Hitachi excavators in demanding canal test

By Steve Ducker16 June 2015

Hitachi excavators are being used by civil engineering specialist Razel-Bec a 90 km canalisation project in Senegal, West Africa. The French company is benefitting from the reliability of the machines in a country known for its tropical climate and testing terrain.

With more than 60 years experience on the continent, Razel employs 1,500 people in a variety of countries including Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Benin. Around 500 employees have been deployed to a site on the Senegal River Delta with the key task of increasing rice growing opportunities in the area.

To achieve this, Razel is leading a project, in partnership with construction company Sogea Satom, to excavate new canals and rehabilitate existing ones.

The demanding project involves the movement of 5 million cubic metres of earth to ensure that a main 40 km canal is capable of taking dirty water away from the delta to the Atlantic Ocean.

Due to the challenging environment, Razel chose a range of standard, super long front and amphibious Hitachi excavators to complete the assignment, including three ZX240LC-3s and two ZX280LC-5s.

It is also making use of a ZW310 wheel loader. These have been supplied by local Hitachi dealer DEM Senegal, part of the DEM Group.

“All our Hitachi Zaxis excavators have extra-wide tracks, because the ground is so soft that the tracks would sink into the ground and the condition of the track chains could deteriorate as a result,” said Kristen Petillon, Razel’s fleet equipment manager.

“The 800 mm and 900 mm tracks are an efficient solution to reduce the ground pressure and ensure that the machines don’t get stuck.”

In addition to the logistical effort required to ensure the machines are maintained and fuelled correctly, the dusty terrain has also been testing. However, this issue has been resolved by the use of high-quality grease.

“We have found the Hitachi base machines to be extremely reliable,” Mr Petillon continued.

“The standard excavators have 98% availability and we are satisfied with the level of productivity. The main advantage of Hitachi machines is better fuel consumption, which makes a huge difference in saving on costs.”

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