“On a pipe job, if the hammer’s not working, the crew’s not working,” he said. “A lot of times, if we can, we’ll keep the hammer working all night so when the crew gets there in the morning they have something to do.”
The Volvo HB3800 has also been used on a road construction job near Buxton, Maine, where Gorham Sand & Gravel is doing full-depth reconstruction with storm drains, gravel, new asphalt plus ditches, sidewalks and curbs. The rock is not as deep, but the trench stretches over two miles. Shaw said on these types of jobs, production and speed are keys
“We can average between two and four hundred feet of pipe in a day,” Shaw said. “We want that hammer at least a day or two ahead of it. On a lot of our shallow pipe, we’ll go in first and hammer it, and then send the pipe crew in after. So we don’t have to wait for the hydraulic hammer to do its job.”
Volvo’s low-noise design is a big advantage, Shaw said, especially on urban job sites where equipment noise levels are strictly regulated and monitored. The Volvo HB3800 is substantially quieter than others hammers the company has used.
“It’s a lot quieter,” Shaw said. “Probably a third less. It’s about the same as our 5,000-pound hammer in terms of noise. That’s a big issue. If they come out with the decibel meter and you’re over the levels, you can’t use the hammer. But the Volvo hammer is compliant even with the strict Portland noise standard.”
Auto lube, S-type coupler
Gorham Sand & Gravel decided to outfit the Volvo HB3800 hammer with an auto-lube system, utilizing the hammer’s built-in grease channel. The auto-lube system ensures the hammer gets fresh grease at assigned intervals and will ensure longer equipment life, Shaw said.
Chadwick-BaRoss suggested Gorham Sand & Gravel outfit its excavators with Volvo S-type couplers, which allow Volvo hammers to be fitted to any brand of excavator and make it easy to swap out a bucket for a hammer or other attachment. Shaw said he’s a believer in the S-type coupler.
“The operator can stay in the cab and swap buckets,” he said. “It saves a lot of time. We have four or five excavators and we can easily swap buckets between them. We do this a lot more often than we used to.”
HAMMERS: GOOD RENTAL ITEMS
Gary Thebarge is such a believer in hydraulic hammers, he put 12 new Volvo breakers in his equipment-rental fleet.
“We do quite a bit of hammer rental,” said Thebarge, vice president of Chadwick-BaRoss Inc., a Volvo Construction Equipment dealer that covers Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. “It’s an excellent rental item. Hammers especially seem to get rented down and then get sold. Contractors prefer to rent them first and then look a good price point to buy them.”
Mike Sullivan, general manager of the Chadwick-BaRoss location in Westbrook, Maine, said Volvo’s new line of hydraulic breakers will become an industry leader for toughness, reliability and quiet operation.
“As the word gets out on Volvo hammers, the potential will only increase,” Sullivan said. “Having them in our rental fleet is going to be very good for the hammer business.”
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