"Several miles of a main line to the West Coast were washed out for two weeks down in those canyons," Bruce said. "The access roads were washed out, too, so getting to the tracks wasn't easy." According to Durbano, normally more than 50 trains a day run through that rail section.
"There were ships in West Coast harbors that couldn't be unloaded, and all kinds of freight couldn't get to the rest of the country," he said, noting that Union Pacific was under substantial pressure to get the line up and running.
"Our first job at a site is to get the track clear and reopened," he said. "We remove any cars or engines, tear up damaged track, repair rail beds and reinstall new track. In addition to dozers, loaders and cranes, we use the Volvo excavators for all those jobs." Operators then cut up the damaged cars and tracks, load them into trucks and return them to Ogden for recycling.
The Volvo 29-ton excavators, equipped with hydraulic quick couplers, have proven extremely versatile and productive for Durbano Metals. "We use the quick coupler to switch between a magnet, grapple, bucket and our own patented Panel Boss."
The Panel Boss allows operators to grab and unload a 39-foot, 10,000 lb. pre-fabricated panel of ties and rails from a flatbed truck or rail car, rotate it, travel to the spot and place it precisely with very little manual labor.
"Placing rail panels has always been dangerous work," Bruce said. "Using the Panel Boss attachment with the Volvo excavators makes it faster, more precise and a whole lot safer."
Durbano Metals owns more than twenty pieces of heavy equipment, including excavators, wheel loaders, dozers and cranes. "Up until we bought our first Volvo EC290B excavator about 2-1/2 years ago, we'd run mostly Cat," he said. "But, we'd had a run of mechanical and other problems, and that made me look at alternatives, including Volvo. I was aware of Volvo's reputation for quality and I knew they made good equipment."
In the final analysis, Durbano says value was what made him buy his first Volvo excavator. "The Volvo was a good product at a fair price, and it had a better warranty," he said. "That told me they had confidence in their equipment's reliability."
Durbano said the excellent service his firm receives from Arnold Machinery, in Salt Lake City, is also key to his satisfaction with Volvo. He says, "Arnold has other operations throughout our service area, so if we need parts, or have a problem, they're nearby and ready to help. And our salesman, John Niemeyer, takes very good care of us. I know John would drop everything and drive 50 miles anytime we need him. That gives us confidence in Arnold's whole team."
Still, it all comes down to productivity, and Durbano puts Volvo at the top of the list."They're reliable and have very little downtime," he said. "Another thing is that the Volvos are well-designed and efficient. They work faster and better than the competition, have fast travel times and a fast cycle time on the boom.
"The EC290Bs simply allow us to do more work in a day," he added. "We still operate a few other machines, but our operators prefer the Volvos."
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