On The Cover

Hamm and Vögele smoothing the road ahead

This article first appeared in Contractor‘s April issue.

Auckland-headquartered civil construction firm Independent Construction has put its faith in Hamm compaction equipment and Vögele asphalt paver technology, in order to help complete the hard yards in a demanding 24/7 industry.

Esau Mann (left), and Glen Ruma.

INDEPENDENT CONSTRUCTION has recently added to its machine fleet with specialised equipment from Hamm and Vögele; two globally-recognised German brands, distributed throughout Australasia under the road technologies division of parent company, Wirtgen Group.

“We looked at a few different supplier options, but having worked with both Hamm and Vögele machines when I was with another major operator, I was pretty familiar and comfortable with the technology on offer,” says Esau Mann, from Independent Construction.

“The Hamm and Vögele brands are trusted by a lot of civil earthworks and construction companies, so it didn’t take much to convince Glen that this was the hardware we needed.”

Glen Ruma says that, with the rapid growth of Independent Construction, it was vital that whichever machine supplier the company chose, had to offer machines that had a reputation for consistent performance, and also a back-up support service that was local and able to respond quickly.

“This is a true 24/7 business and we just can’t factor in breakdowns,” says Glen.

“That’s why we always buy new equipment; this gives us the peace-of-mind that we have a distributor with all the right parts and all the knowledge needed to respond quickly if anything were to go wrong.

“Wirtgen New Zealand is literally down the road, so that was definitely a factor in our decision to go with Hamm and Vögele for our compaction and paving gear.”

While the Independent Construction team has project work on in Northland and the Waikato, the bulk of its week-to-week work is in the busy Auckland market. The sometimes confined nature of a lot of the urban work the company is engaging in dictated the specification of the machines Esau and Glen looked at.

“For our rollers, we wanted to get a good amount of power, but we also didn’t want machines that weren’t manoeuvrable in tight environments,” continues Glen.

“We went for tandem rollers from Hamm’s HD Compactline range; a Hamm HD 14 VO with both vibrating and oscillating drums, and a pneumatic-wheeled Hamm HD 14 TT. They’re both in the five-ton category but are under three metres long, so offer good operating weights and shorter dimensions.

“We can transport them quickly as a result; both at the same time on a low-loader if we need to. This makes job planning logistics easier to manage because we can get one or both of them to opposite ends of the city if it ever came to that,” he says.

In addition to large-scale footpath contracts, Independent Construction has recently completed a major project at a public swimming pool in Albany north of Auckland, along with ground works in schools, large car park sites and on subdivisions. The company, which has around 120 staff at present, also counts rehabilitation projects with local councils as regular work.

While featuring notably different rolling applications, both the Hamm HD 14 VO and Hamm HD 14 TT are unified by a number of innovative features, including an ergonomically-designed operator station boasting great outward vision for the driver and a uniformly laid-out, simple-to-use instrument panel, low machine height and rugged and reliable Tier 4i Kubota engine technology.

The Hamm HD 14 TT also features a 3-point swivel joint for optimum driving comfort, while the Hamm HD 14 VO offers the operator an especially good view of the drum’s outer edges thanks to its concave front-end design.

Additionally, Esau and Glen run a Hamm HD 10C VV tandem roller offering dual vibratory drums.

Esau says that a roller offering oscillation was high on the must-have list for them.

“Oscillation is the way things are going now and because we’re working in urban areas, around houses and shops and sometimes completing night-work, we needed a machine that is less impactful on its surroundings.

“Because the oscillating drum stays in contact with the ground, rather than using a hammer action like a traditional vibrating drum, it’s not as noticeable or intrusive for residents or buildings.”

In addition to the Hamm rollers, Independent Construction has also recently purchased a new Vögele Super 1303-3 wheeled asphalt paver.

As with the company’s roller fleet, a paver which offered decent material through-put, coupled with a reasonably compact footprint was key. The Vögele Super 1303-3 has a base width of 1.85m and an overall length of under 5m, making it a good machine for confined urban environments.

The bonus for a busy team like Independent Construction, is the machine’s transport width is minimal, but with an extended screed the team can pave wider sections; Esau says that with a standard lane width being 3.5m, his crew can go beyond that if need be, but still have a machine that – thanks to its new Pivot Steer functionality – can be used on smaller urban paving jobs.

The Vögele Super 1303-3 also features a powerful 74.4kW Deutz engine, a laydown rate of up to 250 tonnes-per-hour, electric screed heating, simple operator controls through the recently-introduced ErgoPlus 3 console, a clever Pave Dock system which makes material loading safer and easier, and an ECO operating mode which reduces noise, fuel usage and wear and tear on parts.

“I also really like the tamper vibe functionality in the 1303 because it takes the work off the rollers,” says Esau.

“Where we might have needed two rollers completing four or five passes in the past, we can have just one roller on-site with the paver now.

“The key thing to remember with this sort of technology on tap, is that your job set-up becomes much more critical.

“You can have the best gear in the world on paper, but if you don’t go through and input all the right parameters at the beginning, then you’re not going to get the best out of the machine. But set the paver up right and let it do its thing, and it’s an awesome tool.

“In fact, set-up is a straightforward process with both the Hamm and Vögele machines; we looked at these processes with other brands, but it just seemed like a lot of hard work. These machines are very simple to use in order to get the best out of them,” Esau concludes.

“You’re only as good as the quality of your work in this business, so you have to invest in technology that’s going to help you achieve that quality.”

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