For a family-owned company like WEA Group, researching and selecting the right equipment is imperative to allow the company to expand its capabilities and profitability. Recognising the opportunities that an additional trencher to their fleet would offer, WEA Group researched and trialled a number of machines before deciding on procuring a Vermeer T755 Trencher.
WEA Group has been providing underground cabling and civil works for renewable energy projects across the country since 2015. In 2019, the company decided to procure a Vermeer T755 Trencher to compliment its fleet.
James McLeod, Director at WEA Group, said, “We own all of our own plant and equipment now. The trencher was the last item on the list, so we are fully self-catered, which is very rare nowadays. A lot of companies are still hiring plant and equipment, so we’re very proud of that.
“We used to hire a trencher, and being able to purchase one has reduced our internal costs. It’s given us more flexibility for when we can actually use the trencher, as well as where we can use it, because obviously we’ve got the flexibility of now being able to move it around a lot more.
“It’s really complemented the fleet, helped our productivity and made us more efficient as well.”
Research key to decision-making
Mr McLeod said the company researched and trialled a number of different trenchers before selecting the Vermeer T755.
“We conducted significant research into what different brands of trenchers were out there, so we looked at some of Vermeer’s competitors too. We also looked at bucket wheels, rock wheels, plus other models and machines within the Vermeer offering,” Mr McLeod said.
“We did a lot of research and several trials with the T955 and the T1055, down to the T558 but we found the T755 was the best for our needs.”
Mr McLeod said there were a number of reasons the company chose the T755.
“The main reason we went for the T755 was because of its fuel consumption and reliability. We also looked at factors like how close the nearest service centres were for Vermeer,” Mr McLeod said.
“We loved the fact we could get someone out on-site to do a service, or maintenance if there was ever a fault or an issue, which was a big factor for us as well. We wanted to not only reduce our carbon footprint, but to reduce any downtime if there was an issue with the machine.”
A major feature of the T755 that appealed to WEA Group was its Auto Self Levelling system, which allows the machine to operate on a slight tilt while keeping the trench straight.
“This feature is extremely important when working on wind farms because unfortunately they don’t build wind farms on flat ground, they’re up and down mountains and hillsides.
“Its versatility on different types of terrain was extremely important to us, as well as the dual system on the chain and dual sprocket system to help stop chains slipping or the chain falling off, which reduces downtime.
“It’s a big investment. We’re only a small family company, so it’s very important that we got it right.”
Putting the trencher through its paces
Mr McLeod said that the company put the trencher to work straight away on a wind farm, and within a week it had already covered a lot of land.
“It’s currently on the Lal Lal Wind Farm project cutting a 450m by 1100m deep trench down in Victoria. It’s going up hills and down dales; it’s done some interesting little bits already,” Mr McLeod said.
“It’s done the dam wall crossing, it’s done quite a number of V drain crossings, and a little water crossing already. It’s definitely done a lot. It’s probably trenched about 3,500m in one week, so it’s been busy.”
The importance of customer service
Mr McLeod said the team at Vermeer has made the process of procuring the trencher easier, and made sure that the company had all the information it needed to get the most out of their new equipment.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Ken. He really assisted in areas that we were unsure about as we’ve never owned a trencher before,” Mr McLeod said of Vermeer Product specialist Ken Smith.
“He’s helped us get the right suppliers for the teeth and made sure that we set up a service vehicle. So we bought an Isuzu medium rigid truck, we set it up with a crane, oil pumps and all the equipment needed to make the plant run at top form. Everything we needed to run that machine.
“Generally he helped with how to get the best out of the machine and helped source the best suppliers for the machine.”
Mr McLeod said his experience with the Vermeer customer service team and the quality products has led WEA Group to look into potentially purchasing more equipment from Vermeer in the future.
“We’re currently looking at procuring more equipment from Vermeer as we are looking to expand into different areas. It’s definitely on the cards for the future of the company.”