High praise for Europe’s first Volvo front shovel excavator


In partnership with SNS, Volvo CE has supplied its first front shovel excavator in Europe to Slovakian dolomite mine operator Dolkam Šuja, meeting the customer’s preference over wheel loaders and backhoes.

For more than 40 years, Slovakian dolomite mine operator Dolkam Šuja has tested every combination of machines in search of the optimal equipment for its jobsite conditions. The conclusion – only a front shovel excavator will do.

“The selection of equipment in quarries is influenced by the layout and geology but also regional preferences. Further east, front loading shovel excavators are often preferred,” explains Peter Lam, Volvo CE’s demolition and special application solutions specialist in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“The main benefit of the front shovel is the high breakout force delivered by the kinematics of the boom and arm, meaning it can operate with larger buckets and achieve greater productivity. It also has in advantages when working in confined spaces and there is less wear on parts, such as tyres, when loading blasted and abrasive materials,” he continues.

Keen to work with Volvo CE, Dolkam Šuja challenged the equipment manufacturer to deliver an excavator that met its requirements. The result was a Volvo EC480EL crawler model, adapted by Volvo’s certified special application solution partner SNS from South Korea.

The 47-ton machine began life at Volvo CE’s South Korean plant in Changwon, before SNS added a bespoke arm, boom, tip bucket and additional counterweight. The excavator then returned to Changwon for testing before being shipped to the customer. 

Reliably Volvo 

“What is so great about this modification is that we were able to work closely with our partner to incorporate all original Volvo components, including cylinders, pins, bushings and the linkage system, into the design so that Volvo quality is built in,” Lam says.

A handover ceremony was held at Dolkam Šuja’s site in the Žilina region of northern Slovakiaon 23rdJuly. Local Volvo dealer Ascendum Slovakia, which facilitated the sale, was present at the event along with representatives from Volvo CE Sales Region EMEA, Volvo CE Korea, SNS and the trade press.

Attila Annus, general manager of Ascendum Slovakia says: “Our customer is very satisfied with the new machine and we believe we can continue to grow in this application in our area. The collaboration with the Volvo special application team was really appreciated during the complete process and gave us the possibility to provide the unique solution customer strongly required.”

Regional reference machine

Since the handover, the machine has performed so well that representatives from Ascendum Czech Republic have brought customers to the Dolkam Šuja site to witness the EC480EL front shovel in action and offer them this solution.

Volvo CE sold its first front shovel excavator globally, a modified EC700CL, in Indonesia in 2014 for slag handling, where the hot material posed a similar risk to rubber tyres and it was safer to move hazardous material away rather than towards the cab and operator. 

The company has also achieved some success with front shovel excavators in quarrying, mining and hot slag handling applications in India. SNS gained its CE marking especially to be able to supply the EC480EL front shovel to Dolkam Šuja in Slovakia but this now opens up many more opportunities for Volvo dealers in Europe to offer similar front shovel models.

“At Volvo CE we are flexible – our customers are not limited to the specific products in our portfolio. We always enjoy the challenge of listening to their needs and, with the help of strong collaborative partners, tailor-making a solution just for them,” Lam concludes.

Dolkam Šuja currently produces some 540,000 t of dolomite a year from its 16 ha site, which it is looking to extend to 20 ha in the near future. The material is primarily used in the metallurgical industries.A family business, the current management is the second and third generations of the Matat family. 

Dolkam Šuja joined the Lhoist Group as a strategic partner in 1996, one of the world’s largest producers of lime, burnt dolomite and minerals with a presence in more than 25 countries.

EC480EL front shovel specifications
Machine weight47,3ton
Boom length4,3m
Arm length2,3m
Tilt dump HD bucket2,6m3
Dump height4,5m
Volvo original cylinders on front equipment