Old meets new in San Bonifacio
Operators: Rodolfo Tirapelle
Customer: RAM Costruzioni srl
Dealer: Bassan Construction Limited
Location: San Bonifacio, Verona, Italy
The city of Verona in northern Italy’s Veneto region is steeped in history – from its First-century Roman amphitheatre and Eighth Century churches and monasteries, to Shakespeare’s romantic 14th Century setting for Romeo and Juliet. With so much medieval and renaissance architecture, there is little wonder that construction companies are being asked to restore and renovate older buildings as part of more modern projects in an attempt to retain as much of the region’s historical character as possible.
In San Bonifacio, which is located among vineyards around 25 kilometres east of central Verona and 80 kilometres west of Venice, RAM Costruzioni srl has been contracted to undertake one such project. The construction company is approximately nine months into a 12-month project to erect a brand new 45.000 sqm shopping centre, which also incorporates a 19th Century sugar refinery.
The historical sugar mill would once have been integral to the production of sugar and contribution to the economy of San Bonifacio village, but it has stood in ruins for many years. As part of the works, the original walls and chimney of the sugar mill are being renovated and the finished building will become the shopping centre’s headquarters.
RAM Costruzioni is taking extra precautions to ensure that the building is strong enough to resist seismic activity and provide adequate earthquake protection – two major earthquakes struck Northern Italy in 2012, causing widespread damage. Reconstruction of the mill is taking a little longer than originally planned, although completion is still expected in December 2019.
This jobsite also incorporates a 5,000-litre concrete water tank, which has been buried seven metres underneath what will be shopping centre’s car park. The tank’s primary purpose is to collect surplus rain and prevent flooding – the stored water can be used to help control wild fires, or can be pumped back into the river over a period of time.
RAM Costruzioni srl is a family-owned construction and project management company based in Arcole, Verona with more than 25 years’ experience. With a specific focus on industrial construction projects, the company has completed more than 120 building projects, mainly in the commercial sector, including the construction of the Ferroli S.p.A. headquarters and the Comar S.p.A. plastics factory in Verona. The company currently employs a workforce of more than 230 people.
RAM has a 30-strong team working on the jobsite in San Bonifacio and has a significant number of Kobelco excavators on site, including a SK350NLC-10, SK140SRLC-5, two SK55SRX-6 mini excavators and an SK17SR-3.
The SK350NLC-10 was RAM Costruzioni’s first Kobelco excavator. However, the company’s owner, Giuseppe Molinarolo, hasn’t always been a Kobelco customer.
“I saw Kobelco at Samoter in 2017. I had heard about Kobelco’s quality reputation and was looking to replace some of the older excavators on our fleet. Kobelco entering the Italian market three years ago was particularly well-timed for us. I now own seven Kobelco machines: SK17SR-6, three SK55SRX-6s, SK140SRLC-5, SK210NLC-10 and a SK350NLC-10.
“Although I can’t directly compare these new Kobelco machines to the older models on my fleet, I am very impressed with how easy-to-use the Kobelco models are, how economical they are on fuel and how accessible our Kobelco dealer, Bassan Construction Limited, is in case we have any problems or need service support. We just haven’t had any problems yet!”
The SK55SRX-6 mini excavator is working at the other end of the parking area to spread small rocks and level the ground. This particular machine is a canopy version and has a special wider bucket for finishing.
The SK55SRX-6 is renowned for delivering high performance with exceptional fuel economy. Powered by a Yanmar engine, the machine can achieve a significant reduction of 23% in fuel consumption while working in S-mode. The machine also incorporates many of the same technologies as Kobelco’s heavier machines, for example, innovative iNDr technology. The iNDr air filter eliminates dust inside the engine compartment, making day-to-day servicing easy and clean. iNDr also minimises noise output, which is very important when working on residential job sites. The SK55SRX-6 was also a particularly good choice for this project as the position of the machine’s cylinder enables it to get closer to the trucks for loading.
Operating the SK55SRX-6 is 50-year-old Rodolfo Tirapelle. He’s been working in construction since he was five years old and is particularly pleased with the quietness of the Kobelco mini excavator.
“This is the first Kobelco I have operated, but I am very impressed! The SK55SRX-6 is very easy to operate and is very quiet. Although this machine is a canopy version and the site is very dusty, I don’t have any problems with dust while I’m operating the SK55SRX-6.”