Custom Volvo excavators help expand Singapore metro

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Custom Volvo EC140BLC gallery The custom Volvo EC140BLC excavators at work on the Singapore metro project Custom Volvo EC140BLC gallery

Custom-designed versions of the Volvo EC140BLC are being used in Singapore’s metro rail network expansion. The machines have been specially-engineered to operate within the tight confines of underground sites.

Singapore’s metro rail network is set to double its total track length from 178km today to 360km by 2030, with most of the track work taking place underground. Local contractors Chuan Lim Construction Pty Ltd and Koh Kock Leong Enterprise Pty Ltd are two firms who have invested in the modified EC140BLC excavators to help meet tight deadlines.

The custom machines have been clipped to fit into their underground surroundings, with a shorter boom and arm setup. The boom measures 3.4 metres (1.2m shorter than a standard EC140BLC) and the arm 1.5m (one metre shorter than standard).

As well as shortening the boom and arm, Volvo has repositioned the hydraulic arm cylinder responsible for controlling the arm. By placing the cylinder and all of its attendant piping underneath the boom, rather than on top of it as is standard, the excavators can operate without fear of damaging the cylinder on the low ceilings.

The bucket cylinder has been given a protective steel shell to avoid accidental damage while working in the low-light subway conditions.

Volvo says the modifications have not impacted on fuel efficiency, a sentiment echoed by Koh Kock Leong Enterprise.

"Our machines work for at least eight hours a day, with a number of them having to work around the clock," Koh Kock Leong Enterprise managing director Tiam Teck Koh says.

"What we’ve noticed with Volvo machines is that their fuel efficiency is the best among all the brands we have."

The request for modified excavators initially came from Koh Kock Leong Enterprise; however word soon spread and Volvo received orders for the custom machines from Chuan Lim Construction who were also contracted for underground work.

"We mainly use the excavators for deep basement and foundation excavation, works for MRT station boxes, and rock breaking for various projects," Chuan Lim Construction director Albert Quek says.

"We like to work with Volvo because they are quick to respond to our requests, and their service team is very competent in dealing with technical problems."

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