Port of Savannah's $220.5M Upgrade to Double Capacity

Hitachi Conquers Tough Terrain, Tight Spaces in Vegas

Wed August 14, 2019 - West Edition #17
Caroline Schweitzer – special to ceg


“The 345 stood out. The track width is great. I could tell right away that the geometrics of the 345 make for a very stable machine. I also like the stick configuration and the mobility of it,” said John Fornfeist, operations manager of New-Com.
“The 345 stood out. The track width is great. I could tell right away that the geometrics of the 345 make for a very stable machine. I also like the stick configuration and the mobility of it,” said John Fornfeist, operations manager of New-Com.
“The 345 stood out. The track width is great. I could tell right away that the geometrics of the 345 make for a very stable machine. I also like the stick configuration and the mobility of it,” said John Fornfeist, operations manager of New-Com.
“Hitachi is our machine of choice because of the hardpan material we have to dig through,” said Robert Crowell, general superintendent of New-Com. The ZX345USLC-6 has a three-pump hydraulic system.

Amidst the flashing neon lights, iconic landmarks and desert terrain are construction and development companies that work diligently to bring larger-than-life, Las Vegas-sized projects, well … to life.

New-Com Inc. is one of those companies. As they tackle jobs in and around Las Vegas, they need equipment with the strength to break through tough terrain as well as the versatility to work in tight spaces. With the demands of this work, they can't take gambles on their brand of choice. They trust Hitachi.

"Hitachi is our machine of choice because of the hardpan material we have to dig through," said Robert Crowell, general superintendent of New-Com. "Some machines get loose and sloppy in this hard material, but Hitachi definitely withstands the abuse."

New-Com has 340 employees and a 20-piece fleet of Hitachi equipment. Their oldest is a ZX330LC excavator with more than 11,000 hours. Their newest? A duo of ZX345USLC-6 excavators.

"The 345 is like the little giant," said John Fornfeist, operations manager of New-Com. "I really haven't seen a machine that small with the ability to do so much. The 345 is my all-around universal machine that I can use on any job."

And a little giant is what you need while working in the tough Las Vegas terrain. With more than 56 years of experience working in the area, New-Com is no stranger to the challenging hard rock and caliche material machines must dig through every day. The dependability to perform in that environment is critical.

"To me, its dependability is what sets it apart from the competitors," said Mark Burdo, equipment manager of New-Com. "With the Hitachis, all you have to do is add fuel, change oil and grease the machine. They're really dependable machines."

To Fornfeist, the ZX345USLC-6 is a well-rounded, dynamic machine that he said makes a difference no matter the job site.

"It's definitely the scrappy running back of our equipment line-up," Fornfeist said. "I can take it from the middle of a street project digging 20 feet deep and I can place it in tight spaces, like in between two vertical casino walls."

Hands-On Purchasing Approach

Burdo and Fornfeist often team up and offer their experience when it comes to making an equipment purchase.

"Fornfeist is on the production side of it, I'm on the maintenance side of it. So, between his opinions on the machine with his background of being an operator, and my experience as a mechanic, we make a pretty good team when we make our purchases," Burdo said.

In fact, Fornfeist won't buy a piece of equipment he wouldn't be happy to operate himself.

"Before I buy a piece of equipment for the company, I like to get in it and run it myself," Fornfeist said. "I can get in a machine and tell if it's got the right amount of power, or if I see a flaw, and compare it to the competition."

When Fornfeist hopped into the cab of the ZX345USLC-6, he felt a difference with the stability and power of the machine.

"The 345 stood out. The track width is great. I could tell right away that the geometrics of the 345 make for a very stable machine. I also like the stick configuration and the mobility of it," Fornfeist said.

Another feature of the ZX345USLC-6 that caught the New-Com team's eye — its three-pump hydraulic system.

"That third pump makes it not only fast for swing control and loading our trucks, but here in Las Vegas, there's a lot of side pressure work that occurs when opening up an excavation. That third pump gives it so much power to get slopes opened up in hard material," Fornfeist said.

Another game changer for New-Com was the reduced-tail-swing design that still provided the muscle needed for dig reach and power.

"The 345 can boom up literally all the way above the cab to where you can spin in very tight situations that we encounter all the time when we're working down in the Las Vegas strip," Fornfeist said. "With its size, I don't need a million permits to get the machine across town. It doesn't cost an arm and a leg to move it around."

Their hands-on purchasing is made easier with the help of their dealer, Coastline Equipment.

"Our Hitachi dealer reps are definitely top notch," said Crowell. "They present the latest specs and show us how the machines can outdo the competition. They keep us up and running."

Hitting the Jobsite Jackpot

New-Com has had a hand in many projects that have shaped Las Vegas, resulting in a snowball effect where one success leads to the next. And Fornfeist says New-Com's culture has been a big driver in this success.

"We are constantly growing and getting better at who we are as individuals, which makes the whole company image look very good. Everybody cares about what they do; they care about how they operate," Fornfeist said.

Building a company with good people and good equipment is New-Com's winning strategy.

"With our projects, it's very important that we have not only the right people on site, but also that we have the right machinery," Fornfeist said. "Hitachi is what we trust."

New-Com Inc. is serviced by Coastline Equipment, Las Vegas, Nev.

(This article first appeared in Hitachi's BREAKOUT magazine, Summer 2019 issue.)