Specially-designed versions of the Volvo EC140BLC engineered to operate within the tight confines of basement projects are being used both in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
With Singapore´s metro rail network set to double from the current 178 km to 360 km by 2030, there are a slew of projects currently ongoing. Much of the work takes place below ground and with the demanding construction schedule, contractors are looking to the latest technology to help them bring more efficiencies to their projects. Singapore contractors Chuan Lim Construction Pte Ltd, and Koh Kock Leong Enterprise Pte Ltd, are two companies heavily involved in the subway construction work. Both have invested in specially modified Volvo EC140BLC excavators to help them manage their work fast and effective.
Shorter arm and boom
Given the lack of space on the below-ground projects, maneuverability was a key consideration for Volvo in tailoring the new EC140BLC basement machines in response to a request from Koh Kock Leong Enterprise for an excavator that was capable of working productively in tight spaces.
The resulting product is a version of the EC140BLC which weighs 14 tonne and features a newly-designed boom and arm. Measuring 3.4 m and 1.5 m, the boom and arm are shorter by 1.2 m and 1 m respectively than the standard EC140BLC. This gives the EC140BLC basement machine the ability to optimally operate in tunnels of four meters in height.
Arm cylinder re-positioning
Delivering further compactness in the modified EC140BLC design is the re-positioning of the hydraulic arm cylinder. This cylinder controls the movement of the arm and Volvo´s engineers relocated it - and its attendant hydraulic piping û under the boom, to prevent damage being caused from the basement ceiling during excavation. In the standard design, the cylinder is situated on the top of the boom, with the hydraulic piping positioned on the top and sides of the boom.
While these changes enhance the EC140BLC´s maneuverability underground, the team at Volvo CE also considered the impact of the low light conditions found in basement environments. Specifically, the team wanted to account for any lack of sight the operator might have of the bucket cylinder. Given the costly damage to an unprotected bucket cylinder by errors in steering in underground applications, Volvo´s solution was to install a steel cover around the cylinder.
Outstanding fuel efficiency
While the modifications help with the underground application, Volvo CE´s fuel efficiency remains a popular feature. Similarly, the high productivity and long, uninterrupted working hours the Volvo units put in are helping Koh Kock Leong Enterprise deliver the progress and performance the job requires - all the while keeping running costs under control.
´Our machines work for at least eight hours a day, with a number of them having to work around the clock. What we´ve noticed with Volvo machines is that their fuel efficiency is the best among all the brands we have,´ says Tiam Teck Koh, Managing Director, Koh Kock Leong Enterprise.
In addition to its investment in the specially modified EC140BLC machines, Koh Kock Leong Enterprise also purchased the Volvo EC380DL with a telescopic arm. These units are based at ground level and extract the earth moved by the basement machines. These latest investments bring Koh Kock Leong Enterprise´s fleet of Volvo machines to over 30.
Minimised downtime delivers efficiency
With the success of the EC140BLC models at work for Koh Kock Leong Enterprise, Chuan Lim Construction was next to place an order. The company was immediately impressed with the staying power of the modified EC140BLC excavators, as minimising operational downtime is critical to its success on the subway projects. ´We mainly use the excavators for deep basement and foundation excavation, works for MRT station boxes, and rock breaking for various projects,´ explains Albert Quek, Director of Chuan Lim Construction. ´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.´
Chuan Lim Construction also bought the EC380DL telescopic excavators and the company´s latest arrivals bring its fleet of Volvo excavators to 23, with EC380 (telescopic and non-telescopic versions), EC210 and EC50 units among the other models it owns.
´In our industry, fuel efficiency and operational uptime are critical and, in these aspects, Volvo is able to meet our expectations´ concluded Albert Quek.