Roxboro Excavation is a key player in construction and civil engineering work in Quebec and Ontario. The company, established over 45 years ago, distinguishes itself in sectors as varied as excavation, earthmoving, infrastructure, deep foundations, formwork, paving, snow removal, sewer and water works, and environmental projects. Roxboro has more than 600 employees during the high season and a fleet of more than 1,000 construction equipment machines.
"The construction industry has evolved a lot, but one thing remains the same: for quality work, expertise goes hand-in-hand with the equipment," says Maxime Théorêt, Vehicle Fleet Manager at Roxboro. "Our company is always on the lookout for the latest technological innovations to stand out from the competition."
Roxboro has over 100 wheel loaders in their extensive fleet, he adds, and has a lot of experience with them. When it came time to replace some of their wheel loaders, they established a rigorous selection process that reflected the commitment to quality that permeates the whole company.
The power to move lots of snow was a key consideration in Roxboro's selection process. Their extensive fleet of wheel loaders helps keep Montreal moving in the winter through snow removal at the airport, on the highways and at major shopping centres across the region, all under very strict performance criteria from the City of Montreal and the Ministry of Transportation. The wheel loaders need to work at temperatures that can reach -30 degrees Celsius or colder.
They also had to be versatile, as they would be used at the company's concrete and two asphalt plants, their recycling centre for processing concrete and asphalt, and for projects ranging from sewer and water works to deep foundation work, road work and general construction.
Equally important was service and maintenance. Roxboro needed something that would meet new emission standards while, at the same time, be easy to keep on the road.
Maxime Théorêt emphasizes that uptime reliability was a major consideration, along with the quality of components.
Roxboro - the company
To fully appreciate Roxboro's rigorous process in selecting the new wheel loaders, it helps to understand more about the company.
"What really sets Roxboro apart from the competition is our customer approach. The complementarity of our services, our expertise and our rigour allow us to offer turnkey projects of any size," says Théorêt. "But above all, we stand out because we respect budgets and deadlines. We rarely hear about big projects that respect these two parameters. It's our top concern at Roxboro."
For instance, in 2016 Roxboro was entrusted by the Quebec Ministry of Transportation with the completion of a major project to improve access to the Port of Montreal on Highway 25, one of the busiest roads in Quebec. Most of the project was completed three months ahead of schedule, and finalized 2.5 months before deadline, in full compliance with established budgets. The work, which included several road connections and interchanges, was aimed among other things at reducing trucking traffic on the local network by facilitating links between the highway and the port.
As a special feature of the contract, Roxboro had to cover a multitude of works by dealing with many stakeholders, including the Ministry of Transportation, the City of Montreal, the Metropolitan Transportation Network, a university located nearby and, of course, the residents. The quality of Roxboro's planning and execution, as well as the close collaboration with the various participants, reduced the established 11-week turnaround time by eight percent.
Wheel loader testing and selection
When it came time to select new machines, Roxboro tested models from four manufacturers at their asphalt and concrete plants. Among them was a new name but one with a long history: Hitachi wheel loaders, formerly KCM/Kawasaki wheel loaders. Roxboro had bought a Kawasaki 65ZV in 2004 and used it for seven years. It was time to compare the new Hitachi wheel loaders side by side with other stalwarts in the industry.
To help guide the assessment process, Roxboro's two full-time construction crew trainers created a checklist, including operating and technical points to review.
Daniel Plouffe, Sales Representative – Quebec Construction at Wajax Laval says: "We made a presentation where they were able to try three different models of Hitachi wheel loaders – ZW180, ZW220 and the ZW250 – in a real world environment." Operators tested the machines with different buckets, forks and other attachments, he explained. "Their mechanics also had the opportunity to check under the hood to assess the serviceability of each model."
After all the tests were done, the company chose Hitachi wheel loaders.
"We are always on the lookout for state-of-the-art machinery to reflect Roxboro's approach and reputation: precise, solid and reliable," says Théorêt.
Wajax also met Roxboro's requirements for product support, including a parts and service agreement, which included training of Roxboro technicians. Wajax has been a trusted partner of Roxboro for the past 30 years, Théorêt notes.
The first purchase was for six units: one ZW180-5, three ZW220-5 and two ZW250-5 models.
They soon added two more loaders, a ZW220-5 and a ZW80-5, and then an additional order of six units, one ZW180-5, two ZW220-5, two ZW250-5 and one ZW310-5.
In the end, Roxboro bought a total of 14 Hitachi wheel loaders, along with three Hitachi hydraulic excavators, over a period of two years.
Roxboro expanding across Canada
Recognized as a major player in Quebec, Roxboro aims to consolidate its leadership in its existing sectors, while also continuing to diversify and grow. The Canada-wide expansion is already underway, in part, through mergers and acquisitions.
For example, in 2017, Roxboro merged PRECO Foundations, its deep foundation division, with the MSE Group, including Icanda Corp., Forage MSE and MSE Drilling to create a new entity: PRECO-MSE.
This transaction not only expanded Roxboro's expertise in deep foundations but also increased its presence in Ontario, particularly in the Toronto area, where MSE Drilling operates.
"Roxboro is a company based on ambition - the ambition to always stand on solid ground, to always improve, and to achieve our projects within allotted deadlines and budgets. It is with quality machinery that these national goals will materialize," Théorêt concludes.