Cover story: Global Metal Solutions

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer

DOW visits the Global Metal Solutions' Hamilton yard to check out the Hyundai materials handlers that ensures the seamless working of operations

Whatever your assumptions about the modern scrapyard are, you’ll need to leave them at the gate when you get to Global Metal Solutions’ (GMS) Hamilton yard. The phrase ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ comes to mind when you don your PPE gear and head out across the concrete. The yard is clean and well-organised, with deliberate separation between the public drop-off and commercial sections.

At the back end, precision organisation is everything, especially when GMS plays host to massive container trucks bringing in and taking out consignments of cast-off ferrous and non-ferrous material all day long.

"It’s all a bit like clockwork here," GMS general manager John Tate tells me. "There are certain aspects of the operation that work independently of each other, but we need everything to work smoothly together for the most part."

Hyundai excavators used by GMS

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That’s where reliable machinery comes in. And while all manner of scrap metal can be seen within the walls at GMS, if you look hard enough, one repeated aspect of the scene before you are the bright yellow Hyundai applications excavators GMS uses to ensure efficient throughput.

I first visited GMS about three years ago when owner Craig Tuhoro was trialling his first piece of Hyundai equipment—a Hyundai 210W-9 materials handler with the familiar hydraulically extendable cab that Porter Equipment had loaned him for evaluation.

That initial 25-tonne excavator has been joined in the intervening months by another Hyundai 210W-9 as well as a Hyundai R210LC-7 and R180LC-9 excavators. Each machine fulfils different roles for the company, meaning that GMS has also relied on Hyundai distributor Porter Equipment to source some specialised attachments.

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"Each machine works a different part of the yard, so we have them set up to suit certain tasks," John explains.

"They all have the sort of grunt we need, and while the Hyundai R180LC-9 is a conventional crawler excavator, the 210s are wheeled machines, which helps with mobility around the yard. Because materials handlers tend to move in repeated actions over short distances, the tyres ensure our concrete surfaces aren’t chewed up."

The Hyundai excavator range

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Hyundai manufactures a variety of applications excavators for the metal recycling and demolition industries. They feature a mix of rising or tilting cabs, wheeled and crawler undercarriages, and come in a variety of sizes, from the 25-tonne Hyundai R210W-9 through to the XL-sized Hyundai R520LC-9 DM demolition excavator, which weighs in at a hefty 58.7 tonnes and also features an impressive high-lift boom working height of 26m.

"We’re really happy with all of the machines. Our guys here look after the excavators so we get a lot of trouble-free operation out of them. The gear does everything we need it to, so we can’t ask for better than that," John says.

"But actually, it’s our relationship with Porters that sells us on the gear. We get such great hassle-free service from them that every time we look to extend our fleet, it makes the Hyundai purchase decision a no-brainer.

"It’s great that Porters is Hamilton-based like us, although when it comes down to it, I don’t consider their location to have any bearing on our decision to source machinery through them.

"They’re extremely professional and have a fantastic service offering. They will come in and check how things are going with a new machine when we implement it, and they talk to our operators and get feedback from them on how a machine is operating, too, so I suppose gaining product knowledge is a two-way street in that respect."

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John says that generally speaking, all GMS operators use specific machines, although occasionally, they will be in different excavators out of necessity.

"This doesn’t happen a lot, but because we have a uniform machine fleet, it makes it a lot easier for one operator to hop across into another excavator without any hold-ups on productivity. Also, occasionally it has helped to identify a potential issue with a machine in the past.

"The Hyundais are very reliable but we always need to keep an eye on performance, and if one operator gives us a heads-up that one machine isn’t performing like his does, then it means we might catch something small before it becomes a bigger issue," he says. "We deal with big volumes here, but we have the machines and the backup from the distributor to make sure we minimise any surprises that could affect us processing those volumes."

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