Product focus Civilex go for green

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Victorian civil construction company Civilex embark on a program of carbon emission containment using the latest technology.

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Civilex, formed in 2006 as a challenger in the entrenched civil space, strongly believes that future competitive success will depend on a service provider's ability to demonstrate it has minimised its carbon footprint.

According to Civilex's Asset and Logistics Manager Kris Bogdanovski, the next two years will herald a change in tender requirements, placing far greater emphasis on ecological compliance.

The 500-person, fast growing Civilex conglomerate of three related companies, has begun a program of emissions improvement to seek real world gains.

Measures include the adoption of solar power on its sites and particularly a protocol of regular turnover of its on and off-road fleet to take advantage of the latest developments in emission control and machine efficiency.

The company will ensure its on-road vehicles are less than four years old, and that its heavy machinery fleet is capped at five years.

Its current fleet of 150 on-road utility vehicles are Euro V compliant, with an average fuel consumption, according to the Australian Government's Green Vehicle Guide of 7.7 litres per 100km.

While there is no defined Australian standard for off-road machinery, Civilex is working towards adopting Tier 4 engines to achieve world's best practice in efficiency and emission control.

Tier 4 engines, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, reduce emissions of Oxide of Nitrogen and particulate matter by 90 per cent over Tier 3 technology.

Civilex recently took delivery of a Tier 4 Komatsu PC128i excavator, to trial prior to the machine's public release.

The acquisition brings to seven the number of Komatsu excavators on Civilex's inventory and along with two D65i bulldozers, makes Komatsu the company's predominant brand of choice.

All have been acquired only in the last three years since Civilex began its quest to adopt a totally contemporary fleet and to forge a relationship with a like-minded technology partner.

According to Bogdanovski, Komatsu's Intelligent Machine Control (IMC) system substantially enhances the ability of a vehicle to build on the natural attributes of its Tier 4 credentials by providing even greater operating productivity.

"Intelligent Machine Control provides a new level of opportunity for an operator to set up a project and effectively eliminates the need for a surveyor on-site," Bogdanovski says.

"Smart Construction, a feature of the IMC system, allows for live data transfer to the project team off-site, so the job becomes 100 percent accurate with minimal input from on ground personnel.

"While it's difficult to quantify productivity gains of at least 10 percent, are in order with fuel burn reduction of better than eight percent. "The two D61i bulldozers  provide similar benefits."

Civilex places great emphasis on a culture of pride in performance and of empowering employees. "People come to us and don't leave," he says, citing a retention rate of better than 97 per cent.

The company recently opened its state-of-the-art headquarters in Spotswood, Melbourne, providing an environment in which people want to come to work with office comfort, technology and sustainability key aspects of the space.

The same concept applies to operator comfort inside its heavy machinery.

"The ergonomics of the Komatsu cabins have been impressive. "At the outset, Civilex places younger drivers alongside more experienced machine operators who act as mentors.

"It's a good mix - the younger guys are generally more compute,r savvy as befits the benefits of the new IMC machines, and the more experienced guys can learn from them while imparting their own skills."

Civilex has begun its national expansion strategy with first civil contract outside Victoria well under way.

Fittingly, given its view of future environmental requirement, it is helping to build the giant Collector Wind Farm project at Goulburn NSW. Fifty-four turbines will generate 535 Gwh of energy per annum - enough to power 80,000 homes.


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