Volvo Construction Equipment is helping with one of the more challenging sections of the Great Asian Highway – a gigantic road-building project that will connect 32 countries across Asia and Europe.
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When completed, the Great Asian Highway (AH) will run from Tokyo to Turkey - crossing 32 countries in Asia and Europe in the process. It is currently one of the largest construction projects in the world.
The section that will run through Thailand, known as AH13, is being built by Thai construction company S. Tengtrirat (Nan) Co., Ltd., (known as STCL), with the company using a host of Volvo CE equipment to help. STCL’s machines on the project include the EC480D and EC210B Prime excavators, plus an SD110 single drum compactor and an ABG7820B tracked paver.
“AH13 starts at Sukhothai and runs 140 km, right through Thailand to the border with Laos,” explained Dusit Tengtrirat, construction manager at STCL. “In particular, it will help boost commerce and tourism to Luang Probang in Laos. Because the terrain on much of the route is mountainous and difficult to work in, we needed specialized and powerful equipment. We have been very impressed with the performance of the Volvo equipment, especially in the locations with more challenging geography.”
A cost-effective choice
The Volvo EC480D selected for the project has increased engine power and improved hydraulics, to deliver greater digging force and shorter cycle times. As expected from a Volvo machine, fuel efficiency is major highlight on the 48-tonne rated EC480D, with power coming from Volvo´s D13 engines. The inclusion of the unique ECO mode contributes to the unit’s class-leading fuel efficiency, as does the sophisticated electronic pump control technology, which improves the figure by an additional 5%.
When combined, Volvo’s efficient diesel engine, enhanced hydraulic system and well matched components can improve overall fuel efficiency by 8-11%. The EC480D also comes with Volvo’s industry-leading cab, boasting enhanced visibility.
The other Volvo excavator on the project is the EC210B Prime, a perfect all-round machine that is well-suited to the steep and demanding working conditions of the job. The unit’s powerful, innovative and efficient 110 kW Volvo engine is well-matched to the hydraulic system, components and design. At the same time, the EC210B Prime is a comfortable machine for the operator, with better visibility and improved ergonomics.
Prasong Rubsombat, a project engineer at STCL, said the Volvo excavators are performing very well:
“I have been very impressed with the Volvo excavators,” he said. “They are extremely flexible and fuel efficient, especially when compared with alternatives. They can handle heavy workloads quickly and cheaply. For me, this cost efficient operation is one of the defining qualities of Volvo machinery.”
Single drum compactor
The SD110 single drum compactor on the AH13 project is an 11-tonne rated machine that gives users a powerful drum performance for exacting work with soils and aggregates. It features a dual, high and low, amplitude eccentric design and the Volvo Tier 3/Stage III D5 engine delivers powerful 99 kW performance, along with dependability, efficient operation and environmental emission compliance.
The 1 m x 1 m area of visibility around the machine provides increased jobsite safety, and lowers the possibility of equipment damage. In addition, the drum vibration frequencies are easily adjustable from the operator’s console from 0-30 Hz (0-1,800 vpm). There is a two-speed transmission, with low-speed for jobsite applications, and high-speed for faster jobsite changes.
Highly recommended paver
The ABG7820B tracked paver employed on the job has the ability to pave widths from 2.5 m up to 13 m. Offering single or double tamper screed operation, the ABG7820 combines excellent paving quality, high efficiency and cost-effectiveness, as Vicharn Ritthidej, a foreman with STCL, confirmed.
“The ABG7820B is ideal for this project,” he said. “It is a robust machine with really strong power, which is vital. In the morning, the climate is quite cool in this region, but the screed continues to operate very effectively, and you only need to run it once. We’ve also noted that the tamper and vibrator functions are well suited to producing a smooth road surface. Most importantly – it just works. We haven’t been held up by minor breakdowns, which can often happen with other machines.”
Volvo’s D7 engine is included on the ABG7820B, offering quiet and environmentally friendly operation. It also features the EPM (Electronic Paver Management) system which controls all the paving processes. Most applications do not require the high output capacity of the engines and in such cases, the driver can select the ‘smart power’ mode, which lowers the engine speed to reduce noise emissions and provide fuel savings of up to 15%.
Vicharn Ritthidej said he has 100% confidence in the ability of the ABG7820 to deliver.
“I would highly recommend this machine to anyone who hasn’t tried it before. The level of power it produces is very impressive – it can even handle a 10-wheeled truck while the brakes continue to work normally. That’s how powerful it is.”
Strong support from dealer and manufacturer
All the Volvo CE machines STCL is using on AH13 were supplied by Volvo’s Thai dealer, Italthai Industrial. STCL has purchased dozens of other Volvo CE machines from Italthai over the years. These include EC210B, EC290B and EC380D excavators, as well as L180H wheel loaders.
“Italthai take care of everything for us, from product orientation to ongoing maintenance services,” said Prasong Rubsombat, STCL’s project engineer on the AH13 job site. “Whenever we encounter a problem, we know we can rely on their immediate support,”
STCL has developed a strong bond with Volvo CE and has been purchasing the company’s equipment for over 14 years. The ongoing investment in Volvo CE is down to the continuing high levels of ROI the company achieves, according to Dusit Tengtrirat, construction manager at STCL.
“For us, ROI incorporates two key factors – fuel saving and opportunity cost,” he said. “Volvo equipment performs very well in both of these areas. Over a working span of 10,000 hours our Volvo equipment can save between 10,000 and 20,000 liters of fuel. Also, Volvo machinery very rarely break downs, so the opportunity cost is very low. When we use Volvo machinery, we know we are guaranteed durability and cost efficiency.”
STCL specializes in road, dam and infrastructure construction and civil engineering projects. The company was founded in 1958 and was heavily involved in road and highway construction projects in the region following the end of the Vietnam War. Today, it employs 132 staff and has its headquarters in Muang, Thailand.