Saxby Surfacing Contractors from Sheffield are entering their thirtieth year of trading and to commemorate the event, have taken delivery of their first Volvo paver, a P6870C ABG model.
The company, run by the Saxby family, operates throughout the Yorkshire region for a wide ranging client base, including local authorities, house builders and developers.
Over the last three decades the company has used a variety of pavers, initially favouring the British made Blaw Knox model before moving away to alternate machines.
Despite facing the difficulties of the recession, the company emerged stronger and more focussed, and in 2013 looked to consolidate their position with their existing customer base. With an increasing workload, they were able to look at investing in a new paver to complement their existing fleet.
“We run three machines full time, including a mini paver, which seems to be the busiest.” Ian said. Looking to replace one of the larger machines with a new model Ian contacted a number of Suppliers and contractors for their feedback on what was in the market. We were obviously aware of the Volvo machines, but had not tried them in the past.
The call to Volvo proved to be a very fruitful one as Ian explains; “When I called Volvo, the response was immediate. They couldn’t do enough to help me. We soon had a machine on demo, which was accompanied by a qualified Volvo engineer, whose help and expertise was invaluable”
From the initial call, Matthew Sheridan, Volvo’s road equipment Sales Manager contacted Ian to discuss his company’s requirements, and although Ian has a great knowledge of the surfacing business Matthew was able to lead him through the specification process with careful advice resulting in what Ian claims to be “the best paving machine he has ever had.”
“Everything about the paver is first class.” Exclaims Ian “It is built to do the job and do it well.” Constructed around a tried and tested chassis, the 6870C employs a 6x6 drive train allowing it to work in even the most difficult of conditions. The majority of drive for the vehicle is from the large rear wheels with the additional drive coming from both sets of steering, load dependant front wheels. An extremely tight inner turning circle of just 2.5m allows the large paver to squeeze into the tightest of situations, which proved to be vital on the site we visited, to see the 6870 in action.
The job site was an extension to an existing business park, where Saxby Surfacing had been undertaking a large amount of work to provide extensive parking facilities. One of the last parts of the project was a short area of service road leading to the rear of the retail units. Less then 30m in length and just over 6m in width, the area was well within the capabilities of the Volvo which is capable of laying up to 700 tonnes per hour in the right conditions. Two layers of base course were to be put down with a final wearing course going in prior to handover of the project. Ian was extremely complimentary about the design and layout of the new paver saying that the vision from the operator’s seats is simply the best. “You can see just what you have in the hopper, what’s happening over the screed and exactly where you are in relation to the kerb.” Both Ian and his team are very happy with the control layout on the Volvo saying that it is easy to use, straightforward, intuitive and very quick to respond when needed. The large and easy to read Screed Control Units (SCU) are mounted either side of the screed unit. Hydraulically adjustable, the electrically heated unit isn’t Ian’s personal preference but the Volvo system is seen as far superior to those found on other makes. A safe and easy climb to the operator’s station reveals the industry leading Main Control Unit (MCU) which is movable across the full width of the machine allowing the operator to be in an ideal working position at all times. The extending operator station allows for easy vision on either side of the machine with the operator being protected from the worst of the elements by the all weather roof. Highly detailed yet easy to use, the MCU allows for instant adjustment of each part of the paver thanks to the installation of EPMII, Volvo’s Electronic Paver Management system.
Power to the paver comes in the form of a clean and fuel efficient Tier4i Volvo 6-litre engine. Delivering 175hp at 2000rpm, the paver is one of the most economic in its class and when paving conditions do not require the use of full power, the operator can select Smart Power Mode through the MCU. This feature allows the machine to reduce the engine RPM down to 1600 resulting in substantially lower noise and up to a 30% reduction in fuel consumption.
A range of screed options are available on the Volvo paver models with Saxby taking the smaller 2m-5m option. “This is an ideal size for our operations.” Comments Ian, “It gives us the flexibility we need on some of our jobs and keeps the weight of the machine down too.”
The large, 12t capacity hopper allows for continuous paving with the folding front flap ensuring good material retention at all times. Independent, reversible drives for both conveyors and height adjustable augers supply a constant flow of material to the screed and a newly designed and through hardened tamper bar improves durability and reliability.
Whilst Ian doesn’t have a dedicated fleet replacement schedule, the Volvo will be kept in the company for at least five years. “The build quality is far superior to what we have had in the past and if it is performing well, we may keep it longer.” According to Ian, where Volvo far outstrip the competition is their attention to detail and personal service. “They are at the end of the phone if we need them, their parts are available if we need them. We cannot have the machine breaking down and sitting on site for days while spares are ordered. We need to be up and running as soon as possible and that, we think, can only be achieved with the level of customer service Volvo gives.”
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