Victoria, BC – As the Volvo equipment dealer serving Vancouver Island, off the coast of British Columbia, Greg Eaton of Great West Equipment, knows what customers look for when they™re out to buy large construction machines. As the area™s dealer for Champion Motor Graders, Greg has learned that experienced customers tend to look for the same things in their small machines, too.
In some quarters, equipment buyers will lower their expectations when it comes to compact equipment. In the long run, though, fleet managers need quality, dependability and performance in their small machines just as much as they do with the full-size counterparts.
As Greg reports, We have a couple of big paving outfits in the city of Victoria who have purchased several Champion C80 machines. One of them is Island Asphalt, where Equipment Manager Fred McMurray, has a Champion Grader running alongside a fleet of seven large graders. Fred says they run so well, Greg recalls, that his operators don™t even to get into a big grader anymore!
When Fred is asked why he brought Champion Graders into his business, he focuses on quality, not cost. I liked the quality of workmanship, he says. We all like the looks, the power and versatility as well as the overall quality.
Island Asphalt has been operating in the Victoria area for over 40 years. One of the largest paving companies in the area, the Island Asphalt fleet is the basis for an active equipment rental business as well as asphalt contracting. The company operates two asphalt plants including an
in-house testing lab along with its general contracting, surface milling and aggregates processing activities. The heart of the enterprise, though, is the paving business, ranging from airport runways to tennis courts, along with traditional road work and parking lots.
The Champion machines joined the Island Asphalt fleet just over a year ago. We were looking for a small grader; we tried the Champion in 1994 but we didn™t buy then, Fred remembers. Since then, he looked at other small graders and soon saw that The Champion is built better. These machines will do all the smaller parking lots, driveways and some subdivision streets.
The C80 model graders are Champion™s tandem-drive unit, weighing in at 15,000 lbs (6 800 kg), less than half the size of the large graders. Both types of machine have a role to fill. These small graders keep us very competitive in the smaller market, Fred explains. The small grader keeps us more competitive in contracting work and gives our customers another choice for their projects, too. Our large graders are required for the large jobs where heavy material has to be moved quickly. By having the Champion machine available for small projects and jobs in constricted work areas, he has the flexibility to choose the most cost-efficient machine for the specific application. The grader operators at Island Asphalt appreciate the way Champion is built. According to Fred, “Our operators like the comfort, ease of operation and visibility”- a common theme among grader people whether they are working in large machines or small!
Bryan Abernathy, Vice President Sales & Marketing at Champion Motor Graders, says that it™s no coincidence people talk about his compact machines in the same terms as large graders. We learned a long time ago that we have to ˜think big™ when we design small equipment. The size of the grader shouldn™t affect its quality or the way it handles. It also provides the operators with an ability to transition between large graders and Champion units as we both use industry standard controls.
The engineering has to be there, continued Bryan, to make the grader a productive investment for the customer. You can™t afford downtime when the job calls for a compact grader anymore than you can afford downtime on big jobs. You still have to be on the job, moving dirt and finishing with a quality grade.
Now that his people have seen how Champion Motor Graders perform, McMurray says that he expects to add another C80 in the very near future. For quality and versatility, Island Asphalt has big plans for these small machines!
One of the oldest names in the equipment industry, Champion Motor Graders has specialized in the development of motor graders and attachments for over 25 years. Champion engineering and manufacturing, based in Charlotte, NC, are dedicated to the production of compact and Production Class motor graders that assure customers of the same productivity and quality standards they expect from the best in full-size construction machinery. The Champion line-up now includes seven basic models with operating weights from 12,000 to 24,000 lbs., featuring the full range of single-axle, tandem and all-wheel 4×4 and 6×6 drive systems. Champion continues to develop a growing range of specialized equipment for the road maintenance and paving industry.