Business Feature, Earthmoving Industry Insight

Porter Equipment and RiverBend Organics

The RiverBend Organics Pty Ltd team in the Hunter Valley region has been utilising Hyundai wheel loader and crawler excavator firepower for many years. With a need to fill the trucks at the quarry gate, as well as a desire to innovate with high tech composting solutions, Chris Ditton recognises that pure machine muscle and smarter ways of working both have parts to play in succeeding in the field

RiverBend Organics Pty Ltd is a supplier of soils, sands, organic blends and compost

Chris Ditton says he is “absolutely hanging out for Christmas”. Not so much because he’s a fan of Bing Crosby’s festive favourites or a good string of tinsel – more just for a well-earned break.

“Things have been absolutely frantic. We provide essential services on both sides of our business, so despite the lockdowns this year, we have been fortunate enough to remain almost fully staffed and with a full slate of regular clients expecting product out the gate,” he says of his family-run quarrying and green waste composting operation, which will also celebrate 30 years in business in 2022.

Headquartered at Gosforth, New South Wales, over the years RiverBend Quarry Pty Ltd has built a strong ledger of council, landscaping professional and public clientele who look to their team to provide quality soils, sands and organic blends.

A more recent addition to the list of services has been a move into composting, utilising some impressive, innovative technology from Germany. The move has also seen the company rebrand as RiverBend Organics Pty Ltd.

The new generation of Hyundai excavators has a range of engineering, design and comfort upgrades

Irrespective of which product is being processed and loaded out for customers, though, a busy operation like the Ditton’s relies on solidly dependable machinery. For several years now, Chris and his son, company co-owner Terry, along with wife Denise, have looked to Hyundai’s excavator and wheel loader line-ups to fulfil both front- and back-line roles at RiverBend Organics Pty Ltd’s 150-acre (60.7ha) property.

“Front-line machines get all the attention, naturally, and because they form such a pivotal part of what we do day in, day out, we only invest in new machinery for these roles,” explains Chris.

“We need our dozer to perform perfectly because we use it for rehab work and road building, and then our wheel loaders are pretty instrumental too. You can extract all the sand and soil you want but, at the end of the day, if you can’t load up the truck and dogs in an efficient manner, then you’re not in the game.”

Chris currently has a new Hyundai HL760XTD-9 wheel loader on order, but also ran an older Hyundai HL760-7A for some time.

“Overall, the sand and soil supply industry isn’t particularly hard on gear compared to some other sectors. But it’s like anything – you still need it to start first time, every time. The Hyundai loaders really stack up.”

The newest addition is a 33-tonne Hyundai HX350L

The company’s excavator fleet has also featured plenty of Hyundai models over the years, with Chris saying the brand represents very good value-for-money.

Past crawler excavators working the Gosforth site include a Hyundai R140LC-7, Hyundai R180LC-7, and a big 48.8-tonne Hyundai 500LC-7. As these machines rack up the hours, Chris says they’re either traded in for newer equipment, or put into backline service, such as working on the composting site mixing material with a five-finger grab attachment – a crucial processing task, but not one firmly affixed to day-to-day throughput.

Sourced through Australian Hyundai Construction Equipment distributor, Porter Equipment, Chris’ most recent excavators from the Korean manufacturer include a Hyundai R80CR-9 and the popular mid-weight pairing of a Hyundai R210LC-9 and Hyundai R250LC-9. Meanwhile, the company’s latest acquisition is also its first from the new generation of Hyundai excavators – a 33-tonne HX350L.

“The 350 has been purchased primarily for bulking out; we need it to shift big volumes in isolation. It also met our criteria for the length of its dipper arm. This has a performance advantage over the likes of the 24-tonner because we’re often digging out below the machine. We needed this particular investment to work very specifically for us and Stephen Marchant from Porter Equipment was very helpful during the research process.”

The HX350L was purchased for shifting large volumes in isolation

Hyundai HX series excavators feature many significant engineering, design and comfort improvements over their predecessors. The likes of RiverBend Organics Pty Ltd’s Hyundai HX350L is engineered using a robust frame structure, and features more wear-resistant parts, high-grade high-pressure hydraulic hoses with improved heat and pressure resistance, and other reinforced components.

These improvements are designed to lengthen the life of the machine, improve engine performance and efficiency, reduce servicing needs and provide for a safer and more comfortable operator experience.

“I’m 61 now, mate, so any machine is only going to be comfortable to sit in for so long!” Chris laughs.

“But, overall, the new 350 has a good cab with good visibility and space. Terry and I work the machines alongside the rest of the staff here, so, as company owners, we still get to identify what works and what doesn’t pretty quickly.”

Older machines work on the composting site, mixing material

Chris says Porter Equipment has provided consistent service over time and is always very competitive when it comes to new machinery.

“They look after us and we don’t muck them around. If we say we’re coming in to look at a machine, then we’re there to buy, not to kick tyres. I think you get to know the people behind the brand after a while and there’s value in that when you’re making the purchase decision,” he concludes.

“We don’t buy Hyundai equipment exclusively, but if our business has a need for a particular machine solution and the Hyundai option is going to work best, then that’s the equation we go with. Put it this way: you don’t continually go back to the same machines from the same blokes selling them if they’re not doing something right.”

Between Porter Equipment and the Hyundai range of wheel loaders and excavators, it would appear RiverBend Organics Pty Ltd’s push through the pre-Christmas rush to that well-earned break over the festive season is in good hands.

Hyundai machinery has proved its worth over the years to RiverBend Organics Pty Ltd

Photography: Ben Hosking

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