MORE and more LiuGong wheel loaders are popping up along WA roadsides, working for regional shires, with the Shire of Nungarin one of the latest to make the move and also since adding a grader and ordering a multi-tyre roller from the manufacturer.
Bordered by the Merredin, Trayning, Kellerberrin and Mukinbudin shires, Nungarin is one of the smaller country shires in WA, but still oversees about 370 kilometres of gravel and 180km of bitumen roads.
Dave Nayda joined the Shire of Nungarin from the drilling industry in the State’s north and upon stepping up to the Works and Services Manager role, he was keen to update some of its equipment in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer.
“It was in need of an upgrade, but when we looked at the cost of some of the big brands, we realised that was not possible,” Dave said.
“We heard of some shires that had the LiuGong loaders and that was our first machine and we have had no dramas with it.
“We did the price comparisons and the saving was huge.”
The 856H (high specification) LiuGong wheeled loader is powered by a turbocharged and air-to-air intercooled, six-cylinder Cummins Stage III engine, offering up to 217-horsepower, speeds up to 40 kilometres per hour and a tipping load of 5 tonnes. A German countershaft, power shift transmission provides four forward speeds and three reverse speeds.
Quick hitch buckets are now standard on the loaders, with the high specification model using a 3.5m3 bucket, while a 3m3 size is used on the standard model.
Extra features with the high specification LiuGong 856H wheel loader also include an auto-greaser on the machine.
“It can do a lot of clearing work along the sides of roads and loading of trucks with gravel.”
“It’s definitely as good as the major brands, if not better, for pushing power. It’s brilliant pushing the pile.”
He said, initially, they had not planned to upgrade the Shire’s old CAT grader, but then discovered it was costing $40,000-$50,000 in annual repairs and maintenance, which, as a result, also caused considerable downtime.
Following the good experience with the LiuGong wheeled loader and after chatting with a shire in South Australia over the use of one of the brand’s graders, the Shire of Nungarin then became one of the first in WA to add a LiuGong grader to its fleet, again for a significantly lower capital investment compared with other major brands.
The 19-20 tonne LiuGong 4230D motor grader features a 9-litre Cummins engine and Dave said the machine had shown its reliability after chalking-up more than 650 hours.
“It doesn’t lack any power and it’s doing a good job, with no breakdowns so far.”
He said operator comfort with the LiuGong grader also was a big plus.
“The guys have all come out of other machines into the LiuGong and they are extremely happy.”
Dave said he would like to request a couple of extra items with the grader, however, he said its strong value had been well demonstrated.
The LiuGong machines were purchased through local Merredin dealer, McIntosh & Son, which had offered excellent backup support to the Shire of Nungarin.
“The support has been absolutely superb from the team at Merredin, and they continue to carry out our major machine services,” Dave said.
He said in the future, he would like to target a second LiuGong grader for the shire.