Porter Press Extra: Big Paw Civil

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer

Big Paw Civil recently added the Hyundai HX145CR crawler excavator to its growing fleet

Hyundai HX145CR crawler excavator

Machine operator Thomas Harper from Big Paw Civil reckons if it’s the Lower North Island you’re servicing, you can’t get much better located than Levin.

"It’s a good spot. We can be anywhere in the Wellington, Wairarapa, or Manawatu regions relatively quickly, and as a result, we frequently have project work on the go in most of those areas."

Thomas Harper

Right now, the Big Paw Civil contracting team of 14 are working on sites as diverse as a Buddhist temple in Wellington, a road widening project over in Greytown, and plenty of ‘bread and butter’ work — driveways, culverts, house pads — in between.

They’re also busy reconfiguring their own yard on the outskirts of Levin ahead of the busy summer contracting season, hence why the latest fleet acquisition — a Hyundai HX145CR crawler excavator — was hard at work on the day we visited, instead of out in the field.

Robust and reliable

"We’ve already extended the yard three times, but we’re continuing to grow so it’s about reworking how things are laid out. We need better space for our mechanical work, so we’re clearing the way for a container shelter set-up," explains Thomas.

While the 14.6-tonne Hyundai — the second excavator manufactured by the Korean brand that Big Paw Civil has purchased, following a Hyundai R17Z-9 a while back — is relatively fresh on the fleet, it has already proven to be a worthy addition.

The 14.6T Hyundai has already clocked around 160 hours

With around 160 hours on the clock, Thomas has already had plenty of opportunities to assess its ability out on-site. "I’m really impressed with how smooth it is to operate: it feels solid on the ground," he says.

"Our other machine of a similar size sometimes ‘tippy toes’ under load, but this one feels much more balanced. It’s nice and nimble for trimming, and that camera system they have onboard now is impressive too."

Thomas also says the size of the Hyundai HX145CR matched with the power it delivers makes it a very useable machine. "I was working hard up against a house on
a driveway project a week or two back — just a couple hundred millimetres of clearance — but the Hyundai was really predictable to control.

It felt compact enough for that situation as far as placing it where I needed it, but overall, it’s still a grunty machine. We expect it to perform like a big excavator, not a mini digger."

The HX145CR can easily lift a 5.5T concrete block

Thomas ably demonstrates just how much power the Hyundai HX145CR possesses by lifting and placing a 5.5-tonne concrete block. It’s a task that the machine completes without effort, unlike another similarly-sized excavator Big Paw Civil owns, which "would struggle a bit with a block like that — it’d lift it, but it wouldn’t feel as comfortable doing it."

Helping to balance power delivery while protecting the hydraulic system, Hyundai’s HX Series excavators have adopted an upgraded Intelligent Power Control system.

This means the hydraulic system is able to optimise pump flow rate and power to suit various working conditions through the individual pump control. Hyundai’s design team has also optimised the design of the machine’s pipeline and MCV (which controls hydraulic pressure) to minimise energy loss.

The spacious cabin offers excellent visibility

While the Hyundai HX145CR features plenty of high-tech systems onboard, Big Paw Civil company owner, Hayden Ogden (‘Oggy’), says it’s the straightforward, good-natured genuineness of the back-up support Hyundai machinery distributor, Porter Equipment, delivers that stands them apart from the competition.

"They’re good people doing a great job. They treat you like everyday people and they’re not into the hard sell. They’re down-to-earth Kiwis who you feel have your back and are genuinely interested in the success of your business," says Oggy.


"As a contractor trying to grow the business, sometimes the last thing you feel like talking about is the nuts and bolts of your company. Josh Hunter (Wellington region sales representative) is a great guy, and when I caught up with him at Central Districts Field Days, it was just a genuine catch-up.

He wasn’t all about selling me my next bit of kit — their whole operation is very human and user-friendly like that. It’s a big thing, and I think that’s what makes them one of the best in the country."

Both Thomas and Oggy say it’s the same story with the Porter Mechanical service offering. Oggy runs a one-operator, one-machine process in the business, meaning each operator is responsible for the operating health of the machine they use.

Thanks to the easy, open lines of communication between his company and the aftersales support team, he’s comfortable with each operator being able to contact Porter Mechanical whenever they need assistance or advice.

"Mike Edney (Wellington region service manager) is quick to respond to any question or issue we might have. All our operators have his number, too, so we’re confident as a team that one call usually solves the problem," says Oggy.

Big Paw Civil also runs BOMAG compaction gear, with two-tonne and four-tonne rollers on the fleet. Oggy says he’s been running BOMAG equipment for a number of years now and thinks they’re great machines, but he’s also very impressed with the new Hyundai HX145CR.

"It’s powerful and smooth to operate and fits the bill for us. Plus, it has all the latest safety gear included, such as the camera system and handrails right around the machine.

It represents good value for money, too. "Add the team there at Porter Equipment to the picture and we know we have good people supporting us too," he concludes.

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