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CEA and Ventia: A rewarding collaboration

CEA and Ventia are working in conjunction to satisfy the machinery requirements of Land 8120.

CEA have teamed up with Ventia to deliver a major procurement contract, Land 8120, for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Roads & Infrastructure Magazine learns how the two companies are contributing to such an important project.

The Project Land 8120 Phase One contract was established to increase the Australian Department of Defence’s (ADF) earthmoving and material handling equipment capabilities. It is designed specifically for tasks across Australia and the globe.

Included under the contract was the need for cranes, excavators, front-end loaders, forklifts, bulldozers, rollers, graders, skid-steer loaders and tele-handlers.

All of these will be employed for a variety of uses, including demolition, construction, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and more.

In order to win the contract, Ventia sought out market leading equipment partners to deliver a compelling solution for the ADF.

Richard Cave, Ventia’s Project Land 8120 Project Director, says CEA, along with JCB (one of their primary equipment suppliers) was an obvious choice for the project, with the company having a proven record catering for similar works.

“JCB CEA showed a collaborative and engaged approach from the start. We knew positive collaboration would be essential in determining and delivering tailored solutions to the Commonwealth of Australia to win a very competitive tendering process.”

“JCB also has an impressive history of providing military products to armed forces for 40 years. Their vehicles have been tested and proven reliable in tough military environments worldwide. They have experience modifying their vehicles to meet specific defence needs,” he says.

Cave says requirements can often differ between private and public sector clients on this scale, particularly for the Commonwealth, which can often have its own unique requirements.

Included in these requirements was the need for a delivery partner that could have the “flexibility, expertise and collaborative approach to deliver this framework, while coping with the unexpected.” 

The machines needed to go through a rigorous process to demonstrate they meet the ADF’s requirements, which can include testing to meet fording and speed requirements, as well as detailed analysis to demonstrate the suitability of modifications made to enable air transport.  

A variety of equipment will be provided as part of the procurement contract, including medium excavators, teleskids, wheel loaders, backhoe loaders, mini excavators, wheeled excavators, and rollers.
A variety of equipment will be provided as part of the procurement contract, including medium excavators, teleskids, wheel loaders, backhoe loaders, mini excavators, wheeled excavators, and rollers. Image supplied by CEA. 

Many of these requirements have presented a variety of challenges during delivery. 

“Defence has unique requirements that can present new challenges for industry; these unique requirements include aspects like air transport, not typically a transport method used for a large earthmoving machine in industry, and complex compliance activities,” Cave says. 

“JCB CEA’s willingness to work closely and openly with us as part of a team and to participate in open and frank communication has been essential. As a team, we have endeavoured to pre-emptively address challenges promptly and rapidly as they arise.”

The requirements

Ventia is teaming with JCB CEA and three other key equipment partners to deliver around 300 earthmoving and material-handling vehicles in total for the Land 8120 contract, compromising 13 different types of machinery.

Of these 13 machinery types, seven can be satisfied by JCB CEA’s product platforms. This includes the medium excavators, teleskids, wheel loaders, backhoe loaders, mini excavators, wheeled excavators, and rollers.

Despite ongoing impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CEA has already completed delivery of one of the first vehicle types that forms part of the Project Land 8120 contract. 

JCB CEA’s 220X Medium Excavator is ideal for tough conditions, backed by its thorough trial and testing phase. 

The machine’s tier-four compliant engine is the 220X EcoMAX engine, which has been tested for up to 110,000 hours across 70 different machines worldwide. 30,000 window and door operation tests have also been carried out in a wide variety of climates (from 55 to negative 30 degrees Celsius). This is on top of 15,000 hours’ worth of tracking and vibration testing.


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Phil Withell, JCB CEA Project Lead, says testing such as this helps to validate the use of the company’s machinery in some of the harshest environments globally, making them a core piece of the Project Land 8120 contract.

“We have a long-standing relationship with supplying this type of equipment to military applications worldwide. Our machines comply with a stringent criterion for them to gain acceptance,” he says.

“The machines will be working in some of the harshest of environments and have to be capable of meeting the expectations of being robust and able.”

Like all future machinery in the Project Land 8120 contract, the 220X Medium Excavator underwent a thorough quality assurance process. 

The first achievement in this process is satisfying the Detailed Design Reviews (DDR) for each machine, outlining (if needed) required changes to the machine.

Key Verification and Validation activities are among the following stages, which include multiple checks and testing to ensure that the machine can satisfy Commonwealth requirements. The project partners have already delivered two vehicle types. 

Withell says CEA is “constantly working” on future platforms in 2024 and beyond, with progress being made in gaining design acceptance criteria to meet the stringent specification requirements.

“The machines are proven product lines and meet the criteria demanded. The prework that has been undertaken before production to meet the required standards and specifications are the highest level of due diligence experienced previously by both CEA and JCB,” he says.

“[It’s always a] key milestone when we gain an acceptance whether that being DDR, first article or delivery acceptance. This project is complex with many moving parts that prove challenging and equally satisfying when we move through another milestone.” 

CEA and Ventia’s hard-working team has already reached multiple milestones as part of their works on the project.
CEA and Ventia’s hard-working team has already reached multiple milestones as part of their works on the project. Image supplied by CEA. 

What’s happening now?

Cave says the Project Land 8120 Phase One contract is tracking well, with multiple packages already being delivered ahead of schedule.

He says that the collaboration of equipment partners such as CEA is a critical component to the project’s success so far.

“We have been extremely impressed by the genuine willingness of all parties to contribute and collaborate effectively,” Cave says.

“Collaboration is often given lip service, but the genuine collaboration across all of the [Project] Land 8120 team has meant that a robust end-user client focus and best-for-project approach is taken, and issues are resolved openly and cooperatively.

“To date, no issues have arisen which could not be addressed through the positive collaboration across the project, and feedback [both formal and informal] from stakeholders has been extremely positive.”

Withell says the experience of working on the contract will likely also lead to increased returns on “whole of life” outcomes for customers nationally.

“The learnings from this project for CEA will enable us to continuously improve our business offering to our customer base,” he says.

“Project Land 8120 has given CEA exposure to some of the ‘best in class’ professionals in their own fields. This exposure has created transferable learnings to the CEA business, that will ensure we continue to build on our capability to provide a ‘best in class’ customer experience to the CEA customer base.” 

This article was originally published in the December edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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