Hitachi excavators and Horizon West

Hitachi excavators has a history with a fast-growing Western Australian company which goes back to the company’s start – and continues today.

Horizon West is made up of three complementary divisions specialising in commercial landscape construction, commercial irrigation systems and ongoing landscape and irrigation maintenance.

Having kicked off in early 2007, the company has grown to where it is now. Currently having several Hitachi excavators and a Hitachi wheel loader in its fleet, along with over 90 employees, including Construction Supervisor, Kim Ball.

“I joined in 2011,” remembered the likable West Aussie. “At that point we ran one Hitachi excavator. From 2011 to now, it’s flown.”

Enclosed cabins with air conditioning and heating help keep operator comfort at a premium in tough conditions. Image: Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia

Then and now

“When I started we had an open-cab ZX33U-5,” said Ball. “It was a really impressive machine. It did more than it should, if that makes sense. It certainly did more than what it was expected to do, and it was reliable. It just never broke down. From a mechanical point of view it was an outstanding machine.”

“The second purchase was a secon ZX33U-5 excavator with a cab, and then we ended up with a ZX48U-5 just to vary the size a little bit, and a ZX120-3.”

The Horizon West Hitachi excavators work on a wide range of projects, all in the harsh and unforgiving terrain of WA. Having excavators available in a range of sizes is a big plus for Horizon West, as Ball explained.

“We tend to deal mostly with sand, limestone and caprock. There’s a lot of that in the coastal regions of WA. If we head east into the hills we deal with a lot of granite.

“The machines hold up really well.

“If we’re working on clay they’re sufficiently powered, and by having that variety we’re able to jump from one to the next, depending on what’s required. If we come across caprock limestone we can throw the ZX135US-5 in there to do all the breakaway work, and then we’ll throw a smaller machine in there to tidy up.”

The Horizon West Hitachi excavators deal mostly with sand, limestone and caprock, and machine reliability is exceptional. Image: Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia

Happy with Hitachi

The performance of the excavators is one part of the productivity equation, reliability is vital, but operator comfort has a big impact on how much gets done, and in that department the Hitachi machines score very highly with the Horizon West operators.

“We had the open-cab originally,” Ball related, “and that was good. But Western Australia’s pretty harsh. It’s hot and dusty in summer and wet in the winter, so it was nice when we went to the enclosed cabs with air conditioning and heating. That was nice.

“The boys do try and be first into the ZX135US-5 or the loaders because they’re the biggest and have an air seat, but all the machines are pretty comfortable.”

And if something does go wrong?

“We have great relationships with Hitachi salespeople,” smiled Ball. “The sales and back-up support from Hitachi is exceptional. “If there’s ever a drama or something we didn’t understand with the machine, Hitachi is contactable. The sales staff quite often book in our servicing for us when we speak to them.

“Their back-up service is fantastic, and that’s helped keep us with Hitachi.”

The ZW180-5 wheel loader works hard keeping up with the excavators. Image: Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia

In a nutshell

As Construction Supervisor, Ball is well placed to see the strengths and any flaws in the Horizon West equipment, and when asked for the high points of the Hitachi excavators he came straight back with, “Their reliability. They always perform.”

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Image: Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia


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