Question: How long does it take for 15 rail excavators to replace a million wooden sleepers with a million concrete sleepers on an 800 km railway line?
Answer: 14 months – if the excavators are equipped with engcon tiltrotators.
“engcon makes our work faster and more efficient,” says Fi Richie at Earthtrack Solutions in Gisborne.
Earthtrack Solutions was started in 2007 by Jim Vella, and is specialised in replacing wooden sleepers with concrete sleepers, or in some cases with steel sleepers. Since 2007, the company has replaced hundreds of thousands of wooden sleepers for the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in Victoria and New South Wales.
They owe their success to 17 rail excavators fitted with tiltrotators ranging from EC15 to EC30. Fifteen of these excavators are currently working on the Broken Hill project, which involves replacing a million sleepers on the railway line between Parkes and Broken Hill in New South Wales for Transfield Services.
“What would it be like to use excavators without tiltrotators?”
Richie mulls the question, then says,
“Our work would definitely be slower and less efficient. And we wouldn’t be able to offer our customers flexible machines.”
Vella, the company’s founder, has worked in construction for many years, first as a truck driver and later as an entrepreneur using a mini loader and excavator. He got the idea for starting Earthtrack Solutions while working on a series of railway projects. Today the company has 30 employees.
He first came across engcon tiltrotators in 2008, a year after the start-up.
“When we realised the benefits, we immediately fitted eight of our excavators with EC15 tiltrotators,” says Richie.
This proved a winning concept for replacing sleepers in countless railway projects. But the benefits go beyond railway tracks.
“We initially only realised the tiltrotator’s benefits in railway projects. But now we’ve discovered that they increase productivity and in all types of construction jobs,” says Richie.
Fi Richie, Earthtrack Solutions
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