It’s not often a company can upgrade its machinery, optimise unique and world-first modifications but at the same time reduce capital spend. Together with Hastings Deering, Caterpillar was able to ensure REMONDIS Australia delivered on specific needs with its D6-XE bulldozer.
By his own admission REMONDIS Australia’s Robert Mason was stubborn about what he wanted in a bulldozer when replacing two Cat D7E’s, the company was running at Queensland’s Northgate and Rocklea waste transfer stations.
As operations manager – transfer stations and transport Queensland, Mason was stringent about what he wanted for the transfer station in terms of build configuration. Together with Darryl Frahm and Wayne Partridge from Hastings Deering, the team embarked on a collaboration that would not only meet REMONDIS’ criteria but ensure the profitability of the transfer station.
While happy with the past performance of the D7E Electric Drive range, Mason calculated the new D6 range was a comparable offering, with the XE Electric Drive option as well.
“It’s all about the profitability of the transfer station,” he said. “Obviously we’re operating in a very competitive market. We are all running leaner operations to improve tender attractiveness so in replacing machinery we needed to ensure the replacement machines have a positive impact on operations.
REMONDIS Australia is part of the REMONDIS Group, globally operating in many fields of business: recovering raw materials from waste, developing innovative recycled products, offering alternative fuels and playing an important role in the water management sector supplying water and treating wastewater. In addition, REMONDIS removes pollutants from residual and hazardous wastes – which are unable to be recycled with today‘s technology – and disposes of them using ecofriendly methods.
Mason’s configuration wasn’t a standard waste specification offering, something that had never been built by Cat. Moving garbage is messy and can be dangerous. Hastings Deering’s Partridge said the dozer needed to manipulate the rubbish: breaking it up to achieve maximum payload weight on trucks transporting from transfer stations to landfill sites.
“Rubbish is bulky and the potential for the trucks to be full via volume and not have max payload weight is high,” Partridge said. “Trucks
running to landfill without the maximum allowable payload weight, results in more trips which is inefficient and costly.
“There is a theory across the industry that to do this you need a dozer of D7 or bigger to get the physical weight on the ground to manipulate the waste. The D6 configuration we were able to build had nearly the same ground pressure as the current D7E, even though it was a marginally smaller and lighter machine to the D7E.
“Ground pressure is the force (weight) the machines exerts on the ground over the area of its ground contact (footprint.) The D6 had a smaller footprint so the weight is exerted over a smaller area, giving a similar ground pressure.”
Mason wanted narrower track plates, 610mm or 560mm instead of 900mm to 1000mmm (which is standard), to increase ground pressure and prevent rubbish build up in the tracks. The machine sinks into the waste and can get bogged on the belly plates if too low.
It was the ability to order a waste spec machine direct from the factory with features including, waste guarding, as well as front and rear strikers to prevent foreign objects being forced into the cab and thus injuring the operator, along with ‘Forestry Spec’ penetration resistant clear windows in the Cab doors, that significantly increases operator vision while keeping them safe – that made the REMONDIS decide that the D6-XE was a machine that could help it meet its goals in the waste space.
“Cat had never built a machine in this configuration: all these items were available ex-factory but not in the one configurated machine,” Partridge said. “We spent months working with the Cat Product group convincing them this was the factory configuration we had to build for the customer to prevent the cost of local modifications. Robert had to prove his decision internally, putting his reputation on a machine never before built.”
The machine’s success has been seen on many levels – from fuel economy exceeding expectations (approx. to 19L/hr), to an “incredible operator acceptance” and the added safety bonus that this is “extremely quiet” for a bulldozer.
“It’s incredibly quiet,” Mason said. “We’re working inside a transfer station building which tends to echo, so you can be working nearby on the waste pile and you barely hear anything, which improves working conditions for our employees.”
Together Hastings Deering and Cat took up and delivered on the challenge, also painting the machine white in REMONDIS corporate colours, resulting in further orders of the D6 XE and other machines.
“Unequivocally it came down to our longstanding relationship and the confidence we have in dealing with the Hastings Deering team,” Mason said. “We’ve always been happy with product support they’ve given us over the journey and their willingness to work with us and make this happen. There was never a time, that we didn’t think we would get the outcome