"Compared to the loaders we had before, I get an additional twelve-hour shift on fuel every three days, and that is significant." -Darcy Wildeman
Extraordinary. A very interesting, compound word, with its origins in fifteenth-century English and decades earlier Latin. Webster's dictionary defines its meaning as; beyond what is ordinary, exceptional or remarkable, an extraordinary capacity for work.
So what would one expect to find 'exceptional' in a dusty, central Alberta, Canada, gravel pit, with the mind numbing clatter of a rock and gravel crusher raging in the background? Please read on!
Out of the cloud of dust that surrounds the crusher appeared the bright yellow and black of a Volvo L220 Front end Loader. Its bucket full to overflowing with freshly crushed gravel. Seconds passed, and the same loader was now feeding the crusher hopper with rocks and gravel dug out of the solidly compacted, fifty-foot high wall of the gravel pit. The wheel loader's movements were fast, smooth and effortless. Moves reminiscent of a ballet... a high-speed wheel loader ballet.
"I knew about Volvo, my brother has a Volvo that he uses at the ready mix division, so I knew what I was getting", Darcy Wildeman, co-owner of Czar Block Inc. said with a smile. "But I didn't think it was as good as the machine that I found I have here. It's so ground fast, it's un-believable, how fast it is."
The Volvo L220F Front end Loader is an uncompromising production machine designed and built for the heaviest jobs and the very toughest of conditions. Power comes from its' turbo charged Volvo V-ACT D12E diesel engine renowned for high reliability and durability. The exceptional fuel economy the Volvo L220F loader achieves is further enhanced by the fuel-saving electro-hydraulic HTE-transmission with Automatic Power Shift (APS) that constantly selects the right gear for the job and current operating conditions.
"Compared to the loaders we were running before, I get an additional twelve hour shift on fuel every three days and that is significant", Wildeman noted. "Especially with the fuel prices the way they are today."
Czar Block operates their crusher business 24/7 for about eight months a year. When asked why only eight months of the year, Darcy was quick to respond, "It's too hard to make money when you are fighting the cold, and it gets cold here in the winter time. Often down to minus thirty degrees Celsius. "The summers are bad enough, hot and often windy. It's nice working at night." This year Czar Block hopes to crush approximately 300,000 tons of gravel.
Czar Block Inc. had been a Cat operation from the time the Wildeman's opened the business in 1958. "Recently we had 988B's and it took two of them to keep the crusher going," Darcy stated. "We knew we needed something newer and a little faster, and now the one Volvo is easily handling the work on both ends of the crusher. With the purchase of the L220 we've eliminated the fuel costs of one machine as well as the wages of an additional operator, to say nothing of the purchase costs. That's big for a small operation like this."
Darcy's brother Drew Wildeman operates the Volvo L220F loader. As the machine stopped close by, Darcy immediately went to assist Drew in climbing down from the cab. Drew Wildeman was born with Cerebral Palsy, a neurological disorder that permanently affects body movement and muscle coordination.
As Drew's feet hit the ground the admiration for his brother was obvious on Darcy's face. "If this was any other machine than a Volvo there is not a chance that my brother could be operating it. He couldn't even load the crusher's hopper let alone take the crushed material away from the conveyors. He controls the loader with his right hand and the steering joystick with his left. There is no way he could operate a machine with a steering wheel. This Volvo has been very rewarding for my brother. It has improved his self esteem and given him back his self worth."
Drew was humbled by his brother's statements and very quickly moved on to put any safety or operational concerns aside. "I need a little help getting in and out of the cab, but once up there it's just like sitting in my La-Z-Boy at home. This is an extraordinary machine. It's so smooth and fast."
The Volvo L220F Front end Loader features a long wheelbase, making the ride smooth and comfortable on rough ground. In addition the optional Boom Suspension System (BSS) can assist in increasing productivity by up to 20 percent.
Drew continued, "I love the Boom Suspension System. Sometimes if I'm back scraping and when I finish I forget to turn it back on (BBS) I get bounced around a bit. I just flip the switch and everything just smoothes right out. And that's important, when I'm spending twelve hour shifts in my office."
Knowing that Drew was unlike most other operators due to his physical challenges, it begged the question, what about the cab? Drew's response was instantaneous. "The cab is comfortable and clean. The heating and air conditioning system is great. The visibility is fantastic. The mirrors are all in just the right place; I can see everything I need to. The lighting is terrific. It's just like daylight on those long night shifts. There is nothing that I don't like about this wheel loader."
Every Volvo front end loader features the Volvo Care Cab. With the industry's best air filtration system and climate control, dust, heat or cold are never a concern. The ergonomic, adjustable seat, arm rest, lever carrier and steering wheel are key features that work together with the viscous damping of the cab mountings to reduce vibration and make those long shift hours safe, comfortable and a more effective workplace.
Czar Block's Volvo dealer is Strongco Equipment. "They have been great for us. Always there when we need them; and Shawn Grykuliak, our customer service representative is just the best. Whenever we have a new operator to train on the Volvo or need something he is always right there." Sincere words of praise from both Darcy and Drew Wildeman.
The Wildeman's are the epitome of what makes small business work. Darcy, with his exceptional capacity for work, spends long hours making sure his customers are fully satisfied, while Drew takes life's challenges in stride. His outlook is remarkable. "I've been operating everything from gravel trucks to grain combines all my life. This is just another page in my book. You never get anyplace by feeling sorry for yourself and sitting on your butt."
Everyone at Volvo concurs. We give a loud shout-out to an extraordinary operator with an extraordinary attitude and are proud to have been able to provide them with an extraordinary wheel loader.