Volvo Construction Equipment recently pitted some of the finest operators against each other in an epic battle of speed, precision and technique. The trophy and title of Operators Club Champion 2015 was brought home by Othmar Pletzer from Austria.
The annual Operators Club Final – open to operators of machinery by any brand – is one of the construction industry’s toughest tests of precision operation. After months of grueling local heats, 27 semi-finalists came face-to-face at a quarry in Treviso, Italy on 10th of October to compete in excavator disciplines on two of Volvo’s most popular product releases of late, the ECR50D compact excavator and the EC220E general purpose excavator. The operators with the five quickest times (penalties were added for inaccuracies) then took part in a nail-biting wheel loader maze challenge, using Volvo’s L120H.
Otmar Pletzer from Austria was the clear winner, completing the maze challenge in just two minutes and four seconds. Reijer van der Grift from the Netherlands came in second, closely followed by Frenchman Nicolas Monnaye. Pletzer is no stranger to the Operators Club winner’s podium, having claimed first place in 2009 and 2010 – and second places in 2008 and 2011.
“This year’s challenges were the toughest to date,” says Lucía Sivertsen, exhibitions and events manager at Volvo CE, “but we were thoroughly impressed at how the operators stepped up their game for 2015.”
The Operators Club was first established by Volvo CE in Germany in 1998 as a way of building closer relations with operators. Today it has more than 14,000 members in 13 countries – including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey. The Turkish branch was launched at the beginning of this year and heralds the further expansion of the club outside of Europe.
“We are thrilled at the way operators from across the construction industry have embraced the Operators Club,” Sivertsen concludes. “The French branch gained more than 1,000 members this year during the Intermat Paris exhibition alone. It’s a pleasure for us to give something back to the operators – often our biggest supporters – while also providing a reliable channel for us to listen to their needs and priorities so we can make our machines even better.”
Picture 1: The final wheel loader maze challenge.
Picture 2: Winner Otmar Pletzer (center) is accompanied on stage by second place winner, Reijer van der Grift (left), and Nicolas Monnaye (right) taking home third place.