Pair of large ZX490LCH-6 excavators used to extract clay to reinforce flood defences in The Netherlands
BELGIAN contractors Ceulemans Fr & Co have invested in a pair of Hitachi ZX490LCH-6 excavators that are involved in aiding flood protection in The Netherlands. The Berlaar-based company owns and operates a 30ha clay pit at Schelle, from which the large Zaxis excavators dig under licence up to 2,700 tonnes per day to a depth of 15m.
‘We dig exclusively with Hitachi excavators and our current two ZX490LCH-6s are very productive in the clay pit,’ said Wim Ceulemans, the third generation of the family to run the company, which was founded by his grandfather, Frans Ceulemans, in 1953 and run by his father, Herman, from the early 1970s. The fourth generation, Wim’s son Herman, operates one of the large Zaxis excavators in the pit.
‘We are satisfied with these machines because of their low fuel consumption, very smooth operation and precise finishing thanks to the hydraulics,’ added Mr Ceulemans. ‘All of our Hitachi machines have proved to be equally reliable and had a strong resale value. My preference is for the ZX490LCH-6 because it has many benefits over the previous generations. It is more modern and sophisticated, as well as being more user-friendly and fuel efficient.’
Ceulemans Fr & Co have bought more than 30 excavators from Luyckx since they ordered the first four UH-series machines from the then newly appointed Belgian Hitachi dealer in 1982. As well as the two ZX490LCH-6s, the current fleet includes a ZX300LCH-6 and a ZX135US-3. The three larger machines are covered by a five-year, 7,000h repair and maintenance contract.
‘We have been working with Luyckx for more than 40 years, because of the good understanding and the friendly business relationship we have built together,’ said Mr Ceulemans. ‘We are convinced of the quality of the products and service we receive, so we hope to continue working with Luyckx and Hitachi for many years to come.’
The raw materials excavated by the Zaxis-6 machines are ‘erosion class 1’ and therefore among the best-quality clay products available in the region. Ceulemans sell the product to contractors who are reinforcing dykes as part of the Dutch Flood Protection Programme.
As a low-lying country, The Netherlands is prone to flooding from its many lakes, rivers and canals. Legal safety standards reduce the risk by more than a factor of 10 and are satisfied by the implementation of the programme’s flood-protection measures. These cover two-thirds of all primary flood defences that have to be reinforced at an increased pace and decreased cost, compared with previous projects.