Porter Press Extra: Silverstand NZ

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Nick Talbot

Silverstrand New Zealand puts its faith in machinery supplied by Porter Equipment that allows it to stay two steps ahead

Silverstrand New Zealand operations manager, John Cleverdon, says that there’s a simple overriding attribute to hitting the programme milestones on any large-scale drainage project.

"Mobility is everything. The pace and complexity of large-scale roading projects mean that you really do need to be responsive and have the ability to move quickly," he says.

While a rare sight on New Zealand civil construction projects a decade ago, wheeled excavators have been increasing in popularity for companies looking to get the edge on mobility in the field. It’s this factor that has seen Silverstrand bring two Hyundai R140W-9 wheeled excavators onto its machine fleet in recent years, both of which are serviced and supported by Porter Equipment.

Silverstrand has added two Hyundai R140W-9 wheeled excavators to its fleet in recent years
Silverstrand has added two Hyundai R140W-9 wheeled excavators to its fleet in recent years

"The thing with large-scale drainage is that we’re always on the move," John continues.

"Our guys are digging preliminary lines, then packing up and moving the operation further along. But because of the nature of some construction projects, you actually might be jumping back and forth throughout the week or the month as other stages of the project come online.

"We obviously look to bring top-quality workmanship to every aspect of the project we touch, but it’s rarely a case of starting at Point A and succinctly moving through to Point Z; it’s always more complex than that."

The Hyundai advantage

John says Silverstrand’s Hyundai R140W-9 wheeled excavators can be moved with ease and, thanks to the ability to road register them, can move across live roadways under their own power without the need to engage float transportation or pilot vehicles.

"If we need to move the machines a few kilometres up the road, then it’s no problem. They travel at 40km/h on the road and so in five minutes you can have your guys in another part of the project with work underway, all without the usual delays and complexities associated with crawler machine movements."

Hyundai’s wheeled set-up also brings other benefits when working the final stages of roading, sub-division, and even airport projects.

"You have to take a very cautious approach to move machinery over select pavement layers during the final stages of a project. You simply can’t put a crawler excavator into that scenario, but at just over 13 tonnes, the wheeled excavator can still complete finishing work without compromising the integrity of the pavement under the tyres. They’re very, very good machines to utilise in these situations too."

And it’s that detailed finishing work—as much as general earthmoving—that John says he’s now looking to his Hyundai R140W-9s to complete, thanks to the addition of GPS.

At just over 13 tonnes, the wheeled excavator can still complete finishing work without compromising the integrity of the pavement under the tyres
At just over 13 tonnes, the wheeled excavator can still complete finishing work without compromising the integrity of the pavement under the tyres

"I haven’t personally seen GPS systems fitted to wheeled excavators anywhere else yet, but for us, this has created a comprehensive package. We’ve fitted out both of our Hyundai wheeled excavators with Trimble GSX900 GPS systems, which allows the operators to complete detailed cutting and slope and batter construction.

"When you put that sort of software into a machine that can move around as easily as these, then that’s a very efficient way of working, which helps us and, by extension, our clients."

Delivering quality projects

While the Australian-owned company established New Zealand operations in 2015, having secured a major contracted works programme on the Transmission Gully project near Wellington, John says Silverstrand New Zealand has quickly evolved into its own entity during the last five years, with its own specialisms and machine requirements.

"The operations on both sides of the Tasman share the same owner/director structure but are run very much as local companies in each location," he continues.

"As a result, there are unique disciplines prominent in each country operation. Over in Australia, Silverstrand works on a lot of structural concrete-focused projects building bridges and flyovers. While here in New Zealand, we tend to focus more on drainage and earthworks.

"But we’ve extended our service offering in recent times, and we also offer shotcrete services, wet hir,e and manpower resourcing. We’ve grown a lot in a relatively short space of time, which has been very positive."


In addition to Transmission Gully, Silverstrand is also working on other Roads of National Significance projects, including the Puhoi to Warkworth portion of the Northern Expressway project, where other Porter Equipment-supplied machinery boasting the Silverstrand livery are hard at work.

Remotely-operated BOMAG BMP8500 multi-purpose mini compactors—of which Silverstrand own and operate three units—allow John’s team to complete finessed compacting without needing to have men in the trench, making for a safer working environment.

"The radio-controlled compactors are great machines. They eliminate a particular hazard for us, in that the operator can be standing out of the way of their field of work. They even have a cut-off system if a person gets too close while the machine is operating.

"Safety is everything these days. That’s why we always specify outriggers on the Hyundai R140W-9s as well, for extra stability regardless of what the surface is like under the tyres."

Reliable support

John says that he has been impressed with the Porter Equipment aftersales back-up that Silverstrand has received. With Porter Equipment’s technical support team fully inducted to be on-site at Transmission Gully and other large scale projects, scheduled machine maintenance is all completed in the field within designated service bays, meaning there’s as little downtime for the fleet as possible.

"Porters have been very responsive, which is great. We have a full-service contract for our machinery with them, so we’ll look to Porters to help us maintain our machines over the next few years.

"But experience has shown that we can rely on both the Hyundai and BOMAG brands to give us consistent performance. It’s up to us to specify how we use that performance to achieve what we need to achieve; if we can choose machines that allow us to work smarter, then we’ll always take that option."

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