Cover story: Windy Point Quarry and their new Hyundai

By: Vivienne Haldane, Photography by: Vivienne Haldane, Video by: Vivienne Haldane


DOW caught up with Windy Point Quarry who recently purchased a brand new Hyundai R380LC-9 excavator from Porter Equipment

Windy Point Quarry, located between Whanganui and Taranaki and with an eagle eye view over the Waitotara Valley, must have the best outlook in the New Zealand quarry world.

Hyundai

On a clear day, I reckon you could easily see all the way up the coast to Mt Taranaki. But it’s not called Windy Point for nothing. "You’ve come on a good day," manager Evan Mooney says.

He’s been manager of the Ravensdown-owned, shell-rock quarry for 11 years and has lived in the nearby settlement of Maxwell all his life. The quarry, one of the only few limestone quarries in the district, produces 40,000 to 50,000 cubic metres of limestone products per year.

Most of that goes into local roading and forestry as well as roads for bee farm businesses, which are currently seeing rapid development.

At Windy Point, they produce a range of aggregates: AP40 and AP65, lots of 15ml fines for dairy races—"it’s all black and white from here up to New Plymouth," Evan says—plus a fair amount of metal that’s sold straight off the face.

Severe flooding in the district two years ago has meant increased demand for the aggregate. Damage to the tune of millions of dollars meant major infrastructure work was required to get things back to normal on roads and bridges.

Windy Points' new machinery 

Machinery

Windy Point deals with its regulars—large-scale operations such as Fulton Hogan and Downer plus a variety of other smaller, loyal customers.

"We get around 10 to 12 trucks in here a day, so we’ve got to keep producing metal. You can’t sell it if you’re not making it," Evan says.

The reason for buying new machinery was to keep up with the demand and have reliable gear that doesn’t break down. As well as the new Hyundai excavator, Windy Point also has a Hyundai loader HL770-9A, which will shortly be replaced, ancillary dozing and grading equipment, and a Goodwin Barsby crusher.

Driver Aaron Jackson has worked at Windy Point for 16 years and is rapt to be driving the new excavator. "It’s a bit like a Rolls Royce. I like everything about it. It has all the creature comforts you could need, plus a lot of power. It’s two tonnes bigger than the previous excavator and has a bigger, heavier Cummins engine, with more horsepower.

IMG_0338

Aaron adds the Hyundai R380LC-9 excavator is also a lot better in the cab: "The controls are easily accessible, it has excellent visibility, and the air seat (and the fact it’s heated) makes it heaps more comfortable. All good really, since I spend more time here than I do at home.

"The reversing camera comes in very useful, and is a real safety aid, with many adjustments that can be made, depending on the type of work being carried out," Aaron says. Loader driver Craig Wilson, who hails from Whanganui, is also a long-time quarry man, having started at Windy Point straight out of school, aged 16, and is still here 25 years later.

"I really enjoy the challenge of big machinery. Besides, they’re good bosses. It’s a stable job, too"

Craig

He is also looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Hyundai HL770-9A when Porter Equipment delivers it in a few weeks’ time. When it came to replacing the loader, Evan says they decided to stick with Hyundai to match the excavator.

"We looked at other brands but decided on the same one because of the excellent service the Porter branch in Palmerston North gives us. We wanted to be loyal, and it also makes it easier for servicing and generally makes things more straightforward.

"We’ll keep the old loader as a backup and for weekend work. It’s been great. It’s five years old and has done about 10,500 hours and has been no trouble to speak of. It must have done 45,000km around the quarry. That’s incredible."

The Goodwin Barsby 20x10 Crusher (circa 1980) has just been upgraded with a John Deere stationery engine. "It’s had about four to five different engines on it. At one time, it used to have old Bedford truck engines, and in the future, we’ll probably put a new Cummins engine on it," Evan says.

Crusher

So having good management and excellent operators make Windy Point Quarry a humming business and the machinery complements it all.

"We’re happy as hell with our new Hyundai gear. It runs cheaper on fuel, so is more economic, and we’re happy with the service we get from Porters, too. My go-to man in there is Dave McSorley and he’s most helpful," Evan says.

Porters also do any mechanical work. "They have a good deal when it comes to servicing the excavator, and they’ve offered us a good deal with the new loader coming, too. We’ll get servicing for up to 8000 hours on a fixed price deal."

Company history

The -team

Windy Point has been in operation for 30-plus years and in that time has seen a few changes. It was first owned by Worsley Transport, then Waverley Bulk transport (WBT) took over the ownership and running of the business before joining forces with Ravensdown.

New Plymouth’s Freight & Bulk Transport (FBT) are also shareholders. The company has been in their current quarry since 2004, having emptied out one further down the road.

Check out the video

Click here to check out Windy Point Quarry and their hyundai in action.

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