Drilltech Choose Sunward

For reliability, good parts backup and value for money

These zero-tail 4.2-tonne units are now part of DrillTech's fleet.

DrillTech Group is an underground utility placement contractor that has steadily grown since formation in 1996. Today, the company boasts a staff of approximately 130 members.

I’m not sure what I expected to see upon arriving at the DrillTech office and workshop complex, but what I didn’t expect to see was how professionally the organisation was set up, with the headquarters having a corporate feel to it. Fortunately, I didn’t feel out of place in my usual tee shirt and jeans, as the DrillTech office dress code is casual (which subliminally told me the administration staff show no hierarchical differentiation to the crews on the tools). Being as professional as possible doesn’t just end at the office door though, and this approach is carried over throughout the rest of the organisation. Based in South Auckland, DrillTech’s work regularly sees crews working from one end of the country to the other. One of the key factors to completing jobs is equipment reliability, especially when working so far from base. Probably the most noticeable way to tell if a company is serious about what it does is to look at the standard of gear. In the world of utility contracting, keeping machinery in good order can sometimes be a big ask, due to the tight sites on which work is carried out. For DrillTech, keeping equipment at a high standard means maintaining a consistent programme of plant and machinery refurbishment and this ensures that the workshop team always has a constant stream of jobs lined up.

As so often happens when a business reaches a certain point in its growth, a decision has to be made about having a certain ‘look’ or theme. Going back a few years, this was seen as relatively unimportant, but these days, the ‘brand’ of a business can be a substantial influencing factor to securing contracts, especially when dealing with corporate entities. One of the ways DrillTech achieved this ‘look’ was to standardise machinery to one brand.

There are benefits to standardisation: it presents the public with a consistent look and cuts down on the amount of spare parts the organisation needs to keep on hand. Workshop staff have also become familiar with working on one brand and a better working relationship has been established with the sole supplier. Factors such as these were considered when the executive decision was made to simplify the DrillTech excavator fleet down just to one brand. DrillTech’s general manager, Mark Riach, explains, “We have 27 excavators in the fleet and wanted to carry the process out in a couple of stages.

Reliability and good parts backup were right up there on the list, as of course was value for money.” After the lengthy process of considering the different brands and their specifications, DrillTech eventually opted for the Chinese-made Sunward brand, purchasing 10 excavators of 1.8, 2.5, 3.5 and 4.2 tonnes from New Zealand agent Endraulic Equipment. Six of the 10 machines were the 4.2-tonne size. Blair Sargison of Endraulic says that he was happy to secure the order for the machines and that the purchases by DrillTech are an indicator that the Sunward brand has gained acceptance with fleet buyers. “We have had these machines working from one end of the country to the other since 2007. The feedback has been great and we’ve had many customers return to buy a second and third machine, which says a lot about the product,” Sargison says. Riach comments that some machines they looked at in their budget range already had a couple of thousand hours on the, and there would have been no way that they could have stayed with one brand by buying second-hand. “As much as possible, we are trying to keep to the ‘one machine, one operator’ rule, which gives operators ‘ownership’ of their machines,” he says. “It also means that no one can blame damage on someone else, so we are hoping the machines will be well cared for.”

Seeking an opinion from the guys on the sharp end of the bucket, I took a run out to one of the job sites that a DrillTech crew were working on, just in time to see a truck being loaded with spoil. On the controls of the Sunward SWE18u (1.8-tonne) excavator was Benjamin Masters. After he finished loading the truck, Masters told me he is enjoying the new machine and it has been performing well. With just over 140 hours on the clock, there is a lot of life in the machine yet. Primarily it is being used to excavate pits to launch directional drills from, loading out the excavated spoil and backfilling work. It looks like Sunward has shone a ray of sunshine across the faces of the DrillTech team and Endraulic Equipment for securing a good fleet order. No doubt that’s something worth smiling about.


Courtesy of Deals on Wheels | Download the Article
For more information contact Endraulic or ph 0800 468 782.
To contact DrillTech ph 0800 730 071 or visit drilltech.co.nz

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