AGL is employing the use of a 65-tonne floating excavator, “Arthur”, to improve network operations and safety at the Loy Yang A Power Station.

An amalgamation of machinery, the Caterpillar 336 excavator is the result of a four-year problem-solving exercise to find equipment capable of operating on the soft surface of ash ponds.

AGL’s Chief Operating Officer, Markus Brokhof, said the excavator will be a huge benefit for its people at Loy Yang.

“It’s been a long time in the making, but we’re excited to have found a machine that can withstand the unique surface and environment of an ash pond,” Mr Brokhof said.

“Our Loy Yang site services team are the brains behind this innovation and we couldn’t be happier to have named the excavator, Arthur, after a long-serving RTL Supervisor.

“We’ve seen machines become bogged on the ash pond, but Arthur will create a safer working environment as it’s specially equipped to handle this environment.

“It can operate in water up to four metres deep and has custom-built tracks, pontoons and stabilising spears to help it operate it when it is submerged.

“The low bearing pressure means that the more the excavator sinks into the wet ash surface, the more it floats. It’s a truly innovative way to combat an ongoing issue for our people.”

Arthur’s amphibious underbody and long reach boom were manufactured by EIK Malaysia and commissioned onsite by William Adams Traralgon.

AGL will operate the excavator for at least ten years, and has ensured it is equipped with safety features to minimise risks to personnel including handrails, fire safety equipment and a lift to access the main cabin.

Coal ash is removed from the ash ponds at AGL’s Loy Yang Power Station into licensed disposal sites in line with Environment Protection Authority regulatory requirements.

AGL’s Loy Yang Power Station produces enough energy to supply over two million average Australian homes every year. 

For more information on AGL Loy Yang, visit

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