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Collaboration with dealers essential for Haydon Materials

By |  July 22, 2019
Preventive maintenance practices, plus programs like Caterpillar’s ET and VisionLink, keep Haydon Materials’ Cat haul trucks up and running. Photo: Kevin Yanik

Preventive maintenance practices, plus programs like Caterpillar’s ET and VisionLink, keep Haydon Materials’ Cat haul trucks up and running. Photo by Kevin Yanik

The brand-new shop at Haydon Materials’ Airport Road Quarry is an ideal workplace for David Copley.

Copley, a mechanic who’s been with Haydon Materials for five years, moved over to the company’s new site in Bardstown, Kentucky, when it opened late last year. The shop, completed in November 2018, measures 45 ft. x 80 ft. and stretches upward 35 ft. to an overhead crane beam. The space can accommodate the operation’s 50-ton trucks, and it’s designed to handle 60-ton trucks if Haydon Materials opts to go that route down the road.

The new shop also welcomes in more light and contains a comfortable break room where Copley and his colleagues can relax, providing advantages that just weren’t available at the old shop he worked in.

“You could barely get a loader in there,” Copley says, describing his old shop. “That was tight. No trucks could go in there at all.”

The new shop is where Copley regularly connects with the company’s equipment dealers – Brandeis Machinery, Rudd Equipment and Whayne Supply – to diagnose and fix problems with haul trucks, loaders and other critical equipment Haydon Materials relies on.

Still, maintaining today’s heavy machinery requires a different skillset than the kind necessary to keep iron from previous generations going.

“The guys have to know more about computers and diagnostics,” says David Haydon, president of Haydon Materials. “That wasn’t there a few years ago.”

Copley is often able to diagnose and fix problems on his own or alongside a Haydon Materials colleague, but there are times when a dealer is asked to step in and assist with a maintenance issue.

Sometimes, a dealer steps in with a complimentary offering because of the business Haydon Materials already brings to the dealer. At other times, a dealer gets involved based on a paid service to which Haydon Materials is subscribed.

In a perfect world, Haydon Materials wouldn’t have to rely on dealers for some of the more menial steps of the equipment maintenance process. But the new nature of modern mobile equipment often precipitates a need for producers like Haydon Materials to regularly collaborate with dealers.

“We mechanics all need more detail because the technology is here to stay,” Copley says. “We need the breakdown on how to fix it once you get to a certain point, as well as how to test it and check it. There’s a lot more involved now, and it’s probably 50 percent computer-based.”

Diagnosing & fixing equipment

David Copley, a Haydon Materials mechanic, regularly puts Caterpillar’s ET (Electronic Technician) program to use to identify critical problems with equipment. Photo: Kevin Yanik

David Copley, a Haydon Materials mechanic, regularly puts Caterpillar’s ET (Electronic Technician) program to use to identify critical problems with equipment. Photo by Kevin Yanik

Most of the mobile equipment at Haydon Materials’ Airport Road Quarry is Caterpillar-made. These days, Copley can plug in a computer to a Cat machine through the Cat ET (Electronic Technician) program to identify critical problems with equipment.

“You can save a lot of time, money and headache with your laptop,” Copley says. “Sometimes, I can figure it out myself to fix it. If I can’t, I have a tech from Whayne Supply (the company’s Cat dealer) that I can call and he’ll say try this or that. That has saved us more money because it’s friends helping out friends.”

In addition to Copley, Haydon Materials employs a lube tech who services all of the equipment at the Airport Road Quarry and two other sites. The lube tech puts a second set of internal eyes on equipment periodically.

“They had us working half days on Fridays, for example, and I’d bring a piece in and go over it,” Copley says. “Say the operator had nothing written up: We’d just run it into the shop. There’s a guy with me. I’ll get one side, he’ll get the other and we’ll run over it.

One day we found like six things on one truck that were minor, but there was no downtime later on in the week or month,” he adds. “We do this at least once a week if we can.”

Cat’s ET simplifies these preventive maintenance checks for the company. While Haydon Materials deploys mostly Cat equipment, it has Komatsu and Volvo Construction Equipment machines in its fleet. The computer plug-in process at Haydon Materials is a little different with a Volvo machine, Copley says.

“We’ve got Volvo run by Rudd Equipment [in our area] and they don’t have a system yet where I can link into their computer,” Copley says. “The other day, I had a guy come out to check a truck. He had his computer on him, did a check and said your code is cleared and we’re OK. He’s going to charge me for that, but if I had the computer I could do it myself. But they don’t have that.

“We would like to eliminate that filter,” Copley adds. “My computer only does so much.”

To Copley, systems like Cat’s ET are a must for quarry maintenance personnel to have success with modern machinery.

“Companies are going to have to offer that,” he says. “It’s just like your car. I tell the sales guys you’re going to have to join the bandwagon.”

Of course, one workaround that steers producers like Haydon Materials away from these kinds of systems is buying used equipment. The used market has presented opportunities for Haydon Materials to avoid equipment that’s dependent on diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).

“With any new equipment you’ve got DEF,” Copley says. “But we’ve bought some new trucks, 772s, that didn’t have regeneration on them. We were thankful for them because it’s one less headache. But work on all of our new loaders and they will have it on them.”

Teaming up

Older technology is sometimes preferable in mobile equipment because of the complexity of newer systems. Photo: Kevin Yanik.

Older technology is sometimes preferable in mobile equipment because of the complexity of newer systems. Photo by Kevin Yanik.

At the same time, Copley sees value in working with a variety of dealers. While he prefers to work on Cat systems, there are advantages of having a mixed fleet.

“”If I was running a quarry I would have 100 percent Cat because it’s easy for me,” Copley says. “I know their system. I was kind of born on the Cat system. I know their part numbers. I know more about [Cat] than I do about the others.

“But I’m not pulling for Cat,” he adds. “If you stay Cat all the time you’re never going to know what Komatsu and Brandeis or Volvo and Rudd are doing. Like I tell the Whayne Supply people all the time, I want to keep you honest.”

One service Copley appreciates in dealers is education. Spending time in a dealer’s classroom has helped keep him on the forefront of new technology, and a dealer like Whayne Supply has offered up its own people to deliver talks at Haydon Materials.

“They’ll work with you,” Copley says. “If I want to hold a class, they’ll send somebody down here. They’re very easy to work with.”

It’s that high level of service and communication that makes a world of difference for producers like Haydon Materials.

“The equipment’s changing and we’ve got to keep up,” Haydon says. “But the dealer has to help us keep up.”


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