Demolition Crew Scraps Deserted Utah Steel Town

Fri June 02, 2006 - West Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

In January 2004, Grant Mackay Demolition won the largest contract in all demolitiondom, the dismantling of Geneva Steel in nearby Orem, UT.

Geneva is an aged metropolis of 1,800 acres of gray- and rust-colored metal, concrete and I-beams.

The former Geneva Steel Works is now a ghost town, where 1940s postwar buildings are lined up in rows throughout the complex. Signs abound, some instructional: “Hard Hats To Be Worn At All Times.” Some identifying: “Building 73.”

Nearby, Josh Mackay rips through the metal infrastructure with a Hitachi EX1200 excavator.

“This is a dangerous work environment,” said Mackay, “but I feel confident in the EX1200. It’s powerful and sure-footed on slopes. We speced the machine with the optional heavy-duty cab for additional protection from falling debris.

“We have an Hitachi 800 excavator equipped with a shear to soften the buildings up, but with the 1200 you don’t need as much preliminary shearing. It picks everything up easily and without a lot of prep work. When it has to pick up particularly heavy items, I just flip on the heavy-lifting-function that boosts hydraulic power about 10 percent. Works like a charm. It’s also quick for its size, and that’s great when you’re working a site of this magnitude.”

The EX1200 is small for a mining excavator, but it packs 671 hp (500 kW) and weighs in at 244,800 lb. (111,000 kg).

While upgrading the former EX1100, Hitachi delivered a 30-percent increase in productivity because of the engine and refinements in hydraulics and controls.

“Honestly, the main reason I go with Hitachi is — when it comes to machines big enough for this kind of work, they’re the only game in town,” said Grant Mackay, owner. “Having said that, we have had great luck with Hitachi. They’re comfortable, productive, and efficient. Having the big Hitachis — especially the mining excavators — lands our company the big jobs. In this business, the big machines win the big contracts.” CEG