Kobelco SK 530LC-11 in rock excavation
Baumann Epp Bau AG’s Standel quarry is located at an altitude of 980 m in Uri’s Reuss valley near Wassen, directly on the Gotthard line. After the Ries quarry near Göschenen (quarrying: 1997 to 2011) and the “Güetli” quarry near Gurtnellen (2011 – 2023), the site has been the third quarrying operation of the family-run civil engineering company with headquarters in Bürglen since 2016. Initially, the company mainly produced urgently needed building blocks for regional flood protection measures and other protective structures, but it has increasingly expanded its range of products and now processes the Aare granite into high-quality natural stone products that are sold nationwide under the brand name “Gotthard granite”.
In addition to raw “wild” stones in assorted weight classes from 200 kg to 5 t, the programme includes two- or four-layer processed stones, for example for near-natural slope shoring, floor slabs as well as regular ashlars and masonry stones, which are produced on site by the company’s own stonemasons. Periodically processed by a contract crusher in the company, the range also includes crushed stone, gravel and chippings, which are primarily used in stone baskets or for attractive surfaces and paths. Sawn slabs or design objects made of the characteristic granulated stone complete the programme. In total, the production in Standel reaches up to 20 000 t/a.
The extraction area, which has been approved until 2039, covers a good 9 ha and stretches for about 600 m directly below steep rock faces along the Reuss river. A total of 800 000 t of material will be extracted in 5 stages, with the exploited zones being backfilled with uncontaminated landfill material (approx. 500 000 m³) and professionally renaturalised. A centuries-old rockfall is being excavated, the rock masses of which lie at the forested foot of the slope in soil layers 4 to 5 m deep. Usually without loosening blasts, heavy excavators use rock shovels or ripper teeth to expose the granite boulders, which often weigh several tonnes. Particularly large calibres with edge lengths of up to 10 x 10 m are crushed while still on the slope using drill mounts and splitting equipment.
Year-round operation – interrupted only by massive frost or avalanche events – and loading on the narrow driveways requires compact yet powerful loaders. For years, Baumann Epp has relied here on excavator technology from the Japanese manufacturer Kobelco. This also applies to the new 50-tonne flagship of the Standel fleet: in October, the company became the first Swiss customer to take delivery of the Kobelco SK530LC-11 from the Swiss dealer Hand Baumaschinen, Thörishaus, with whom Baumann Epp has maintained a long-term supply and service partnership across all equipment classes for almost 30 years.
“We are true believers,” confirms Bernhard Epp. “As early as 1983, we decided to buy the 20-tonne 907, which was only the second Kobelco excavator in Switzerland. Its outstanding reliability on the construction site was followed by other machines, and Hand Baumaschinen also supplied us with the Kobelco SK330N LC thirty-tonner for our first Ries quarry in 2002.”
Various “New Holland-Kobelco” machines still bear witness to the unbroken brand and supplier loyalty – today, turquoise-coloured machines dominate the modern equipment fleet with around 20 tracked excavators between 1 and 50 tonnes. In the company, which has a total of 24 employees, the organisation of the supra-regional civil engineering, earthworks and hydraulic engineering activities and the associated quarry division are closely interlinked in terms of personnel and machinery. Accordingly, the midi excavators (including the Kobelco SK75SR), compact 15-tonne excavators (SK140SRLC) and powerful 25- to 30-tonne excavators (SK260/270SR), all of which are short-tail versions, have to prove themselves in a wide variety of tasks, benefiting above all from great stability and high forces or attachment capacities on the boom.
“These are exactly the characteristics that were required for the new key machine for the Standel quarry,” explains Vladan Dimovic, sales manager at Hand Baumaschinen and responsible for the premiere order for the Kobelco SK530LC-11, which was completed in mid-February. Like its sister model Kobelco SK500LC-11, the SK530LC-11, which weighs just over 52 tonnes, also has a new Stage V-compliant 13-litre Hino turbo engine with 300 kW engine output (1700 Nm at 1400 min-1). The performance-optimised “Heavy Lift” lifting hydraulics and the wide adjustable undercarriage (track width: 2890 mm) enable high forces during digging and ripping and this even with maximum lateral extension of the standard working equipment (boom: 7.00 m, stick: 3.45 m) of about 12 m. At the same time, the large Kobelco convinces with sensitive control movements and enormously fast working cycles, which set new standards in the 50-ton class.
The developers also paid great attention to the driver’s workplace and daily maintenance: the spacious cab in the advanced “Performance X Design” offers high ergonomics thanks to the air-suspended Grammer seat and individually adjustable controls. A 10-inch colour monitor keeps an eye on all operating conditions and provides the images of the standard video all-round monitoring. Service points close to the ground or easily accessible on the superstructure facilitate daily maintenance checks.
After the first weeks of operation, quarry manager Elias Tresch is also fully satisfied with the Kobelco SK530LC-11. The new machine scores particularly well in the important disciplines of lifting power, stability and climbing ability, and also meets all expectations in another aspect: Despite regular use in the highest performance range, consumption remains reliably below 40 l/h and moves between 33 and 36 l/h on average.