Cover story: Aim Contracting

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer

Family-run Aim Contracting recently invested in a new 24-tonne Hyundai HX235LCR crawler excavator

The necessary grunt for drilling, coupled with a high level of safety specification straight out of the box were ‘must haves’ for Aim Contracting when opting for a brand-new crawler excavator. The Hyundai HX235LCR, backed by the service and support abilities of Porter Equipment, ticked all the boxes. And Aim’s Matt Reeves will be especially grateful for the enclosed operator cab.

Aim Contracting’s new Hyundai HX235LCR

The numerous safety parameters required of anyone operating on a modern construction site were chief motivating factors in family-run Aim Contracting investing in a new 24-tonne Hyundai HX235LCR crawler excavator, supplied to the Mangatāwhiri-headquartered company
by Porter Equipment.

While the safety-focused feature set on this and all other examples of Hyundai’s upgraded HX crawler excavator range is comprehensive, I learn as I travel to Beachlands on the eastern margins of Auckland to meet Aim Contracting’s Matt Reeves on-site, sometimes, the latest technology can’t protect machine operators from absolutely every hazard.

"I’ve just been bitten by a bloody white tail spider," Matt exclaims incredulously down the phone as he drives himself to the nearest White Cross medical centre with an angry purple abscess on his neck swelling at an alarming rate.

Turns out the eight-legged pest was hiding in the folds of Matt’s work jacket while he was at the controls of a mini-excavator the company owns — one without the benefit of an enclosed cab. Striking with what Matt describes as "more sting than a wasp", the white tail decided to interrupt his workflow in the most aggressive way possible. The spider itself succumbed under a size 12 Blundstone, Matt informs me, with a detectable amount of satisfaction, but there’s no denying he needs medical attention.

Luckily, for this month’s Deals On Wheels cover story, Matt’s brother Isaac and father Alan (both co-directors of Aim Contracting) are nearby and available to meet me on-site. I continue my journey to one of the busy subdivisions that has seen the Beachlands and Maraetai areas of coastal East Auckland expand dramatically in recent years.

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The machine can easily lift five tonnes all day long

Despite the company’s new Hyundai HX235LCR looking at home on this worksite — having recently enabled the installation of two underground water tanks — this isn’t Aim Contracting’s bread-and-butter work.

"We’re primarily called upon for our retaining wall construction expertise," says Isaac. "The Hyundai is great for that sort of work, as we can get into reasonably tight areas with it, but it will lift five tonnes all day long. It has reinforcing in all the right areas, and it’s definitely built tough. It’s also comfortable in the cab and you have good outward vision, which is important."

Isaac says he particularly likes the ‘Crane Mode’ setting for lifting large retaining poles, which won’t let the machine turn if it detects the load as being too heavy. Specified for Aim Contracting’s needs, their Hyundai HX235LCR has been fitted with upgraded joysticks and bigger auxiliary piping suitable for the drilling required of large-scale retaining wall construction.

"The variable flow system is good for protecting the machine. It means I can change the hydraulic flow to suit whatever I happen to be drilling. The additional auxiliary lines were added for drilling, so we can drill and tilt the hitch at the same time. We routinely drill to depths of 16m at 1500mm diameter."

Alan Reeves and Issac Reeves

Other specifications unique to the Aim Contracting machine include rubber bolt-on pads, a Robur 70-inch tilt hitch, a dozer blade, and additional lighting for night work.

Isaac says he and the team really like the strong tilt hitch that doesn’t move or adjust under force.

"During operation, we also appreciate the Hyundai’s low engine and low track noise. The boom is very tight and precise and offers us great slewing strength even with a full bucket while on steep slopes."

Aside from the toughness of the excavator, Alan says that, in general, the inbuilt safety systems Hyundai provide owners and operators with as standard, was a chief reason for opting for the Hyundai HX235LCR.

"We do a fair bit of work for Fulton Hogan and CLL (Contract Landscapes Limited), and they obviously need to be assured that anyone working on their projects has the proper level of safety procedures and equipment. You’re not going to get the work otherwise. It’s as simple as that."

Alan says Hyundai’s Advanced Around View Monitoring (AAVM) camera system is a great feature that has already come into its own.

"The cameras are crucial, not just for working on sites like this," he says. "We recently had a job at a primary school where there was a temporary fence between us and the playground. We had spotters positioned along the fence line but, of course, kids being kids and being curious about machinery, it was always a risk that we’d have someone come through the fence. Having the cameras showing behind the digger was a huge benefit."

Isaac adds that the motion detection feature, which sounds an audible alarm inside the cab should a person or object be detected within a prescribed distance from the machine is another great active safety measure handy for urban worksites where there is plenty of activity — and potential hazards — around the excavator.

While this is the first Hyundai the company has purchased, the Reeves’ and their team have plenty of experience with the brand, having utilised the services of Porter Hire over the years.

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The machine is designed to work in small areas

"We’ve hired Hyundai excavators in the past for other jobs, and we’ve always found them extremely reliable," says Alan. "I also used to work for Fulton Hogan, and they have been a Porter customer for many years. When you have a big company like that trusting in the machines, then you know they have to be pretty capable."

Isaac adds that when it came time to purchase the Hyundai HX235LCR, the process was as swift as if the company was simply hiring a supplementary machine.

"Once we’d decided to buy the machine, the whole process was so fast. Porters made it simple to get the paperwork sorted and the machine on-site. We bought it with a particular job in mind, so we had a deadline, but there were no issues getting the machine in time. We know from experience that we’ll have great back-up for the machine through Porters."

After the work at the Beachlands subdivision is finished for Aim Contracting, the next big job the excavator has on the cards will see it in a very different environment.

"We have a client who has some very tall trees that need to be pulled out," says Alan. "Some of them are up to 90-foot tall, so we’ll put a grapple on the Hyundai and get it working on that clear-out.

"It’s exactly the sort of job where a machine of this size will work well. It’s great having an excavator like this that means we can take on our usual work, but anything else that comes up too, all with the one machine."

Oh, and Matt Reeves was fine too, by the way. But he’ll probably be shaking out his work jacket slightly more vigorously before starting work on frosty autumn mornings from now on.  


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