Ahhh Hawaii… visions of beaches, palm trees, warm tropical breezes, sun, sand, surfing…and hundreds of thousands of tons of green waste annually that must be dealt with.
It could go to the landfill but… enter Hawaiian Earth Products. This Oahu-based company, the largest producer of compost in the State of Hawaii, almost like magic recycles a hundred thousand tons of yard waste and trimmings annually, turning it into Menehune Magic. Well it’s not really magic… it takes forty dedicated staff and over thirty pieces of heavy equipment to get the job done.
According to Mark Cummings, Vice President of Operations for Hawaiian Earth Products, “We sometimes feel a bit isolated and don’t have access to all the heavy equipment services that Volvo owners on the mainland enjoy. That often means that our equipment has to remain in top form for longer periods of time to get the job done.” Currently the company operates a wide variety of heavy equipment at multiple locations in the State. And not unlike Volvo owners and operators around the globe, downtime is a dirty word for Mark and his team.
We love that machine
“Our first Volvo was a Volvo L220E Wheel Loader,” Cummings went on, “we worked it hard putting on over 14,000 hours with no major problems. We loved that machine and we still do, so we bought another. But our first 220 was beginning to show its age and when we looked at the cost of replacing it or rebuilding it, it was all in the numbers.
Mark had worked with Gary Labelle of Clyde West Equipment in Seattle, Volvo Construction Equipment’s dealer group and the only Volvo Certified Refurbishment Center in the Pacific Northwest, and in the absence of a local Hawaii-based Volvo Construction Equipment dealer, gave Gary a call.
“We were very pleased with the refurbishment cost estimate that Gary put together so we loaded our beloved 220 onto a barge for the over 2600-mile journey to Seattle. I was pretty affirmative as to how I wanted this loader to look and perform,” Mark stated, “and we weren’t disappointed. Our ‘like new’ 220 has worked flawlessly since its return home.
An ocean away
On this side of the Pacific ocean, North America’s largest comprehensive waste and environmental solutions provider has made a corporate decision to refurbish rather than replace as much of their heavy equipment fleet as is practical. They look to their refurbishment program to double the life cycle of their equipment and to date it has been working very well for them.
Annually this company handles over a million tons of trash, and to get the job done their heavy equipment must perform for long hours in what could best be described as severe working conditions. Nowhere are these harsh conditions more evident than at the company’s material recovery station in south Seattle, Washington. Working sixteen-hour schedules daily, on enclosed landings that have concrete floors and concrete walls on three sides, two Volvo L70E Wheel Loaders handle between five hundred and one thousand tons of dry, dusty, ugly trash and recyclable construction and demolition material daily.
Somewhat like Hawaii… summer and fall weather conditions in the Seattle area are hot, dry and dusty. Average temperatures range from lows of 60 degrees to the high 70’s fahrenheit with occasional spikes into the low 90’s. But totally unlike Hawaii…winter and spring conditions are the exact opposite, with temperatures often dipping to the high 20’s and low 30’s, accompanied by lots of rain, snow and ice. The end result… rain, heat, snow, cold, plenty of dust… and often all on the same day.
The company’s Seattle-based maintenance supervisor knows all too well how difficult the working conditions are and the importance of keeping the trash moving. Just like Hawaiian Earth Products, they can’t afford any downtime. If something breaks down, the facility could get overloaded with trash in a matter of minutes. But their Volvo loaders have been excellent, handling every application with economy, comfort and ease.
According to Gary Labelle, this company’s first Volvo L70E, to get the ‘VCRP’ treatment, had over 18,000 hours on the clock and was in pretty rough shape when it arrived at their shop. “But we knew what to expect. The Volvo refurbishment program guidelines are very clear both for the customer and for our mechanics.”