To help its Eastern Creek alternative waste treatment facility process 220,000 tonnes of waste each year, Global Renewables relies on a fleet of heavy-duty Caterpillar wheel loaders.
Established in 2004, Global Renewables’ $100 million Eastern Creek UR-3R facility is the largest alternative waste treatment plant in the southern hemisphere.
The facility has a 25-year contract to process 220,000 tonnes of household waste per annum, and since commencing operations, has achieved an annual landfill diversion rate of 64 per cent.
Chadi Boustani, Global Renewables General Manager, explains that the company was founded in 2000 with the specific aim of building, owning and operating waste processing facilities that would ultimately deliver zero waste to the community.
In 2003, Global Renewables and Waste Services NSW invested in the Eastern Creek facility under a public private partnership (PPP).
“The sole purpose of the PPP was to create an alternative waste treatment facility dedicated to improving the diversion of red bin lid waste from households, increasing the recovery of recyclables and keeping organics out of landfill,” Boustani says.
He adds that since Eastern Creek commenced its 24/7 operations, the facility has processed 3.1 million tonnes of municipal solid waste. To keep that waste moving 365 days a year, Global Renewables run a series of Caterpillar wheel loaders, purchased through official Caterpillar dealer Westrac.
During Global Renewables’ early years, Boustani says the company trailed several brands of loaders and skid steers, before ultimately choosing to go with Caterpillar.
“Being a 24/7 operations we put well over 5000 hours annually on these units, so after sales service on parts and the ability of reliable service technicians to service these machines is critical to our operations,” he says.
“Westrac and Caterpillar tick all the boxes when it comes to after service support. Even more importantly, in our 12 years’ experience with Westrac and Caterpillar, they haven’t let us down yet.”
Global Renewables own two 962M waste handler wheel loaders, as well as a 226-skid steer, 906 loader and two small excavators to assist with site operations and cleaning.
With a five-speed transmission and lock-up clutch torque converter, the Caterpillar 962M’s power trains deliver smooth shifting, fast acceleration and speed on grade for greater performance and fuel efficiency.
“The 962 series machines are large enough to get the job done while being small enough to operate in constrained environments. In our operation they have proved to be a tough and reliable machine that gets the job done,” Boustani says.
He adds that one of Global Renewables’ older 962H units, which had 44,180 hours on it, sold for $25,000 last year.
“This unit was on a customer service agreement and a Total Maintenance Repair contract. This worked solidly for seven years and was a standby unit for three years prior to selling,” Boustani says.
“Reliability of any machine you buy is paramount and we have achieved great reliability with Caterpillar and Westrac.”
The loaders are key to Global Renewables’ operations, Boustani says, from the start of the process receiving and loading the product for processing, to loading the finished product into B-Doubles for transporting off site.
“One of the key challenges we had in the early days was obtaining skilled operators. Just because you have a loader ticket doesn’t mean you are a skilled operator,” he says.
“The wheel loaders work within tight floor spaces and operate close to the fixed mobile plant. For example, we receive over 1000 tonnes per day which is around 100 side loaders every day. They typically are received in three waves, 1.5 hours apart.
“This is a high-risk area where you need skilled operators to manage the frequencies of the deliveries, while feeding the plant and ensuring they don’t damage any of the fixed plant.”
To alleviate the issue, Westrac provided Global Renewables with on-site operator training. This had an immense impact on the business, Boustani says, resulting in reduced mobile operating costs and plant damage, overall improvements to operator performance and self-esteem, and extended tyre life.
“Tyre wear is significant as acids from the waste soften the surface rubber of a tyre. If an operator is operating the unit in the wrong way, tyre wear will be significantly impacted,” Boustani explains.
“For instance, we have a 980H loader with solid tyres. The tyres are worth $25,000 each or $100,000 for four, and we were going through a set every six months. But with training, we extended the life by 12 months.”
Caterpillar and Westrac have fit for purpose waste specification units, and have worked closely with Global Renewables to make necessary changes to ensure they are fit for purpose.
Westrac also have a team of dedicated waste service technicians, who work to take the stress out of regular maintenance and repairs.
“Caterpillar are not the cheapest and not the dearest in the market. You are not paying for a brand, you are paying for reliability of the machines, access to parts and after sales services to keep the units in operations,” Boustani says.
He adds that over their 12-year partnership, Global Renewables, Caterpillar and Westrac have developed a strong working relationship, with the account headed up by Wayne Evans, Westrac’s Customer Support Manager, Quarry, Waste and Steel.
“When a unit is offline for servicing or breakdown it’s critical to get the unit back online as quickly as possible. Westrac have a wide range of parts readily available to get the units back online quickly,” Boustani says.
“The support they provide our business is critical to our success, they have good customer support, parts support and technical support.”
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