Strategic fleet management meets waste industry challenges

Expanding waste management group, Waste Recycling Group (WRG) aims to maximise efficiency over a range of waste and landfill sites by "cascading" mobile plant to maximise return on investment.

The key role of repair and maintenance is covered by a customised agreement with distributor Finning for its fleet of over 70 Caterpillor machines.

Comprising nine regional operating companies, located in East Anglia, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, East Midands, Yorkshire, Cheshire, the North West and North Wales, WRG has over 600 employees, manages 38 landfill sites and handles some six million tonnes of waste each year.

Waste handling review
Managing waste operations of this scale means that WRG is constantly investigating new ways of helping to increase efficiency across its sites and this recently led the organisation to review its waste handling equipment requirements.

Stuart Court, Group Plant Manger for WRG, explains why the group has expanded its equipment fleet: "A reliable and efficient waste handling equipment fleet is essential to the overall productivity of the Group's landfill sites. Our machines have to perform to the standards we expect of them, plus we have had to research ways of improving fleet productivity. An important factor in our decision to specify new machines was to keep abreast of advancing landfill technology.

"We required a number of highly specified, good quality machines featuring technology capable of meeting future needs. This, in effect allows us to cascade older machines to the smaller sites where cost per tonne is critical.

"For example, we have purchased a number of Cat 963Cs that have replaced 953Bs and Cs which have gone to other sites. These three 963 purchases resulted in five machine moves, allowing us to place the right machine, in terms of age, size and value on our books, to the right sites.

"We like the 963 because it features a Computerised Monitoring System that allows quick diagnosis of the power train and electrical systems and the constant monitoring of all vital machine functions. This, of course, helps the Finning engineers to locate and fix the fault as quickly as possible, helping to minimise downtime of the equipment."

Range of machines
WRG┬╣s latest order for machines comprises a range of nine Caterpillar machines, including the UK's first three 963C WHA track type loaders, a 953C track type loader, three 826G landfill compactors, an 816F landfill compactor, and a 962G wheeled loader.

The new 963Cs feature Caterpillar┬╣s full waste handling arrangement and one of these machines is already helping to dispose of the some 150,000 tonnes of waste that is treated and disposed of at WRG's Milton site in Cambridgeshire every year.

The specialist waste handling arrangement is designed to offer added machine versatility and to ensure the Cat 963C WHA performs exceptionally well in landfills and waste handling applications where it meets the site's earthmoving needs as well as acting as a back-up to the 826G. The arrangement includes a bucket trash rack and side plates which effectively increase the bucket capacity, thereby increasing productivity when handling low-density waste material.

Featuring extensive guarding and heavy-duty components, the 963C is protected from the type of damage that usually occurs in harsh waste handling environments and the 963C's trash pre-cleaner helps to supply clean, filtered air to the engine. A wide core radiator keeps the 963C cool and heavy-duty striker bars help to prevent waste gathering around the undercarriage.

Stuart Court outlines the reasoning behind the decision to purchase the 963Cs in particular: "The 963C WHA was specified because, in my opinion, there is simply no other machine on the market that could meet our requirements so exactly. Its size was a crucial factor in our decision as we needed a machine that could not only perform well as a loader, but was heavy enough to tow bulkers off the waste face in bad weather using its tow hitch."

"Since it arrived at the Milton site, the 963C is performing extremely well and the operators have been very positive about both of the new Cat machines."

WRG has not only invested time and resources finding the right equipment for its needs; it also held discussions with Finning outlining its repair and maintenance requirements, for its fleet of over 70 Cat machines. In response, Finning has supplied a customised agreement designed to meet these requirements.

Finning recommended a combination of Repair and Maintenance (R&M) and multi-flex agreements as the most appropriate option for WRG.

Finning says that WRG was attracted to the idea of a multi-flex agreement for older machines, because it enabled the group to set an agreed sum with Finning to cover all fleet repair and maintenance costs for the year. As part of the agreement, Finning and WRG hold quarterly review meetings to monitor fleet costs and to ensure the package is running smoothly.


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