Hawe Earthmoving contractor profile

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Hawe Earthmoving takes advantage of Komatsu innovation – and keeps a lid on costs

Hawe Earthmoving’s Komatsu PC270-8 excavator, fitted with a crusher bucket

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Hawe Earthmoving, based in Queensland’s Wide Bay region around Bundaberg, recently purchased a Komatsu HB215LC-1 Hybrid excavator, which is giving fuel savings of up to 5 litres/hour, says Komatsu.

Owner Mick Hawe bought the Hybrid as a low-hour machine from Komatsu in 2014 and, he explains, you don’t have to be a big company to justify the savings of buying second-hand.

"A small contractor like us can do the same and save a lot of money in fuel and running costs – and being able to save more by purchasing a low-hour used machine was an added bonus," says Hawe.

Hawe Earthmoving was established by Hawe’s father Pat in 1968; after going to university and time with other organisations, Mick Hawe returned to the company in 1996, then he and his wife Victoria took over in 2007.

Operating in a 150km radius around Bundaberg, the company carries out a wide range of civil contracting and related works.

Included in their fleet are some unusual Komatsu machines, including a D57S-1 crawler loader dating from 1985, a PW170 wheeled excavator, and a GD355 specially imported grader – at only around 90hp and with a 10 foot (3m) blade, it’s ideal for carparks and smaller infrastructure works.

Komatsu northern region used equipment business development manager Jason Peters and Komatsu’s Brisbane-based key account manager Paul Murray with Mick Hawe(centre) and his HB215LC-1 Hybrid excavator

Other Komatsu equipment includes a PC270-8 and PC88MR-8 excavator, two HM300-2 articulated dump trucks and two GD655-5 graders.

Mick and Victoria Hawe pride themselves on running a family-oriented operation; of their approximately 28 employees, about 25 are full-time, and include a number of father-and-son teams who also worked with Mick Hawe’s father Pat.

Another point of pride is a commitment to maintaining an innovative edge, reflected in purchases such as the Hybrid, the wheeled excavator and the "mini" grader.

"We’ve always prided ourselves on being innovative," Hawe said.

"We were one of the first to introduce lasers in the region, back in the 1980s, and we’ve gone on from there to be the first to have a Hybrid, along with the wheeled excavator.

"We look to offer innovative equipment as part of our ongoing efforts to best-serve our clients," he said.

Hawe explains that they are always looking for a green edge, which is why they bought the Hybrid.

Hawe Earthmoving’s PC270-8 excavator loading one of the company’s two Komatsu HM300-2 articulated dump trucks

"We do quite a lot of dump sites and refuse facility work here in Bundaberg for the local council, and they love this machine, particularly as it has that green edge," says Hawe.

"Typically the Hybrid burns two litres an hour less than a conventional machine of the same size, but it can be up to five litres an hour less. In the four years we’ve had it we’ve saved a lot of fuel and CO2 emissions.

"Recently it turned over 5,000 hours of operations, and in that time, our KOMTRAX records show we’ve saved around 10,000 litres of fossil fuel and saved around 26 tonnes of CO2 emissions."

A key business philosophy for Mick and Victoria Hawe is to actively chase the benefits of new technology.

"What we did 20 years ago doesn’t work now, because times have changed," he says.

Hawe Earthmoving’s purchase of a Komatsu PW160-11 wheeled excavator – the first in the region – is another example of its commitment to innovation to better service its customers

"You need to embrace new technology; you need better and better fuel efficiency, you need a better class of machines, you need to look at your service and maintenance costs, your fuel burn costs. And today that’s even more important than in the past."

For that reason, he’s a huge fan of KOMTRAX, Komatsu’s remote monitoring system.

"Something like KOMTRAX helps us a lot with our service and maintenance management; you can glean a lot from those types of services available these days," said Mick.

"KOMTRAX is brilliant, it’s great for data handling, and makes it much easier for charging the machine out, as you have a great handle on your fuel burn."

Mick and Victoria Hawe are now looking to further their investment in the latest Komatsu technology, with the likely purchase of an iMC (intelligent Machine Control) excavator.

"We’ve been Topcon users for a long time, and we are now talking to Komatsu Used Equipment about buying a low-hour iMC excavator that’s come out of their rental fleet.

"That system is very attractive to us, because we have the knowledge and experience with machine control in how to make it work, confidence in Komatsu’s design capabilities, and knowing that what you see on the screen and what you get on the ground will be in line with the design specs."

Hawe said the company typically purchases around a 50/50 mix of new and used equipment.

"We work closely with Komatsu’s used equipment team. If we’re looking for something, we’ll have a talk to them, and within a few days they’ll usually come back to us with a machine that matches our requirements."


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