For Donnie Blankenberger, using Hitachi machines is a no-brainer. He became a fan in the ‘80s when he and his brothers purchased their first Hitachi – a UH261 – for their company, Blankenberger Brothers. Now, having had 12 Hitachi machines ranging from mid-size excavators to larger mining shovels, Donnie continues to choose Hitachi.
Tell us about your company.
“It began with us five brothers, and now three of us run it. The two others retired. We were raised on a farm, and at first, our company was focused on clearing farm ground and subcontracting. We kept expanding into bigger jobs including surface mining, underground mining and a variety of projects, and now we’re general contractors who can perform a wide range of jobs.”
What Hitachi machines do you run?
“We have a wide variety of Hitachis. It started with the UH261 in the ‘80s when we bought it to top load end dumps as we worked on the bypass around Evansville. Then, we moved up to some 270s, and those were bullet-proof. Now, we have a 300, 350,400, 450, 750 and 850. I lead a portion of our mining business, and we even had two 1800 shovels. It’s a wide range of equipment.”
What type of projects do you use your Hitachi equipment for?
“We use them for basically everything. Utility work, site work and interstate work are some of the main ones. We use them to top load end dumps and road trucks, and for sewers and waterlines.”
How do your Hitachi machines help you in those projects?
“They do really well. The availability is really good. They have unbelievable hours on them. We’ve got a EX200 with around 16,800 hours right now. They don’t give us any problems. When we first started becoming Hitachi fans, it was the featherings and controls that sold us. They were much better than the competitors. The pilot control system is much better.”
Why do you keep buying Hitachi machines?
“It comes down to our bottom line. On Hitachi, the cost per hour for us is really good, and that drives us. Plus, they have a good cost upfront and great resale potential. The Hitachi machines make money for us.”