Excavators from Kobelco Construction Machinery Australia  are helping a leading Canberra-based civil engineering contractor meet a heavy skills shortage in their workforce.  

ACT Civil has enjoyed steady growth over the past decade and employs about 30 people. Though there is no shortage of work, a lack of skilled workers is holding them back presently, according to company directors Scott Layden, Dane Pumpa and Vince Neuss.  

With land development in top gear in Canberra, the company is advertising for more plant operators. Dane comments that ACT Civil has trained many of their operators from the ground up so that they can maintain their workforce.   

Any shortfall in labour workforce is currently being met with the use of machinery.  

ACT Civil has recently purchased a Kobelco SK480LC-8 excavator from Kobelco dealership, Siteworx Machinery. The machine is the 10th Kobelco excavator in the company’s fleet of excavators and the second 48-tonner unit.     

Scott expects the second Kobelco SK480LC-8 to ease some of the workload.  

Vince says Kobelco excavators are reliable machines that perform remarkably well in hard rock and clay conditions.    

Dane adds that the sheer power of Kobelco excavator machines can see them open up more ground than any other excavator and are also ideal for digging in hard ground, especially in the hills.  

ACT Civil predominantly installs sewers, stormwater and water mains as well as the associated concrete structures.  

The trio went into debt to purchase a second-hand excavator to start their business. After just 18 months in business, Scott, Dane and Vince were in a position to buy their first new excavator – a Kobelco SK250-6.  

Dane says that the partnership with Kobelco has worked out well for them, not only for the efficient performance but also for consistently good backup and service.  

Today ACT Civil boasts a turnover of between $8 and $10 million annually in addition to a large fleet of excavators, rollers, backhoes, front end loaders and other plant equipment.  

ACT Civil still owns and operates its original Kobelco SK250-6 excavator, clocking up 12,000 hours and still running well.  

ACT Civil’s fleet includes four current-model Kobelco excavators, one SK480-LC8, two SK250-8 models and an SK350-8.  

Six older models complete the fleet, including the SK480-6, SK200, two SK250-6s, an SK130-UR and an SK75-UR.  

Vince says that the dash-eight models are all quiet, smooth and good to operate with plenty of power and no lag with the hydraulics, eliminating the risk of getting bogged down in tight ground.  

Scott says he’s been pleasantly surprised by the performance of the new four-cylinder Kobelco models.  

Key benefits include no loss of trenching power, enhanced fuel efficiency, excellent precision and a comfortable cab.  

The new SK480-LC8 can operate for up to 11 hours a day, digging 5.5m deep trenches in hard granite while using only 350 litres of fuel.