Posted July 24, 2017
Maneuvering smoothly across the water, the Amphibex dredger resembles a vehicle from a Star Wars movie with its stilt-like spuds and front excavator arm. But once in position and production dredging, the powerful machine’s efficiency and value are apparent.
Back in 1987 it was easy to dredge from the shoreline or from a platform in deep water. Although there was an obvious need, there wasn’t a machine on the market that could efficiently and safely perform dredging chores in the gap between shore and deeper water.
Then Norm Grant, company founder, president and CEO of Normrock Industries, Inc. based in Terrebonne, Quebec developed an innovative solution to the problem—the Amphibex amphibious dredge-excavator—a patented design that combines all the traditional functions of an excavator, a dredge and a crane into one unique machine.
“Our dredgers are used for cleaning mud, silt, sand, clay and invasive vegetation from rivers, lakes and ports,” Grant says. “Whatever is done in the water we do it.”
Mobility is everything and Amphibex machines are extremely mobile and easy to transport. The Amphibex can load and offload itself from a single flatbed truck. “It walks itself to and through the shallow water and is self-propelled,” Grant says. “It goes everywhere. It’s amphibious. You can work from the ground or walk through the water, so it’s the perfect multipurpose machine.”
“The amphibious aspect is what’s needed in restoring waterways, installing underwater pipelines and submarine cables, cleaning wastewater treatment ponds and controlling vegetation,” he adds.
The Amphibex is tremendously powerful and maneuverable in marshy or aquatic environments, and carries highly sophisticated positioning devices. Plus, the Amphibex can operate in very shallow water and its propeller can be raised to protect vegetation and avoid disturbing riverbed sediment to sustain, rather than destroy, habitat.
Normrock employs 60 people, including sales personnel and factory-trained technicians who sell and support the more than 200 Amphibex machines working worldwide. Cat dealers provide local support for the engines and other Cat parts and components contained in the Amphibex units.
“We design and build our machines with the customer in mind. Amphibex employs a green design that is minimally invasive to the environment,” Grant says. “Yet, they are sturdy, rugged machines that will last for many years if they’re well maintained.”
Normrock works closely with Caterpillar OEM Solutions to integrate these components. “We have a very good relationship with our local Cat dealer, Hewitt Equipment Ltd., and the Caterpillar OEM Solutions team,” Grant says. “With Caterpillar the relationship has always been good and we had a very good response from everyone at Hewitt whether it’s parts or technical advice. So we’re very happy with the service we get from Caterpillar.”
“We think our customers feel safer investing in Amphibex equipped with Cat engines because they know that Cat dealerships are everywhere,” Grant says. “So if they have any problems, there is always someone nearby to fix it right away.