Two well-established South Island contracting firms, among the first in New Zealand to move to the eagerly awaited new Cat E-Series excavator range now available for specified models from Goughs, praise the machine’s features and performance.
WHEN GILL CONSTRUCTION owner Tony Gill became aware the Cat E-Series excavator range was about to become available in a model he was considering, he decided he had to have one.
The result is the first Cat 329EL excavator to arrive in New Zealand, which has been added by the Blenheim-based contractor as part of a replacement programme for his predominantly Cat fleet.
Tony Gill takes up the story; “We usually run our excavators until around 12,000 hours and we had a trusty Cat 322CL that I wanted to replace. Our requirements since buying that unit have changed, as I wanted a bigger machine to work in association with our Cat 730 artic trucks.”
“When I heard Goughs had a 30 tonne, highly spec’d E-Series excavator soon to become available, I absolutely wanted that over the well-established Cat D-Series model. Its arrival couldn’t have come at a better time.”
With over 80 years experience in the industry, Gill Construction has their new E-Series unit performing earthworks, cut-to-fill digging and loading artic and road trucks on a NZTA roading realignment south of Blenheim.
“It’s for Higgins Group and it’s a big job, with over 150,000 cubic metres having to be moved,” says Tony.
“This new high spec Cat 329EL has the advantage of providing our business with great versatility, while being our key front line excavator.”
The new 329EL model features heavy-duty major structures to ensure long-term durability and reliability, powerful hydraulic systems that easily handle a wide range of Cat buckets and work tools, and a refined operator station that provides the ultimate in comfort and convenience.
Tony notes the 329EL is actually exceeding the high expectations that came with it.
“It’s 20-30 percent better than we thought it would be. The operator loves it. He’s very experienced and was previously on the 322CL. He reckons the new Cat has terrific breakout force, awesome power, so he’s very happy with the performance and it’s hard to get him off it!”
The 329EL is powered by a Cat C7.1 ACERT engine which meets emission standards and delivers fuel-efficiency gains. Tony backs this up; “We’re very pleased with the fuel economy of the 329EL, even though it’s a larger machine and it’s working very hard.
“We’ve been impressed with the great speed and excellent cycle times for the 329EL. In fact we compared it to a competitive 30 tonne excavator of another contractor’s that was working next to us, performing loading out in the riverbed, and its cycle times were much faster doing the same job.”
Tony says Gill Construction is in this for the long term and he knows for a fact the new unit will quickly pay for itself with regard to the premium that was paid for it.
“Plus when it’s time to replace the 329EL down the road, I know that we’ll still have a current Cat model that as usual will give excellent resale value.”
Meanwhile, further south, Wanaka-based construction company Maungatua Contracting is putting its new Cat 329EL through its paces, and although it’s only early days, the excavator is already impressing.
Project manager, Kane Duncan says the company is being kept busy with work around the Wanaka area, with various contracts ranging from civil and subdivision work through to rural development and the irrigation sector.
“The rural sector has different resource requirements than the usual subdivision work. When we initially looked at the addition of an excavator to the fleet, we looked at the various models of the Cat range on offer by Goughs,” says Kane.
“With a 329EL available to go from Goughs, the decision was made to progress with the Cat E-Series, as this size machine is versatile and can be utilised on a majority of our contract work and was an ideal sized machine to work with the 30 tonne Cat 730 articulated dump trucks in our fleet .
“As well as availability, we went with Cat again because it is the best machinery brand out there. Its performance and reliability throughout our company’s history is great, while the long term support for our business from Goughs is well proven. We also wanted to keep our fleet 100 percent Cat.”
Director Robert Duncan has a long and productive association with Cat products, purchasing his first Cat machine in the late 1970s.
“The 329EL has been set up with Trimble Machine Control from new to match with the other five GPS-guided machines among the fleet,” he says.
“The E-Series will be put to work first off at the upcoming Tarras Irrigation Scheme, where its main role will be constructing a storage reservoir and trenching for the scheme’s large irrigation pipeline. As the largest excavator in our fleet, it’ll be a key performer for our operation there in the coming months.”
Initial impressions of the new excavator are excellent, Kane adds.
And when operator John Duncan was asked how the 329EL went, his answer was very simple.
Pushed further he says; “I’m impressed. The excavator is more stable and has a large selection of working modes with improved safety, comfort and efficiency over the previous D-Series models.
“Other than its initial impressions, we are noticing great fuel efficiency, faster cycle times, and greater breakout force.”
These Cat 329EL excavators are just two of a number of the Cat E-Series that Goughs has started to deliver throughout the country recently.
From all the positive feedback on the initial models the Cat dealer has shipped so far, it’s easy to see how Cat E-Series excavators combine the features of productivity, versatility, durability and operator comfort to ensure that Caterpillar continues to set the standard in the industry.