It is simply billed as the ‘Expo’, but this legendary quarry and mining event this year, in the face of Covid, lived up to expectations with a good crowd, good networking opportunities and a raft of working equipment on display. Richard Silcock was there.
Organised and hosted by Masterton-based Equip2 at its yard and new mega warehouse on Pakihi Road, this year’s event was held over two days so that a maximum number of people could attend under level 2 lockdown restrictions.
This was the sixth year the Expo has been staged and it gets better each year. On show was a huge range of equipment ranging from excavators, crushers, screening units, washing units, through to conveyor stacking and loading machines from manufactures Keestrack, Portafill and CAT and recycling crushers from Edge Innovation.
Far from being just a static display, a range of Keestrack equipment was put through its paces at a nearby quarry with attendees being bused to the site. These ongoing demonstrations were interspersed with technical presentations on each unit.
Bert Hart, sales manager for Equip2, says while visitor numbers were down a bit on previous years due to the restrictions, there was a good turn-out, with many quarry professionals attending from around the country.
“Holding the Expo over two days has reduced the number of people attending on each day,” says Bert. “However, overall and over the two days we had a good number and by all accounts it was a very successful event.”
Asked about some of the equipment on show and being put through its paces, Bert says the Keestract range is their heavy duty, top of the line, flag-ship range and they had various models on display including the H4, B4, R5, R3, K4 and a K6.
“The new H4 is equipped with a pre-screen facility and is an electric hybrid model capable of processing 208 tonnes of rock per hour. It can be plugged into a power supply, where this is available and as a result there is a massive saving on fuel – up to 25 percent less compared to conventional machines.
“The R5 impact crusher with an independent pre-screen and double deck after- screens is a high producing unit with the capacity to process 400 tonnes of rock per hour. Another virtue is the fuel saving that can be achieved with this machine compared with other crushers with a similar capability.”
Equip2 is now the agent for Edge Innovate, a Northern Ireland company that specialises in manufacturing a wide range of recycling equipment.
“We are excited about acquiring this agency as the Edge range of equipment is perfect for waste processing, recycling and waste handling as their gear is purpose built,” says Bert. “It provides us with the opportunity to supply equipment that is smaller and not requiring of heavy duty gear in this expanding industry of waste minimisation.
“Edge Innovate is a global business and they share the same values as us so it has been a good fit as we value having a good relationship with our suppliers just as much as we do with our clients.”
The Expo is not just about showcasing new machinery, says Bert, but about bringing like-minded quarry and mining people together, putting on a show and demonstrating new state-of-the-art technology – all with the aim of establishing a professional relationship.
“It’s about networking and providing an opportunity for us to discuss how new technology can improve efficiencies in a quarry or mining operation and in turn help improve profitability.”
Bert says that this year’s event was the largest they have ever held.
“Our first event was held in Central Otago back in 2016 with just three machines and we have grown the event each year since due to both the interest shown and the positive feedback we’ve received about the event and the demonstrations we put on. This year we have 21 pieces of equipment on display, with some actually working in a quarry environment.
“It has heightened our resolve to make our Expo not only one of the largest of its kind in the country, but to also position Equip2 as the equipment advisor for the quarry and mining industry.
“It provides an opportunity for customers to network with others and pick up innovative ideas which they can take back to their own operation – it’s something we facilitate and give back to the industry.
“We are not here to just sell machinery, we are here to provide a service and advise on productivity – it’s about optimising a solution to give the best result, providing value for money and enhancing profit per tonne. It’s about getting alongside our customer and offering advice relevant to their particular operation and then what machinery would best suit that particular operation.”
Equip2 is a family owned and operated business which was started back in 2003 by Joe Hart and is now run and managed by his three sons Gem, Bert and Billy, cousin Jacob Hart and Simon Johnston.
“We have a strong family culture with a good staff retention record. Many of our 75 staff joined us straight from school, learnt about the industry and our company and over the years have worked their way up to senior roles and are still with us after15 plus years.
“In recognition of this we received an award for being a great place to work. We have good people and we look after them and this has further established our credibility.
“By being centrally based we are able to service our clients quickly and I believe this is one of our strengths. We purposely don’t have many branches, we send our technical and sales people out from here to assist our clients at their quarry anywhere in the country. Our marketing proposition is to help quarry owners through product utility, service excellence and parts availability.”
Bert says the main issues facing the industry are to do with the RMA and acquiring extraction rights along with a tendency to relocate quarries away from centres of need.
“People don’t want a quarry in their backyard so to speak, but as an industry we need to educate people and politicians that one person in our population of five million equates to sourcing nine tonne of aggregate a year to construct our roads, buildings and other infrastructure, with every house built requiring around 120 tonne of aggregate.
“Reducing the number of quarries and pushing them further away increases the cost of aggregate as a result of the added transportation costs.”
Attendees at the Expo were treated to an early-bird breakfast and a smack-up burger lunch in the new warehouse with many staying on for an ‘after-match’ happy hour, some further networking and discussions on the wide range of equipment on show.