Porter Press Extra: Hyundai’s 9 series wheel loaders

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer

There’s plenty of ‘Hyundai yellow’ to break up the monochrome wood grain in the busy Bark Wholesaler’s South Auckland yard

While company director Neville Mace established his landscaping business first, the milling and supply side of the enterprise, which has been in operation for around 20 years, has become a unique proposition to commercial landscapers and residential customers alike.

Bark Wholesalers Ltd’s Hyundai HL740-9 is tasked with a busy work schedule every day of the week

"There aren’t many direct-supply milling operations like ours around anymore; certainly not situated this conveniently to a large population base," says Bark Wholesalers operations manager, Kurt Styles.

"We have around three hectares of yard space here and we supply a variety of products. It’s pretty much non-stop most days with plenty of vehicles in and out of the gate."

The power of three

Operations manager Kurt Styles (left) with company director Neville Mace

The Papakura-based company has operated Hyundai equipment almost as long as they’ve been in business, with distributor Porter Equipment providing back-up support.

"We’ve had three Hyundai wheel loaders in total," says Neville. "The 10-tonner has been around a fair while now, and we’ve recently purchased a slightly larger 12-tonner. The old machine is still good-as and working hard, but the new loader just gives us extra processing power when it’s needed."

Neville says that the Hyundai HL730-9 can handle approximately 200m³ of bark material per day, while the newer Hyundai HL740-9 shifts more like 400m–500m³ on a busy day.

The 12-tonne machine doesn’t rip up the yard, even during the wetter winter months

"There are two main reasons why we really like the Hyundais," continues Kurt. "The operator comfort is second-to-none. You’re getting a lot of features for the price. It’s hard to get the guys out of them sometimes, especially on a wet day!" he laughs.

Kurt says that the operator will remain in the machine for up to seven hours a day on an average; such is the demand for the company’s combined products during the working week.

Hyundai’s ‘9 series’ wheel loaders arrive with large cabins boasting great outward visibility and a host of convenience features that you might be more used to seeing on the spec sheet for an on-road vehicle.

Features such as an easily adjustable steering column, wrist rest, and intuitive joystick control system are standard, as is an FNR (Forward/Neutral/Reverse) switch on the control lever to facilitate easy selection of travel direction.

Roller-style sunscreens on the large front and rear windows allow the operator to reduce glare and improve visibility in summer, while in winter, heated side mirrors offer quick defrosting. Heating and air conditioning are oft-mentioned plus-points in Hyundai cabs.

Power and performance

The company’s Hyundai HL730-9 remains a steady performer, still on frontline duties

Another bonus the Hyundai HL740-9 brings to the Bark Wholesalers yard, says Kurt, is its lack of impact to the working surface. "Yes, we would probably have enough work here most weeks for a bigger machine, but the 12-tonner doesn’t rip up the yard like a larger 18-tonner would.

"When you’re working with wood product—especially in the winter months—sections of the yard can turn to muck in a big hurry with all the machine movements. The 12-tonne wheel loader has all the power available to shift material, but it doesn’t rip the ground up unnecessarily," says Kurt.

In the case of the Hyundai HL740-9, that power is delivered courtesy of a 145hp (108kW) turbo-charged Cummins six-cylinder engine.

Hyundai’s wheel loader range allows operators to customise available engine power, along with auto transmission shift timing and clutch cut-off activation, based on what’s going in the bucket and how far each machine movement needs to be.

Using rotary switches, the operator can choose from a three-mode engine power system, toggling between Power, Standard, and Economy modes to match with heavy-duty, general- and light-duty work respectively.

Bark Wholesalers Ltd has been operating from their Papakura base for 20 years now

Similarly, the auto transmission can be set up for excavation or carrying tasks, while Low and Medium clutch cut-off modes can be selected to suit short distance and faster loading, or general loading applications.

"Alongside the machines themselves, I’m impressed with the Porter Equipment back-up, and also the expertise of their salespeople," says Neville. "Porter Equipment salesperson Doug Ball, with whom we deal, has been excellent. He’s politely persistent and an invaluable source of knowledge. He knows these machines inside and out and it’s great being able to call on his assistance when we need it."

Neville says that Hyundai machinery has impressed him from the start and, coupled with Porter Equipment’s solid back-up service, he’s expecting plenty of hours of productivity out of his latest acquisition.

"Hyundai makes great machines. We’re only really tasking our wheel loaders with light work but shifting material in a hurry is still a priority, and they do that very well," he says.

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