Waste Management Review speaks with Caterpillar’s Chaminda Senanayake and Charles Farrugia about the pair’s pioneering suite of sustainability initiatives.
Renaud Chauvet of Select Civil details his experience with Caterpillar’s VisionLink, which helps the company manage an extensive fleet of machines remotely.
Janelle Horne of Q Mulching details the green waste company’s 17-year relationship with Caterpillar and Hastings Deering.
With organics to landfill diversion a central target of waste and resource recovery strategies nationwide, instilling children with a passion for recycling is now more important than ever.
This is the central focus of Q Mulching’s Marvin the Worm program, which, in line with Australian curriculums for science and geography, seeks to spread positive source separation behaviours to students along Queensland’s Fraser Coast.
With an interactive trailer reminiscent of Healthy Harold and a workbook written by Q Mulching’s Rheanon Kerslake, the program travels to schools to teach children about the benefits of recycling and compost.
“When Q Mulching first began its composting process, we had some issues with contamination in the material we were receiving, which inspired me to develop the program to coincide with Fraser Coast Regional Council’s messaging around source separation,” Rheanon says.
“By using this book and program, we’re helping to lay a foundation. Teaching the importance of recycling to younger generations means they can realise what they are doing now, and then follow that into adulthood and teach their children.”
The Marvin the Worm education program builds on Q Mulching’s management of green waste processing for the entire Fraser Coast local government area.
Highlighting the company’s innovative spirit, Janelle Horne, Q Mulching Owner and Administrative Manager, says prior to Q Mulching, green waste processing was few and far between in the region.
Operating two major composting sites in addition to six smaller waste transfer stations, residents bring their green waste to Q Mulching free of charge through Fraser Coast Regional Council.
“We grind the material once a fortnight at our major sites, before composting the product to the Australian Standards 4454,” Janelle says.
Q Mulching is processing around 60 to 70,000 cubic metres of green waste material at a time at one of their facilities, with 40,000 cubic metres at the other.
To effectively manage that level of material, she says Q Mulching operate a range of Caterpillar equipment. Janelle highlights Caterpillar’s Next Gen 23T Excavator as a critical component of material management at Q Mulching’s facilities.
Built for heavy-duty performance, Caterpillar’s Next Gen 23T Excavator brings increased speed, efficiency and high productivity to high-production applications.
With up to 15 per cent less fuel consumption than comparable models, Caterpillar’s Next Gen Excavator functions in line with Q Mulching’s commitment to sustainable processing and resource recovery.
That said, while the quality of Caterpillar’s equipment is essential, Janelle emphasises Caterpillar dealer Hastings Deering’s commitment to service. She adds that as seven days a week operation, reliability is critical for Q Mulching.
“We’ve used other manufacturers in the past, and unfortunately, the reliability isn’t always there, whether that’s break downs, downtime or the availability of extra parts,” Janelle says.
“The great thing about Caterpillar and Hastings Deering is that when we need a part, and we’ve ordered it by 2pm, it will usually arrive the following day.
“Not many other companies can offer that level of service. Plus, when we purchase a new Caterpillar machine, we are confident that the machine will last its term.”
Working together for more than 17 years, Janelle says Q Mulching and Hastings Deering have developed an effective and symbiotic relationship.
“When Hastings Deering has new staff, they bring them to our site and introduce them to the team. This means that when we have to order new parts or have any kind of problem, we know exactly who to contact and the faces behind the phone call,” she says.
In addition to service reliability and the quality of their machinery offerings, Janelle says Hastings Deering are always ready to point Q Mulching in the right direction when new equipment becomes available.
“Hastings Deering works to look after their current customers, as opposed to always looking out for new customers.”
Rheanon feels similarly, highlighting the Caterpillar teams’ individual approach.
“I find them very personable, of course they’re still salespeople at the end of the day, but they’re very genuine. They actually want to come in and help our operations, as opposed to just providing machinery,” she says.
This is a sentiment mirrored by Stuart Manton, Hastings Deering’s Territory Manager, who says the value of Caterpillar lies not just with their equipment, but their commitment to functioning as solutions providers.
“People know that when they purchase a piece of Caterpillar equipment, they’re purchasing a machine that is engineered to the highest standards. However, we don’t believe in resting on our laurels,” he says.
“Our approach goes above and beyond providing a piece of equipment. We believe in developing relationships with our clients and working with them to create the best outcomes, both economically and environmentally.”
As Caterpillar’s presence in the waste and resource recovery sector grows, Stuart hopes to continue working with environmentally aligned customers.
“We at Hastings Deering and Caterpillar are continually innovating in the waste and resource recovery space, be that new approaches to landfill compaction, or providing solutions for composting facilities such as Q Mulching,” he says.
“The waste sector is growing, and team Caterpillar is well positioned to grow alongside it.”
Deborah Friedlander of Caterpillar details the loans and leasing process of Caterpillar Financial Services ahead of the waste sector’s forecast expansion.
With Australia’s forthcoming waste export ban set to commence periodically over the next two years, onshore waste and resource recovery infrastructure will require significant capacity expansion.
As highlighted in the Federal Government’s export ban consultation paper, for instance, 4.4 million tonnes of waste was exported between 2018-19, 1.4 million tonnes of which will fall under export ban legislation.
While 1.4 million tonnes may seem like an overwhelming amount of material to suddenly have onshore, its total declared value, according to the Federal Environment Department, was $291 million, suggesting significant, presently untouched economic potential.
As such, large-scale investment will be essential to enhance collection, recovery and recycling capacity and to develop domestic reuse options, technologies, procurement pathways and markets.
Deborah Friedlander, Managing Director of Caterpillar Financial Australia, says forecast infrastructure growth also demands concurrent investment in new and expanded waste handling equipment.
With over 16 years’ experience working with construction machinery and equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Deborah has watched as industries expanded and contracted alongside global and national shifts in policy and economic environments.
Understanding the cyclical and often unpredictable nature of shifting industries, Deborah says, is a core component of her work and the wider operations of Cat Financial.
Drawing on this experience, and her belief that sustainability represents “the way of the future”, Deborah suggests the waste industry is set for a period of ongoing expansion.
As new facilities develop, be they transfer stations, plastic processing plants or even sustainable landfills, Deborah says operators will require reliable access to equipment and financing.
She adds that through Cat Financial, anyone from smalltime council operators to thousand tonnage resource recovery facilities can access financing.
Cat Financial provides loans and leasing for all Cat equipment, from mini excavators to huge ultra-class mining trucks, she explains, for loan terms usually between three to five years.
Deborah adds that Cat Financial provides competitive fixed term interest rates, as low as two and a half per cent for smaller Cat machines.
“Whether clients need a low introductory rate to get their business started or physical damage insurance to help prepare for the unexpected, we can help,” she says.
“Clients can count on our team of industry experts to help them get the equipment they need and the financial support required to keep operations up and running.”
Given the waste industry is so varied, Deborah says it’s important operators acquire the right machine to support their processes. She highlights that Caterpillar and its dealerships have specialised waste industry experts able to create custom solutions, built to fit unique needs and challenges.
“When a client’s business is demolition, scrap recycling and waste, they put a variety of tools to tough use, every day. And we’re ready to help them get the finance and extended protection support they need,” she says.
“We’re not just selling machinery – we’re operating as solutions providers.”
Cat Financial, Deborah says, aims to provide a fast and effortless customer experience, with credit approvals usually processed within a few hours of receiving the application documentation. She adds that finance documents are short and can be signed online.
“We also don’t require onerous covenants from customers or charge unexpected fees. The funding is ready to go when the machine is, which helps our customers get into their new machines fast and get to work delivering their projects,” Deborah says.
Deborah adds that following the banking royal commission, many customers have felt nervous about approaching lenders for financing.
“No-one should feel nervous about approaching financing with us. We make it easy and have a set criterion that is incredibly straightforward,” she says.
According to Deborah, the Cat Financial customer service team is authorised to provide six months of payment relief with very little administration.
“Unlike a bank, we want Cat customers for life, so we work very hard to build loyalty and preserve it. If one of our customers needs leeway or financial assistance, we are ready and able to support them through that process,” she says.
“For instance, it’s very hard to look past the bushfires right now. We’ve contacted all our customers in affected areas and will be working closely with them over coming months.”
There will be a period of rebuilding ahead, Deborah says, with Cat Financial committed to assisting that process. She adds that Australia’s bushfire crisis has renewed the nation’s focus on sustainability, which is a core value of Cat Financial and the Caterpillar brand at large.
She says that in 2020, Cat Financial is really focused on financing for rebuild and repairs through competitive rates.
“Our customers often just pay for rebuild and repairs with cash flow from their business, but we want to make it easier to match the expense of rebuilding to the cash flow coming from the machines.
“Cat Financial is invested in the waste and resource recovery industry and want to support its economic health. It’s great to see interest growing in the sector.”
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As Caterpillar celebrates its 20th year on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, the company speaks with Waste Management Review about its sustainability strategy.
The last year of the decade saw Caterpillar celebrate its 20th year on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. Launched in 1999, the indices evaluate the sustainability performance of thousands of publicly traded companies.
Inclusion is said to function as a benchmark for investors who recognise the long-term shareholder value of sustainable business practices.
Caterpillar was recognised in 2019 for its continued global innovation focus, human rights policy, collaboration with suppliers to assess sustainability performance and public reporting and third-party verification of social and environmental progress.
According to Anthony Watson, Caterpillar Industry Segment Manager Asia Pacific, Caterpillar’s continuous Dow Jones inclusion highlights the alignment of its sustainability and business strategies.
“We think it’s important to manufacture efficient and high-capacity machinery in a sustainable way,” he says.
“Operators don’t have to sacrifice quality for positive environmental outcomes, or vice versa.”
Anthony adds that Caterpillar is committed to building its reputation as a forward-thinking and sustainability minded company in 2020.
Caterpillar’s overarching vision, he says, is to work towards a world in which all people’s basic needs are fulfilled in an environmentally sustainable way.
While achieving this in totality is beyond the scope of an equipment manufacturer, Anthony says Caterpillar can contribute by enhancing product lifecycles and supporting the communities in which it works.
Specifically, he says Caterpillar is committed to preventing waste, continuously improving machine and business quality and innovating equipment systems to support the waste and resource recovery sector.
He adds that the waste industry, which has consistently represented a critical portion of Caterpillar’s customer portfolio, has been growing steadily over the past five years.
“As populations continue to grow there is more demand for waste services. While on a global level we can observe some of the challenges associated with that increase, Caterpillar is committed to using our machinery to manage the challenge,” he says.
To achieve this, Anthony says Caterpillar intends to develop and apply innovative technology to grow the sustainability performance of its machinery, services, solutions and operations throughout 2020.
“We believe sustainable progress is possible by developing better systems that maximise lifecycle benefits, while also minimising the economic, social and environmental costs of ownership,” he says.
“Part of our business strategy is reman and rebuild, which involves finding new ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and reclaim materials that would have otherwise gone to landfill,” he says.
Through the program, Anthony says end-of-life products can be returned to operating condition at a significant saving.
Once returned to a reman facility, he says the product is disassembled down to its smallest part.
“Each element is cleaned and inspected against strict engineering specifications to determine if it can be effectively salvaged,” he says.
“From there, accepted components are converted into production ready material through our advanced salvage techniques.”
He adds that in addition to reducing ownership and operating costs, the product stewardship approach reduces waste, minimises demand for raw material and lowers greenhouse gas emissions through reduced manufacturing.
Caterpillar is also working to improve the process efficiency of its new equipment.
“Our next generation hydraulic excavator, which was released in Australia over the past 12 months, allows operators to run their equipment more sustainably through up to 25 per cent reduced fuel consumption compared to previous models,” he says.
Anthony says Caterpillar is also partnering with its customers to deliver more successful compaction rates and productive waste movement methods.
“Working to make our machines more efficient provides not just an economic incentive for our customers, but enables more sustainable practices, as operators are burning less fuel to achieve required compaction,” he says.
Caterpillar Asia Pacific explains how differential locks and Cat Connect technology can increase landfill operation efficiency.
Not all landfill sites are the same, with many posing unique and harsh environmental challenges for operators. Land is often unlevel, with small space for movement and barriers to reach cells.
In these environments, managing multiple seemingly competing requirements such as maximising operational efficiency, economic viability and worker safety, can be a challenge.
Ayden Piri, Caterpillar (Cat) Asia Pacific Industry Specialist Account Manager, says landfill operators require reliable and efficient machinery to facilitate safe site management and consistent operations.
He says Cat is uniquely positioned to understand machinery requirements relevant to the waste industry, with over 40 years experience providing for the sector in multiple application modes.
According to Ayden, Cat M Series waste handling wheel loaders are popular with landfill operators due to their heavy-duty handling capacity.
“Cat’s waste handling wheel loaders deliver sustainable productivity, fuel efficiency, ease of serviceability, ergonomics and operator comfort,” Ayden says.
“These environmentally-friendly front end loader machines apply proven technology systematically and strategically, to meet our customer’s high expectations.”
With a global network of 172 dealers, factories in 30 countries and more than 10,000 Cat and dealer employees in Australia and New Zealand, the extensive reach ensures CAT is able to draw on a network of experts to solve its customers’ challenges.
Ayden says M series 950- and 972-metre models have a standard front axle differential lock, which is manually activated by a switch on the cab floor.
The fully automatic front and rear axle differential locks work by measuring differences in axle speeds and require no operator intervention to activate.
“These disc-type differential locks will reduce tyre scuffing compared to other traction aids, further reducing operating costs for customers,” Ayden says.
“The proven Z-bar linkage combines efficiency with great visibility to the tool, resulting in excellent penetration into the pile, high breakout forces and superior production capabilities.”
M Series’ next generation ride control works as a shock absorber, which Ayden says improves ride quality and smoothness over the rough surfaces often found in transfer stations.
“When paired with the Fusion coupler, from a loaded high-dump bucket to a fork to move material, the ride control system provides reduced cycle times, better productivity and a smoother, more comfortable ride for the operator,” he adds.
M Series wheel loaders are equipped with Cat Connect technology, which allows operators to monitor, manage and enhance job site operations.
“Cat Connect facilitates easier service access, with the legacy one-piece hood, centralised service centre’s, windshield cleaning platform and harness tie-off,” Ayden explains.
“Optional purpose-built guarding is also available to help protect your machine from the harsh environments common in waste applications.”
The wheel loader’s machine guarding protects the unit’s major components and systems, facilitating reliable durability.
“Wear in waste handling applications is severe and can drastically cut down a machine’s life,” Ayden says.
“All Cat waste handling machines are protected in key impact areas, including undercarriages, radiators, axles and cabs.”
According to Ayden, the M Series medium wheel loader is 10 per cent more fuel efficient than the industry-leading K Series, and up to 25 per cent more fuel efficient than the H Series.
The updated Caterpillar powershift transmission, with a lock-up clutch torque converter, is standard on all M Series wheel loaders.
“The new torque converters have been matched with engine power and hydraulics to improve performance and fuel efficiency, while also managing the pile or loading trucks,” he says.
“The rugged transmission also has a new split-flow oil system, which uses multi-viscosity oil to reduce parasitics and improve fuel economy.”
Ayden says the M Series hydraulic system has recently undergone significant design changes.
“The main hydraulic valve is now a mono-block with an integrated ride control section,” Ayden says.
“The mono-block design also reduces weight, has forty per cent fewer leak points and is common across all M Series models.”
On 950- and 972-metre models, auxiliary hydraulic functions can be added at the factory or in the field, with the addition of a second remote valve.
“A new thermal bypass valve has also been added to improve hydraulic system warm-up,” Ayden says.
Caterpillar’s Ayden Piri explains how the company’s unique solutions are solving its customers’ complex challenges across heavy-duty and often dangerous waste applications.
Select Civil’s Renaud Chauvet explains the key service capabilities private waste management organisations such as SUEZ have looked for when using a specialist waste services provider.