Driven by a dedicated workforce and green, innovative thinking, Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia brings quality products and solutions to the Australian market. We speak to Sean Ryan, General Manager of Mining, to learn more.
Australian mining is a vast and historic industry that moves with the times.
Today, the success of operations in the field comes down to the latest technology, and the calibre of the machinery involved, supplied by top-tier players backed by decades in the industry.
Hitachi Construction Machinery (Australia) Pty Ltd (HCA) is a subsidiary of Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd (Japan) and part of the global Hitachi Construction Machinery Group. HCA is the exclusive distributor of Hitachi and Bell products in Australia.
“Our overall company mission is to contribute to society with superior products,” begins Sean Ryan, General Manager of Mining at HCA, introducing HCM’s central and founding purpose that is mirrored in each of its international divisions. “Hitachi founder Namihei Odaira’s sincere belief to “contribute to society through the development of superior, original technology and products” has been handed down from Hitachi today to form the basis of HCM’s operations around the globe. Our century-long history is one of giving shape to this mission, supporting society, and realising a more comfortable and safer world through our technologies and products – this mission is reflected in HCA.”
This mission is what stood out to Ryan upon first joining the company. He started his career as a tradesmen assistant in the early 1990’s with the previous Hitachi dealer in Australia (Marubeni, Brisbane) and after a few months, was able to start an apprenticeship with the branch as a diesel fitter. Upon receiving a trade qualification and introduction through the global dealer network, Ryan was fortunate enough to work abroad with Hitachi in the UK. After a few years, he went to university back in Brisbane and studied a Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering and subsequently continued tertiary qualifications with a Masters in Engineering Management, and Graduate Certificate in Business Administration.
“Since graduating, I have had the opportunity to work in many fields of heavy engineering such as mining with different OEMs over the last 20 years,” Ryan says. “The last seven years have been back home with HCA in the mining sales department, where I’ve since been promoted to the role of General Manager of Mining for the last six months. It is incredibly refreshing to be part of an organisation that not only talks environmental, social and governance (ESG) but actually puts it into everyday engagement with customers, employees and the community.”
ORANGE GOING GREEN
HCA is committed to delivering machinery sales, parts and support to Australian customers across the mining, construction, quarry, material handling and recycling industries, through a wholly owned national branch network of 23 sites across Australia, including three remanufacturing facilities and two mining assembly facilities. With over 1,200 employees, HCA is equipped to provide 24/7 customer support and field representatives across Australia’s regions.
On top of this, being partnered with Marubeni Equipment Finance, HCA is in a position to provide in-house finance to its customers, adding an extra facet to the company’s industry-leading offers.
“Our values emulate the founding spirit of Hitachi, and have been embraced with care and guided by our predecessors for over a century,” Ryan says, reinforcing the core of the company. “This spirit resonates through the way we think and operate as we collectively strive to deliver solutions that create new value globally.”
HCA’s vision is an expression of what Hitachi aims to become in the future; to achieve greater advancements, to address today’s global challenges in resources, energy and the environment, and build a sustainable society.
In light of this, HCA has invested heavily in technology, with its product range driven by Wenco International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, that offers an integrated suite of solutions to support the digital transformation of the mining industry. Fleet management, asset health, data analytics, and other technologies join together in the spirit of open interoperability to raise mine productivity and efficiency, lower routine costs, and establish a safe and smooth mining operation.
“Our autonomous systems for mining equipment are developing very rapidly, with solutions for our electric drive dump trucks now operating in the mining space,” Ryan adds. “On top of this, the future of operator assistance technology in excavators is well under development and on trial at different sites around the globe.”
PEOPLE AT THE CORE
HCA’s success is not just down to the metals and machinery. At the heart of the company lies a team of talented and dedicated people committed to providing such industry-leading solutions, making HCA the perfect industry partner and keeping it at the forefront of the market.
For Ryan, every employee at HCA helps to build the company, and with branches across Australia, HCA offers a wide range of careers and job opportunities for those seeking to become and stay involved in the mining machinery space.
“We’re proud to be an equal opportunity employer that recruits based on merit and capabilities. We encourage and support a talent pool of diverse skills, ethnicities and genders, to create a vast culture of shared values and enriched experiences in our business,” Ryan tells us proudly.
“Along with a variety of employee benefits, HCA offers employees competitive wages and biannual discretionary bonuses to recognise positive contributions being made to the business throughout the financial year. In order to empower our people, we focus on fostering open communication and set clear expectations to provide employees with autonomy to manage their responsibilities accordingly.”
TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION
HCA provides continuous training and education to all its staff to ensure the right opportunities are given, promoting rewarding and successful careers with longevity in the business. According to Ryan, it is common for a career at HCA to start at an apprentice level, before progressing through one of the many other career path options.
HCA’s market-leading apprenticeships run in conjunction with TAFE NSW (TAFE) courses and align with the government’s Australian Apprentices Incentives Program (AAIP). The programme provides apprentices with hands-on experience and training to become heavy vehicle mobile equipment (HVME) mechanics and automotive electricians.
“These practical apprenticeship programmes are ideal for interested school students or mature-age students and are available at all major HCA branches across Australia, in every state and territory,” Ryan continues.
“The training and education strategy focuses on guiding career pathways and development to suit our staff’s needs and the requirements of the business. Course offerings include qualifications and career path options for service, parts, sales and administrative roles, with topical areas including management, supervision, technical, customer service, and business systems compliance.”
WORKING WITH THE ENVIRONMENT
HCM offers a number of mining products and technologies in the market which customers can take advantage of in order to reduce their environmental footprint and lower their carbon emissions. The trolley truck and electric excavators are proven pieces of equipment, with HCA supplying several fleets globally, and over 130 excavators respectively delivered into the market outside of Australia.
As well as providing environmentally friendly solutions which leverage Hitachi’s innovation and proven technology to deliver greater value to customers, HCA can convert existing fleets of trucks, trolleys and excavators to electric vehicles (EVs).
“The key to any future zero emission plans will be the infrastructure on the mine site to support electrification and any changes to mining applications, even if it’s to the detriment of production initially,” explains Ryan.
“12 months ago, I felt these were the areas which were going to hold the industry back, however we are very quickly seeing mining personnel get their heads around these requirements along with industry bodies and driving change a lot quicker than previously realised.”
MACHINES OF TOMORROW
The mining industry is already seeing the effects of climate change influence its business activities, with long-term sustainability targets now in place. As these targets and regulatory requirements approach, HCA is prioritising options to support this energy transition in the form of dynamic and static charging systems for battery dump trucks and battery/hybrid excavators.
In the immediate future, HCA will be releasing its first EX2000-7 (200-tonne) excavator into the Australian market in March 2023. The model will be on display for a customer launch event at HCA’s Perth branch, where the company will also showcase the investment made at its new purpose-built facility for mining assembly and component remanufacturing. This will align the last piece to the puzzle for the multi-million-dollar investment HCA made to support operations within the Western Australian (WA) region.
“The EX2000-7 joins the full dash seven mining excavator product range and replaces the EX1900-6,” Ryan notes. “Built from over 50 years of reliable hydraulic excavator history, it has the latest technologies from HCA including electronic pump regulations, updated fan speed control, regeneration valves, improved efficient cooling package and hydraulic controls all leading to 18 percent fuel saving over its previous model in this class – truly a mining machine of tomorrow.”