With Russia still one of the world’s fastest growing market economies, its need for infrastructure expansion has meant more roads and with them, of course, an increased need for sand and gravel production. Two sand and gravel factories working near Moscow are helping drive the production of buildings, sidewalks, roads and highways with their output. And they’re using SDLG wheel loaders to do it.
In from the cold
One of the facilities, the Vostok Prom Beton sand and gravel factory, located in the Kaluga area 180 km southwest of Moscow, has been going for five years, moving 300 t of material a day. The sand and gravel remain in the region and are sold to customers who use them in road and building construction. The factory has a fleet of 17 machines, including two SDLG LG956L wheel loaders and also featuring excavators, bulldozers and separators.
The SDLG wheel loaders keep going, despite the subzero temperatures they have to contend with during the long winters. And their operators say that keeping the wheel loaders in good working condition isn’t as hard as you might think. “The machines don’t stop working — that’s what keeps them up and running,” says factory manager Sergey Barinov. “You’ve got to run them with winterized diesel and make sure you change the engine and hydraulic oil, and they’ll keep right on going.”
And it’s a similar story on the other side of town, where two other LG956L wheel loaders work at the Bolshoe Snopovo sand pit, located in Snopovo, 65 km northwest of Moscow. Here the machines are separating rocks from sand and moving as much as 1,000 m3 of sand in a 10-hour shift. The sand is hauled away to make cement that’s being used in the construction of the new 700 km Moscow-Saint Petersburg highway. The factory has been in operation for two years with the sand estimated to last another year and a half.
“As long as you don’t shut the wheel loaders down for very long, it’s not a big problem,” says Vladimir Klabukov, owner of Bolshoe Snopovo when asked about the challenges of cold weather working. “If you do have to stop them, then you’ll need to use an additional heater to preheat the machine before starting it up again.”
At both sites, the machines work long days, going for up to 23 hours and only taking a break for one week of holidays after the New Year.
SDLG is one of the most prominent Chinese construction equipment manufacturers in Russia, and the company was the market leader in wheel loaders in 2012. Both Barinov and Klabukov discovered the brand a few years ago — and now they’re loyal customers.
“The engine on the SDLGs is very powerful, but fuel consumption is low,” Barinov says. “The loaders are comfortable for our operators, and the cab is wide, spacious and keeps warm in the winter. The tires on the SDLG are durable, which is an important factor with the wear and tear our machines sustain here. SDLG has proved itself reliable, time and time again.”
Klabukov had worked with SDLG loaders alongside competitor brands in a previous position and felt that the price and quality of SDLG were more attractive than that of other machines. He plans to stick with SDLG, whose buckets he says are optimal for loading.
His Snopovo factory purchased its SDLG wheel loaders through RBA, an equipment dealer with 23 locations, including one nearby in Moscow. “It’s important to have service technicians who can get to us easily and quickly when we have a problem,” Klabukov says.
Vostok Prom Beton first bought SDLG wheel loaders in 2008. After running them for 15,000 hours, the company sold them and replaced them with a new pair of LG956L loaders, purchased from another SDLG dealer in Moscow called SDT — which is smaller than RBA but more specialized, with 70% of its business coming from SDLG wheel loaders. It has six offices in western, southern and northern Russia.
“For us, spare parts are extremely important, but fortunately SDT has a massive store of spare parts,” Barinov says. “If a vital part on one of the loaders breaks, the company sends technicians as soon as possible to replace the parts. The company takes care of us pretty well.”
It’s not an easy life for a wheel loader in Russia. But at least Barinov and Klabukov have the strength of the SDLG brand — and the Russian service network — to back them up.