Over 60 machines from Volvo, including more than 40 heavyweight excavators, are supporting the construction of Xayaburi dam in the Lower Mekong Basin. The landmark energy project will supply 7,400 GWh of power to Laos and Thailand on completion.
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The Xayaburi dam is one of the most ambitious construction projects ever undertaken in Laos. Situated 100 km downstream of Luang Prabang and owned by the Xayaburi Power Company, Ltd., this eight-year project was launched in 2012. When completed, the 820 m long, 150 m wide and 35 m high dam will generate 7,400 GWh of power annually for Laos and neighbouring Thailand. The enormous project has been supported by an investment of 100 billion baht from the Thai government.
Quick and efficient after-sales service ensured bid success
Given the massive scale and aggressive timeline for the development, main contractor Ch. Karnchang Public Company Limited has selected 64 Volvo CE machines to assist with construction. Thamnoon Surarat, an executive vice president with the company, said reliability was the number one criteria when choosing machines for the project.
“The scale of the Xayaburi dam is unprecedented,” he said. “So, in procuring machinery we considered many factors but most important were reliability and aftersales service. We have to ensure maximum machine uptime. After careful consideration, we opted for construction machinery from Volvo CE plus a number of trucks from Volvo Trucks. We find Volvo builds machines that will really work hard for you.”
Underlining the huge amount of earthmoving required, the majority of the Volvo CE fleet on Xayaburi is made up of excavators in the 30 tonnes-plus class, with 43 of these assigned to the project. This 43-machine total is made up of 24 of the EC380DL units plus 19 of the EC360BLC machines.
Volvo’s EC380DL is powered by the company’s D13 engine, and includes ECO mode for better fuel efficiency. The machine’s advanced design combines the efficient Volvo diesel engine with an enhanced hydraulic system and well matched components, delivering fuel saving gains of between 8% and 11% compared with alternatives. The powerful engine and improved hydraulics also means greater digging force and shorter cycle times in the field, two particularly important features on a project like Xayaburi. The EC380DL also comes with Volvo’s industry-leading cab, which gives enhanced visibility to the operator.
The EC360BLC, meanwhile, includes a D12C EDE2 diesel engine that uses Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology (V-ACT) technology to deliver lower emissions while still maintaining superior performance and fuel efficiency. The machine’s hydraulic system has Volvo’s Automatic Sensing Work Mode, for higher productivity, digging capacity and maneuvering precision, as well as better fuel economy. The operating weight of the model can reach 39 tons, and as with the EC380DL, the cab has excellent all-round visibility.
Other machines from Volvo CE on site include four of the EC210B Prime units, one EC210BLR, and one EC290BLR, all crawler excavators. There are also nine ECR58 Plus units plus one ECR88 Plus from the compact excavator range. And rounding out the fleet are three SD160DX soil compactors and two L120F wheel loaders.
Managing the equipment fleet has to be very tightly controlled, because of the demanding schedule, as Thamnoon Surarat explains.
“The machines on this project are in use 24 hours a day. Therefore, the preventive maintenance can only be performed twice a day and for one hour each time,” he said. “If the after-sales service team can’t do the preventive maintenance work within this time, we will face major problems maintaining our schedule.”
All the machines on the project were supplied by Italthai Industrial Co., Ltd, the local dealer for Volvo CE. Ch. Karnchang also specified Volvo CE’s Customer Support Gold Agreement for the machines, ensuring the very highest levels of support. With the Customer Support Gold Agreement, customers get preventive maintenance, inspections and repairs carried out by trained Volvo Service Technicians. This work is done in partnership with Italthai Industrial Co., Ltd.
The Gold Agreement is Volvo CE’s most comprehensive offer, and includes tools and services such as CareTrack, Volvo Oil Analysis and MATRIS analysis to ensure the best possible monitoring of the machines.
“Italthai Industrial Co., Ltd has organized a preventive maintenance team to service and replace spare parts according to our requirements,” concluded Thamnoon Surarat. “I’m very impressed with this level of service, which exceeded our expectations. I have to say that Volvo machinery is very reliable and can stand very tough working conditions, as long as it is maintained with care.”