Profile: Goodman Contractors

By: Allison McMillan, Photography by: Allison McMillan

Technology, safety, and design excellence — three major considerations for Goodman Contractors when selecting the new Cat 740B ejector articulated trucks and Cat 349DL excavator to join its expanding fleet.

Goodman Contractors has acquired three new Cat machines from Gough Cat, initially putting them to work in the Winstone Aggregates Belmont quarry north of Wellington. The company says that the two Cat 740B Ejector articulated trucks and a Cat 349DL excavator joined the Goodman's fleet in late 2013 and have created new efficiencies around the job site.

Goodman -Contractors -1Company director Stan Goodman says the safety and design features of the Cat 740B EJ are both advantageous to the productivity of his team, and the Cat AccuGrade hardware the 349DL is equipped with will reduce job times and improve the use of machine performance data by the operators.

"We are all aware of how important the health and safety of a team is on a job site, and the 740B Ejector is a very safe machine to operate," Stan says.

"The height of the load in the tray is lower [than a traditional dumper], resulting in the centre of gravity being lower which enhances the truck's stability."

Under a rated payload of 38 tonnes, the 740B EJ has 3.5 metres between the outer rims of its tyres and a half-metre clearance between the lowest point of the truck body and the ground.

The stability of the 740B is also increased by the ejector body. Ejecting the load without raising the body allows dispersal on inclines, side slopes and in very soft underfoot conditions, such as landfill sites.

"The ejector mechanism is very clever for a number of reasons, most notably because we never have any carry-back," Stan says.

"Often with the dumpers you are left with a metre or so of material in the tray after tipping, but the ejector disperses the load outwards and it catches everything and [the operator] never has to carry anything back."

The ejector blade is made from high-strength steel and uses technology similar to that proven in Cat wheel tractor-scrapers. The body design eliminates material sticking to the body, increasing productivity, improving fuel efficiency and lowering the cost per tonne for the owner.

While also proficient in spreading material while moving with fast cycle times, the 740B ejector truck is a useful tool for stacking aggregate, a function Stan only discovered unexpectedly.

"We have found the ejector is great at stacking material and creating a stockpile that supported itself really well, a great feature we didn't know about before we bought the machine," he says.

Goodman -Contractors -2

"It reduces our need for extra dozing equipment to follow behind the trucks. Instead we can redistribute that equipment to where it's needed most."

Gough Cat national sales manager Steve Templer rates the Cat 740B articulated truck as one of the most robust and reliable on the market. "Goughs has a number of the 740 trucks running in the Cat Rental fleet that are over 10,000 hours," Steve says."None of these units have had a major component touched. It's a testament to the tough nature of the design."

Goodman's two 740B ejector trucks are working an average of 120 hours per month, and are burning a comparable amount of fuel to other similar spec dumper articulated trucks in the fleet.

The trucks are being loaded at the Belmont quarry by Goodman's other new machine, the Cat 349DL excavator — one of the largest in the fleet.

Stan says the Cat 349DL works well with the large articulated trucks and the full potential of the trio will be realised at the NZTA Kapiti Expressway project, which is to commence later this year.

"The contract at Belmont is over in a few months, but it is a good lead-in project [to the Kapiti job] to see the efficiency of these three Cat machines working together," he says.

"The 740B ejector truck is lower to load, so we line up the top of the bucket with the excavator tracks and only have to use a quarter-swing, rather than a half, with each pass.

"It's savings like these that really add up and benefit the business long term."

Goodman -Contractors -3The 349DL is fully fitted with an AccuGrade GPS system, a feature that Goodmans is installing in more and more machines to boost performance and productivity. In its current general earthworks application at Belmont quarry, the Accugrade is not being fully utilised. When work commences on the NZTA Kapiti Expressway project, the full GPS features will be integral for trenching work and levelling.

"[Goodmans] is already utilising the AccuGrade system on a number of other smaller excavators, and I think its effectiveness on the 349DL will create some huge efficiencies in our work load," Stan says.

"[On the Kapiti project], even with the large bucket size, the 349DL will be able to remove the bulk of the dirt to within a 50mm accuracy.

"If it works within those parameters, it will greatly reduce the need for the smaller excavators to come in afterwards and do the finishing.

"And, when it's measuring up a trench, the AccuGrade system records the depth of its lowest pass automatically with GPS and removes the need for a person to manually check the level. The time comparison to complete a job between a digger with the GPS and one without is really noticeable, and I would recommend to anyone who hasn't seen the difference to look into it."

AccuGrade GPS computes the positioning information on the machine, compares the position of the bucket relative to the design plan, and delivers that information to the operator via an in-cab display. Information such as: bucket elevation, how much bucket tip is necessary to achieve the appropriate depths, visual indication of the bucket's position on the design surface, and a graphical view of the design plan with machine location.

For the latest reviews, subscribe to our Deals On Wheels magazine here.

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook