Contractors World

The online digital publication for the construction, demolition, mining and quarrying industries.

  September 2009
Buyers Guide
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REPORTS in this issue from:

  • Brazil
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Mongolia
  • Qatar
  • Singapore
  • UAE
  • United Kingdom



Deep cuts
The second of the five lots is being managed by the Arcosul Consortium, consisting of construction companies Odebrecht and Constran. The 6.9 km long project may appear a simple road construction, but when the nine bridges, two overpasses and 12 underpasses are considered, it’s not that straightforward. Nor is the fact that the section involves making cuts of up to 120 m and fills of 60 m – a job that falls to earthmoving contractor, Contern Construções e Comércio Ltda.

A fleet of Volvo excavators in Brazil Contern has been in business for 30 years and remains family owned. Part of the Bertin Group, the company has set itself the target of being Brazil’s fifth largest construction company by 2010.Over 350 of its nearly 3,000 people are currently working on the site, using 150 heavy pieces of construction equipment.

The equipment fleet Contern is using is overwhelmingly new, having invested over $14 million for just this section of the Rodoanel. Volvo Construction Equipment has over 50 excavators (EC210 and EC360) and 15 wheel loaders (L50, L90 & L120) supplied by local dealer TRACBEL S.A. on site.

These machines have their work cut out, as over six million cubic metres of earth needs to be moved in Lot 2. Working around the clock in three shifts, these machines are moving over 26,000 cubic metres per day.

Márcio Henrique Loureiro is the equipment manager, and explains the rationale behind choosing to dominate his fleet with Volvo machines. “The mentality of the Bertin Group is that when we buy one machine, and are satisfied with it, then we want to make a family of them,” he says. “The advantage of this is that we know the dealer, we know how to fix them and we know that they work well for us.”

The Lot 2 section of the Rodoanel is both large scale and fast tracked. This puts pressure on both men and machine, as both must consistently perform at high levels.

Volvo excavators load articulated dump truck - San Paulo“The visibility is good on the Volvos,” believes Mr. Loureiro, “they are powerful and well laid out, and everything falls easily to hand. Under warranty, we want the dealer to support us 100%. But after that, we carry out this work ourselves – to a high quality. I want our machines to be looked after just as well as when TRACBEL were caring for them under warranty.” This appears to be the case, as the Volvo fleet is proving reliable, returning a machine availability of over 90%.

Training is a key component of the fleet strategy, making sure that operators understand how to get the best performance from their machines. “Our maintenance costs have fallen drastically since we began the training,” comments Mr. Loureiro. “The Volvos are popular with our operators too; in fact, we have one operator who refuses to use any other machine!

The Rodoanel is one of Brazil’s highest profile projects, and success will reflect well on both Contern and Volvo’s reputation in the country. Both are in the shop window, and well placed to benefit from the many other large scale infrastructure projects that a resurgent Brazil has in the pipeline. Brazil is literally laying the foundations for prolonged growth and all it needs to do now is to avoid going backwards.

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