Located 140km from South Korea’s capital – Seoul – Wonju is a popular holiday destination for Koreans and foreign tourists thanks to its picturesque golf courses and extensive woodland. The region boasts mineral-rich ground, a haven for extracting granite stone for use on the country’s world-famous rail network and in road construction.
Wonju is the capital city of Gangwon Province – the north-easternmost province of South Korea, straddling the North Korean border. In 2018, the region will host the Winter Olympics and preparations are already underway to improve infrastructure. The coastal region is renowned for its agricultural produce, including cuttlefish and pollock, while further in-land the landscape is engulfed by thick woodland rich in mineral resources such as iron, coal fluorite, limestone and tungsten.
Doo Won Development is a quarry site that blasts, crushes and mixes granite from the steep mountainous slopes on the outskirts of Wonju to produce crushed aggregate (19mm, 25mm and 40mm) that is turned into Ready Mix Concrete (RMC) and used in governmental construction projects, including railways and roads. The site was purchased in 2008 and now employs 55 people, operating a fleet of Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) machines to extract and process 550 t per hour and load over 200 trucks per day.
The site’s president, Kang Peom Hee, purchased a Volvo CE L180 G-series fitted with the 5.8m3 rehandling bucket that is optimized in shape and larger than the standard General Purpose (GP) 4.6m3 bucket. This, coupled with the boom suspension and rehandling counterweight, provide faster filling times, a higher fill factor and up to 10% improved fuel efficiency.
In addition to the rehandler, the site operates two other Volvo wheel loaders – an L150 G and an L220F – to transport the crushed aggregate onto trucks, as well as eight Volvo excavators ranging from 29 to 48 tons to handle the large blasted rock inside the quarry. The large boulders are loaded onto trucks and transported to the crushing plant.
The steep slopes surrounding the Doo Won Development quarry can be difficult to navigate, especially during the snowy winter months, but Kang is pleased with his fleet’s performance throughout the year. He says: “During the winter, we sometimes face problems with our conveyor belt ceasing up – but our construction equipment keeps on running. We experience impressive uptime with our Volvo machines – they’re very reliable and we receive great support from our local dealer.”
The local Volvo CE dealer is situated just 10km from the site and offers Doo Won Development on-site service and maintenance support, as well as spare parts. “For me, the most important factor when buying machinery is the relationship I have with the local branch,” Kang continues. “I’m very satisfied with the support we receive – and even Volvo’s international call center regularly contacts me to ensure we’re happy with everything, while the local technicians come to our site to check the equipment.”
The Wonju-based Volvo branch has access to the fleet’s machine data in order to remotely monitor service intervals and fault alarms so that a technician can be available to attend to a problem or service issue, immediately. “The service checks are always carried out on time – but we experience very few problems with our Volvo machines,” says Kang. “In comparison to other equipment we’ve use, Volvo machines have virtually no downtime.”
Seo Jong San has operated wheel loaders for over 21 years, and currently operates an L220F at the Doo Won site. He says: “Volvo equipment has far fewer technical faults than other brands in my experience – the axle and other driving components last very well. But most impressive is the machine’s fuel consumption, which is up to 6 liters per hour lower than other brands, depending on the application.” For Doo Won Development, the math is simple when comparing Volvo to other brands.
Seo operates the wheel loader for 10 hours per day all year round and appreciates the additional finishing touches that Volvo adds inside its cab to keep operators comfortable. “I find the Volvo machines very comfortable and stable to operate – which makes it a more enjoyable ride for me,” he says.
The Doo Won Development has a target of producing 1.1 million cubic meters of crushed aggregate during 2014 – a 10% increase from 2013. With production continuing to ramp up, the site’s president plans to purchase more Volvo equipment for his site. “I’m very happy with the support I receive from Volvo CE, and I see our relationship with our local branch continuing long into the future thanks to the equipment’s high resale value and uptime,” Kang says.
Text: Holly Brace
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