The marble effect

Turkish mining company Yüce Maden is working at a quarry in the town of Sogut, mining 170,000 tonnes of marble a year using a fleet of 34 Volvo machines.
The past five years have seen an encouraging upturn in the Turkish economy. Straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey has recovered well from the 2008 global financial crisis and, thanks to a healthy rate of growth, the country is fast becoming one of the region’s success stories.
One of the industries behind this economic revival is the marble mining sector. Turkey is located on the Alpine belt – a vast reserve of natural stone – and is said to be home to over 80 varieties of marble. Turkish mining company Yüce Maden is making the most of this upsurge in demand. With four quarries across the country and a total of 400 employees, the company is expanding rapidly and is using Volvo CE machines to ensure operations continue effectively. Yüce Maden is currently running a total of 34 Volvo machines, including 15 wheel loaders, nine excavators and 10 articulated haulers. These machines are being put to work in the machinery park at its quarry in Bilecik province, helping with the extraction and transportation of large blocks of high quality Sofita Beige marble. The marble is then exported to Europe and the Far East, with China receiving 80% of Yüce Maden’s product.
An efficient choice
Erol Yüce, president of Yüce Maden, has spent most of his life on and around mines and quarries, having been in the marble business for more than 30 years.
“The most important factor in choosing heavy equipment is fuel economy,” he asserts. “This is as important as quality and speed when you’re using machines of the size that we do. That’s why my preference is Volvo – it ticks all the boxes for me, offering the quality, power and speed I need – but still giving me excellent fuel efficiency.”
The Volvo machines are involved in all aspects of the day-to-day running of the mine. Yüce Maden produces 170,000 tonnes of marble every year, and to keep up with customer demand its Volvo fleet works long, hard days. The machines are tasked with extracting the dense marble, as well as lifting and transporting the large, heavy blocks throughout the working day. Because of the demanding nature of daily operations at the quarry, it is important that these machines are robust and reliable, as well as fuel efficient.
“Quarrying marble without creating unnecessary waste actually requires great delicacy – and on top of this it is heavy work in a tough environment. What makes working in these difficult conditions easier is having the right machinery,” says Mr Yüce.
The company has to be sure that its machines always work as efficiently as possible – any downtime can severely affect production. The high quality of these machines, alongside the equally efficient aftersales service Volvo provides, helps to ensure everything runs as smoothly as the polished marble itself.
“Time is very important to us,” he says. “If we commit to a delivery time on a contract, we can’t afford to run over the allotted period – we could end up suffering financial penalties. We have contractual promises that we need to keep. Volvo helps us to keep those promises by making quality machines. We are satisfied with their performance, as well as the aftersales service we get from our Volvo dealership.”
A solid reputation
The star machine at the quarry is the Volvo L350F-series wheel loader. This machine is equipped with a powerful Volvo D16E engine, and is capable of reaching incredibly high breakout forces. The frame on the L350F is ultra-sturdy and resists high stress levels – this stability is a good platform for delivering power to the ground via heavy duty axles. Its long boom has been designed to lift heavy material smoothly and quickly, and reduced vibration levels mean that it is a comfortable ride for the operator, making it perfect for Yüce Maden’s extensive operations.
Business at the quarry is growing even more, and this expansion calls for the purchase of more machines. The company is focussed on replacing any outmoded equipment, and all machinery over three years old is replaced with newer models. According to Yüce, they intend to replace all older machines with Volvo equipment as the business expands.
“We are happy with our long-term relationship with Volvo CE,” he says. “It is true to say that we will be buying from Volvo again. We look to replace our machines before they are three years old, and as we grow our operations we will be buying five to 10 new machines every year.”