The flexibility of running of small fleet of Merlo telescopic handlers gives Melbourne work form contractor, Oak Park (Tullamarine) Pty Ltd, the power and reach it needs to deliver large projects on time.
Having completed some major projects, such as the Victorian Desalination Plant, Peninsula Link (Frankston Bypass) and the Springvale Level Crossing Removal project, Oak Park recently won a three-year contract for concrete and runway work at Melbourne Airport. Construction Manager for Oak Park, Renee Bell, says the company has 35 years of experience in construction and chooses to use Merlo telehandlers as a cost-effective approach to manage workflow and productivity.
A central part of the company’s operation is using five Merlo telehandlers to load and unload trucks, including a 38.13, 36.10 and three 40.17 models. “The Merlo telehandlers with the 17 m reach are better for us,” Renee says.
“We like the versatility of having the forklift tine and the crane jib. They give us so much flexibility in what we can do, whether it be loading and unloading trucks with reinforcing steel, formwork and plant or performing construction duties, such as lifting formwork and reinforcement into position.”
“Sometimes you can’t get into tight places, but using the longer jib with the 17 m reach on the Merlo telehandlers, our operators can reach over and grab what they need, and then get it out of there.”
Oak Park’s contract at Melbourne Airport keeps Renee’s team busy. Since starting a previous contract in October 2011, the company has poured more than 43,000 m3 of concrete. The Merlo telehandlers are used daily, and Renee says their operators are licensed for the different models.
“We have half a dozen operators who are licensed for the non-slewing mobile crane and then we have about 10 people licensed on a lesser ‘telehandler’ ticket, where they can lift up to 4 tonne, which is sufficient for the Merlo machines,” Renee says.
Oak Park staff are trained how to use the machines and complete a four-hour course to obtain a Certificate of Competency that complies with Work Health Safety regulations.
Renee says the Merlo machines are safe to operate and manoeuvre, and that changing attachments is a straightforward task. Her team finds the Merlos easy to use with good visibility, an important feature at any busy work site. “In terms of both fuel efficiency and time to complete tasks, the Merlo telehandlers are a lot cheaper to run than cranes, and they are much more flexible,” Renee says.
“In construction, we find the ground can be quite unstable underneath the machine, which makes it difficult for cranes and front end loaders; whereas these Merlo machines can pretty much go anywhere. It provides an accessibility advantage.”
The good backup and support Oak Park receives from its Merlo dealer, Victoria Construction Equipment (VCE), is critical to maintain high productivity.
“They’re great. Whenever I ring, it’s always, ‘Ah, I need you now’, and we get a pretty good service from VCE. They have people on site within 24 hours; if it’s not that same day then it’s definitely the next morning. The machines are rarely out of operation,” Renee recalls.
“We get the Merlos serviced regularly on RDOs so that scheduled downtime doesn’t stop our productivity. We’re using them every day, and with so many staff, you see a lot of green machines running around at the airport.”