Pipeline Plant Hire director Gerard O’Brien celebrates the addition of the company’s 400th Hitachi excavator.
Pipeline Plant Hire (PPH) is a leading supplier of earthmoving equipment to the Australian pipeline industry, delivering customised product solutions to major contractors and government agencies across civil, rail and mining projects.
In 2013, the PPH fleet of Hitachi and John Deere equipment expanded from 60 to over 200 machines, including excavators from 8.5 up to 69 tonnes, wheel loaders, motor graders and bulldozers.
“Our business is built on relationships, and the relationship with our primary equipment supplier Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCA) is integral to our success,” O’Brien said.
“To retain our strong industry reputation, we rely on having a reliable fleet backed by technical support, a strategic branch network and extensive parts availability.”
The recent purchase of its 400th Hitachi machine is a significant milestone for PPH.
“Our 400th Hitachi is a ZX360LC-5 excavator, the 80th unit of this type in our fleet,” O’Brien said. “It’s an ideal size for our customers, either in standard digging form or fitted with our patented GPE VacLift attachment for pipe handling.”
The rapid expansion of the PPH fleet has been driven in part by the growth of the Australian LNG export industry, which has created high demand for modern equipment built to meet specific requirements, including PPH’s patented VacLift technology.
Designed and manufactured in Australia by Matthew Dridan, and built to enhance safety and improve productivity, VacLift attachments can be seamlessly integrated with Hitachi excavators.
They have already been fitted to over 60 machines in the PPH fleet in various configurations, and used to move everything from 200mm-diameter poly pipe and 1800mm GRP water pipe through to 1380mm-diameter steel high-pressure gas pipe weighing over 12 tonnes.
A significant part of PPH’s machinery worked on Saipem Australia’s Santos GLNG project under the watchful eye of PPH’s Project Manager Mark Jones and his team of technicians, with support from HCA’s Dalby and Emerald branches.
This multi-million-dollar project, with pipelines stretching 420km between Roma and Gladstone in the central highlands region of Queensland, was keeping PPH busy on all sections of the network, including Fairview, Arcadia Valley, Bauhinia, Banana, Callide Range and Curtis Island off Gladstone.
VacLIft’s leading lifting ability is also much sought after by the water industry, with machines recently operating on the Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline in NSW, a project that saw PPH achieve a record-breaking rate of pipe laying for Australian-manufactured Steelmains MSCL ‘O’ ring jointed pipe.
The VacLift works by using a vacuum to suck pipe lengths into the grasp of an attachment fitted with rubber seals called a ‘shoe’, rather than employing traditional slings and hooks.
This results in enormous time savings for customers, as the VacLift cycle time is under 40 seconds per pipe length, whereas conventional methods take 5–10 minutes.
“Thanks to the proven reliability and safety record of our vacuum lifts, wide range of pipe diameters per shoe, in-trench assembly capability and many other industry firsts, we’ve contributed massively to efficiency gains in the pipeline industry,” O’Brien said.
Using PPH VacLifts means a number of benefits:
- Simplicity in design, which allows serviceability in remote locations.
- Low tare weight, which lowers transport costs, fuel consumption, and emissions.
- Australian design that gives 24-hour support and rapid supply of parts.
- An extensive inventory of VacLifts, pipe shoes and accessories quick response to project requirements.
- A proven track record over many years.
- Hydraulic power that means no additional fuel costs.
“No wonder that for gas, water and all major pipeline projects, Pipeline Plant Hire continues to be the connection everyone wants to make,” O’Brien said.
This article featured in the September edition of The Australian Pipeliner.