Cover story: Global Metal Solutions' Hyundai HX350L

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer

Global Metal Solution’s Hyundai HX350L is hard at work in their Papakura yard

Hyundai manufactures a variety of applications excavators for the metal recycling and demolition industries. With their rising and tilting cabs and wheeled undercarriages, the materials handlers are the stars of the show in this environment.

Well, usually. Today, it’s pure grunt on tracks that’s under the spotlight, rather than wheeled dexterity.

Kiwi-owned Global Metal Solutions (GMS) has appeared on these pages pretty regularly over the last half-decade. We’ve checked in with owner/director Craig Tuhoro’s team whenever a new machine enters the fray—an occasion that has only increased in recent years with GMS’ expansion beyond its Waikato base into Auckland and New Plymouth. In fact, the Taranaki yard is set to expand further soon with the addition of a new shredder.

The new Hyundai HX350L is the biggest machine at GMS’ Papakura yard

This time, Deals on Wheels returns to the family firm’s busy 15,000sqm Papakura yard to check out the latest addition to the GMS fleet, a brand-new Hyundai HX350L.

Truth be told, we might be back for another look at this new machine in a future issue, too, as today only tells half the story.

"This machine has been purchased primarily to be fitted out with a new shear attachment we have on order from Embery Attachments," explains GMS Papakura ferrous yard manager, Aaron Tuhoro-Rhind.

"We’re actually just waiting for the shear to arrive, but we’re confident that the combination of the new attachment on this machine will make a big difference to our processing productivity pretty quickly."

Aaron says the new Hyundai HX350L actually replaces a larger machine. But the combination of available power matched with less bulk means that it will work better in the yard from a processing point of view, with the GMS team able to switch between grapple and shear as required on just the one machine.

"Despite being slightly smaller than the machine it replaces, it should add a bit of flexibility to how we run things. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing it paired up with the new shear," says Aaron.

The excavator will switch between a grapple and shear attachment day-to-day

The first thing that’s evident when GMS machine operator Tavita Vaka starts the big Hyundai HX350L up is just how quiet it is. The noise of tortured metal as Tavita picks up and sets down unfortunate BMWs, Volkswagens, and other expired passenger vehicles with the grapple like they’re Matchbox cars is louder than the machine’s Cummins QSC turbo diesel.

Unless you happen to be seated at the controls of the machine itself, this is perhaps the most obvious indicator that Hyundai took a ‘clean sheet’ approach to develop its new HX generation range of crawler excavators.

There have been improvements across the board, with every HX machine benefitting from new cabs, new components, a new exterior design, new safety specification, and plenty more besides. Improvements inside the cab include more room for the operator to move, better insulation from machine noise and vibration, thanks to upgraded cab suspension mounts, and the obvious benefits of Hyundai’s new Advanced Around View Monitoring (AAVM) system. This gives the excavator’s operator a wide field of vision around the machine to help prevent accidents (including a 3D ‘bird’s-eye’ view of the machine within its immediate surroundings from above).

Under the sheet metal of the new-look superstructure (fitted out here with full ROPS and FOPs protection for the heavy-duty work purposes it will face every day at GMS), Hyundai HX series machines boast high-performance engine options, which work to minimise fuel burn during even the most strenuous tasks through a three-stage power mode system. The arrival of the Hyundai HX350L—the biggest machine by some margin at the Papakura yard—underlines GMS’ continued trust in both the Hyundai brand for their frontline excavators and materials handlers and in the aftersales service abilities of Hyundai construction machinery distributor, Porter Equipment.

The GMS yard in South Auckland is one of three materials recycling sites the Hamilton-based company runs

"We’re Hyundai loud and proud," says Aaron. "These machines are great. They give us no problems, they perform well every day, and allow us to just get on with things.

"It’s relatively quiet here today, but that has a habit of changing pretty quickly. We need to manage what’s coming through and going out the gate, and all our machines help us do that. We’ve worked hard to get our systems right and every machine you see here plays its part in our production systems, including the new 35-tonner.

"We tend to buy new machinery because there’s too much of a risk to the operation if you’re relying on older gear. One breakdown could bring your whole operation to a standstill. If our team is using new machines, then there’s less chance of this happening.

"That’s why Porters are so good too; they are really responsive. Their people are good at what they do, and we’ve been working with them long enough now that they understand our business. They’re the first people we call whenever we want to look at a new machine."

And speaking of looking at new equipment, we’re now looking forward to seeing that Embery Attachments shear in action on the Hyundai HX350L when it arrives.

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