Mastering Mid-Range Cat® Production Drilling

11 May 2015

National infrastructure projects range from Pongola in KwaZulu-Natal to Giyani in Limpopo.

From the onset of trading in June 2001, KPMM Construction’s (KPMM’s) core specialisation has been in roads and bridges, followed by an evolution into asphalt pavement rehabilitation.

A number of major projects in progress are for the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) where KPMM is forging ahead on multi-faceted infrastructure upgrades. KPMM is a Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) 9CE contractor and holds a Level 3 BBBEE certificate.

Historically, the initial focus was to the north of the country, working for what is now known as the Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL), which formed the springboard for further expansion. KPMM’s first major SANRAL awards in this region were for upgrades along the Polokwane to Vivo, and the Mooketsi to Tzaneen routes.

KPMM then branched out into the Gauteng region, with a SANRAL contract awarded for an upgrade to the R23 from Standerton to Balfour. This laid the groundwork for future growth in the province. In the meantime, various jobs have been ongoing for provincial authorities in Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

Construction in the Northern Cape followed with three SANRAL contracts awarded for road upgrades on sections of the N14 from Bladgrond to Pofadder and Pofadder to Witputs, and the R27 from Kenhardt to Keimoes over the 2012 to 2014 period. Three projects were completed in this timeframe for an approximate contract value of R210 m.

HIBBERDEEN MILESTONE, GIYANI GRAVELTO TAR CONVERSION

One of KPMM’s largest awards to date entailed the construction of a north and south bound dual carriageway on the N2 route in KwaZulu-Natal from the Hibberdeen Interchange to Mzinto River. This 14 month project, valued at around R254 m, was completed in December 2014. The scope involved the milling out and replacing of the slow lane with 40% recycled asphalt, with a final layer of UTFC placed on top of the complete road surface.

Meanwhile a two year contract in Giyani, Limpopo is in progress. “We are now more than half way through this 23 km gravel to tar conversion, which includes a new bridge, as well as in-situ culverts,” says KPMM’s managing director, Kevin Twiddy. “The final riding surface will be chip and spray.”

Rehabilitation on the N17 between Ermelo and Chrissimere is also nearing completion.

CAPITAL EQUIPMENT INVESTMENTS

To support these and other contracts, KPMM has been progressively expanding and modernising its plant capabilities. Recent acquisitions include latest generation Cat 140K motor graders (replacing the previous H-Series), supplied and supported by southern African Cat dealer, Barloworld Equipment. As Twiddy points out, investing in the right equipment technologies, whether for paving or earthmoving, provides a critical competitive edge.

This view is underscored by technological enhancements on the Cat 140K that translate into increased productivity and improved serviceability. Three of these units are now deployed on the Giyani project, together with various 20 and 30 tonne Cat hydraulic excavators, and Cat backhoe loaders. Three KPMM low-beds cater for site-to-site equipment transfers.

“The 140K is driven by Cat’s proven C7 ACERT engine, with its 7.2 litre displacement, which combined with an improved power management strategy and an advanced monitoring capability significantly increases performance whilst keeping working costs to a minimum,” comments Barloworld Equipment Cat sales professional, Molly Breton.

Standard on all K-Series models, the variable horsepower (VHP) feature increases machine productivity by matching power to ground speeds. In the lower gears where the machine is traction-limited, engine horsepower is automatically reduced, lowering fuel consumption and minimising tyre slippage.

Adds Breton: “On the move, Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) provides easier and more precise throttle operation, and the addition of the Electronic Clutch Pressure Control (ECPC) system allows optimum inching modulation, providing better feel to the operator and smooth directional shifting. The end result is best-in-class, precision grading.”

NEW PROJECTS

Moving forward, new KPMM projects include rehabilitation works in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal, which commenced in November 2014; and an N12 dual carriage upgrade outside Lenasia and extending towards Carletonville over an approximately 35 km section for client, the Gauteng Provincial Administration, where two Cat 140K units form part of the construction mix.

KPMM has also mobilised on the N11 Middelburg to Loskop Dam contract, an approximately R353 m SANRAL award and the largest so far. The scope encompasses the rehabilitation and widening of the road, with mobile crushing and screening carried out on site.

Merafong Crushers, a division of KPMM, operates a commercial crushing and screening operation in Carltonville, which produces the full spectrum of commercial aggregates for the civils, construction and mining sectors. Materials processed comprise previously blasted reef quartzite rock.

Running alongside their civils programmes, KPMM’s building division also constructs structures such as mini factories, clinics and schools. A recent public sector example is a project for the Department of Education where KPMM built ablution blocks for six rural schools at an approximate contract value of R18 m.

“Our strategy for roads going forward into 2015 and 2016 is to continue targeting medium to large sized contracts on a national level,” add Twiddy, “working across five to six projects in any given year.”

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