A contracting company sitting atop Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada, named Earth Max Construction is gaining ground in a niche earthmoving market for Rural Municipalities’ public works departments. Initially moving dirt with an excavator top loading into a 40-ton articulated dump truck, Earth Max has shifted its methods in selecting equipment with enhanced productivity. K-Tec
Earth Max Construction project manager, Randal Dueck, explains, “We bought our first scraper about 6 years ago. It was a used K-Tec scraper and it has worked fantastic for us. We liked it so much that we decided to buy a few more, and we just love them.”
This smart business decision of easing into scraper equipment allowed Earth Max to realize the advantages in efficiency and later purchased two new K-Tec 1233 scrapers. Each of these scrapers holds a 33 cubic yard heaped capacity, allowing for impressive production results for the business. Dueck compared the way that its operations have changed since using scrapers, “With the scrapers versus hauling with a rock truck, we get to go in a lot wetter conditions. We don’t rut up the clay nearly as much, so we can haul a lot more clay without making a mess. The efficiency is also a lot higher, as we only have one machine running versus two on an excavator load, so it works fantastic that way.”
Contractors need to take advantage of effectively operating in less than ideal conditions when working in the sticky gumbo clay of the Red River Valley, with unexpected torrential rains. For the projects that Earth Max was awarded, their earthmoving performance would have a direct impact on the future of two rural municipalities.
In 2017, Earth Max Construction efficiently provided earthworks for a pair of lagoon projects it was awarded by Rural Municipalities (RM) in southern Manitoba, Canada.
Lagoons are pond-like bodies of water dug-out of the earth, that are constructed to receive, hold, and treat wastewater for a predetermined time period. Located in the RM of Morris, the Lowe Farm, Manitoba, lagoon expansion project required construction of a new secondary lagoon cell providing the required storage capacity to meet future hydraulic yearly loading of 86,325 cubic years and population growth. The new cell has the storage capacity of 40,580 cubic yards. The removal of the existing berm between the existing two lagoon cells was needed to create one new primary lagoon cell.
The cost of the project was split evenly between all three levels of government. “The tender bids though did come in significantly below engineered estimates, so we’re hoping that the project will be able to be completed for somewhat less than the $1.5 million. The work for dirt moving came in considerably lower than the estimated amount,” states Rural Municipality of Morris Reeve, Ralph Groening, at the start of the project. As the project progressed, the RM revised its projected cost to be $905,000. In the end, the final actual cost was $442,000. Earth Max’s earthmoving efficiency provided substantial project cost savings for the RM of Morris.
The St. Pierre, Manitoba, lagoon project required 196,000 cubic yards of earthwork to double its lagoon capacity, which now allows for a capacity of 150 additional homes or 2,000 residents. This project included construction of a new secondary cell and a new wetland cell. Earthwork activities comprised of topsoil stripping, stockpiling, excavation, embankment, and dyke removal. Earth Max Construction started the St. Pierre lagoon project in May 2017 and completed in July 2017. More rain amounts were encountered on the St. Pierre lagoon project; however, with the excellent floatation on the scrapers, Earth Max was still able to work on most days.
AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
RM of Morris Reeve, Ralph Groening, states, “We did some research and discovered that the low bidder for the Lowe Farm lagoon project, as well as the second-lowest bidder, use exclusively scrapers manufactured by K-Tec Earthmovers.”
Being ahead of schedule, and coming in under budget on public works projects allows the RM to pass on the savings to citizens. By using the efficient scrapers for the lagoon projects, it provides a win-win for all stakeholders involved. In shaving off more than $1 million over the initial project estimates allows the Rural Municipality to tackle more public works projects, offering greater value to the tax dollars of the community.
Besides the capacity efficiency in production attributing to the fast project completion times, Earth Max’s Randal Dueck comments on the serviceability of the scrapers, “The good thing is that there hardly is anything to service on the scrapers. We grease them regularly and they go to work. The guys at the shop look through them once a year and that is it. There’s never anything that breaks on them.”
Having only two daily grease points on the scrapers makes a difference in productivity because instead of searching for numerous grease points, more dirt can be moved. K-Tec’s minimal maintenance scraper design encourages earthmoving efficiencies to get ahead of projected schedules.
BIDS OF CHANGE
Several progressive municipalities are starting to formally enforce the use of efficient machinery on public works projects, as a measure of controlling expenses and costly delays.
Kelly Goossen, senior vice president of sales for K-Tec Earthmovers, has noticed a trend in the recent municipal tendering process. “Lately, we have seen tenders go out that have specifically stated that the project must be completed by use of K-Tec pull-pan ejector scrapers. The decision makers are recognizing that our earthmoving machines provide maximum efficiency on their projects, and don’t want to chance using other types of earthmoving equipment.”
The only way that contractors will get an opportunity to even submit a bid on the tender is if they already have K-Tec scrapers in their fleet or plan to add them once awarded the project. It has been a growth stimulus for K-Tec Earthmovers for these levels of government to understand and recognize efficient equipment, to boost scraper demand in the marketplace.
About the Author:
Shane Kroeker is vice president of marketing for K-Tec Earthmovers Inc. For more information about K-Tec scrapers, visit www.ktec.com. For a video to see the project in action, go to https://youtu.be/ewsI-16HY6Q.
Modern Contractor Solutions, September2018
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