volvo excavators is the best out there,” he said. “For a final trim machine, Volvo is the first machine I look at for this reason alone. Coming standard with proportional tilt makes trimming a breeze.

“Then usually a GPS system is required for our type of work, however sometimes you are not sure what brand of system the project will be using. Volvo has the best solution for this, where you can install multiple systems on the Volvo platform.

By way of example, Grant noted a Trimble or Topcon system, or other supported brands, can be installed, allowing for the changing of brands if required, while he also pointed to the convenience of having built-in GPS receivers, meaning operators don’t need to take them home to prevent theft.

Grant said the EC250EDA has been a great machine so far. “It has been performing a lot of detailed excavation and bulk earthworks with an oversized bucket. It has shifted some serous dirt with minimal change in fuel efficiency. The versatility of this machine has been great. It’s a good all-rounder!”

DIG ASSIST ENHANCES EXCAVATION WITH DIFFERENT APPLICATIONS
Dig Assist, which is powered via Volvo’s interactive 10-inch high-definition touchscreen Co-Pilot in-cab tablet, incorporates sensors and GPS technology to assist operators, enabling efficient and effective excavation.

Grant told EEM that Dig Assist can be harnessed to assist with a range of applications, helping to speed up operations.

“Having Dig Assist the operator can quickly create basic designs from within the cab,” he said. “You can set grades, slopes and lines, which comes in handy as you don’t have to get out of the machine to check levels or have someone on the jigger.”

He observed that running off a design file provided by the client offers even greater convenience, with operators simply needing to have the right application installed, load the file and dig to design.

In addition to this, Grant noted that Dig Assist helps get the right weight on trucks via its On-Board Weighing feature, which gives a precise reading of each bucket weight, providing productivity benefits.

He also pointed to its range of safety features, giving “great reassurance knowing your operators are in an extremely safe machine”.

CJD EQUIPMENT AT THE READY TO HELP WHEN REQUIRED
In the years since the purchase of his first Volvo excavator, Grant said CJD has “always shown their support and followed up on how the machine is running”.

“They have maintained a good relationship with Marino over the last six years,” he commented. “I never hesitate to call them if I am thinking of purchasing a new machine and need to run through some scenarios.”

Jarrad Bennett, CJD Regional Sales Manager North Queensland, told EEM that Grant’s recent purchase of the EC250EDA provides him “the ability to future-proof himself with the latest technology and highest fuel efficiency, productivity and emissions standards”.

Jarrad said he has been servicing Marino for close to three years, with open communication underpinning his relationship with Grant.

“Grant is a great guy and a straight shooter, well respected in the region, and runs a good business,” he commented.

“Grant knows what he needs in a machine, and the communication has always been great, we can call a spade a spade and get to the core of his requirements. When we do have an issue, we get it solved, and can talk about innovation and what works and what can be improved.”

STRONG BUSINESS MOMENTUM SET TO CONTINUE INTO 2022
Jarrad said that it has been a very busy period over the last 12 months, with CJD on hand to deliver support for growing businesses in the region, while looking ahead more of the same is on the cards for 2022.

“Business has been very busy, our customers are flat out with a range of local and ongoing projects, and it’s been great growing with them and helping to provide the best, most productive and latest in earthmoving solutions,” he commented.

“We are expecting another big year in 2022, with infrastructure, quarrying and civil all big parts of the Far North Queensland growth.”

Grant noted that while the last couple of years have certainly been eventful for Marino, the business has “made it through bigger and better than when we started”.

“The last couple of years have been exceptionally challenging,” he said. “Scoring a primary role on a tier one project, upscaling with employees and plant, then throwing a pandemic and construction boom in the mix.

“Navigating these challenges has ultimately been very rewarding, and Marino is now well positioned moving forward into 2022 and beyond. I am very proud of where Marino is and excited about where it is heading.”

VOLVO EC250E SPECS
The Volvo EC250E weighs in at 26.46 t (operating weight) and runs a Stage V 159 kW Volvo D8J diesel engine, designed to provide high productivity and low fuel consumption.

It sports a boom length of 6 m and an arm length of 2.97 m, with a maximum dig depth of 7.06 m and a maximum reach at ground level of 10.16 m. Its features include:
• Fuel efficiency – ECO mode is designed to optimise the hydraulic system, reducing flow and pressure losses, providing improved fuel efficiency without any loss of performance in most operating conditions
• Productivity – the V-ACT system sees the engine and pumps matched to optimise performance, while high pump flow combined with the electro-hydraulic control system creates a faster response and cycle time
• Operator convenience – an ergonomic design includes an optimally positioned keypad, allowing the operator to easily navigate through the 8-inch non-glare colour LCD monitor and activate machine functions
• Robust design – a robust, reinforced structure and high-quality welding is designed to deliver durability, including reinforced bucket linkage, and an undercarriage with a reinforced idler frame, track links and bottom rollers built to withstand tougher conditions
• Maintenance – large, wide-opening compartment doors and grouped service points have been designed for easy maintenance

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