Piacentini and Son marks nearly 80 years of collaboration

Piacentini and Son has a large fleet of Cat machines that are used for a range of operations across Western Australia. Their Cat dozers work around-the-clock in highly abrasive environments resulting in high track wear - which is why they rely on WesTrac's Custom Track Service (CTS).

In 1949, West Australian timber mill owner Albert Piacentini took delivery of his first Cat® machine – a D68U dozer.

A state-of-the-art machine at the time, the dozer was tasked with operating in the Margaret River region and had the power of a 66hp 6-cylinder D318 engine and a front-mounted multi-blade attachment, which would ultimately revolutionise the small business.

Almost 80 years later, WA-based company Piacentini and Son – a living legacy of founding father Albert - has a fleet of Cat machines now used for a range of operations, from as far north as Kununurra to as far south as Busselton.

Albert’s grandson Kim Piacentini, who is the Executive Director of the Bunbury-headquartered business, says dozers were initially used for mineral sands mining, but the company grew as mining in the South West took off.

“Over the last 25 years, we’ve expanded throughout Western Australia, and interstate and internationally as well,” Kim says.

“We started in mineral sands, but we work in the coal industry, bauxite and alumina industry, iron ore and we’re doing the rehabilitation of the Argyle diamond mine.”

As the family-owned and operated business continues to expand, so does its WesTrac-supplied Cat fleet with a new Cat Next Gen D11 recently joining, working round-the-clock in a highly abrasive environment.

This results in high track wear of the Cat machines, which is why Piacentini and Son uses WesTrac’s Custom Track Service (CTS).

A far cry from the manual touch and feel machine check-ups and servicing of Albert’s era, CTS is a modern tech-based intelligence tool designed to help WesTrac customers manage maintenance schedules by monitoring wear rates on the undercarriage of individual Cat machines, using advanced diagnostics collected on-site.

As WesTrac Customer Support Manager Graham Farmer explains, CTS inspections predict the life expectancy of Cat components, guiding technicians and customers on the optimal maintenance and repair schedule for each machine.

“We go to site and actually monitor the machine in the conditions that its working in and then carry out the inspection on site,” Graham says.

“With the latest program, we can make an informed decision on the spot because we have all the correct information with us.”

With 50% of the costs of owning and operating a machine relating to maintenance and repair of the undercarriage, regular and proactive servicing is vital to maintain cost effective and efficient operations.

For Piacentini and Son, regular inspections of its extensive fleet are vital, with Kim saying CTS is an important tool for the business.

“Our machines in very high wear environments are measured and monitored monthly, where our other machines are monitored quarterly,” Kim says.

“We like knowing exactly where each dozer is (health-wise) at any point in time to ensure that we service the undercarriage when it’s required to be serviced."

“Because WesTrac are providing the service, they understand clearly where each piece of equipment is, and they schedule the availability of product that’s required as well.”

CTS inspections are complimentary for Caterpillar® customers and can take as little as 30- minutes, helping companies save money by reducing downtime and extending undercarriage life. Importantly, the service goes further than just the undercarriage.

“When we're doing the CTS inspection, if there’s any other faults we see, we report them to the customer so they can get an idea of any other issues,” Graham says.

“You get more than just the product; you get the whole after sales service that comes with it as well.”

A relationship built on trust

Graham is based at WesTrac’s Bunbury branch and conducts more than 200 CTS inspections a year for Piacentini and Son.

Kim says there’s a lot of trust involved but he is reassured by Graham’s extensive knowledge of his business and products.

“He’s known our business for over 30 years, so he gets what we do and where we do it and what’s important to us,” Kim says.

“We work together with the gear at our various sites and come up with a monitoring regime for each piece of equipment on that task, and then he puts together a schedule, and we monitor it together.

“He’s got a wealth of knowledge not just with the track gear and undercarriage, it’s across the total product line and he’s our conduit to make sure we’re getting the service at all our locations.”

Kim says the WesTrac Bunbury Branch is very supportive and ensures the company is well serviced in every area of the business. WesTrac also provides support to Piacentini and Son’s other regional branches, with representatives based across WA.

“We might need troubleshooting that our field technicians in the area don’t have, where WesTrac will have the latest equipment to assist in making sure that we can service and troubleshoot the equipment efficiently,” Kim says.

While the business has worked with many OEMs and other Cat dealers around the world, Kim says Piacentini and Son has a strong working relationship with WesTrac, which stands out as an industry leader when it comes to supporting customers.

“WesTrac know your business, they understand your business, they work with you when there’s an issue,” he says.

“It’s a point of difference that WesTrac provide.”

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