Report by George Kelcher, Road Metals Ltd, Oamaru

My trip to Perth March & April 2006. Part of this trip was taken as the Komatsu Travel Award from the IOQ / AQA Conference held July 2005.

I would like to thank Komatsu NZ Staff, Steve Haines and Dean Riordan, for assisting in organising this trip and providing contacts with Komatsu Australia.

The first part of the trip involved flying Christchurch to Sydney and then onto Perth.

I was very impressed with the City of Perth, the general lay out, wide open spaces beside the Swan River and the planning that was obviously being put into future development.

The Waterfront area along the Swan is being upgraded and beautified. Familiar NZ companies are involved here, and the public train system runs along the centre of the four-lane highways heading north and south of Perth.

Various views around Perth

New developments that straddle future high traffic areas are initially built as two-lane highways but adjacent land is set aside for the future creation of four lanes and where required, an extra corridor is set aside for provision of the train system in the centre as well.

Komatsu ? Perth:
Contact was established with Grant Menhennett, based in Perth for around 20 years with Komatsu Australia. Grant, like myself, served his time as a Mechanic so we had a fair bit in common.

Ready Mix Group:
A trip to the local Ready Mix Group quarry was organized for Tuesday March 28 and after being picked up from the apartment block I was staying in, we duly arrived at the Readymix Quarry and met up with Quarry Manager Trevor Bowell.

It was soon obvious that Grant knows everybody in the Quarry business and gets on with everyone extremely well.

Trevor Bowell took time out of his busy day to take a drive around the Quarry. From the upper areas of the quarry there is a great view of the Perth City situated about 20 kilometres away. Trevor says this brings its own issues as they have to be very aware of the visual environmental effects of the quarry development.

Readymix upper Quarry area. (Perth is about 20 kilometres away in the background.)

All three Quarries I visited enjoyed the situation of being able to haul their raw material downhill to the processing plants.

The Quarry Industry is generally busy as the property and building markets are very strong at present with highway extensions and upgrading taking place and some very large subdivisions being developed.

The next stop on the tour was the primary crusher shed and to look at what was obviously Trevors baby, an 84 inch by 60 inch Morgardshammer Blake NR 19 Jaw from Sweden. This grand old piece of machinery was commissioned in 1957 and is still crushing away as sweetly as ever today.

Jaw Crusher – what a beauty Flat belt drive system
Another fascinating aspect of the jaw was the 900mm wide flat drive belt which Trevor assured me works very well and the whole primary crushing setup is still very cost effective.
I thought that it was a credit to all the team there that the crusher had been so well maintained over nearly 50 years.

The Secondary crusher was a 4 1/4 foot Symons. Four Eljay Cones followed this with a variety of screens to produce all products required.

For road base, Readymix mix a percentage of clay and 2% cement to achieve a product that is suitable for Western Australian conditions.

Mobile Plant consisted of a Komatsu 700 Loader, two Komatsu 450 Loaders, a Cat 988 Loader and three Cat 773 Dump Trucks to shift materials around the quarry.

Production is in the vicinity of 1.25 million tonnes per annum.

Upper Quarry, loader and dump truck

Boral?s Orange Grove Quarry & Hanson?s Quarry:
The next couple of days included two more short quarry visits, one to Borals Orange Grove Quarry and to the other to Hansons Quarry.

Both of these also had an output around 1.25 million tonnes a year utilizing 60×48 inch jaws and various cone crushers and screens to produce a full range of products. As there is an abundance of natural sands around Perth, there was not a Barmac in sight in any of these Quarries! In fact, sand is used as bulk-fill in the many roading projects that are currently underway.

Boral’s upper quarry area.
Boral?s Orange Grove Quarry featured a 60? by 48? Jaw Crusher. The screening and bin area where products are loaded out.

Along with Quarry visits there was time to partake of lunch etc and a chance to meet other Komatsu Staff in Perth – all very friendly and easy to get along with.

Komatsu Perth:
Time was taken to have a look around Komatsu?s Perth facilities and they are obviously extremely busy selling, assembling and organizing a wide range of equipment, with much of this plant being of a much larger size than we are used to in New Zealand.

Komatsu Dump Truck being assembled Komatsu 900 Series Loader being assembled
Komatsu Loader after assembly nearly ready to be delivered to a Client

Construction and Mining Expo:
The inaugural Construction and Mining Expo was held in Perth over the period 6-8 April.

There were around 150 exhibitors and 700 different brands of equipment on display at McCallum Park located very close to the centre of Perth and alongside the Swan River.

Although the show was contained inside a relatively small area, it was well organized with plenty to see.

Komatsu, Volvo, Hitachi and other major brands had a significant presence on site and it was a very interesting day wandering around having a look at how things are done on the other side of the Tasman.

It was good to catch up with the likes of Peter Duffy, Council Member IQA, and Bruce McIntosh (who used to be based in NZ) from Groeneveld Systems. Also represented were the team from Rocktec NZ – Rick and the two Jasons, who are well known in NZ and had a stand at the Expo.

Komatsu had set up a large display with plenty of equipment.

There was wide and varied representation from all sectors of the Industry with
both large and small equipment on display.

The Pet Pup was guarding the entrance at the Mack stand.

As usual, when Contractors get together there is plenty of discussion and networking taking place.

Overall it was a great trip with three weeks total in Perth and Freemantle, a fantastic run of weather with blue skies every day and temperatures between 25 and 32 degrees.

It was interesting to note that 1000 people a week are currently moving into Perth, as the economy there is so strong largely due to the world wide minerals boom. This equates to around 300 new houses being required per week as well.

It was then onto Sydney for a week to catch up with family and finally back home to winter.

Sincere thanks goes to Komatsu and to all Komatsu Staff who had a part in the awarding of this Komatsu Travel Grant. To all the hospitality that was provided in Perth while I was there, thanks – a real credit to the total Komatsu Team.

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