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Marietta’s Drillers’ Choice Expands With Komatsu Iron

Komatsu helps one company drill down to the center of tough jobs.

Mon December 23, 2013 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Over the past several years, Allen Cellar of Drillers’ Choice Inc., based in Marietta, Ga., has expanded his business with the purchase of a number of Komatsu machines from Tractor & Equipment Company in Kennesaw, Ga.

He purchases Komatsu excavator “carrier” machines and ships them to his manufacturing facility, where his staff installs LoDril drilling units and configures each machine based on the customer’s requirements for drilling depth and hole diameter.

The LoDril is a versatile excavator-mounted foundation drill featuring telescoping Kelley bars that allow the operator to drill deep with a low profile attachment. Models include those from 10,000 ft./lbs. of torque to 200,000 ft./lbs. and drilling depths to 80 ft. (24.4 m).

Cellar said that while he always knew Komatsu was a premium brand with cutting edge technology, dependability and competitive pricing he had never purchased Komatsu machines until last year. “We now have 10 Komatsu excavators. We’ve been very pleased with them — pleased with the service that we get from the local dealer and very pleased with their KOMTRAX system. We can track these units wherever they are, and we know when they need service. If there are any issues with them, we and the local dealer are notified.”

KOMTRAX is a GPS monitoring system that is free for the life of the machine. Newly purchased machines come with Komatsu Care a three-year/2,000-hour complimentary scheduled maintenance program that includes oil changes every 500 hours, no matter where the machine is located. Also included is (2) complimentary diesel particulate filters.

“Our machines work all over the country, and when it’s time for service, the machine notifies us and the local distributor through the computer program — on board GPS system — and a service man from one of the local Komatsu dealers goes out and services the machine,” Cellar said. “It’s worth about $15,000, and that’s critical to us in our decision making, because it’s an expense I don’t have to incur, and I don’t have to hire someone to go out and do oil changes when the machines are out of our normal service area.”

Mack Brice services Drillers’ Choice Inc.’s account with Tractor & Equipment Company, and Cellar has been pleased with the relationship.

“Mack has been with us for about the last five years,” Cellar said. “There is no turnover. He follows everything from initial discussion to the delivery of the machine. He goes above and beyond what is needed.”

Currently, Drillers’ Choice Inc.’s Komatsu excavator fleet ranges from the PC138 to the PC360 sized machines, and the company has eight machines in its rental fleet. When a new machine is purchased, Cellar noted that the extensive modifications and the installation are completed at their facility.

“The LoDril drilling units are designed to meet a customer’s job specifications as far as hole diameter, hole depth, and overhead restriction,” Cellar said. “We buy the Komatsu excavators without a stick and bucket, and sometimes even without a boom, depending on the type of LoDril unit installed on the carrier machine”

Cellar said that the life of the combination excavator with LoDril unit installed is currently in excess of 10 years.

“Here’s an impressive figure, 98.1 percent of all LoDrils sold since 1991 are still at work!” he said. “These products have been manufactured since the late 70s or early 80s.”

Drillers’ Choice also has an extensive shop facility for new machine installations and for overhaul and rebuild of drill attachments.

“Because there are such major modifications required to the hydraulic system and the electrical system on the excavator, we don’t sell the LoDril separately.” Cellar said, “They’re usually mounted on something and I don’t recall ever selling just the LoDril attachment.”

Cellar noted that the company still works with other excavator manufacturers as well. For example, if a customer had a preference for another manufacturer’s machine, or had a used machine that he wanted a LoDril mounted on, his company can effectively perform the installation and testing.

Overall, Cellar is very satisfied with Bayshore Systems, which manufactures LoDril.

“I can say that having been in the construction equipment industry for 35 years, and having worked for a manufacturer and with local equipment dealers, I’ve been quite pleased with the relationships I’ve developed over the years with distributors like Tractor & Equipment Company and with a manufacturer such as Bayshore Systems.”

Drillers’ Choice Inc. is currently celebrating its 15th year in business.

“My background was in drilling and blasting,” Cellar said. “We’ve been in the foundation drilling equipment business for 13 years. Our primary customers are transmission line, road builders [bridges and sound barriers] and foundation contractors. Having evolved from drilling and blasting into foundation drilling equipment has been a smooth and rewarding transfer. I enjoy the customers and the producers of the equipment. I enjoy working with them, and we see an opportunity for continued growth.”

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