Stephen Catalano - Owner & Vince Madaffari – Operator, B & J Catalano, Western Australia

B&J Catalano was established in Western Australia in 1962 by brothers Bill and Joe Catalano. Since then it has grown to be a highly successful company, with over 350 employees and a fleet of over 210 Cat® machines; including a range of motor graders, rubber tyre and track dozers, scrapers, dump trucks, front-end loaders and compactors. Joe’s son Clem and Bill’s son Stephen Catalano work alongside Bill and other management to oversee the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of the business.

“When Bill and Joe started the business, land clearing, road and council works was the main activities. Then in the mid 80s an aluminum refinery came to town - so the business grew until the 90s. At that point due to a BHP Worsley expansion B & J Catalano was successful in securing contracts to service BHP’s civil requirements and gave us a job which meant we needed to increase our operations so we bought four 16G & H size motor graders and a fair fleet of earth moving equipment. We started using GPS machine guidance in about 1998 and from then on we’ve run about 25 machines with machine guidance.

“We cover operations in Western Australia, predominantly the south west which is the Bunbury region and Metropolitan Perth, we also have a extensive bulk transport operation and a branch in the mid west transporting Iron ore.

“We bought our first Cat motor grader in 1966 - a 12E then in 1974 purchased a 14G which we still own to this day. Bill will tell you it runs as good today as it did when he bought it 37 years ago.

“Then in 2007 we bought our first M Series a 140M and in 2009 purchased our first 16M to build a tailings dam for a Mid West mining company which had 75 hectares of plastic-lined floor and 3kms of dam walls in the mid west. Surveyors put all the data required into the grader and the operators ran it through the machine guidance AccuGrade™.system.

“Purchasing the first M Series with the joysticks wasn’t a problem because our Grader operator Vince had operated Cat joy stick loaders before.”

“I was still a bit hesitant,” adds Vince with a smile. “I’d been driving the G Series up until then and I thought the M Series might be a bit too much of a jump. But after sitting in it for a few weeks, it actually started to feel really natural. It’s a very driver friendly machine in my opinion.”

“In fact now we can’t get you out of it!” laughs Stephen.

“Yeah, I’d definitely find it hard to go back to the older machine,” agrees Vince. “For a start, the visibility of the M Series is far greater than the G Series or H Series. It’s also a lot easier to drive for a longer period of time because it’s quieter. And I find the articulation and the quickness of the steering makes it easier to operate in tight areas. The joysticks make it an easy, quick operation and the visibility is good because you can see obstacles more clearly.”

“The great ergonomics mean the operators like Vince love sitting in the seats,” enthuses Stephen. “It’s fantastic for fatigue management and they can do more hours and a bit more work.

“Some other improvements in the new vehicle are that the turning circle is significantly better, the service entry and getting around the machine is better and the cab doesn’t get as hot as before. That’s because they’ve relocated the hydraulics from under the cab and that’s transformed the heat and noise away from underneath the operator, which makes it a lot easier for the operator to sit in the cab all day, which is very good. All in all the comfort in the cab is 100% better.

“Our relationship with Westrac has gone exceptionally well over the years. Caterpillar and
Westrac have worked well with us and our operators. Our company relies a lot on graders for what we do. With the AccuGrade machine guidance system, The M Series is user friendly and really sophisticated to work with. The accuracy of the work is excellent.

“In 2011 Caterpillar is celebrating 80 years of motor grader manufacturing, and our family business has been running motor graders for 45 years. Motor graders are a big part of our business - probably the biggest part - so we look forward to continuing our relationship with Caterpillar.”

Note: Caterpillar makes no warranties, guarantees or representations as to the accuracy or timeliness of any information, beliefs or opinions (which do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or opinions of Caterpillar) set out above and Caterpillar assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in same or actions in consequence upon same.