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A second bespoke Volvo for Albion Stone

Another new bespoke Volvo L150H loading shovel has been ordered and delivered to Albion Stone PLC which joins forces with the first machine delivered at the end of 2014. The new machine will be deployed across the Jordans and Bowers stone mines on the Isle of Portland.


The new 25 tonne loading shovel has been supplied with an identical specification to the first L150H and most notably features a reduced height operators compartment for working in the mines. “We’ve been very pleased with the original machine and its capabilities in extracting the stone blocks from the working faces,” explains Mine Manager Mark Godden. “As we are significantly increasing the production at both our Jordans and Bowers mines as well as bringing a new mine (Stoneshill) on stream this year, it prompted us to add a second machine to cope with the demand.”

The initial trialling took place back in 2014 prior to the first machine being ordered so a lot of the hard work in determining the specification was already done. This second L150H has basically been a carbon copy of the first (apart from the bucket) featuring the reduction in cab height by 350mm, a 3.8m³ spade nosed bucket for cleaning up and heavy duty 1500mm block forks capable of handling blocks weighing anything from 7 up to 12 tonnes in weight.

Besides its main activity of extracting stone blocks from situ, the new L150H carries the blocks to the mine entrance where they are sorted and cut to customer requirements. The machine then carries the sawn material up to a marshalling area where it is then loaded on trailers to be transported to the cutting shops. To aid this activity the L150H has been fitted with Volvo’s optional ride control or boom suspension system together with Bridgestone 26.5 x 25 VSDT L5 tyres. In addition the machine is used to backfill waste material from the mining process into worked-out galleries in the mine using the general purpose bucket and it was considered that a spade nosed bucket was more suited to this task.

The machine has also been equipped with additional safety features for working underground and these include a fire suppression system, double pole battery isolator and a Chelwyn valve to meet mine regulations on exhaust emissions. To properly counterbalance the weights of the blocks the machine has been fitted with an optional block handling counterweight and additional LED working lights fore and aft afford the operator superb light and vision working at the mine face.

The L150H features a 13 litre stage IV final engine developing 300hp in a relatively low rpm range of between 1300 and 1400 rpm. The machine also benefits from Volvo designed and manufactured driveline components including optishift with torque converter lock up and Volvo’s patented reverse by braking feature – all designed to offer considerable fuel savings each shift. Fuel savings are further enhanced by the Volvo Eco pedal encouraging the operator to run the machine at its optimum rpm in the engine’s torque curve.

For complete peace of mind the L150H has been supplied complete with Volvo’s Silver customer support agreement which includes a flexible customer linked repair and maintenance programme tailored to Albion Stone’s needs. Besides taking delivery of this second Volvo L150H, Albion Stone has added a 5.5 tonne Volvo EC55C compact excavator specifically to clean up around the working areas within the mine and trim excess material from the working faces. Replacing a competitive make of machine the EC55C was chosen based on the high level of support provided with the first loading shovel according to Mark Godden. The machine’s delivery was co-ordinated with that of the second L150H and was supplied by Volvo’s utility dealer for the south west of England, Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire - Plant & Engineering Services Limited.

Albion Stone PLC has been involved with the Portland stone industry for nearly three quarters of a century, quarrying the oolitic limestone reputed to be 145 million years old from the Basebed, Whitbed, and Roach seams for over thirty years. In recent years, the company has switched its extraction operations from quarrying to mining. This process has made a significant reduction on its environmental impact making Portland stone an economical yet sustainable choice that compares favorably with many alternative construction materials. The extracted material is highly desired for prestigious buildings and features in many famous edifices - for example in London where Portland Stone will once again be used in the new Chelsea Barracks development project.

Volvo Construction Equipment markets wheeled loaders, articulated haulers, hydraulic excavators, Volvo utility equipment and Volvo road equipment products in Great Britain. There are eight strategically placed customer support centres and a network of utility equipment dealers to ensure high quality customer support is maintained throughout the country.

Source: Volvo AB

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