A FLEET of Volvo Construction Equipment machines is working at the Hongsa Power Plant in Laos to ensure the project is completed on time. When completed in 2016, the plant’s steam powered generator will be fuelled by lignite and have the capacity to generate more than 1878 MW a day – more than any existing power plants in Laos. The plant will provide electricity across Laos and Thailand.

Launched in 2009, the Hongsa project is a joint venture between Banpu Power Ltd (BPP), Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE) and the Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company Limited (RATCH), called Hongsa Power Company Limited (HPC).

Italian Thai Hongsa has been contracted for 15 years to carry out extraction and loading operations of the lignite to fuel the generator, using 18 Volvo machines – ranging from the first-ever Volvo 70-tonne excavator to be delivered in Laos to a range of wheel loaders, motor graders and soil compactors. The machines are being used to extract lignite and load it onto trucks, ready to be transported to the power plant, as well as maintaining the roads around the large site.

When Italian Thai Hongsa took delivery of the Volvo EC700C excavator, the largest Volvo CE unit ever sold in Laos, project manager Sutee Boonsayamtham noticed the impact straight away. “We previously used the smaller, Volvo EC380DL and because of its low fuel consumption and good performance, we decided to purchase more Volvo excavators. The EC700C was worth the investment – it also demonstrates good fuel efficiency and a powerful engine, while the larger bucket size has boosted productivity tremendously.”

The EC700C features a 336.5kW Volvo V-ACT engine that delivers high torque in low revs for an impress performance and fuel efficiency. Volvo says the advanced hydraulic system is well matched to offer the operator smooth and responsive digging and lifting, as well as high breakout force. The cab is spacious and designed for safe operation with enhanced visibility. The machine’s robust undercarriage and reinforced superstructure, boom and arm are all built to last against the daily stresses in tough applications.

In addition to the 70-tonne excavator, there are three Volvo CE EC210 Primes, three EC380DLs, one EC140BLC and one ECR88 Plus excavators used in digging and loading applications. “We are impressed by the overall performance of the Volvo excavators. The strong undercarriage makes them reliable and highly productive,” says Sutee Boonsayamtham.

Also in operation at the site are Volvo CE L150G and L70F wheel loaders, which are used to support the excavators in loading and dumping applications. Volvo says its CE wheel loaders are recognized for their durable and fuel efficient Volvo engine, the comfortable operator environment, including the cab design and ergonomic control layout. Volvo’s torque-parallel linkage delivers parallel lift with a high breakout force, while the transmission features Automatic Power Shift for easy operation.
Hongsa Power Plant is in Hongsa district in the province of Sayabouly, hugging the Thai border. The mountainous, rural province can be difficult to navigate with limited roads and infrastructure, so delivering machine support can be difficult. That’s why Volvo dealer Italthai Industrial (ITI) has deployed a team of service technicians who are based on-site to keep the machines up and running.
ITI has 13 branches across Thailand, as well as a sales, service and spare parts dealership in the Lao capital of Vientiane. “Our aim is to deliver our services to customers as closely as we can maximize uptime for our customers,” explains Italthai Group president and CEO Khun Yuthachai Charanachitta. Italthai Group is the parent company of ITI. “That’s why we have an on-site service, so that machines can be maintained around the clock.”
Italian Thai Hongsa has a strong relationship with ITI. “The combination of fuel efficient machines and reliable aftermarket support from ITI makes a perfect solution to meet our needs on site,” concludes Sutee Boonsayamtham.

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