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In The Name Of Efficiency Hawaiian Cement Switches Gears With Heavy Iron At The Quarry Face.

By Mark S. Kuhar

Hawaiian Cement is a major supplier of aggregate, cement, and ready-mix for the Aloha State. Its aggregate facility, which is known for being a model of efficiency, decided to take a hard look at its operational efficiencies.

It didn’t take long for them to discover a better way to move a large volume of material. “We were using a loader and dozer to do the work,” said Jason Macy, vice president of operations for the company. “The loader didn’t have the breakout to handle the material, so we also had to use a dozer to push the material to the loader.”

It was time for a change, and Macy wanted to look at all of his options, including shovels, a machine that the company had never used before. His research took him to the mainland to watch these machines at work in operations similar to his.

One machine he evaluated was a Hitachi EX1200 – and he liked what he saw. He liked it even better when he heard what the operators had to say about its speed, power and dependability. “Everyone we talked to said the EX1200 exceeded their expectations,” Macy said.

Change Doesn’t Come Easy
As Macy analyzed his particular situation he considered operator comfort, noting that the material on his quarry floor tended to rut quickly, beating up the operator as he loaded trucks.

He noted the shovel was stationary and operated on a level surface, which was much easier on the operator.

Still Hawaiian Cement’s operator was apprehensive. He’d never run this type of machine and wasn’t convinced that it could do the job.

“The learning curve was fast,” Macy said. “In two or three weeks he was the biggest supporter of the shovel in this application. He’s fully onboard with the shovel now.”

Crunching the Numbers
Production, operating efficiency, and maintenance costs were Macy’s metrics, and some intensive number-crunching made a compelling case for the shovel.

“The shovel makes five passes per load. It keeps four trucks busy all shift long and that’s the kind of production we were looking for,” he said.

First, Macy considered the shovel would be the primary machine at the quarry and that 50 percent of his workforce would be directly affected by its performance. Uptime was obviously a critical factor, so he dug deeper into the machine’s history. His homework only increased his confidence that the EX1200 was right for his operation.

Operating cost was his second concern. Again, his homework bore out the case for going to the shovel.

Fast-forward a year, and the company reports that the EX1200 is performing flawlessly.

“There’s been virtually no downtime and our cost savings have far exceeded our expectations,” Macy said. “Fuel economy is great and maintenance costs were even less than what Hitachi estimated. Even with fuel costs going out of sight last year, our cost per hour is 25-percent less. Replacing the dozer and loader with one machine was just icing on the cake.”

No Trouble in Paradise
Running an operation like Hawaiian Cement, in an idyllic location, is not without its special challenges. One of the most important factors is parts availability. “You can’t afford to hear that the pump for your main production machine won’t arrive for three weeks. That’s why a dealer’s capabilities is a big consideration here in Hawaii,” Macy said.

Macy is well pleased with the support his Hitachi dealer, American Machinery, provides and notes their strategically placed facilities on all of the major islands.

“Their parts departments are well stocked and their service people are very capable. If we need something, they’ll have a truck here in no time,” he said.

Macy’s homework paid off big time. He knew the switch to the EX1200 would effect his operation for the next 10 years and thinks this move will pay big dividends. “We’re into our second year with the EX1200 and I’m confident it will give us great production for a long, long time,” he said.

Information for this article courtesy of Hitachi.

Hawaiian Cement
Hawaiian Cement is a vertically integrated construction materials company supplying cement, aggregate and ready-mix concrete in Hawaii. They also provide bagged masonry cement, golf course sand, decorative stone and other landscaping products and materials.

The company is a critical part of residential, commercial and public construction projects throughout the state. Hawaiian Cement includes a team of more than 200 employees whose dedication and experience are focused on providing lasting customer satisfaction with both our service and products.

Hawaiian Cement and its predecessor companies have a history of supporting the state’s construction needs going back to 1939. West Hawaii Concrete, headquartered in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, is part of the Hawaiian Cement family and is expanding the company’s reach on the largest Hawaiian island.

  • Cement – Hawaiian Cement is the largest cement producer and supplier in the state of Hawaii.
  • Aggregate – Hawaiian Cement is one of the state’s top three aggregate providers. 
  • Ready-Mix Concrete – Hawaiian Cement is the state’s second-largest ready-mix supplier. 
  • Colored Concrete Products – Hawaiian Cement has a liquid coloring system that now makes concrete a leading design choice. They can provide custom coloring, designs and textures.