Case Study, Earthmoving Machinery, Excavators, Volvo, Wheel loaders

Solid as a rock: Western Quarries and CJD Equipment

Western Quarries’ Volvo EC550E excavator

With a commitment to keeping its operations smooth and productive, Western Quarries likes to keep its fleet fresh and functional. Having just taken delivery of Australia’s first 50-tonne Volvo EC550E crawler excavator at its Dunneworthy site, the Western Quarries team explains how the powerful new machine is helping maximise production.


When Paul Griffin joined the Western Quarries as Business Manager just over six months ago, he was immediately impressed by the business’ dedication to growth, efficiency, and getting the job done safely.

Clockwise from top left: Daryl Potter, Quarry Manager; Paul Griffin, Business Manager; Justin Brasser, Operator; Lachie Woods, Heavy Diesel Mechanic and 2IC.

“My experience so far within the business has been a real eye-opener for me,” Paul says. “They know how to put everything in the right places – the degree of overall structure within the business is really impressive.

“A lot of that is driven by our Managing Director Justin Bartlett, who sets a pretty high standard for safety and performance.”

Paul says endeavouring for best practice across all aspects of the business – whether that’s buying the right equipment or maintaining good signage and traffic management – contributes to a safer operation and more satisfied customers.

“Coming on board in a new role like I have, there’s a lot expected,” Paul says. “Working with the team to ensure we are buying the right equipment, having the right people operating, and maintaining everything to the highest industry standard – I think we’re demonstrating all those attributes.”

Western Quarries added the EC550E to help boost overall output.

Quality processes

Since its inception in 2012, Western Quarries has been at the forefront of sustainable quarrying operations in regional Victoria. Recognising the demand for high-quality aggregates in the Australian road networks, the company set out with a view to bridge the gap and contribute to the solution by sourcing geological products that meet economic needs.

In September 2015, Western Quarries took a significant step forward with its inaugural blast, quickly followed by crushing activities. Today, as the only quarry with a certified NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) laboratory on-site, the company has been able to enhance quality control at the point of manufacture and ensure swift turnaround times.

The 50-tonne EC550E has been designed to deliver the productivity and performance typically found in 60-tonne machines.

Now operating at two sites just outside the western Victorian town of Ararat: Dunneworthy Quarry and Tuckers Hill Quarry, Western Quarries continues to grow, all the while supplying materials to support major road infrastructure projects across regional Victoria.

The company’s product range includes high-quality aggregates and crushed rocks that meet VicRoads standards for use in concrete, asphalt, and road surfacing projects. With a blending plant established in 2016, Western Quarries can supply wet mix and cement-treated crushed rocks, and pre-coated surfacing aggregate.

Smooth operations

Leading the way at Western Quarries’ Dunneworthy site is Quarry Manager, Daryl Potter, who started with the business shortly after its first blast in 2015. Daryl brings more than 30 years’ quarrying experience to his role managing the Dunneworthy team and its daily operations.

The extra power of the EC550E helps operators fill trucks faster.

According to Daryl, for his whole Western Quarries tenure, the business’ machinery fleet has been standardised Volvo across the board, which he says has made everybody’s life easier.

“We use all Volvo mobile plant here, including three 40-tonne A40G articulated haulers, and three front-end loaders as well,” he says. “The most recent loader is a Volvo L260H wheel loader, which the boys are really happy with. We also have two L220H wheel loaders, which we predominantly use as sales loaders around the quarry.”

And on the frontlines for Daryl’s team are two Volvo excavators, a 48-tonner and a brand-new 50-tonner: the EC550E.

“The new EC550E has been a really good addition to our fleet,” he says. “We’re getting much better fuel consumption with this excavator compared to our older machine.

Western Quarries’ two Volvo A40G articulated haulers operate in tandem to keep rock moving.

Daryl says the new machine is quicker and smoother to operate, with faster load times yielding more overall production.

“Our whole Volvo fleet has been purchased through CJD Equipment,” he says. “We appreciate the ease of having one brand of machine, and CJD is a one-stop shop for whatever we need. Parts are always readily available, and they give us great backup support. It’s a path we’ll continue to go down in the future.

“There is a level of confidence with knowing CJD are just down the road in Melbourne. When we’ve had any issues in the past, CJD has been there to help us out. We couldn’t be any happier.”

Bigger and better

Regional Sales Manager Steve Wilson has been with CJD Equipment for more than 20 years, and has been Western Quarries’ trusted Volvo expert since 2017.

The EC550E is Volvo’s first true 50-tonne excavator.

He says the Western Quarries team has been impressed by their Volvo machines’ reliability and quality. When it came time for the business to increase its output, Steve had just the solution for them.

“Western Quarries were after a machine that could load their dump trucks faster to get more product moved, and this was the machine to do that,” Steve says. “They were initially looking at another EC480D with a larger bucket, but this combination wasn’t really possible. So, I suggested they look at the EC550E.

“The EC550E is Volvo’s first true 50-tonne class machine, offering greater performance and production. This machine has the highest engine power in its class, improved cycle times, exceptional operator comfort, and great fuel efficiency.”

Steve says the EC550E offers the kind of productivity and performance usually reserved for 60-tonne excavators. Its rugged build and reinforced undercarriage makes it a great choice for the toughest conditions.

As always, the Western Quarries team trusted Steve and CJD to steer them the right way, and their trust has paid off so far.

Western Quarries specialises in high-quality aggregate production.

“Adding the EC550E to the Western Quarries fleet has reduced the number of passes required to fill their dump truck while using less fuel, which provides greater productivity,” Steve says.

Justin Brasser, one of Western Quarries’ veteran operators, agrees on all fronts.

“It’s a vast improvement from the smaller machine,” he says. “It’s cut my load times down to two and a half minutes per truck, and burns less fuel for it – between 220 and 240 litres per day.”

“The comfort of the Volvos is far superior too. It’s nice and smooth to operate, and it has a really nice, clean climate-controlled cab. You’ll still feel a lot more comfortable at the end of the day, too. You’re not as worn out.

“That’s my favourite thing about it – it just makes my job a lot easier.”

For Justin, it’s just one part of what makes his job at Western Quarries enjoyable.

“It’s a great group of people that we work with, and it’s a great company to work for,” he says. “They update their machinery all the time too. They’re always up with the technology, and keeping them serviced and running like new.”

And when it comes to the maintenance of Western Quarries’ Volvo fleet, the man leading the charge is diesel mechanic and second-in-charge at the Dunneworthy site, Lachie Woods.

Steve says trusted relationships is what CJD Equipment and Volvo are all about.

Lachie has mechanical experience dating back to 2010, but was new to working on heavy machinery when he joined Western Quarries five years ago. He says having the opportunity to upskill by working on the latest Volvo equipment has made the transition easy.

“Volvo’s service access points are well laid out on the Volvos, making everything’s easy to get at,” Lachie says. “CJD are very easy to deal with when it comes to parts – just a quick email or a phone call and they get things sorted out quickly.

“And their field service team will always get someone out here as soon as they can if we have any issues that are a bit more technical.”

Lachie also appreciates his employer’s dedication to frequently rotating its machinery.

“It makes my job much easier, given we’re not running machines into the ground,” he says. “It also helps them maintain their resale value, and avoid any major issues. We just need to keep up with basic servicing and routine maintenance.”

Robust gear, robust relationships

Steve doesn’t take his role as Western Quarries’ trusted CJD Regional Sales Manager for granted.

“I feel the most important thing in this industry is to develop and maintain trusted relationships with customers, and I pride myself on the fact that this drives me,” he says.

“It is also a core belief of CJD Equipment and Volvo, and it’s reflected in how both entities do business: with a focus on the customers’ needs.”

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