Versatile excavator is the complete package at Boxley Materials

By |  February 20, 2019
Situated near the border with West Virginia, the ZX350LC-6 excavator operates amid stunning surroundings at Boxley Materials’ Rich Patch Quarry. Photo courtesy of Hitachi

Situated near the border with West Virginia, the ZX350LC-6 excavator operates amid stunning surroundings at Boxley Materials’ Rich Patch Quarry. Photo courtesy of Hitachi

Boxley Materials Co.’s Rich Patch Quarry, located near the Appalachian Mountains and a national forest, is a little more picturesque than the typical limestone quarry.

“We live and work in a beautiful part of the country here,” says Steve Robertson, superintendent at the Rich Patch Quarry in Covington, Virginia. “The quarry is very close to George Washington National Forest. I tell people in the company that I’ve got the office with the best view.”

One of the newest additions to the Rich Patch Quarry site is a ZX350LC-6 excavator from Hitachi Construction Machinery. The construction-class excavator is a primary workhorse with a breaker attachment, transforming massive limestone rocks into a crusher-friendly size.

“We’re pulling limestone out and producing anywhere from 25,000 to 35,000 tons a month through the crusher,” Robertson says. “We’re operating and crushing nine months a year, so we keep a rock breaker on the Hitachi 350 for 90 percent of the time. The material we have here is very blocky, and we wind up with a lot of big rock. There’s just no way to shoot it to get it down to crusher size, so we use the Hitachi.”

The ZX350LC-6 keeps the quarry crushing eight hours a day.

“We’ve got a jaw crusher, two impact crushers and two screens making six products: crusher run, #57, #8, #9, lime and sand,” Robertson says. “The products that we make are being used in concrete, asphalt and road bases.”

Year-round productivity

Steve Robertson is quite familiar with this view, as he’s often at the Hitachi excavator’s controls. Photo courtesy of Hitachi

Steve Robertson is quite familiar with this view, as he’s often at the Hitachi excavator’s controls. Photo courtesy of Hitachi

Although the Rich Patch Quarry operates nine months out of the year, Boxley Materials keeps its ZX350LC-6 working year-round. The machine is equipped with a quick coupler so operators can easily switch from the breaker to a bucket for other applications.

“In the winter months when it’s cold up here in the mountains, we try to do our stripping and overburden removal,” Robertson says. “We’ll use the Hitachi with a bucket to take care of it.”

As a lifelong heavy equipment fan, Robertson is a hands-on superintendent and enjoys operating the excavator. He admits the new machine took some getting used to, though.

“The hydraulics on the 350 are a little bit faster than what I was operating before,” he says. “It took me a week or two to get used to them, and now I like them. No going back now.”

Cost-effective reliability

Boxley Materials superintendent Steve Robertson is a proponent of the ZX350LC-6, which is used to break rock three-quarters of the year at the Rich Patch Quarry. Photo courtesy of Hitachi

Boxley Materials superintendent Steve Robertson is a proponent of the ZX350LC-6, which is used to break rock three-quarters of the year at the Rich Patch Quarry. Photo courtesy of Hitachi

Boxley Materials has owned and operated Hitachi equipment for 23 years, starting with an EX700 shovel. The company continues to add to its fleet.

“The reason we continue to use Hitachi equipment is that they’re cost-effective,” Robertson says. “The Hitachi 350 for us has been fuel efficient. Serviceability has been great. It seems to be very smooth operating.”

Even the local wildlife is a fan of the excavator.

“We’re in bear country and we found a footprint on the Hitachi where a bear crawled up on it,” Robertson jokes. “I guess he was curious and wanted to check it out.”

Along with reliable equipment, Boxley Materials values the support its gets on the excavator from its local dealer.

“Any time we need service, James River Equipment is spot on,” Robertson says. “We’re very pleased with the service we’re getting from them. Parts and service are a big part of why we buy Hitachi.”

As for Robertson, he continues to enjoy his office view – and the equipment.

“I love this work,” he says. “I get to run equipment every day, and not all superintendents get to do that.”


Boxley’s origins

Boxley Materials, a division of Summit Materials that was established in 1892, purchased its first quarry 58 miles west of Roanoke, Virginia, in 1908. The company operates several sites today, selling aggregate, asphalt and paving services, hardscapes and concrete throughout Roanoke and Lynchburg, Virginia. The company acquired the Rich Patch Quarry from Vulcan Materials in 2002.


Fresh off the production line

After Boxley Materials ordered its ZX350LC-6 excavator, company representatives had the opportunity to see their new machine emerge from the production line at a Gold Key event at the Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corp. facility in Kernersville, North Carolina.

Each Hitachi excavator produced in Kernersville is made to order and available for customization. Customers are invited to the facility to experience their machines firsthand through Gold Key events. Among those who attended from Boxley Materials were superintendent Steve Robertson, director of mobile equipment Mike French and operator Danny Scarce.

The Boxley Materials team met with Deere-Hitachi management, touring the facility for a behind-the-scenes look at how their machine came to life.

“I was extremely impressed with how clean the facility was,” Robertson says. “I was also impressed with the process that if a weld didn’t meet the standard, the employee who welded it was required to come down to the inspection point to repair it. It was really cool, too, that I was allowed to tram the machine off the assembly line.”


Information for this article courtesy of Hitachi Construction Machinery.


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