Blain Companies


Jun 15, 2011

Komatsu D65-17 goes to work in Mississippi

The Blain Companies recently became the first North American company to receive a Komatsu interim Tier 4 machine. Interim Tier 4 standards are the next-to-final step in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency effort to virtually eliminate harmful emissions from off-road, diesel-engine machines.

Blain Companies is a third-generation, heavy highway contracting firm/aggregate producer headquartered in Mt. Olive, Miss. It is best known for road construction and paving projects in Mississippi and neighboring states in the southeastern U.S. Blain Sand & Gravel provides aggregate products for the company’s construction side, as well for other customers.

“We have 200 to 225 employees, many of whom have been with us for 10, 20, even 30 years or more,” said Michael Blain, VP Operations. “Our goals are to operate safely and give our customers a quality job on each and every project. We give full credit to our employees for making that happen consistently.”

The company has a large equipment fleet including many Komatsu excavators, wheel loaders, dozers and trucks. The interim Tier 4 machine that Blain took delivery of was the new Komatsu D65-17 dozer. Compared to the previous Tier 3 model, the 22-ton D65-17 maintains horsepower at 205, but uses 5 percent less fuel.

“Plenty of power”

The Blain Companies put their new D65-17 into service at one of the Blain Sand & Gravel aggregate pits.

“My thought regarding the new machine is this: Tier 4 is coming, so we might as well get on board with it,” said Blain Sand & Gravel President Lee Stevens. “With the increased filtering and restricted exhaust flow, I was a little concerned whether the D65-17 would have the power we need, but Komatsu assured us that its power is the same as the Tier 3 model. The initial reaction of our dozer operator confirmed that.”

“I’ve been running dozers for more than a dozen years and my first impression of the Komatsu D65-17 is very favorable — it’s a sweet machine,” said Operator Billy Johnson. “The transmission downshifts smoothly. Blade hydraulics are responsive and visibility to the blade is excellent. It seems to have plenty of power to get the job done. Best of all, it’s comfortable, which is important to an operator. The seat is nice, and there’s more room inside the cab.”

“Komatsu Care” free maintenance program

Despite the success Blain Companies has had with Komatsu equipment through the years, Michael Blain said he had some concerns about being the first company to take an interim Tier 4 machine.

“Nobody wants to be a guinea pig. You always want to know exactly what you’re getting. Komatsu America and our local Komatsu distributor, Lyle Machinery, convinced us the D65-17 is an excellent machine. They also stepped up to the plate with an extended warranty and service program that took care of the concerns we had.”

Part of that “stepping up to the plate” commitment is a new Komatsu America initiative called Komatsu Care, which is included as part of all Komatsu interim Tier 4 machine purchases. The key features of Komatsu Care are: * Free scheduled maintenance for three years or 2,000 hours; * Maintenance performed by a trained Komatsu distributor technician.

“We recognize that companies are always concerned about equipment ownership costs,” said KA Parts Senior Product Manager Jake Tiongco. “That’s especially true with new technology, such as the Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter (KDPF) that’s at the heart of the interim Tier 4 engine. Komatsu Care should alleviate those ownership cost concerns. With trained distributor technicians doing the work and Komatsu supplying the oil and filters, Komatsu Care will obviously save the customer money.”

Komatsu Care is also assurance that the required maintenance is going to be done right and done on time. What’s more, it includes a free 50-point machine inspection with each service.

“This is an industry first,” noted Erik Wilde, Komatsu America Vice President of Product Marketing. “No other equipment manufacturer is doing it. It’s one more example of how Komatsu is leading the way. We were the first to install a wireless machine-monitoring system as standard equipment with free communication (KOMTRAX). We were the first with a hybrid machine. Now we’re the first with three-year/2,000-hour free maintenance. We think it demonstrates that Komatsu is different — and better.”