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Melbourne’s Multipipe chooses Sunward mini excavators from Lynfield Mini X

With Melbourne’s Multipipe specialising in highly complex urban power and telecommunications projects, Sunward’s range of mini excavators from Lynfield Mini X brings the required high precision and powerful performance in a compact frame

In any excavating context, operators have to be aware of what’s around them and ensure they don’t accidentally hit another machine or object, but for Melbourne’s Multipipe every job is a complex operation involving multiple hazards.

Specialising in power and telecommunications, Multipipe has been involved in major projects across Melbourne, often in dense urban environments where service pipes, overhead wires, restricted access locations and street furniture present a range of operational challenges.

To handle the space limitations, but still bring enough digging power to get the job done, Multipipe has over the past 18 months brought in a range of five Sunward mini excavators from authorised Victorian dealer Lynfield Mini X.

With two 3.5-tonne SWE 35UFs, a six-tonne SWE 60UF, nine-tonne SWE 90UF and a 15.5-tonne SWE 155UF, Multipipe operations manager Brodie Dale sums them up as being: “User-friendly, good quality and value for money.

“All the guys love them.”

Specialised work

Established in 1996, Multipipe is one of only a handful of companies in Melbourne that operates in the commercial power space – undertaking open cut excavation, directional drilling, hydro excavation services, cable hauling and traffic management services at major project sites across the city.

Managing director and owner Scott Dale lists an impressive range of clients including Telstra, Yarra Trams, power companies Zinfra/Jemena, Powercor and CitiPower, Service Stream and real estate giant CBRE.

“We’ve worked on a few of Victoria’s Big Builds,” he says.

“We were the first company to turn soil on the Anzac underground railway project for Telstra and we are currently tendering to going back there again to relocate the assets back to where they were now that the Anzac Station has been completed; relocating the conduits out of the Shrine of Remembrance.

“We’ve done about 80 per cent of the Docklands’ power and comms lines and did the last upgrade for the Melbourne Tennis Centre and Royal Children’s Hospital.

“It’s high-density city work that we specialise in. We’ve done everything from overhead power lines to underground projects over the years, things like streetscape works and shopping centres. We work in complex areas where there are a lot of stakeholders to deal with, as well as the general public.”

Having learnt his trade at various government-owned utility companies, with the move towards privatisation Scott decided to set up his own business in the ’90s alongside his wife, Ann. After 27 years Brodie is now taking over the reins, and Multipipe’s long-standing relationship with Lynfield Mini X is continuing to flourish.

“We’ve been buying machinery from them from the beginning,” Scott says, “and we’ve purchased every piece of equipment that they supply.

“We’re very happy with Lynfield’s service and backup, and have a good relationship. They do a bit of backgrounding on the machines and won’t recommend something if they feel it’s not appropriate for our type of work.”

Two 3.5-tonne SWE 35UFs are undertaking power and comms works across Melbourne

On the ground

Currently, the nine-tonne SWE 90UF and 15.5-tonne SWE 155UF are undertaking a power project for Jemena in the north Melbourne suburb of Fairfield, while one 3.5-tonne SWE 35UF is on a Telstra project at the Arts Centre, Melbourne, as part of a $1.2 billion redevelopment of the precinct.

“A recent project we had one of the 3.5-tonners working on was digging the exit holes at the Marvel Stadium,” Scott says.

“We had to get lowered into the basement with a boring machine to drill under all the assets, the sewer and the train tracks, and we dug the exit hole with the Sunward digger. That was a pretty complex project.”

When asked how the Sunward machines are suited for the type of work Multipipe carries out, Scott and Brodie say the zero-swing nature of the mini excavators is very important for risk management on these sites.

“You’ve got no-go zones overhead and underground, you’ve got to monitor the gas mains and other utilities,” Scott says.

“There’s a lot of paperwork involved in getting the permits in place to dig around those zones. They’re all on rubber tracks as well so they don’t damage the bitumen. All of our work’s on hardstand – we very seldom get into a paddock environment.”

Brodie adds that the Sunward excavators have been well received by his crew, with the SWE 35UF being a particular stand-out for him due to its powerful operation for such a compact unit.

“The Sunwards as well are very user friendly,” Brodie says.

“There’s excellent vision out of the windows and the new 15.5-tonner comes with a heap of cameras that show you nearly every angle that you need at the touch of a button.

“We’ve had no maintenance issues at all. Just a bit of servicing and greasing – that’s all you’ve got to do with them.”

Scott says value for money always a main priority when buying new machinery and the build quality of the Sunward mini excavators had stood out. So much so that he’s recommended them to other contractors.

“We’ve had a few calls from interested parties and I rate the Sunwards highly,” Scott says.

“We’ve even had a couple of builders, doing retaining wall-type stuff, looking at the 3.5-tonners. For their size, they’re very good value for money. One or two of the machines would be over 1,000 hours now and there haven’t been any maintenance issues at all.

“Money is important, but you have to have the afterservice as well, which is where Lynfield comes in. There’s a lot of trust in the relationship going both ways and we’ve been working together for nearly 30 years.

“The aftersales service is great. Now that they’re getting a service crew team together that will be another step up – they’ll come to us to do the service.”

With a whole range of major construction projects under way across the city, work shows no signs of slowing down, so plans for several more SWE 35UFs and a SWE 60UF are on the books.

“There are a few massive projects out there at the moment – one build being for a Microsoft data centre,” Scott says.

“They need double the power that Melbourne Airport uses – it’s incredible.”

For more information on the Sunward range of mini excavators available from Lynfield Mini X, visit:

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