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Drilling, Tunnelling and Shaftsinking
New addition for drilling and blasting company
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22nd April 2005
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Durban-based drilling and blasting company, Eire Contractors, has added yet another Atlas Copco rig from Consolidated Rock Machinery (CRM) to its burgeoning fleet. The latest is the Atlas Copco ECM720 crawler drill, bringing to a total of 22 Atlas Copco rigs in the Eire fleet.

Owner and MD John Moffatt established Eire Contractors in 1988.

“I wanted my own business so I left where I was working and set up with two rigs, two other colleagues and one small contract,” says Moffatt. “Today we have a large complement of staff, 22 rigs and work all over the country and outside the borders including in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Swaziland,” he claims.

Moffatt says he started off in the roadworks sector but as government money dried up in this sector, he diversified into quarrying, mining and construction. “As the years went by, we adapted to working in the sectors where the demand was, and in this way the workflow was kept constant and the company grew from strength to strength,” adds Moffatt.

Currently, Eire is working on several contracts that have caught the attention of the industry. One such contract is under way at the Berg river dam, just outside Franschoek. According to Moffatt, the uniqueness of this job is not so much the volumes as the complexity of the work.

“The job entails the diversion of the Berg river and this requires a lot of blasting in order to take the concrete works for the diversion and, to avoid excessive overreach, we have to blast very carefully,” says Moffatt.

“Our pioneering methods are a resounding success,” adds Moffatt, “saving clients significantly on time and money.” On the question of the technology of the ECM 720, Moffatt is complimentary.

“This machine is typical of Atlas Copco machines in that it shows that its designers have a real understanding of the operator’s needs and there is tremendous attention to detail,” says Moffatt.

“The EC720 is indeed a technological masterpiece,” he adds. It provides the perfect balance between productivity and cost-efficiency, delivering overall improved performance with hole straightness, faster penetration rates and longer accessory life.

On the understanding that less downtime means increased productivity, the ECM 720 has been designed for simplified service and maintenance. To this end, the design incorporates easy access to critical areas and components through numerous access doors, the ability to quickly and easily take apart and assemble the mainframe housing and multiple ground-level service points.

Conscious of the fact that it is not only machine features that affect productivity, but driver comfort as well, Atlas Copco has ensured that the EC780 is very user-friendly. A pressurised air conditioning and heating system provides a clean, comfortable operating environment and the noise in the cab has been significantly reduced. Excavator-style drilling controls and a single joystick make the machine easy to operate, while the full-surface front glass provides an unobstructed view of the hole during drilling. Finally, the ROPS/FOPS ISO certified cab is shock mounted and, importantly, is independent of track movement for better hole visibility on uneven terrain.  Moffatt says that, apart from the technology of the machines, the reason that his entire fleet is Atlas Copco is largely due to the relationship between his company and CRM. “The relationship has been successful because it has been built on a win-win basis,” says Moffatt. “My team gets on extremely well with the CRM team and they with ours,” he adds.

“It has been a mutually-beneficial relationship over the years and I think that is the foundation for any successful business relationship,” notes Moffatt.

CRM director Gary Neave says his company is pleased that Eire Contractors, one of the leading contractors in this country, has created its entire fleet from Atlas Copco products.
Edited by: abdul cook


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