A New Holland Construction B100C backhoe loader has been equipped with a support arm and chain cutter, mounted in place of the traditional backhoe, that offers a new ingenious, and simple method for cutting blocks of marble, which is both fast and efficient.
The BI00C was fitted with a chain cutter (CST 965) developed by Benetti Macchine SpA, who are based in Carrara and specialise in supplying marble-cutting machines. They worked in close collaboration with the New Holland Construction Engineering division in Lecce, which has the capability to produce bespoke machines, based on requests from its customers, for niche sectors.
Federico Benetti, owner of Bennetti Maccine SpA explains the background to the development of this new product “This machine was created to meet the needs of our customers, who know better than anyone how to improve their business and what machines are required to best achieve it. What they were missing until now, was a machine that could operate autonomously in the quarry, and cut blocks of marble insitu. To accomadate this requirement we explored the idea of combining cutting equipment with a backhoe loader.”
Benetti considered New Holland to be the ideal partner to develop this type of innovative product with, due to the performance and known reliability of their backhoe loaders. The close collaboration between the manufacturer’s engineering division and the Benetti technicians, resulted in the development of a backhoe loader specifically designed for this particular application.
The prototype underwent several months of vigorous testing in the Carrara marble quarries, in which the most expert operators in marble extraction made the machine work at full speed and for long periods. The result was, the New Holland B100C backhoe loader passed with flying colours, and made its official debut at the Marmomacc trade fair (VR) in autumn 2013.
Fitting a backhoe loader with a chain cutter is an alternative to diamond wire cutting machines, normally used to cut large blocks of marble (or “bench walls”). However, the New Holland solution offers greater safety and a considerable reduction in working time.
Diamond wire cutting machines do not move autonomously, but must be positioned on tracks that run next to the blocks to be cut. This operation lengthens working time considerably. The New Holland Construction backhoe loader, however, is able to move up to the marble blocks autonomously and square them up, to allow them to then be transported by truck to the facilities dedicated to transforming them into slabs.
The first B100C backhoe loader designed for quarry work was purchased at the start of 2014 by Grupo Frazao, an important Portuguese company in the mining sector. Shortly beforehand, another customer, Solancis, also Portuguese, tested and subsequently purchased the prototype.
Antonio Alberto Frazao, Managing Director of Grupo Frazao, which was founded in 1963 and specialises in the mining of aggregates and limestone, tells us the decision to purchase the backhoe loader was driven by the need to increase quarry productivity. He also says the trust they had in Benetti and New Holland Construction led them to purchase this new product.
The backhoe loader is currently working in the company’s limestone quarry in Pé da Pedreira, north of Lisbon. It is used to cut the marble to smaller sizes, suitable for transport by truck. Mr Frazao underlines the benefits of the new backhoe loader: the speed and autonomy of movement, and above all the fact that cutting the marble does not require water, which makes the operation much simpler and able to be performed autonomously.
The prototype of the backhoe loader for marble cutting has been working for several months for Solancis, which specialises in transformation of natural stone and is a long-standing Benetti customer. Founded in 1969, Solancis is one of the leading Portuguese companies mining and transforming natural stone.
The raw material comes from the Iberian Peninsula’s largest reserves of limestone: Serras de Aire and Candeeiros.
Managing Director Samuel Costa Delgado explains their decision to purchase: “We were convinced by the backhoe loader because of its great versatility and the reduced overheads.It is currently working in the Evora di Alcobaca quarry, in the district of Leira, 80 km north of Lisbon. It is cutting marble blocks up to 3 metres high, and can move around inside the quarry without wires or tracks. Thanks to this machine, productivity has increased considerably.”