Being a successful earthmoving operator in tough environments and climates like Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory requires a dedicated team and a tough fleet of machinery. For owner of NT Excavation & Demolition Sam O’Leary, it’s been the Volvo range of machinery that has stood up above the rest in hot and harsh conditions.
Sam started his business in Darwin in 2011 and today carries out earthworks and pipework in the civil sector with a little demolition. EEM caught up with Sam on the Muir Head Subdivision (BMD) where the team has been working in the northern suburbs of Darwin for the last five months. Two of Sam’s excavators have been busy working on sewer mains and water mains, which is the bulk of the work the NT Excavation & Demolition team rips into on their subdivision contracts.
When I chatted to Sam about how he ended up setting up his operation in Darwin, he shared, “I’m originally from Ireland and I came to Darwin in 2008 while travelling around Australia. Darwin is now home to me, my partner Pon and our four-year-old daughter Aisha.
I started NT Excavation & Demolition in 2011 and after a year in business I bought my first Volvo excavator, which I still own.”
Sam continued, “NT Excavation & Demolition provides a large range of services to the civil, defence and construction industries. Our main service is plant hire to the civil industry, including site preparation and clearing, trenching, rock breaking, rock grinding, demolition and crushing.”
When you’re onto a good thing you stick with it, and that’s the exact approach Sam has applied to his fleet of seven Volvo excavators. “I purchased my first Volvo in 2012 and now have a fleet of seven Volvo excavators including a ECR145, EC290BL, EC300DL, three EC 350DLs and an EC460CL. We have found that Volvo excavators are well suited to the harsh climate and rough terrain here in the NT. They offer great comfortand drivability for the operators and the reliability and fuel efficiency are also key factors in why we buy Volvo. I have been involved with CJD Equipment for the past 10 years and have found them great to deal with. The staff there are always accessible to us for any queries or issues we have,” shared Sam. Sam’s CJD Equipment rep is Brenton Jolly who has branched out to the earthmoving sector after many years selling Kenworth Trucks. “I first met Brenton five years ago when he joined CJD Equipment’s Darwin team and since then we have built a strong relationship. Brenton is great at helping us source and spec new and second-hand machines depending on our requirements and is always on hand for any queries I might have,” said Sam.
Brenton comes across as a humble and down-to-earth bloke who has obviously performed well during the last five years at immersing himself in the earthmoving industry and building great relationships and trust with his clients. Catching up with Brenton onsite in Darwin while filming the NT Excavation & Demolition crew hard at work, Brenton shared, “I’ve been the Regional Sales Manager for Volvo CE machinery and Kenworth Trucks for the last five years after moving up to Darwin from the southern states. During that five-year period I’ve sold Sam four Volvo machines, including his latest purchase, the EC350DL. The key features that stood out on this machine for Sam was the Volvo D8 engine, which produces 197kW and 1340Nm torque. The EC350DL is a powerful production machine designed to boost performance. State-of-the-art technology, including Volvo’s unique ECO mode, new electro-hydraulic system and fuel-efficient D8 engine, ensures this machine delivers fast cycle times, high digging power and low fuel consumption.”
Brenton continued, “My history is mainly in the transport industry driving, owning and selling trucks for more than 40 years, so I hadn’t had much to do with construction machinery before starting with CJD Equipment. But with a positive learning experience from great customers like Sam and our other branches, it’s been a pleasure to gain this experience in the earthmoving side of the business. Our dealership still focuses significantly on the transport side of the business, so my time is spread across both of these channels.”
After having a chance to also catch up and have a chat with Sam’s team of operators, it’s clear their experience in the Volvo machines is a positive one with the cab comfort, overall reliability and a reduction in operator fatigue all coming up in conversation.
The Volvo 350D in particular is sporting some advanced hydraulics with a new electro-hydraulic system and main control valve, which uses intelligent technology to control on-demand flow and reduce internal losses in the hydraulic circuit. This provides increased controllability, shorter cycle times and improved fuel efficiency. Features that both Sam and his operators can feel and appreciate.
This is only my second trip to Darwin, but it strikes me as a place with a lot of potential for operators with significant work opportunities for those looking to work hard and embrace this beautiful place. There’s a great energy about Darwin with a lot of good people and excellent projects under way. However, the reality is you will be hard-pressed finding a more challenging work environment and when the heat really kicks in, you won’t find a better workplace than sitting in the cab of a Volvo excavator!