A Portuguese limestone supplier has added a Hitachi ZW310-6 wheel loader to its fleet to help it maintain the highest levels of productivity at its quarry near the town of Fátima. Filstone Natural SA (Filstone) (video) was established in 2002 by CEO Ricardo Jorge and produces 900,000 tonnes of material per year at the 30-hectare site.
The Hitachi wheel loader is working on the second level of the quarry to load trucks, move limestone between different stockpiles, and feed the crushing and screening equipment. The material being handled by the ZW310-6 is a secondary commodity created by activities on the quarry floor, in which 13-14 tonne limestone blocks are cut. At the current time, reserves are anticipated to last for the next 100 years.
Stable and compact
“I first learned about Hitachi on a visit to Japan in 1997 and I know that the company is associated with quality,” confirms Ricardo. “Many of my friends in the industry own Hitachi machines and I have always heard positive statements about the servicing and maintenance. In time, we began discussions with Moviter [Hitachi’s authorised local dealer] to gauge what they could offer and agreed to invest in the ZW310-6.”
For Ricardo, the Hitachi wheel loader is essential to Filstone’s output, especially in a market in which limestone can sometimes be more lucrative than marble. “Japanese companies such as Hitachi are forward-thinking and the ZW310-6 has undoubted quality. We had high expectations for the wheel loader, but were surprised by its low fuel consumption. In addition, the machine is stable and compact, and still performs as effectively as a larger machine.”
A pleasure to operate
At the family-owned company, Ricardo’s cousin, Humberto Miguel de Jesus Santos, is operating the ZW310-6. He agrees with Ricardo about the merits of the Hitachi machine: “This wheel loader is like a Porsche! Rapid, agile and smooth. Inside the cab there is near 100% visibility and it is very quiet. In terms of maintenance, it has well-positioned access points and is easy to clean. I really enjoy using Hitachi machines.”