Komatsu and Civilex put operator health first with PC128i excavator Tier 4 engine emissions

Civilex trialled a Komatsu PC128i excavator with Tier 4 engine emissions levels prior to its public release to gauge the health and benefits and operator satisfaction level of working with cleaner exhaust emissions to Euro and US standards

With no clear government action on safeguarding operators health from outdoor vehicle exhaust fumes proven to be detrimental and in some cases deadly, one of Victoria’s most progressive civil construction companies has put its own plan in place.

Civilex, formed in 2006 has embarked on a program of safe guarding its operators from the ill-effects of exhaust carbons, and at the same time reducing its carbon emissions to become a sustainable focused company.

Civilex strongly believes that future competitive success will depend on a service provider’s ability to demonstrate it has minimised its carbon output and operational safety.

The issue that many heavy machinery and tractor operators face at present, is the real danger of exhaust emissions that has been proven in the northern hemisphere to cause poor health and deaths.

The Australian government is the only first world nation that chooses not to regulate emission standards on imported engines, that in other countries are set to Euro and US standards.

In doing so it leaves the gate open for anyone to import the dirtiest and most at health risk engines, at a cheaper cost, and plenty are taking advantage of this provocative health gap.

While there is no defined Australian standard for off-road machinery, Tier 3 level engine technology is in abundance in Australia while it has been outlawed for more than 10 years in every other first world country.

Through a series of engine design advances, the major makers moved to Tier 4 engine levels that reduced emissions of Oxide of Nitrogen and particulate matter by 90 percent over Tier 3 technology.

This change saw the immediate improvement in machine operator health, while sitting in cabs or on an open platform, sucking all the deadly exhaust fumes in. And many suspect for those around the working vehicles as well.

Civilex has used its own initiate to safeguard the health of its operators and nearby workers by beginning the adoption of cleaner Tier 4 engines, and in doing so achieve world’s best practice in efficiency and emission control.

Civilex recently took delivery of a Komatsu PC128i excavator with a Tier 4 engine emissions level, to trial prior to the machine’s public release.

The acquisition brings to seven the number of Komatsu excavators on Civilex’s inventory and along with two D65i bulldozers, makes Komatsu the company’s predominant brand of choice.

Komatsu D65EXi dozer
This Komatsu D65EXi/PXi-18 Dozer is part of the seven Komatsu models on Civilex’s inventory – the company’s predominant brand of choice

The company will also ensure its on-road vehicles are less than four years old, and that its heavy machinery fleet is capped at five years.

Its current fleet of 150 on-road utility vehicles are Euro V compliant, with an average fuel consumption, according to the Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide of 7.7 litres/100km.

All have been acquired only in the last three years since Civilex began its quest to adopt a totally contemporary fleet and to forge a relationship with a like-minded technology partner.

According to Civilex’s Asset and Logistics Manager Kris Bogdanovski, the next two years will herald a change in tender requirements, placing far greater emphasis on ecological compliance.

The 500-person, fast growing Civilex conglomerate of three related companies, has begun a program of carbon output and emissions improvement to seek real world gains.

Measures include the adoption of solar power on its sites and particularly a protocol of regular turnover of its on and off-road fleet to take advantage of the latest developments in emission control and machine efficiency.

According to Kris Bogdanovski, Komatsu’s Intelligent Machine Control (IMC) system substantially enhances the ability of a vehicle to build on the natural attributes of its Tier 4 engine credentials by providing even greater operating productivity.

“Intelligent Machine Control provides a new level of opportunity for an operator to set up a project and effectively eliminates the need for a surveyor on-site,” Kris Bogdanovski said.

“Smart Construction, a feature of the IMC system, allows for live data transfer to the project team off-site, so the job becomes 100% accurate with minimal input from on ground personnel.

“While it’s difficult to quantify productivity gains of at least 10%, are in order with fuel burn reduction of better than eight percent. “The two D61i bulldozers provide similar benefits.”

Civilex places great emphasis on a culture of pride in performance and of empowering employees. “People come to us and don’t leave,” Kris Bogdanovksi said, citing a “retention rate of better than 97 percent.”

The company recently opened its state-of-the-art headquarters in the inner Melbourne suburb of Spotswood Vic providing an environment in which people “want to come to work” with office comfort, technology and sustainability key aspects of the space.

The same concept applies to operator comfort inside its heavy machinery.

“The ergonomics of the Komatsu cabins have been impressive,” Kris Bogdanovski said. “At the outset, Civilex places younger drivers alongside more experienced machine operators who act as mentors.

“It’s a good mix – the younger guys are generally more computer savvy as befits the benefits of the new IMC machines, and the more experienced guys can learn from them while imparting their own skills.”

Civilex has begun its national expansion strategy with first civil contract outside Victoria well under way.

Fittingly, given its view of future environmental requirement, it is helping to build the giant Collector Wind Farm project at Goulburn NSW. Fifty-four turbines will generate 535 Gwh of energy per annum – enough to power 80,000 homes.

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