Case CX350D Excavator
The first Case CX350D excavator in Canada is tested in a harsh environment, excavating sand 20 feet below the surface of the water in a sand pit
In the summer of 2015, Gagne Excavation purchased the first Case CX350D excavator in Canada. The company’s goal was to expand their utility and excavation work, and add mass excavation power to their three sand and gravel pits. The new machine has helped them work faster and be more productive, yet their operating costs for the new 35-metric-ton CX350D are comparable to their older, considerably smaller 24-metric-ton CX240B excavator.
The company, located in Casselman, Ontario, about 50 km east of Ottawa, was founded by Claude Gagne. He purchased his first machine, a Case backhoe, in 1959 from J.R. Brisson Equipment which has been supplying construction equipment and farm implements in Ontario for over 111 years.
“Gagne Excavation has been our customer for [almost] sixty years,” explained Jonathan Trepanier, sales rep for J.R. Brisson Equipment. “They’ve had multiple pieces of Case equipment throughout the years, and recently, we got them to try the CX350D.
“I gave them a couple of days to demo it and they wanted to keep it for another month so they turned that into a rental. I think they mainly wanted to see how much productivity they were going to gain with the bigger machine without increasing the amount of people working for them. They figured out that it was a very good investment for them to trade the 240 in for the CX350D. They already had the equipment to move it around and the operator was quite excited to go for a bigger machine.”
Offering a broad range of services, Gagne Excavation has developed relationships with their customers that have lasted for generations. Now operated by Claude’s son, Marc, and his grandsons, Yannick and Jonathan, the company works on a variety of projects, from excavation to sewer work, land clearing and snow removal.
Their equipment list has expanded also, and now includes four loaders, two backhoe tractors, a truck, snow blowers and a truck with a plow. With as much work as they do, Gagne Excavation operates very efficiently with a lean staff of seven, with double that number in the winter.
Gagne Excavation does more in a day with their new 35-tonne Case excavator than an older 24-tonne Case model but with no increase in fuel use.
Putting the CX350D to work
While Gagne Excavation needed a more powerful excavator for working on larger sewer line and septic pit jobs in the area, they began to test the capabilities of the CX350D in the sand pits where sand is extracted from a pond. The excavator sits on a bench next to the water and digs down to about 20 feet below the surface of the water. The company is permitted to dig down 40 feet.
As an operator, Yannick Gagne said that he noticed several things right away: “The comfort, the smoothness, the fuel economy and the power. It’s got an air seat in it. When you sit 12 hours a day in the cab, you need a good seat. This seat is almost like sitting on your couch at home. It’s so comfortable. The heated seat during the wintertime is a good feature too.”
In addition to the ergonomic improvements, Gagne Excavation is also impressed with the excavator’s speed and smoothness of operation in the sand pits. It is a bigger machine so productivity is higher than their previous machine, the CX240B. “I’ll say it’s twice as fast,” said Yannick Gagne. “At the end of the day, you can see the pile that you took out of the water. I’m pretty sure if you start in the morning and look at noon, you’re going to be pretty close to what we were doing in a [whole] day before.”
The faster cycle times are the result of a new, electronically controlled pump, a larger control valve and multiple sensors. These features combine with the Case Intelligent Hydraulic System and its four integrated control systems to make the best use of the machine’s hydraulic power and momentum, resulting in added speed, strength and fuel efficiency.
“Out of all the excavators that we’ve dug sand out of the water with, this is the strongest one that we’ve got,” Yannick said. “When you curl the bucket and start swinging, it’s not slowing down. It’s way better than the other one.
“We’ve got another excavator and when you start digging, it’s always doing a little dip. With the Case you can start pulling some grade and never stop, and it’s never going to give you a little jerk. I can scrape the stockpile out of the grass and not even take the grass out.”
Fuel efficiency means more production without raising costs
One of the most important improvements to the new excavator is the noteworthy gain in fuel efficiency. While Gagne Excavation has gone from a 24-metric-ton machine up to a 35-metric-ton machine, they’ve noticed no increase in total fuel use. This seems counterintuitive, considering they’re moving so much more earth. It is a testimonial to the advanced design of the new machine.
Yannick said that while they are doing more work in a day than they did with the CX240B, they are using the same amount of fuel: “Probably didn’t change the fuel bill at all and the excavator is bigger and more powerful. The operating cost is important because you’ve got to compete with the other guys. You cannot sell your sand for $10 more because you used $10 more worth of fuel. You need to stay competitive and with saving fuel, that’s a good way to start.”
Taking care of maintenance
When working on tough applications, it’s reassuring to know that your equipment is being properly looked after.
“Taking sand out of the water is hard on everything – pins, bushings – you have to grease a lot,” Yannick said. Which is why he appreciates Case Pro- Care, which is included with all D-Series excavators.
“ProCare is important to us because for three years, 3,000 hours, you don’t have to worry about changing the oil, changing the fuel filters, doing any maintenance,” he said. “You just have to put the fuel in the machine and work and do the payments. You don’t have any extra cost of changing the oil. Any breakdown should be all covered by warranty so you don’t have to worry about extra cost.”
Case ProCare includes a three-year Advanced Case SiteWatch telematics subscription, a threeyear/ 3,000-hour full-machine factory warranty, and a three-year/3,000-hour planned maintenance contract.
“J.R. Brisson can know if we need an oil change or if it needs service,” Yannick said. “If it has a problem, then you just call them and they know right away what it is because they have all the information on their computer.”
Case SiteWatch telematics gives the local dealer visibility into the health and performance of the machine, allowing them to be more proactive in providing service and assisting Gagne Excavation in keeping equipment running at optimal uptime.