A.J. Sidwell, operations manager for Sidwell Materials Inc., admits his company can be somewhat of a “demanding customer,” but the reason behind that is simple. Sidwell Materials subcontracts throughout the State of Ohio, providing stripping and crushing services for other companies, including Shelly Materials Inc., and the contractor strives to exceed its customers’ expectations. To do that, it needs “safe, reliable, and productive equipment” and a dealership that stands behind the equipment no matter what.
For its contracted stripping and crushing operations, as well as its own limestone, sand and gravel quarries, Sidwell Materials has found that Komatsu equipment and Columbus Equipment Company are those dependable partners.
In the last few years, Sidwell has acquired four HD465 rigid frame trucks, four HM400 articulated trucks, two PC800s excavators—as well as a PC1250—from Columbus Equipment Company.
“The reason we chose Komatsu over the competition is that we have had good luck with them. We replaced a PC1250 hydraulic excavator last year with another 1250 that is almost identical. The machine we replaced had over 20,000 hours and we purchased it in 2005. We were very happy with the longevity of the machine and the small number of minor maintenance issues we had with it. We expect we’ll get as much out of the new one,” Sidwell said.
“With the productivity and reliability we got out of the initial PC1250, it was a no-brainer to buy another one,” he added. “I use the philosophy that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. We purchased the PC800s for much the same reason.”
Sidwell also liked that he could get ESCO buckets on the Komatsu excavators. “That’s our number one choice of bucket manufacturer to match up with the machine, so we were able to get the specific bucket for the application we use the most.”
“There is a lot of strong competition when it comes to articulated trucks. We felt that Komatsu had made a lot of meaningful improvements on the HM400s. They pair well with the 800-class machines. It’s always nice to have all Komatsu machines work together,” he said. Sidwell Materials uses the articulated trucks for its contracted stripping work because it has found the Komatsu articulated trucks are the best and most economical tool to mobilize in soft conditions. The HM400s replaced older Volvo models.
Sidwell Materials runs about 12 rigid frame trucks and twice as many articulated trucks, all Komatsus or Volvos. “Our articulated trucks will do 100 to 120 passes a day. They are bought to do a job, and we work them hard.”
“Our operators have always liked the Komatsus, including the excavators, rigid frame trucks and artics. They like the comfort, the ride and the power the machines offer,” Sidwell observed. “Since operators have to sit in a machine for eight to ten hours a day, you want to keep them happy so they can do a good job all day long.”
While Sidwell Materials is proud of its modern, up-to-date fleet, the company is a little leery of being a first adopter of Tier 4 technology. When possible, such as when the company purchased its excavators, it chose Tier 3 models. However, Sidwell said, buying from Columbus Equipment Company gave him confidence when he had to purchase Tier 4 models, including his articulated trucks.
“Tier 4 is a huge step. There are lots of new things on the trucks that weren’t there two years ago. It’s new to everyone, all the manufacturers, and it is inevitable there will be problems along the way as all the manufacturers try to get the bugs out,” he said. “I know that Dan Minnis and Columbus Equipment Company is the best at trouble shooting and fixing any problems that arise and getting our machines back into production quickly, helping us to stay productive and keep our machines running.”
In fact, a major reason behind all the purchases is the dependable service Columbus Equipment Company provides throughout Ohio. “At some of the locations where we work, it is hard to get dealers to respond to our maintenance needs, and Columbus Equipment is very good at that,” Sidwell noted.
While Sidwell Materials does in-house service for most of its rolling stock, it contracts with Columbus Equipment to provide PM services for some of its Komatsu equipment. “They help us keep track of PM services, and they show up at 4:30 or 5 p.m. on Friday waiting for us to be done for the day. When we come in on Monday, the maintenance is done and we know it has been done correctly,” Sidwell said.
Sidwell finds another benefit to working with Komatsu machinery and Columbus Equipment Company is KOMTRAX, Komatsu’s telematics system, which enables technicians to diagnose a problem before seeing the machine. “I am a big fan of KOMTRAX, because it eliminates the technician having to come out and figure out what part he needs, then go back to get it. With KOMTRAX, they can figure it out in advance and bring it with them. Now the technician shows up, verifies it’s the part and puts it on,” Sidwell said.
Sidwell Materials usually deals with the Cadiz branch, “and they have excellent service techs and parts availability,” he added. “They stock a lot of parts, everything from a sensor to the DEF pump. If they don’t have what we need, they will shuttle the parts in within a day so we can get up and moving.“
Salesman Joe Moore is always on top of things, Sidwell said. “When we need it, we buy it. Joe understands we don’t buy equipment to have it sit around. Joe gets us what we need to do what we are committed to do for our customers.”
In 1997, Jeff Sidwell purchased the Sidwell Brothers limestone quarry in Zanesville and combined it with his ready-mix concrete and quarry operations, adopting the new name of Sidwell Materials Inc. to reflect the new company. The company operates an EPA-licensed construction debris landfill and offers demolition and portable crushing services along with its quarries and stripping/dirt-moving division. It has over 150 employees.
Jeff Sidwell, company president, has invested heavily in modern equipment to increase efficiency and productivity. The company has done business with Columbus Equipment Company for about two decades, according to A.J. Sidwell, who is Jeff’s son.
Company executives believe dependable equipment is a tool to meet their ultimate goal of exceeding customer expectations. By investing in quality equipment and relying on Columbus Equipment Company to help maintain that machinery, Sidwell Materials can focus on doing the work that makes it a go-to supplier and contractor for stripping, crushing and aggregates throughout Ohio.
Sidwell Materials Inc. is situated in Zanesville, Ohio and has locations throughout the State of Ohio. The company recognizes the importance of, and is committed to, a mission of local community involvement. As a result of dedicated effort, it created the Jeff & Jennie Sidwell Family Foundation, which awards two Maysville High School—the family’s alma mater—students scholarships each year. Through the foundation, the family also created The Jeff & Jennie Sidwell Family Women’s & Infants Center in the new Genesis Hospital in Zanesville, Ohio.