A new approach to managing contract road maintenance services has seen Western Australian company, Roadcare, become one of the largest single owners of Caterpillar work tools in the country.
Roadcare manages fleet and capital equipment leased to Southern Road Services which has a contract to maintain the road network throughout the south west of the state for Main Roads WA.
The company began a fleet replacement program early last year progressively taking delivery of a range of Cat equipment from local dealer WesTrac.
As well as 120H and 12H Motor Graders and a 311C Hydraulic Excavator, which now form the backbone of the heavy fleet, Roadcare purchased four Cat 908 compact wheel loaders, five 272C skid steer loaders, four 287C multi terrain loaders and a range of vibratory compaction rollers and 35 Cat work tools.
The compact equipment and work tool inventory will serve specialised service vehicles that have been outfitted for road maintenance, and callouts for accident and storm damage.
Roadcare's Caterpillar work tool catalogue includes nine broom attachments (4 x BP18 models, 1 x BA18, 4 x BP22), nine angle blades, six A19B augers, 10 pallet forks and a PC205 profiler.
Roadcare manager Linsday Price said the move to an all-new Cat equipment fleet was well considered. Because Roadcare contracts the fleet equipment to the road maintenance contractor, breakdowns could not be contemplated, he explained.
"A new alliance was formed and both Main Roads and Southern Road Services agreed that we needed to replace the fleet so we have put a lot of thought into selecting a new fleet," Lindsay said.
"The old equipment wasn't breaking down but it was in the age group which could've let the network down - it was past its use by date and we could not afford to have them down," Lindsay said.
Based in Bunbury and with major service centres located in Narrogin and Albany, Roadcare's specialised maintenance trucks cover the network.
"The trucks are equipped with chainsaws, compactors, pot hole mix and a trailer with either a 908 Cat compact wheel loader, a Cat skid steer or multi terrain loader and everything required to serve as an emergency response vehicle for a particular section of roads," Lindsay explained.
"We've got 10 trucks on the road and someone can be on-site within about two hours to clear roads and get them open again.
"Some of the gear may not be called on, but that is what our network is based on - we are there to meet the equipment and response times required," Lindsay said.
Choosing Cat equipment delivered a range of benefits. "The work tools can be readily shared between the three types of machines with no adaptation problems.
"We also have some one-off work tools such as a large mulcher and a profiler and we can share those between the 13 machines as we elected to option all of them with hi-flow hydraulics for that reason," Lindsay said.
On Roadcare's fleet of 287C Multi Terrain Loaders, Cat's hi-flow option delivers 5000 kPa more hydraulic pressure than the standard system and 125 L/min compared with 84 L/min for applications demanding maximum hydraulic performance.
WesTrac's branch support in Bunbury, Esperance and Albany was a major factor for Roadcare. "If we had a problem we really needed to go with someone who had people to get onto them," Lindsay said.
Roadcare evaluated many products in demonstrations and comparisons with other suppliers and paid particular attention to whole of life costs. "It was about whole of life cost and included in that is an allowance for service and backup and what we were prepared to pay for that," he said.
With the state's south west region population and tourism both booming, there's no doubt more people are going to see a lot more of Southern Road Services' Cat equipment on the roads in what is a win-win deal for all parties.
"At the end of the day everyone came out of this deal well," Lindsay said. "Roadcare got a good buy and we've got WesTrac's backup and service when we need it.
"In Western Australia there's no company comparative to WesTrac for the sort of machinery and backup. That's a reality."
For further information about Caterpillar machines and equipment contact your local Cat Dealer or visit http://www.cat.com/