The National Broadband Network is the Federal Government’s largest ever infrastructure project. When completed, the network will provide high-speed internet connection via optic fiber, fixed wireless and next-generation satellite to 93 per cent of Australian homes, schools and businesses. Specialist telecommunications company, Silcar Communication, in a joint venture with Thiess are laying optic fiber cabling for the NBN across NSW and QLD.
Before digging any new trenches Silcar need to locate and physically sight all services such as water, electricity, existing telecommunications lines or sewage pipes. These can be anywhere from 600mm to 1.0m below ground. To locate these services without causing any damage Silcar secured a Vermeer V250 Vacuum Excavator from Kennards Hire. Machinery manufacturer, Vermeer, held a training session on the V250 unit with Silcar workers and personnel from Kennards Hire. “It’s a great machine but it can take a bit of practice to get used to. Because this is a long-term project, it was preferable that training was conducted by Vermeer so we could draw on their in-depth knowledge, expertise and experience, which proved invaluable” said Paul. Since undertaking the training, Kennards Hire staff are able to offer their expert advice and demonstrate how to correctly operate the equipment to customers for maximum efficiency and safety.
“By using a pressure washer [or gerni] the machine removes dirt through an attachment called a potholer, which is a large PVC pipe with pressure jets,” Paul explained. “This loosens the surrounding soil while the vacuum section in the center of the pipe extracts the dislodged material including rocks up to the size of a tennis ball.” The unit is powered by a 25 hp Kubota diesel engine, which features electric start and throttle.
With the NBN as well as a trend towards underground cabling there has been significant increase in demand for vacuum excavation machinery, which has led to Kennards Hire extending their range of vacuum excavation equipment.
Following the opening of Kennards Hire Dubbo in March 2012, Kennards has expanded its service offerings to the Central Western Region with the opening of a new branch at Orange. Kennards Hire Area manager John Woods said, “We wanted to open the Orange branch earlier but weren’t able to secure a suitable site. Since opening the branch it has been very well received.” He explained that opening a branch in Orange has been part of the company’s long-term regional expansion plans for some time. It provides a key link in the supply chain to serve customers from Sydney to Dubbo and as far west as Broken Hill. Located on Byng Street, the site has a very long history in Orange and is somewhat of a local landmark. Formerly the site of ‘The Shed’, two buildings were first dismantled. The site was then re-developed with demountable offices and landscaped gardens. “The central location, high passing traffic and close proximity to the CBD make it the ideal site,” said John. “Easy access by large vehicles including semi-trailers and an area big enough to accommodate the expanding range of new, larger pieces of equipment was also very important.”
In addition to focusing on Kennards’ traditional customers – single contractors, small business owners, trades people and home renovators, the branch will also service the rapid increase in mining and agribusiness projects in the area. “Customer service remains central to us at Kennards Hire,” John said, “As important as reliable equipment and machinery is, above all else it needs to be backed up by reliable service. Kennards Hire is a family owned business, which we reflect in all our personnel and branches nationwide. All the team in the Orange branch were born and raised in the local district. Branch manager Craig McMahon, who grew up in Bathurst where Kennards started in 1948, is raising his own children there,” he said. “Having staff with close ties to the community through family, involvement in events and sponsorship of local sporting teams, which we hope to do soon, is very important. This means our staff know our customers, and our customers know our staff personally. As well as having particular areas of expertise, they have invaluable knowledge of the area and surrounding district. This gives them a greater understanding of customer needs.”
The equipment range includes large items such as booms and scissor lifts, small and large excavators, rollers, tippers, site sheds, and toilets. There’s also more specialist equipment including pumps, generators and electronic message boards for traffic control, with plans to extend this even further in order to meet diverse customer needs.
When installing an underground pipe to provide drainage for a large water feature surrounded by a concrete slab, Iconic Outdoors took an unorthodox approach. They hired a vacuum excavator from Kennards Hire Orange, which opened in May. Iconic Outdoors is a leading landscape company in the Orange region that specialises in building retaining walls, water features, installation of garden and patio lighting and paving. The job required Iconic Outdoors to dig down 400mm before tunneling 1500mm under the concrete. Josh Cooke from Iconic Outdoors was impressed with how the vacuum excavator handled the task. “Not only did the vacuum excavator penetrate the clay soil with ease, it’s really efficient and evacuated the residual soil and slurry, making the job site clean,” he said.
Kennards Hire Orange delivered the vacuum excavator and remained on site to demonstrate the equipment and assist in the completion of the job. This is the first time Josh has used this type of vacuum excavator. “After seeing how well it performed it will be perfect for a number of upcoming jobs.” In addition to the vacuum excavator, Josh has hired a range of other equipment from Kennards Hire. “Having a branch in Orange is very convenient. Their customer service has been outstanding and dealing with people from the local area who you know makes it easier to establish a good working relationship,” he said.
The vacuum excavator has a 25hp diesel engine with an electric start and throttle. High powered pressure jets loosen the surrounding soil, which is extracted through the center of a large PVC pipe. The equipment range at Kennards Hire Orange includes large items such as booms and scissor lifts, excavators, rollers, tippers, site sheds, and toilets. There’s also more specialist equipment available.
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This article was originally featured Kennards Hire Tool Talk in the winter of 2013 in Australia.