Porter Press Extra: Allied Concrete’s new Hyundai HL740-9

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer


Allied Concrete’s Otorohanga plant is ramping up capacity in order to meet with a big build project in the region. It’s no coincidence that their new Hyundai HL740-9 has arrived at the perfect time.

Don’t be fooled by the relative calm outside Allied Concrete branch manager Andrew Fortescue’s Otorohanga office window: things can get very busy very quickly around here.

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The new Hyundai HL740-9

Add to this the fact that Andrew manages four separate Allied Concrete plants located throughout the Waikato region, I’m amazed I managed to track him down at the right time and in the right location at all. He’s a busy man. But then, these days the Otorohanga plant is too.

The large-scale construction works underway at Waikeria Prison, about 25km east of here, has meant that the local Allied team is kept on their toes. They’ve also recently acquired a brand-new wheel loader to help with the heavy lifting.

"This is a 1960s-era plant, which has serviced local needs pretty adequately up until now," he says.

"But with the Waikeria project now up and running, we need to ensure we’re meeting their construction requirements out there, but we also need to be able to supply local customers as we usually would at the same time.

"We’ve only completed two big slab pours at the prison site so far, but there’ll be plenty more on the horizon, so we wanted to make sure we had capacity."

Future-proofing

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Andrew Fortescue

The Waikeria Prison project is due to be completed in 2022. Andrew says the Otorohanga plant has the ability to produce around 200 cubic metres of concrete before a cement or aggregate delivery is required, making the process as efficient as possible.

"If our trucks are delivering to the prison, that’s a 30-minute trip each way. So, depending on the scale of the pour, we need to keep the drivers cycling through like clockwork," Andrew says.

Before all that happens, though, there’s plenty of mixing that needs to occur. That means feeding the plant’s hoppers with a steady diet of aggregate and sand. Andrew says that Allied Concrete has been running the same small loader at the Otorohanga facility since the mid-1990s.

With just the one plant operating, the older machine was deemed adequate. With increased demand for ready mixed concrete required from the plant, however, Allied Concrete realised that more load capacity would also be beneficial where the wheel loader’s abilities were concerned.

Machine for the job

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The new machine tips the scales at 12 tonnes

A Hyundai HL740-9, distributed by another Waikato-based firm, Porter Equipment, was chosen for the job. Despite sitting towards the smaller end of the Hyundai wheel loader range, the new Allied machine tips the scales at a not-insubstantial 12-tonne.

More importantly, its bucket capacity walks all over what the three-man team in Otorohanga have been used to working with; a 2.3 cubic metre heaped bucket ensuring fewer machine trips between the aggregate bins and the hopper and faster cycle times per batch.

"A five-metre load of concrete requires about a bucket load of each grade of aggregate with the new machine. We’ll keep the old loader on-site to supplement this new one, but yeah, the new Hyundai is a massive step up from where we were."

0Andrew says he has been impressed with the Hyundai HL740-9 in a variety of ways. The operator cab, in particular, offers his team more comfort and convenience features, such as better heating and cooling capacity from the air conditioning system, better ergonomics in the form of adjustable seating and wrist rests, multiple storage compartments, and the added safety of hands-free Bluetooth phone connectivity. The Hyundai HL740-9 also arrives standard with auto boom kick out and bucket positioning. 

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The Hyundai HL740-9 is a massive step up from the old loader on-site

The machine will look after both the driver, and itself; safety features such as better access to the cab and service panels, a back-up camera and improved outward visibility assist the former; a clever self-diagnostic monitoring system featuring real-time engine, hydraulic, transmission, and electrical component information helps protect the latter.

"The other aspect to getting the new machine on-site here that has impressed me is the way the guys at Porter Equipment operate," says Andrew. "They are thoroughly professional, and they really know their stuff. They came out and spent a couple of workdays with us here to make sure we knew the machine inside and out and carried out a full set-up with us.

"Our rep at Porter Equipment, Dave McSorley, is really good to deal with, and having the company based just up the road in Hamilton obviously helps too.

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The Hyundai has a bucket capacity of 2.3m3 

"But I found the guy who came out to help us set the machine up really interesting as well. He has been over to the factory in Korea and got the full schooling in the latest technology from Hyundai; I think it’s good for your peace of mind as a business to know the people you can call on for advice have that much of a knowledge base to start with.

"We’ve got a Hyundai wheel loader up at the Horotiu plant outside Hamilton, too, so I guess it’s only fair the guys in Otorohanga finally have the same machine capability on hand. With the work coming through here over the next couple of years, its arrival has been perfectly timed."

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