Cutting the cloth in central NSW

Civil Independence Industries do many mill and fill projects in central west NSW.

With an influx of road upgrade works in Central West New South Wales, road maintenance business Civil Independence Industries decided to invest in the Roadtec RX-600ex from Astec Australia to save money and time.

The NSW Infrastructure Statement for 2020-21 outlined an investment of $72.2 billion for public transport and roads over the next four years.

In the 2020 Budget the state government outlined $312 million in accelerated funding for the Fixing Local Roads Program, as well as $108 million for the Fixing Country Bridges Program.

This funding is allocated specifically to projects that will begin in the 12 months since its announcement across the state.

As funding for these projects makes its way to local projects, contractors begin bidding to undertake the works.

The key ingredient for road profiling and resurfacing projects, which will feature on many of these upgrades, are Cold Planers commonly known in Australia as profilers.

For Civil Independence Industries, a road construction business with many projects in the Central West Region of New South Wales the technology inspired, Roadtec RX600ex Half-Lane Cold Planer from Astec Australia was seen as a quality investment.

With depots at Oakey in Queensland and Parkes in New South Wales, Civil Independence Industries provides services in asphalt laying, bitumen spray sealing, road profiling and asphalt production.

Dean Millane, Civil Independence Industries Operations Manager, says the company provides services to local and state government, civil contractors and private customers.

“A primary reason for buying this machine was after extensive research we found gaps in the market and we weren’t aware of another machine similar to the RX600ex in the central west region of New South Wales,” Millane says.

“Prior to us purchasing the Roadtec RX-600ex, a profiler of this capacity had to come from Sydney and that can be a costly expenditure to any project in getting it to us. Basing the profiler at Parkes NSW will reduce the costs related to transportation, particularly site to site float moves. In addition to this, some of our jobs were being delayed as these types of machines were not always readily available.”

Due to a large amount of mill and fill projects in the area Civil Independence Industries saw the opportunity to reduce costs for the business and also for their customers by owning the RX-6000ex.

While Civil Independence Industries have not yet used it on a project of their own, the machine was first hired to a project in September 2020 and the impact to this customer in productivity was immediate. The RX-600ex allowed works to progress quickly and precisely using the advanced Roadtec ACE digital grade and slope mill automation system accumulating in savings to the bottom line.

“The Cold Planer (profiler) has completed about 360 hours of work so far with much of that being on the Newell Highway projects to create overtaking lanes. However, it’s equally at home in other locations and terrain having successfully completed a number of jobs on the Victorian and New South Wales border as well as the border with Queensland,” Millane says.

“On top of this, the RX600ex has also undertaken pavement milling for major roundabout works in Orange, NSW as well as various milling works for asphalt paving crews in the area.”

Civil Independence Industries have a number of upcoming works in the Central West Region which will see the asphalt paving crew and road profiling crew work simultaneously. This will be the first of many projects in 2021.

The RX-600ex from Astec Australia is easy to transport.

In speaking to the manager of Civil Independence Industries’ Parkes depot, Millane explains contractors have realised many benefits to the Roadtec RX-6000ex.

“One of the key benefits is the new AUTO CUT mode, allowing the RX-6000ex to self-level all four legs and then automatically adjust the rear leg height as the rear tracks enter the cut cumulating and creating a quality profile for a smooth end of project road surface,” he says.

“We also know that Roadtec did a lot of work to the drum design to integrate a host of Smart Innovations. The RX600ex drum has resilient features built in to enhance productivity and reduce running costs with efficient long lasting cutter teeth and adaptors. The cutting drum doesn’t seem to have much drag on the machine while cutting into deep solid asphalt, giving us an exceptionally low fuel consumption rate.”

Millane says crews are also feeding back that the machine is really stable even when cutting on soft terrain, which is crucial for safe operation.

“Crews have told us that for trimming, they are finding it really easy to achieve very fine tolerances with the machine,” he says.

“It seems the more the operators are learning on the machine the more they come to like it.”

In addition, transportation of the machine does not require a specific trailer, provided it can carry the weight which is around 27 to 29 tonnes.

“We have a local contractor that floats the machine from job to job. The truck driver says it’s very easy for him to get on and off of the truck, even though it is a large machine the controls aren’t complicated,” Millane says.

As Civil Independence Industries hires the machine to different jobs and contractors, the company makes use of the Roadtec Guardian Telematics system. This aids them with the bottom-line benefits of eliminating false alarms and wasted trips to check the machine and thus ensuring the machine is in good mechanical condition and is being operated in accordance with the manufacturers specifications at all times.

The Guardian system keeps track of the exact location of the RX-6000ex and provides real-time machine data such as fuel consumption, fault codes, time to service intervals, machine speed and grade and slope settings.

Every time the machine is turned on at a job, Millane receives an email with a rundown of the machine’s whereabouts, work hours, time until next service and even engine and machine faults.

“When we bought the machine Astec Australia said, if something wasn’t working on site and no-one is present to diagnose a fault, we could just phone them, and they would put us through to a Guardian technical expert for assistance. This expert would then look at the machine via real time monitoring, remotely diagnose the problem and make adjustments to rectify the issue – most likely from the United States if outside local hours,” Millane says.

For now, he is just excited to get the machine working on one of Civil Independence Industries projects.

With the continuous support shown from Astec Australia it’s hoped the Roadtec RX600ex machine will play a big role in the upcoming significant pipeline of council and state government works.

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