Walters AI Plant Hire Win Leads To Fleet Deal



Bardon Hill igneous rock quarry and Croft quarry in Leicestershire, owned and operated by Aggregate Industries, are set to benefit from the introduction of a total of 9 new Cat® machines from Finning, after awarding load and haul contracts to plant specialist, Walters Plant Hire.

Having completed the signing of two five year deals in late 2012, Walters Plant Hire and Finning had just eight weeks to deliver the new fleet of Caterpillar equipment into Bardon Hill. Consisting of six new Cat 777G’s a low hours used Cat 992G and a Cat 336D excavator with a Cat hammer, the fleet had to be in place to take over from the previous contractor to provide a seamless service to Aggregate Industries.

Having previously assisted Walters in installing a new Cat 390DL ME at sister quarry Croft, the logistics, training and support needed to meet the tight deadlines was key to the success of the transition.

Commenting on the Bardon Hill deal, Gareth Stratford, Aggregate Industries works manager at Bardon Hill said: “We have operated a load and haul contract at the site for a number of years and as the contract with the previous supplier was coming to an end we put a tender together for a new five year deal.

“Key to the process was the value and knowledge that the operator could bring to the contract and having previously had a Caterpillar fleet operating in the quarry, we new the benefits of working with this equipment. Walters, with the support of Finning proved to be the combination we were looking for. They could meet our tight deadlines and reliably support our delivery of the 2.5m tonnes of output required in 2013.”

With the previous contract finishing onsite on the 30th November 2012, the task for Walters and Finning was to deliver, commission and train the existing operators that were being brought over from the previous contractor, to ensure that on day one, Monday 3rd December 2012, the new fleet was productive.

Commenting on the deal, Huw Richards, director at Walters Plant Hire said: “This was all about delivering rock to the crusher on the first day of the contract. We had to pull out all of the stops to get the equipment in place and even though we didn’t need to put in new equipment as part of the deal, we wanted to ensure that we started our new relationship with Aggregate Industries (AI) in a very positive way for both parties.

As part of the contract, AI are responsible for providing fuel for the Caterpillar machines. By taking advantage of the advanced technology developed by Caterpillar on the new Cat 777G’s, AI will benefit from enhanced machine performance both from a production and fuel economy perspective. In-turn, with the data we will get from the Finning Finsight team in Cannock, who will be monitoring the performance of the trucks using the new on-board VIMS 3G system, we will be able to carefully manage the cost per tonne per litre, delivering better value to AI.

In addition to being fitted with VIMS 3G a new GPS system from Caterpillar, the Cat 777G trucks have also been retrofitted with visible tonnage monitors, allowing the operator of the Cat 992G, tasked with loading the units, clear sight of the load, optimising performance.

Talking about the deal, Finning mining manager, Eric Brindley said: “With any equipment choice you first need to match the fleet and have a clear focus on Health and Safety. The combination of the Cat 992G with the new Cat 777G’s, which are currently the safest units on the market from an all-round visibility, access and egress perspective, is perfect for the application at Bardon Hill.

“Having worked with Walters Plant Hire for a number of years we have developed a strategic partnership to support them and their fleet of over 500 mostly large Caterpillar machines. As a national player with a core base in Wales, they have a vast amount of experience maintaining and operating Caterpillar equipment and as part of our support for the contract they will be able to call upon our strong depot presence in the region.

“As a business they also understand and recognise the benefits of using equipment data, whilst taking a collaborative approach to information sharing, training and operational best practice. Being the first business in the UK to operate the Cat 777G’s with the new VIMS 3G system in a tough quarry environment, they will also benefit from enhanced data and monitoring services through our Finsight team in Cannock.

“With driver and manager training already setup for the new year, the combination of experience and data will give the Walters team a key advantage in understanding how to optimise the operation of the machines. In-turn this information will be very valuable when bidding for future load and haul contracts.”