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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Volvo heavyweights land at CA Blackwell

Volvo EC700C excavator

Contractor takes delivery of two new Volvo EC700C excavators for prestigious contracts in Scotland

ESSEX-based CA Blackwell, one of the UK’s major civil engineering, remediation, geotechnical, earthmoving and engineering contractors, have taken delivery of two new Volvo EC700C excavators for prestigious contracts they have been awarded in the north of Scotland.

The two 70-tonne machines replace an EC700B purchased back in 2007, plus an additional unit, and were chosen mainly due to the almost faultless service provided by the original machine, which clocked-up nearly 7,000h.

‘Naturally, with such an investment we took a serious look at the current market but considered Volvo had the competitive edge in terms of our experience with the B-series model. This coupled to their first-class nationwide field support and the competitive package on offer proved to be the deciding factors,’ said CA Blackwell’s managing director, Steve Clarke.

The two new EC700C’s are working far away from Blackwell’s Essex headquarters, with both deployed as prime movers on prestigious contracts in the north of Scotland.

One of the machines has been put to work, contracted to Graham Construction Ltd, on a 250,000 cubic metre excavation for Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. Blackwell are contracted to Graham Construction to undertake the drilling, blasting and excavation of approximately 200,000 cubic metres of Caithness rock to form two 15m deep vaults with associated ramps to allow for the construction of the concrete chambers which will become storage facilities for low-level nuclear waste.

Further Blackwell works at the site include the installation of underground drainage, construction of the associated access roads, and bolting and netting to the exposed rock faces. Works commenced in November 2011 and are scheduled to take approximately 25 weeks.

The second EC700C is in charge of prime excavations at the Carraig Gheal wind farm project, east of Oban. Under this ‘balance of plant contract’ twenty 2.5MW wind turbines are to be erected for client/developer Green Power and CA Blackwell’s task is to install 36km of access road. This involves excavating huge expanses of peat and bog, quarrying rock and processing it from several borrow pits en-route and laying the road to precise tolerances.

Here, the EC700C is charged with loading Blackwell’s fleet of trucks with blasted rock initially for the road construction. Later it will be deployed on excavation work for the mass concrete bases for the turbine masts, for which Blackwell will be using their site batching plant and off-road truckmixer units.

‘Both machines are working in extremely remote locations and this is another reason why we opted for the EC700C from Volvo,’ said CA Blackwell’s resource manager, Rob King. ‘We know we can be confident about their reliability thanks to our previous experiences, and from a logistical point of view, Volvo’s support centre at Stirling is only 2–3h away from either site.’

At the heart of the EC700C excavator is a 16-litre Stage III V-ACT engine that develops 430hp and a maximum torque of 2,250Nm at just 1,350 rev/min. In mass-excavation configuration, the machine offers a maximum reach of 11.2m, a digging depth of 7.25m and a lifting capacity, at full reach, of 12.4 tonnes.

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