Porter Press Extra: Hyundai R290LC-9 excavator

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer

Mike ‘Smiley’ Alexander was recently the recipient of a 21st key with a difference when he took delivery of his latest crawler excavator from Hyundai, distributed nationwide by Porter Equipment

A well-known name on the side of machinery through the middle of the North Island, Fast Harvesting Ltd reached something of a milestone during March, taking delivery of its 21st Hyundai machine for the fleet.

Darren Ralph, Porter Group general manager sales and marketing presents Mike ‘Smiley’ Alexander with his latest machine

Mike ‘Smiley’ Alexander’s latest acquisition is a new Hyundai R290LC-9 excavator that has been put to work immediately in a rugged and remote part of the central North Island.
It’s the latest in a long line of fit-for-purpose forest machine solutions supplied to Fast Harvesting by Porter Equipment.

Dave McSorley, Porter Equipment’s territory manager for the Waikato, King Country and Taranaki, says that the relationship between Fast Harvesting and Porter Equipment has been a solid one for more than 10 years now.

"Smiley has been an exceptional client to work with. He is very adept at surrounding himself with talented and skilled people and has always had a clear vision about what his company needs to perform at an optimum level," says Dave.

The 29-tonne Hyundai R290LC-9 mid-ranger is a popular option for the construction and forestry sectors

"His crews are very knowledgeable when it comes to knowing what is going to work for them; they’re great communicators and great operators. They’re out in the field proving that the machinery can tackle some big challenges, so it’s up to us to meet those needs with the machinery we supply."

Smiley’s 21st machine is something pretty special, too—a Hyundai R290LC-9 with a superior specification, including an All-Purpose Cab (APC) specifically designed to withstand the rigours of heavy-duty forest work.

"The APC cab involves some seriously bespoke engineering work. The end result is that there is more room inside for the operator and more visibility through the raked front screen and side glass. The entire redesign is purpose-built to give an operator in the forest as clear a line-of-sight as possible in every direction," says Dave.

Smiley’s 21st Hyundai also features a unique ‘gullwing’ bonnet design, which gives Porter Equipment’s service technicians better access to the engine when undergoing routine services in the field.

"I have to say that part of the equation is the Porter Equipment workshop staff," continues Dave.

"They really do go the extra mile to support Smiley and other clients in the heavy industries. They always respond well and are both pro-active—in terms of scheduled servicing—and are also quick to react in an unplanned situation."

A strong and stable lower frame ensures the machine was tackle trees with ease on steep bluffs

For the moment, Fast Harvesting operator Grant Butler’s box fresh excavator is working as a load-out machine, sorting and stacking timber by the forest plantations roadsides as harvesting progresses.

It’s working typically steep King Country terrain, up in the backblocks of Ongarue off State Highway 4. Smiley is working two ground crews in the area, with the Hyundai R290LC-9 having been on-site for only a week or so. The other operation is just up the road towards Waimiha, where the felling machine has already been installed.

Just like Fast Harvesting’s other Porter Equipment supplied gear, there was an expectation that the new machine would arrive on-site and ready for work without the need for long waits on extra kit or added specification.

Smiley says he has readily purchased Hyundai equipment over the years because it is priced well and arrives with a full suite of features. This means any new machine purchased can be in the bush and earning its keep as quickly as possible.

The 29-tonne Hyundai R290LC-9 mid-ranger has proven a popular option for the construction and forestry sectors throughout the country.

Tackling trees remaining at the side of the forest access roads on steep bluffs, as Grant was on the day of our visit, will see the Hyundai R290LC-9 on some reasonably gnarly slopes. You have to be sure of yourself as an experienced operator, and sure that the machine underneath you is up to the task. To that end, Hyundai has engineered a strong and stable lower frame for its crawler excavator range.

Due to the nature of forestry work in the Central North Island, Smiley says he has always appreciated the fact that Porter Equipment service network—which stretches into every corner of the country—will provide machine back-up if needed.

The high-strength steel ISO cab offers optimum visibility 

With no less than 21 machines now supplied by Porter Equipment to the Fast Harvesting fleet over that time, the proof of a solid relationship is in the hardware out in the field.

"Hyundai gear works great for us," says Smiley. "We’ve been investing in it for a number of years because it represents great bang for buck, with a good spread of standard equipment included for
the price.

"But integral to the way Hyundai works for us is the brand’s back-up through Porter Equipment, which is second to none. They can get out to us wherever we are in the country, no matter how far we are off the beaten track.

"They just make everything as easy as possible. For an operation like us, with multiple crews and multiple machines in multiple locations, having the support of a quick reacting and flexible company like Porter Equipment is essential to working smarter."

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