Rolly Lawford – Director of Works and Technical Services, Gilgandra Shire Council, Gilgandra, NSW

Rolly Lawford – Director of Works and Technical Services, Gilgandra Shire Council, Gilgandra, NSW

Rolly has spent the past 30 years working with local government and, most recently, with the Gilgandra Shire, located about 70 kms north of Dubbo. Rolly is responsible for all engineering works within the Gilgandra Shire.

“Our maintenance requirement is about 1000 kms and we try to cover those lengths twice a year,” says Rolly. “We run four grader gangs, with the 12M leading the construction gang, plus we have three other maintenance graders.

“With the Cat® M Series there’s very little downtime. The workshop foreman is pleased with the performance and gives it a good report. Council itself is satisfied with the performance within my area of responsibility with the roads, and rate payers throughout the council are happy.

“The grader operators are particularly pleased with the M Series grader. It performs well in difficult conditions such as narrow sections of roads. Our construction grader gang leader Wayne has been doing a lot of contract work with other councils and the performance is outstanding. The new joystick technology was a bit of a challenge to start with but Wayne has picked it up quite readily, as have other operators. The technology is fantastic as is the precision and performance of the grader. Wayne is extremely satisfied with the comfort levels and the ease of operation of the machine. And for me, I’m happy if my operators are happy in their work zone.

“Within the current financial year we will be looking to replace an older grader and, due to the operator and workshop contentment with the 12M, I will consider recommending to council that we purchase another 12M grader.

“A big part of the performance is the replacement value and overall operating costs which are very good with the Cat machines. We set a rate based on acquisition, allowing for depreciation and running costs, and we usually get a good return from these machines.

“On acquisition of the grader, I look at an 8-year cycle and we look at approx 1200 working hours each year. When we acquire the machine, we look at the overall life-cycle costings over those 8 years. The Cat equipment reliability usually results in a very successful whole-of-life costing process. I don’t base my acquisition price on the lowest price, and we look at the whole-of-life factors more importantly (particularly resale, backup service and reliability) than the initial acquisition cost.

“Since the acquisition of the 12M, we’ve had great success with it and the new technology is fantastic. I think it caters for the operators of tomorrow. I think we’ve got to look down the track and think further ahead.”

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