Major Zim milestone unlocked

On the back of a hive of construction activity, Liebherr-Africa and its Zimbabwean dealer, R&S DieselPro Services, are celebrating a sales milestone for 50 Liebherr R 920 units and counting. Central to the success of the 20-tonne (t) class excavator in Zimbabwe is its outstanding operational efficiency and, more importantly, the aftermarket support behind it. By Munesu Shoko.
Having sold the first unit in 2017, R&S DieselPro Services is delivering its 50th R 920 excavator to a customer in Zimbabwe.

Having sold the first unit in 2017, R&S DieselPro Services is delivering its 50th R 920 excavator to a customer in Zimbabwe. Commenting on market drivers, Tendayi Kudumba, GM for Earthmoving at Liebherr-Africa, tells Quarrying Africa that the success of the 20-t class machine in Zimbabwe has largely been driven by the increased construction activity in the country.

In recent years, the Zimbabwean government has embarked on massive reconstruction and rehabilitation of major road networks to enhance domestic and regional connectivity. The renewal starts right at the Beit Bridge border post, where the US$300-million modernisation project has been commissioned. This project has not only changed the face of border management, but has had immense positive and sustainable impact, particularly for commercial trucks, as the time spent at what is believed to be the busiest border in southern Africa has decreased and has helped the movement of goods in the region.

Away from the border, work on the 580-km Harare-Masvingo-Beit Bridge highway continues unabated, with over 400 km – almost 70% of the project – completed and now open to traffic. Part of the North South Corridor, which begins in Durban, South Africa, passing through Zimbabwe and ending in Lubumbashi, DRC, the project is divided into three sections: the 580-km Harare-Masvingo-Beit Bridge highway with its eight toll plazas, the 342-km Harare-Chirundu highway, and the 59-km Harare Ring Road with three toll plazas.

Meanwhile, work on the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway, another strategic trade route in the regional North South Corridor, has commenced, marking another significant construction project in the country.

Developed for use in earthmoving, digging and drainage, among other applications, the R 920 has enjoyed its fair share of sales success in the construction contracting fraternity, with a customer base of both established and upcoming contractors. One of the success factors, says Kudumba, is the fact that the machine is competitively priced, even against some of the so-called ‘value brands’.

“In addition, Zimbabwe is seemingly transitioning into a premium market. Having traditionally been dominated by value offerings, we have seen a significant shift in recent years as contractors start to understand the benefits of premium equipment, especially as far as the total cost of ownership is concerned,” says Kudumba.

Developed for use in earthmoving, digging and drainage, among other applications, the R 920 has enjoyed its fair share of sales success in the construction contracting fraternity in Zimbabwe.

Machine in detail

With operating costs high on the agenda, construction contractors in southern Africa are placing operational efficiencies at the centre of their procurement decisions. Powered by a 110 kW/150 HP engine, the R 920 leverages Liebherr’s integrated systems and the constant management of the engine and hydraulics to control fuel consumption. In addition, the optimised Positive Control hydraulic system makes the combined movements of the machine even more fluid, which in turn increases the breakout forces and breakaway torques for high levels of productivity combined with low fuel consumption.

“Our Positive Control hydraulic system features two working pumps to provide power for maximum excavation, travel or swing efficiency. With the system, the combined movements are optimised for operations ranging from levelling to extraction, loading and lifting, either with or without travel,” explains Kudumba.

Intelligent work modes further enhance efficiency. Designed for economic operation, the Economy mode is recommended for normal working conditions. Power Mode makes light work of high excavation capacities in difficult applications, while the Sensitivity Mode is ideally suited for accurate load-lifting applications. Meanwhile, Full Power Mode is especially designed for higher power often required for demanding applications.

With its new maintenance concept, Liebherr has significantly reduced the cost of excavator maintenance. To provide context, the R 920’s maintenance elements are positioned closely together and are easily accessible from the ground. The automatic central lubrication system is installed as standard and leads to increased productivity resulting from time savings.

When designing the R 920, Liebherr also placed a big focus on operator comfort. The machine comes with an enlarged cab with a mechanical suspension seat and a very comfortable working environment. The seat offers comfort thanks to air suspension, several horizontal and vertical settings, and adjustable pneumatic lumbar support.

“The acoustic power inside the operator’s cab is one of the lowest on the market to minimise fatigue and increase productivity and the cab is mounted on viscoelastic rivets to minimise vibration. The piping on these machines is also supported by rubber flanges to help reduce external noise,” says Kudumba.

With visibility in mind, large, glazed surface windows provide good visibility from the operator’s platform. A wide emergency exit via the rear window provides for operator safety. The proportional joysticks on this machine are finely tuned for sensitive, accurate and fluid machine operation.

One of the success factors in Zimbabwe is that the machine is competitively priced.

Support matters

Every good product, says Kudumba, is as good as the aftermarket support behind it. The success of the Liebherr R 920, and the Liebherr range at large, in Zimbabwe, is largely down to the outstanding support from R&S DieselPro Services, which has established longstanding relationships with its existing customers, while bringing more new customers on board, especially start-up companies.

“Having a good dealer in the country has been central to our success in Zimbabwe. R&S DieselPro Services has a good support footprint in major cities such as Harare and Bulawayo. The company also places a premium on the training of its technicians, which are the lifeblood of its strong aftermarket regime,” says Kudumba.

Since assuming the dealership status in 2017, R&S DieselPro Services has enjoyed massive success with the Liebherr brand in Zimbabwe. To provide context, the company sold the first ever three Liebherr TA 230 articulated dump trucks in Africa, which are hard at work in an underground application at the Freda Rebecca Gold Mine in Bindura, Zimbabwe, hauling ore from the underground tunnels to the overland crushers.

The company also boasts the largest population of Liebherr PR 736 dozers in southern Africa to date, with two more set to be delivered to a flagship construction contractor in Zimbabwe. This, says Kudumba, speaks volumes about R&S DieselPro Services’ capabilities as a dealer.

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