The Hongsa Power Plant in Laos will become the country´s highest-capacity power plant and an army of Volvo CE machines will make sure the project is completed on time.
The Hongsa Power Plant project, launched in 2009, is a joint venture between Banpu Power Limited (BPP), the Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE) and the Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company Limited (RATCH), called Hongsa Power Company Limited (HPC). When completed in 2016, the plant will have the capacity to generate over 1,878 MW per day – higher than any existing power plants in Laos.
The steam-powered generator will be fuelled by lignite – a soft, brown combustible sedimentary rock formed naturally from compressed peat. Situated at the mouth of a coal mine, lignite is readily available, minimizing transportation costs and providing a reliable supply for a sustainable power source. The Hongsa Power Plant will provide electricity across the Lao PDR and Thailand.
Italian Thai Hongsa has been contracted for 15 years to carry out the extraction and loading operations using 18 Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) units – ranging from the first-ever Volvo CE 70t excavator to be delivered in Laos – to a range of wheel loaders, motor graders, soil compactors and a backhoe loader. The machines are being used to extract lignite and load it onto trucks, ready to be transported to the power plant, as well as maintaining the roads around the large site.
When Italian Thai Hongsa took delivery of the Volvo CE EC700C excavator – the largest Volvo CE unit ever sold in Laos – the company’s project manager, Sutee Boonsayamtham, noticed the impact straight away. “We had previously used the Volvo EC380DL and because of its low fuel consumption and performance, we decided to purchase more Volvo CE excavators. The EC700C was worth the investment – it too demonstrates good fuel efficiency and a powerful engine, while the larger bucket size has boosted productivity tremendously,” he says.The powerful EC700C features a 336.5kW Volvo V-ACT engine that delivers high torque in low revs for the ultimate in fuel efficiency. Its advanced hydraulic system is well matched to offer the operator smooth and responsive digging and lifting, as well as high breakout force. The Volvo Care Cab is spacious and is designed for safe operation with enhanced visibility. The machine’s robust undercarriage and reinforced superstructure and boom and arm are built to last against the daily stresses in tough applications. In addition to the 70 t excavator, there are three Volvo CE EC210BPs, three EC380DLs, one EC140 and one ECR88Plus excavators in operation on site, being used in digging and loading applications. “We are impressed by the overall performance of the Volvo excavators. The strong undercarriage makes them reliable and highly productive,” adds Boonsayamtham.
Also in operation at the site are a Volvo CE L150G and an L70F wheel loader, which are used to support the excavators in loading and dumping applications. Volvo CE wheel loaders are recognized for their durable and fuel efficient Volvo engine, the comfortable operator environment including the cab design and ergonomic control layout. Volvo’s torque-parallel linkage delivers parallel lift with a high breakout force, while the transmission features Automatic Power Shift for easy operation.
Without aspahlt roads on site, the tracks can become muddy and uneven – especially during the rainy season. Italian Thai Hongsa uses three Volvo CE G990 and two G940 motor graders and one SD160DX soil compactor to maintain the site and allow all of the machines to move around safely. The company also uses a Volvo CE BL71B backhoe loader to level the ground and for general digging.
The Hongsa Power Plant is located in Hongsa district, in the province of Sayabouly, which hugs the Thai border. The mountainous, rural province can be difficult to navigate with limited roads and infrastructure, so delivering machine support can be difficult. That’s why Volvo CE dealer, Italthai Indiustrial (ITI) has deployed a dedicated team of Volvo CE service technicians who are based on-site to keep the machines up and running.
ITI has 13 branches across Thailand, as well as a Sales, Service and Spare Parts dealership in the Lao capital of Vientiane. “Our aim is to deliver our services to customers as closely as we possibly can in order to ensure maximum uptime for our customers,” explains Khun Yuthachai Charanachitta, president and CEO of Italthai Group (the parent company of ITI). “That’s why we have set up this on-site service operations so that machines can be maintained around the clock.”
Italian Thai Hongsa has a strong relationship with ITI. Boonsayamtham says: “The combination of fuel efficient machines and reliable aftermarket support from ITI makes a perfect solution to meet our needs on site.”
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