TWO Caterpillar mini excavators have made their mark for south coast NSW landscaping business, Specialty Retaining Walls, with job costs tumbling and business productivity on the rise. The business previously relied on wet or dry hired machines, skid steers or manual labour to complete jobs in the undulating region around the company’s base at The Entrance on the NSW Central Coast. But the Cat mini excavators have been a business boon according to company partner, Andrew Evans.

“We couldn’t have expanded, as we have, without the use of the excavators,” Evans explains. “They have helped increase our business tenfold and it has been a much more cost effective option compared with hiring,” he adds. “We’re now very well set up with the Cat mini excavators. It’s very hilly country with some walls up to 3.6m high and a lot of work required in old retaining walls that are falling down. We needed machines that could get in and rip them down,” he says.

Specialty Retaining Walls is set up on the Newcastle and Central Coast area to do retaining walls and other aspects of landscaping. After evaluating competitive brands, the company purchased two Cat mini excavators – a 301.8 and a 302.5 – just on 12 months ago. Evans and business partner, Steve Clitheroe, were quickly sold on the performance of the compact Cat machines and the Cat Finance package.

The Cat 302.5 features a 18.6 kW diesel engine and offers digging depth of more than 4.5m and a bucket dump height of more than 3m. The compact 301.8 measures just under 1m wide and features a swing radius of little more than 1m making it suitable for the company’s tight work sites. Clitheroe and Evans have outfitted the machines with an augur to complement the standard fitment dozer blade for added versatility. “We can attach the augur to drill post holes up to four metres deep with both machines able to pull heavy soil from the hole while the excavator remains stable,” says Evans.

“When we tried the Cat machines we realised they had a slightly bigger reach and had a heavier back end (counterweight). So when pulling the augur out, fully extended, the machine will not fall. We also have no problems loading even eight ton trucks with the 301.8 and can fill bogey tippers with the 302.5,” he adds.

Source: Construction Contractor