Product profile: Digger Solutions' Case equipment

By: Ed, Photography by: Ed

When a Northland company needed to add additional equipment to their fleet after securing the work on a large infrastructure project, equipment distributor AdvanceQuip stepped up to the mark

Digger Solutions Ltd have recently added a number of Case machines to their fleet

Operating out of their Northland base of Waipapa, adjacent to Kerikeri, Digger Solutions Ltd has recently taken delivery of a 13-tonne Case CX130C excavator, which has been added to the fleet of Case equipment on-site.

The 13T Case CX130C is the latest addition

Working alongside other recent deliveries, smaller Case CX75CSR (eight-tonne) excavator siblings and two Case 1110EX-D single drum rollers and other ancillary equipment, the company has been tasked with preparing a significant quantity of fill, which will soon form the approach ramps to a new two-lane bridge across the Kaeo river.

Securing a prime subcontractor spot for the project required some fast resourcing of equipment for Digger Solutions managing director Mike Harrison, one which equipment supplier AdvanceQuip easily handled, but more on that shortly.

Business background

Mike and Cara (far right), with their Kaeo crew and Shayne (far left)

Raised on farm in Northland, Mike got into excavators as an enthusiastic youth, when his dad purchased a digger and instructed him to start at one end of the farm and finish at the other.

Since then, machinery has never been far from reach, and these days, Mike is ably assisted in the business by his partner Cara Epiha who handles administration, operations and health and safety, along with his daughter Shayne, who operates the CX130C excavator and helps run the business.

"By the time Shayne was 11 or 12 years old, she could pick a tennis ball up off the ground and operate an excavator proficiently," says Mike. The family business Digger Solutions Ltd was formed in 2008 and specialises in a variety of disciplines, such as retaining walls, concrete work, drainlaying, subdivisions, and farm races.

"We found that by having a wide skill base, we could keep a lot of the work in-house and control a job from beginning to end," says Mike. Around 10 years ago, the business added roading construction to their knowledge base and has subsequently established a solid reputation in the sector, subcontracting to larger companies, such as Fulton Hogan, Ventia, United Civil, and Far North Roading.

Bridge replacement

The project is scheduled to take three years

This brings us to Digger Solutions’ latest project. According to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, the SH10 Kaeo bridge replacement is a $40 million project, scheduled to be completed in a three-year timeframe.

Sitting at the foot of a wide valley prone to flooding during significant weather events, the new bridge has been designed to have minimal impact on the area and crosses the river without changing the riverbed, banks, or flow.

In a nutshell, the job is a big piece of clever civil engineering work.

"Yes, this is a decent-sized job, but one we’re comfortable with. What has been allocated to us is well within our capabilities," says Mike.

"We initially started working alongside the head contractor, but when COVID bubbles had to be established, our people were assigned this part of the project to work on. It’s going well and according to plan, although, gearing up quickly to meet the proposed workload was a bit more challenging that I expected," he says.

Gearing up


Obtaining additional equipment turned out to be harder than Mike initially envisaged, primarily due to COVID shipping delays and the lack of new stock in the country. On the other side of his equipment search was the difficulty when reaching out to suppliers.

"I contacted a number of equipment dealers. Some must have been too busy to engage, and others probably assumed I was just kicking tyres," says Mike. It wasn’t until Mike spoke with the team at AdvanceQuip that things really started to happen.

"With the other people that I did manage to make contact with, there were issues with delivery times due to stock not being in the country, but in AdvanceQuip’s case, they had machinery available immediately and I found them very good to deal with.

"When I asked them when they can have a machine on-site, they said one could be delivered the day after tomorrow," he says. Mike’s move to the Case brand was a first for the business, and one he appears to be happy with.

"The equipment is performing well. The excavators are nicely balanced and perform well with the work we’re tasking them with," he says. "I have used another brand for years and did make contact with them first off, but I wasn’t happy with their attitude and felt ongoing support might be lacking.

"I heard good things about Case equipment, and as it has turned out, I’m pleased that we have done business with AdvanceQuip—nothing has been too much trouble for them," Mike says.

Machine focus: Case CX130C

Two Case 1110EX-D single drum rollers are in continual use

AdvanceQuip’s selection of Case heavy excavators range from the eight-tonne CX75CSR through to the 47-tonne CX470C. Mike’s daughter Shayne is currently using a 13-tonne Case CX130C excavator to spread the numerous truck and trailer loads of aggregate that are continually arriving on-site.

Powered by a 74.9kW(100hp) four-cylinder turbocharged Isuzu AM-4JJ1X engine that provides the grunt to turn the two variable displacement axial piston pumps to output up to 2 x 129L/min@2000rpm.

Material is continually arriving on-site

The money-making digging end of CX130C has a maximum reach of 8310mm and excavation depth up to 5540mm. Unlike urban job sites that can have delays due to peak hour traffic issues, Shayne and her crew are kept on their toes dealing with material being supplied from a quarry a couple of kilometres up the road.

"It can be full-on at times, but the machine is smooth to operate and handles the work well," says Shayne. Like her dad, Shayne also says the CX130C is well balanced and suited to the job it’s working on.

"It’s comfortable and has good power when needed," she says. Once the project is complete, the excavator will slot well onto smaller job sites, especially those rural roading projects.

Good to work with

The eight-tonne Case CX75CSR is ideal for tight areas

"The guys from AdvanceQuip are really great to work with," says Mike. "They regularly phone up and check-in, which tells me they are interested in us as customers and have a genuine stake in ensuring their machinery is performing to the best of its ability."

From the outside looking in on the Digger Solutions business, their investment in quality equipment has elevated the company to the next industry tier, and it will be essential that they have suppliers such as AdvanceQuip to take that journey with them.

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