CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT North America

One Scoop at a Time

Across the board, SFC Contract Services, Inc. utilizes all their Volvo construction equipment to keep the jobsite humming and the project moving forward.

Volvo EC240C long-reach excavator scoops sediment at a mil wastewater treatment facility in Louisiana

At a mill wastewater treatment facility in Louisiana, Andrew Bain looks on as a Volvo EC240C long-reach excavator sits on a barge scooping sediment from a deep water pond.

Bain is Job Superintendent for SFC Contract Services, Inc., a general contractor established in 1985 that has learned to specialize in a variety of different areas. Like many businesses in their industry they cover a range of applications, from road construction to excavating to dredging.

Today the job finds Bain overseeing a levee system reconfiguration and dredging the mill’s wastewater ponds, a two-year process that began in 2012. At an average depth of 18-20 feet, the ponds contain approximately 625,000 yards of sedimentary waste. The sediment removed from the ponds is taken to reclamation and also used at a green site where new trees are planted. The pond project will improve the wastewater handling of the mill and lower the impact on local waterways.

Reconfiguring a system such as this is not a quick-turn proposition, nor is it an easy one. It takes many long hours and equipment that can reliably stand up to the rigors of wet, hot, and rugged conditions, reaching deep into the depths of the ponds. That’s why the folks at SFC turned to Volvo Construction Equipment.

In addition to the Volvo EC240CLR scooping the sediment atop the barge, SFC runs two Volvo EC250 long-reach excavators, and two Volvo A25 articulated hauler trucks, which are being used to haul dirt to build new levees on site.

Made for heavy-duty production, the Volvo excavators excel at applications that require brute force earth moving and heavy craning. These machines rely on powerful hydraulic excavator performance – ideally suited for the deep digging and lifting that SFC requires. With a max digging depth of 47 feet, these excavators capably scoop sediment from the pond floor and place it into the de-watering cells. With extraordinary stability, SFC is able to float the excavators into the middle of the large ponds and work safely and efficiently. The weight of the machines is built into the undercarriage, not into a rear counterweight like some competitors.

Volvo’s articulated trucks monitor and adapt to road conditions. Whether empty or full, the F-series travels at higher speeds, up to 33 mph, increasing SFC’s productivity on the jobsite. With long days and a demanding work load, the consistent performance and reliable fuel consumption top SFC’s list of priorities.

Typically SFC runs their equipment on 12-hour days. But as is often the case in the world of heavy-duty jobs, they occasionally have to run around the clock for three or four days at a time.

“The fuel consumption of this Volvo equipment is very important to us,” Bain says. “It’s excellent. It can’t be touched. I’ve been running equipment for several years and I haven’t seen anything that can compete with Volvo’s fuel consumption.”

Like most businesses in their industry, fuel is one of the largest operating expenses for SFC. The cost is two-fold. There are the obvious expenses associated with the price of fuel. And then there is the downtime it takes a piece of equipment to be off the jobsite refueling. With Volvo’s fuel-efficient machines, SFC is able to reduce their overall fuel consumption, thereby lowering the amount they spend on fuel. And they are also able to reduce the frequency of fill-ups – reducing their downtime and improving their uptime.

Also in the interest of keeping their machines up and running, SFC participates in Volvo’s CareTrack program. CareTrack is the Volvo Construction Equipment telematics system that provides a wide range of machine monitoring information - information that is used to make the right decisions concerning their equipment. Intended to reduce fuel costs, optimize performance, and manage service plans, CareTrack is helping SFC keep their equipment in peak working order.

“The CareTrack system helps us out because we have mechanics of our own,” Bain says, “and they get an email when a service code pops up on a piece of equipment. Our shop foreman gets an email. That way everybody knows what’s going on. It helps us to track service, time periods, and when something goes wrong, and a mechanic comes to a site, he knows what he needs to bring. I like it. It’s great.”

Companies like SFC who utilize CareTrack are able to track their machines through GPS, acquire machine-operating data, acquire daily usage reports, and receive service reminders and parts planning, among a variety of other reports. All of this is designed to keep equipment performing at optimum levels – reducing downtime and increasing the time their machines are working for them.

When companies like SFC spend as much time in and around their equipment as they do, they demand that they perform well and perform consistently. It’s important that the owners and the foremen like Bain like the equipment, but it’s also important that the operators feel that they get the best performance available.

“Everyone says they like the Volvo equipment,” Bain says. “The excavators are comfortable. They’re very operator friendly.” SFC’s excavators feature a robust undercarriage and a reinforced boom arm and superstructure. Safety, efficiency and durability feature heavily in the design and construction of these machines. An easy to read color LCD display, multi-adjustable seat and joystick, and rear view camera keep the operator informed, comfortable and in control. High breakout and crowding force is supported by an advanced hydraulic system that enables smooth, responsive digging and lifting. And when you’re digging and lifting on a barge surrounded by water, those things can be very important.

“The long-stick excavators, I haven’t found anything on the market that can compete with them,” Bain says. “They’re fast, they’re operator friendly, and they’re efficient. The reliability of the Volvo equipment is excellent.”

Back on land the Volvo articulating trucks also impress Bain and his crew. In creating the mill’s new levee system they have had to have consistent performance over the course of many long shifts. When running around the clock, comfort and performance become less of a luxury and more of a necessity for the ability to deliver top-notch service to the customer.

“The trucks, I’ve run them myself,” Bain says, “and what the operators tell me: they’re like the Cadillac of trucks. The cab is very operator friendly. It’s safe. It’s very comfortable. It’s quiet.”

The Volvo articulated hauler trucks meet, exceed and consistently raise industry standards in a wide variety of hauling applications. Known for exceptional performance and safety, they offer unsurpassed maneuverability in adverse road conditions like those found at the mill. This is partly due to a high rotating maintenance-free hitch, automatic traction control and hydromechanical self-adjusting steering for straight driving on long hauls.

Across the board, SFC Contract Services, Inc. utilizes all their Volvo construction equipment to keep the jobsite humming and the project moving forward. As the pond’s clarification increases, SFC can take pride in helping their customer responsibly manage their waste and improve their water system. Until then, the big excavator floating on that barge will continue hauling sediment – finishing the job one scoop at a time.

One Scoop at a Time - SFC Contracting Customer Success Story

Across the board, SFC Contract Services, Inc. utilizes all their Volvo Construction Equipment to keep the jobsite humming and the project moving forward. As the pond’s clarification increases, SFC can take pride in helping their customer responsibly manage their waste and improve their water system. Until then, the big excavator floating on that barge will continue hauling sediment – finishing the job one scoop at a time.