Portugese opt for Hitachi machinery
First publishedin World Highways
Hitachi construction machinery is said to be helping Portgual’s building industry pull through the global economic downturn.
Two of the country’s largest construction companies, Mota-Engil – Engenharia e Construção SA and Agrepor – Agregados SA, are using Hitachi’s ZX670LCH-3 large excavators.
Portugal’s membership of the European Union (EU) is said to have been hugely beneficial for the country’s infrastructure, including the development of new highways. However, the financial crisis has affected the country’s economy and it received a bailout from the EU in April 2011. Inevitably, the economic climate has had an impact on the construction industry and the leading players have had to stem the tide of the recession.
Porto-based Mota-Engil has 8,800 employees and specialises in major infrastructure engineering works. The company is working in more than 20 countries in Africa, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. The firm’s financial projection for the end of 2012 is that 80% of its turnover will be generated abroad, double the 40% of 2010.
Meanwhile, Mota-Engil has also won some new road construction projects at home. One of these projects is the 567km extension to the IC3 (a two-lane motorway that stretches north from the municipality of Entroncamento to the north of Coimbra in central Portugal) which includes 173km of new road. The total investment will be €939million and it is scheduled to run for three years, having begun in February 2010.
“We started this project by defining the boundaries of the new road and then carrying out the earthmoving and drainage work,” says Fernando Marques, site manager for the IC3 extension project.
“A new Hitachi ZX670LCH-3 was delivered in April last year. It is excavating 45,000m³ of earth per month. It will then move to a second area, where it will help to move a further 750,000m³. Finally, it will move a total of 650,000m³ of clay, soil and heavy rock. “This is tough work and there is some limestone to be blasted. The challenge is carving the road out of the hillside and that’s why we opted for this large Zaxis excavator. It is currently working at the section that holds the biggest volume of materials over a single kilometre anywhere on the site.”
The ZX670LCH-3 was supplied with a four-year maintenance contract by the official Portuguese Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV (HCME) dealer, Moviter. The decision to purchase this model was made after a stringent tender process. This covered Mota-Engil’s specific technical requirements, such as productivity, speed and weight – after-sales service was also said to be considered very important.