The Colas Group has invested in a new Hitachi ZW330-5 wheel loader for its Socavi limestone quarry in Savoie, in the Rhône- Alpes region of France. The quarry in Commune de Villette, near Moûtiers, produces 200,000 tonnes of aggregates per year, which are predominantly used for construction and public works.

Since it arrived on site in July 2013, the ZW330-5 has been used for transporting the limestone materials, reshaping stockpiles and loading trucks. Approximately 70% of the material is allocated to Socavi’s customers, which are largely public works contractors.

Delivered by local dealer Teramat, the Hitachi wheel loader has a three-year/5,000-hour Hitachi Extended Life Program (HELP) warranty, which includes the supply of Hitachi Parts. Colas decided to invest in the new machine following a positive experience with Teramat’s after-sales support team.

Quarry manager Renaud Hatton explains:“We have two Hitachi excavators working on the quarry floor — an EX800 delivered in 2000 with 13,000 hours and a ZX650 delivered in 2002 with 12,000 hours. When we needed some technical assistance with the EX800 a couple of years ago,Teramat was able to satisfy our immediate and longer-term requirements.”

This helped to establish the relationship between the two companies and ultimately led to the delivery of the ZW330-5. Operator Thierry Ougier, who has worked at the quarry for four years, is enthused by his first experience with a Hitachi wheel loader. “I’m impressed by the visibility from the cab, especially with the help of the rear-view camera,” he says. “The display is easy to read and highly visible, even on sunny days — it’s the most advanced I have seen.”

He finds the cab easy to access thanks to the pop-up steering column and the interior provides a comfortable working environment:“There are many storage compartments and the climate control also allows me to work through the hot summer days without feeling tired.”

In terms of performance, Ougier feels he can use the Hitachi ZW330-5 without compromise, even when fully loaded and travelling up steep inclines. “The high breakout force enables me to fill the bucket easily,” he explains.

“The transmission is very smooth and, in combination with the auto ride control, it allows the wheel loader to travel fully loaded without losing any materials, even when I change gear. I can move easily and quickly around the site when loading trucks thanks to the fast acceleration.”

Compared to the previous wheel loader he used at the site, Ougier has noted a reduction in fuel consumption with the ZW330-5: “The fuel efficiency is much better, but it has also greater productivity at the same time. This highlights the lower running costs of the new Hitachi wheel loader.”