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Is electric equipment the future?

Equip2 Team
14 Jul

Diesel-hydraulic systems have been the go-to for decades, but with the rising costs of fuel and increased regulation on emissions, is there a better alternative for quarries in New Zealand?

Is electric equipment the future?

Something new is driving the construction industry. It’s good news for everyone.

Particularly in heavy construction and quarrying, diesel-hydraulic systems have been the go-to for decades. And whilst operation and productivity has been dependable and met expectations, we’ve known of the issues with diesel engines for sometime.

Under consistently heavy running conditions, diesel consumption is expensive. Current global conditions and the trajectory of fuel prices suggest the price of diesel is unlikely to drop in the near future. In addition, diesel engines require more maintenance depending on the surrounding conditions. A dusty or gritty environment means diesel engines and diesel-hydraulic powertrains need constant supervision, and require significantly more maintenance intervals. This in turn means down time and a drop in productivity, not to mention increased expenditure on lubricants, replacement filters, hose connections and other vulnerable components. Added to this, diesel drives are noisy, can lead to thermal issues and are labour-intensive to operate.

Then there is the environmental impact. Whilst the global construction industry accounts for up to 13% of gross global domestic product, it’s also a major energy consumer and highly carbon intensive. Up to 39% of energy-related CO2 emissions around the world are directly attributable to the wider construction sector. Reducing this output is a critical benchmark if the world is to meet the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These aims are increasingly supported by governments and supported by think tanks like the World Economic Forum.

Emissions from the New Zealand construction industry have increased by 66% over the past decade.

Key goals for the industry around the world include becoming more energy-efficient,adapting to use renewable energy, reducing the exploitation of finite resources, reducing pollution and waste, and achieving significant reductions in emissions. Already in parts of Europe, achieving a low CO2 footprint and low to zero emissions are becoming decisive factors in tendering for public works.

Keestrack –a family-owned heavy construction and quarrying equipment manufacturer basedinBelgium but with a presence in 100 country markets – is tackling this goalhead on. The brand has a history of successful innovation, including introducing a revolutionary load-sensing hydraulics drive in 1999 that cut fuel costs by 30%. For a decade, Keestrack has been challenging the dominance of diesel energy. Early on, they recognised the significant operational advantages of electric drives for track-mounted mobile processing units with transport weights up to 60 tonnes.

In 2012,Keestrack debuted the first diesel-electric classifier. This was followed by the first hybrid scalper and the first hybrid crusher. A more recent example is the innovative range of hybrid impact, jaw and cone crushers from Keestrack ,including the H4e hybrid cone crusher. These machines employ a removable diesel genset to power the cone and long life hydraulic e-motors. All combine exceptional crushing ability with increased fuel efficiency, paired with lower costs of ownership. Plus the electric motors have a longer operating life than traditional hydraulic equivalents. The H4e was the first hybrid machine available in New Zealand through national supply partner Equip2.

Every Keestrack Zero machine is an investment in reducing energy consumption and creating a healthier future through lower CO2 emissions.

Now Keestrack are releasing their most ambitious, far-reaching and innovative range of heavy equipment: the Keestrack Zero range. This is a line-up of 100% emission-free heavy track-mounted equipment. Every machine in the range can be operated from the electrical grid, or powered by an external generator. Included in the range and now available for supply in New Zealand are the following:

The complete Keestrack electric and zero emission range of quarry equipment availble from Equip2

A game-changer for operating costs

In Norway,over 90% of quarrying plant is electrically powered. This is clear evidence of the growing popularity of electricity over diesel as an energy source.Operating machines from the Keestrack Zero range bring clear advantages to the operator. An initially higher price ticket is recouped in just a few years of operation, driven by the 40-70% savings in fuel expenditure and the greatly reduced costs of ownership. A key factor in this is because electrically driven machines only have one primary moving part – the drive shaft. This creates greatly reduced need for servicing, maintenance and replacement parts. Inreturn you benefit from greater mechanical efficiency and access to greater torqueto apply to the machine’s primary function.

The Keestrack Zero range adds extra versatility and convenience in the different machines can be ‘daisy-chained’ and all be connected to each other from a single electrical energy source. Operating the machines is simplified as all functionality is controlled by intelligent Keestrack plant control. This includes numerous automated routines and comprehensive monitoring with bi-directional transmission of both machine and production data using the satellite-based Keestrack-er System.

At-a-glance operating benefits of Keestrack Zero equipment:

• Immediate savings through 40% to 70% less fuel expenditure.
• Lower spend on consumables like oil, lubricants, filters, hose seals.
• Lower maintenance hours and downtime.
• Link more than one Zero series electrically powered heavy machine together from a single electrical energy source.
• Reduced noise pollution.
• All functions remotely monitored by Keestrack-er satellite monitoring. 

As well as a major win for brand reputation among key stakeholders

New Zealand is a long way from Europe. But that doesn’t make us immune from the very same environmental challenges and expectations. In fact a June 2021 white paper titled “Environmental challenges, opportunities and transitions for construction in Aotearoa-New Zealand” reported that 20% of NZ’s carbon footprint is linked to construction. Of even more concern, the same paper reported that there had been a 66% increase in emissions from the construction industry over the past decade.

In fact according to Kantar’s annual Better Futures survey, awareness of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and what they specifically mean for Aotearoa-New Zealand’s precious natural environment has been growing consistently since 2017. Now it’s clear that ordinary Kiwis expect businesses of all shapes and sizes to take their corporate social responsibility seriously. Wherever feasible, this means stepping up as diligent caretakers of our land, air and waters, and making decisions that have the long term health and restoration of our environment at heart.

According to Gartner, 85% of investors took environmental, social and governance(ESG)criteria into account in 2020.

In fact,responding proactively to the Environmental Social Governance (ESG) needs of markets is now proven to make your business more attractive to investors domestically and internationally. According to international analyst Gartner, 85% of investors took ESG criteria into account with investment decisions in 2020. Acting responsibly and in the long term interests of communities and the environment brings other clear advantages.

Ordinary Kiwis expect our businesses to take corporate social responsibility seriously.

Summary of benefits accrued through a strong Environmental Social Governance strategy:

• The ability to attract and keep top talent at all levels.
• Heightened customer loyalty.
• A clear advantage in tendering for public projects under government finance.
• Improved access to capital.
• Better stock performance.
• Reduced compliance costs.
• Markedly higher levels of employee engagement, loyalty and satisfaction. 

Equip2 will partner you in meeting the challenge

As the New Zealand construction industry continues to grow and more and more large projects come on stream, operators of heavy equipment in quarrying and roading are faced with a clear choice: to persevere with the known factors that come with diesel-powered machines, knowing that this is seriously jeopardising the health of Aotearoa-New Zealand’s landmass and reducing the likelihood that we will reach our emissions target. Or to take a stand and demonstrate that alongside business performance, you also prioritise the quality of the future we will bequeath to the coming generation.

As Keestrack’s sole distribution partner for New Zealand and Oceania, Equip2 are fully aware of both the operating advantages and brand reputation benefits brought by the Zero series. Within New Zealand, Equip2 are recognised as experts in the supply and support of mobile plant factories used in quarrying,contracting, mining, material recycling, demolition and agriculture. Talk to us about the new Keestrack Zero range, and we’ll tailor a projection of the actual savings a specific Keestrack Zero machine will bring to your operation. The outcome is something that will please all corners of your business, from the head of operations to the CFO and CEO.

To find out more about the new Keestrack Zero range of emission-free electrically-powered impact, cone and jaw crushers, email or call Simon Johnston or Jacob Hart on 0800 100 684

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