Rail Plant Hire expands Caterpillar dozer fleet


One of Rail Plant Hire’s recently acquired Cat D6R units adds to its expanding dozer fleet.

Backed by a well-established contractor base in the construction and mining sectors, Rail Plant Hire, one of the southern hemisphere’s largest dozer fleet owners, recently expanded its fleet with the addition of four new Caterpillar D6R units. Five D8Rs were also acquired towards the end of 2015 for deployment within the mining sector.

Expertise comes with tried and tested experience, which for Cat mid-sized track-type tractors makes Rail Plant Hire an expert in this field. “In fact we are even more specialised since our fleet predominately comprises Cat D6R units,” explains Chris Barclay, managing director of Rail Plant Hire, which currently owns and operates more than 62 dozers.

As Barclay explains, the company caters for both short-term hire as well as longer term contracts for projects ranging from new power station developments to national highway construction. “Historically we have worked nationally and internationally, and continue to support our customers on cross-border projects.”

Caterpillar test programmes

Alongside its mainstream activities, in the past 12 months Rail Plant Hire has also been participating in two Caterpillar pilot programmes in conjunction with southern African Caterpillar dealer, Barloworld Equipment. The first entailed the field testing of a new type of Cat undercarriage system, and the second a performance trial on a Cat D6R Series 2 track-type tractor.

As Barclay points out, when it comes to testing and real-life application, machine site matching and operator proficiency are especially important for dozers. This is particularly the case when it comes to the longevity of their undercarriage systems. Simply put, the average cost for track maintenance over the life of a dozer will typically equate to around 40% of its original purchase price, assuming correct utilisation. In the wrong hands, it will end up costing a lot more.

Underscoring these statements, Rail Plant Hire employs a specialist technician who focuses exclusively on undercarriage inspections and assessments across the company’s dozer fleet. “We monitor our overall availability closely, but in the event that a machine does go down in the field, we have back-up units in place and prefer to change-out rather than conduct in-situ repairs,” says Barclay.

Leveraging off Caterpillar’s second and third life rebuild design philosophy, Rail Plant Hire’s maintenance team are fully equipped for machine overhauls and follow the latest Cat maintenance handbooks. All Cat units are also registered on the Cat S O S fuel and wear analysis programmes provided by the Barloworld Condition Monitoring Centre in Boksburg, Johannesburg.

“Overall, our machines deliver excellent mechanical availability and the D6 remains a versatile dozer well-suited for the plant hire industry,” he adds.

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