Volvo heavyweights land at C A Blackwell
- 17 April 2012
- Product News
Essex based C A Blackwell has taken delivery of two new Volvo EC700C excavators for prestigious contracts awarded in the north of Scotland.
The two 70 tonne excavators represent a replacement of an EC700B purchased back in 2007 and an additional unit to the Blackwell fleet and were chosen mainly thanks to the almost faultless service provided by the original machine which clocked up nearly 7000 hours. "Naturally with such an investment we took a serious look at the current market but considered Volvo had the competitive edge in terms of our experience with the B model. This coupled to their first class nationwide field support and the competitive package on offer proved to be the deciding factors," said Managing Director Steve Clarke.
The two new EC700C's couldn't be working further away from Blackwell's Essex headquarters with both of them deployed as prime movers on two prestigious contracts in the north of Scotland. One of the machines has been put to work, contracted to Graham Construction Ltd, on a 250000m³ excavation for Client Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd . Blackwell are contracted to Graham to undertake the drilling, blasting and excavation of approximately 200,000m3 of Caithness rock to form two 15m deep vaults with associated ramps to allow for the construction of the concrete chambers which will become storage facilities for low level nuclear waste.
The excavated rock is used to create a geosphere enhancement feature adjacent to the sea cliffs. Further Blackwell works include installation of underground drainage, construction of the associated access roads and bolting and netting to the exposed rock faces. Works commenced in November 2011 and are scheduled to take approximately 25 weeks.
The second unit is in charge of prime excavations at the Carraig Gheal wind farm project located to the east of Oban. Under this 'balance of plant contract' twenty 2.5 megawatt wind turbines are to be erected for Client / Developer Green Power and C A Blackwell's task is to install 36 kilometres of access road excavating huge expanses of peat and bog, quarrying rock and processing it from several borrow pits en-route and laying the road to precise tolerances. Here the EC700C is charged with loading Blackwell's fleet of trucks with blasted rock initially for the road construction. Later it will be deployed excavating for the mass concrete bases for the turbine masts for which Blackwell will be using their site batching plant and off road truck / mixer units
"Both machines are working in extremely remote locations and this is another reason why we opted for the EC700C from Volvo," commented Blackwell's Resource Manager Rob King. "We know we can be confident about their reliability thanks to our previous experiences and again from a logistical point of view, Volvo's support centre at Stirling is only two to three of hours away from either site."
At the heart of the EC700C a 16 litre Stage III V-ACT engine developing 430 nett hp operates in conjunction with an advanced mode control system ensuring the maximum possible hydraulic horsepower available is delivered at a constant engine speed under varying load conditions. A maximum torque of 2250Nm is achieved at just 1350r/min and this in conjunction with the machine's advanced hydraulic system ensures maximum fuel efficiency is achieved through every work cycle. Equipped in mass excavation configuration, the EC700C offers a maximum reach of 11.2 metres, a digging depth of 7.25 metres and an impressive lifting capacity across carriage at full reach of 12.4 tonnes.
The specification of the new Volvo excavators delivered to Blackwell has further been enhanced with the addition of Groeneveld automatic greasing systems and the 'CareTrack Advanced' telemetric monitoring system which is standard on all Volvo GPE products, provides operational data remotely via the internet, including fuel consumption and idle time, all helping to reduce cost of ownership and maximise utilisation.
Both the contracts these two new EC700C's are working towards conclusion later in 2012, however Steve Clarke is upbeat about Blackwell's recent investment. "With the planned work ahead of us, purchasing these two prime movers was absolutely the right decision for us," he said. "The EC700C is an ideal tool in both muck-shifting and quarrying scenarios and is well matched, in our opinion, to both 40 tonne articulated haulers and 65 tonne rigid haulers respectively. In addition having this size of machine for prime excavation work helps our affiliate company Masterton Demolition based in Grangemouth, whereby we can supplement each other with plant should it be needed."
C A Blackwell is one of the UK's major civil engineering, remediation, geotechnical, earthmoving and engineering contractors. The company operates nationally with its headquarters in Earls Colne, near Colchester and regional offices at Wakefield, Swansea, Tewkesbury and Grangemouth, the latter of which it shares with Masterton. The company was established in 1956 and has grown in a sustained and profitable manner within its core business areas.