A fleet of Volvo Construction Equipment is working at a coal mine in northern Louisiana, ensuring smooth operations at a guaranteed fuel efficiency level.
Famous for jazz, Mardi Gras and gumbo, Louisiana is also endowed in coal. Lying in the southern region of the US, a large proportion of its land was formed from sediment washed down the mighty Mississippi River. Before America purchased the territory in 1803, the area had been both a French and Spanish colony. All of Louisiana’s coal is lignite also known as ‘brown coal’, and commercial production is based in the northwest part of the state. In 2013, the state produced approximately 2.8 million tons of coal.
Established for 27 years and headquartered in Alexandria, Louisiana, Dubroc Enterprises is present throughout the state as a mass-excavating contractor, working on many projects from subdivision and recreational development to mining. It is currently working across three different areas and sites in northern Louisiana, including a large coal mine.
Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) A40F-Series and A40G-Series 40 ton articulated haulers and EC380D-Series excavators are being used for excavating and hauling overburden earth in front of the coal to reclamation areas behind it. The machines move 3.2 million cubic meters of overburden every year to keep the coal mining operations running at full speed, helped along with 25 onsite employees.
Through the Louisiana Surface Mining and Reclamation Act and Louisiana Surface Mining Regulations, companies must certify that coal mines are operated in a way that protects citizens and the environment, ensuring that the land is restored to beneficial use and alleviate the effects of past mining through reclamation of abandoned mines. Most of the coal produced at this mine goes to a local power plant and benefits the surrounding areas.
Dubroc Enterprises started out farming corn and soybeans but then moved into the excavation, demolition, freight and cargo industries. The company has used Volvo equipment for over 15 years, a relationship that was boosted by an investment in coal mining seven years ago. The company first rented five Volvo EC290C-Series long reach excavators, which were used to aid the cleanup process after Hurricane Katrina but have been used ever since. The machines worked on barges moving up and down the rivers, clearing out canals that were badly affected in the storm.
“All operators that have test-driven different brands have told us they’re very comfortable in the Volvos,” says Mike Dubroc, owner of Dubroc Enterprises. “They’re also pleased with the machines’ power and smoothness, even in challenging conditions, as the dirt we move can be very wet and the ground soft and unstable.”
While consuming 10,000-15,000 gallons (37,854-56,781 liters) of fuel each week, the company has been able to save up to 8% on fuel costs with Volvo’s fuel efficient equipment and monitoring tools.
“We need to have equipment that has good fuel consumption, especially with the amount of equipment we have,” Dubroc says. “It can put tens of thousands of dollars back in your pocket every month. And because our fleet works 12 hours a day, seven days a week – and even sometimes at night – we participate in Volvo CE’s Fuel Efficiency Guarantee program, which means if our Volvo equipment doesn’t meet the model-rated fuel efficiency levels, Volvo reimburses us with an additional portion of fuel.”
“The guarantee program on the fuel efficiency has worked extremely well,” adds Dubroc. “It basically tells us this machine under these conditions will burn this much fuel an hour.”
Volvo monitors the Fuel Efficiency Guarantee program through CareTrack®, the telematics system, providing customers with a wide range of machine monitoring information.
“CareTrack is a wonderful feature,” Dubroc says. “If we’re having an issue with a piece of equipment, they can actually dial into this machine and see what we’re dealing with. It’s very important for me when we run a night shift, so we can see what the idle time was as well as production levels. It’s a great feature.”
Volvo dealer, Scott Equipment in Alexandria, LA, keep the company running on tight schedules. “They know how important it is for each one of these machines to operate and function how it should and ensure that it happens,” adds Dubroc.
In extremely hot and challenging temperatures reaching 42oC (107 oF), operators of the A40F’s sit comfortably in the air-conditioned Volvo Care Cab – a centrally positioned operator station that affords high visibility, a spacious work environment and increased safety. Self-compensating articulated steering provides excellent stability and steering force for outstanding control and precision.
Equipped with Automatic Traction Control, the ATC detects and engages the right drive combination as required, reducing tire wear and fuel consumption, and increasing off- road mobility and traction.
“Volvo articulated haulers have been one of the best investments we’ve made,” Dubroc says. “We put up to 10,000 hours on them and get a good resale value when we’re done or trade them in – we have very minimum repair work or maintenance done during that time. At the moment our oldest machine is three years old with 5,000 hours clocked. The Volvo equipment has put more money in my pocket on my projects than any other equipment.”
Picture 1: Volvo’s A40F-Series and A40G-Series articulated haulers and EC380D-Series excavators excavating and hauling overburden earth at a Louisiana coal mine.
Picture 2: The Volvo machines move 3.2 million cubic meters of overburden every year to keep the coal mining operations running at full speed.
Picture 3: Operators sit comfortably in the air-conditioned Volvo Care Cab.