DEVELON Dealer in Martinique MADIMAT Customises Two DX225SLR-7 Excavators for the Extraction of Toxic Algae from the Coastline.

MADIMAT, Groupe André LANES, the Authorised Dealer in Martinique for Develon. formerly Doosan Construction Equipment, for the past five years, has customised two Develon DX225SLR-7 crawler excavators for the unusual task of extracting sargassum, a highly polluting and toxic type of green algae, from the island’s entire southern coastline. 

As has been the case throughout the Caribbean over the past few years, Martinique has seen a steady influx of sargassum, a particularly prolific form of green algae originating in the Amazon. It has invaded the entire coastline, preventing any nautical activity and has suffocated the ecosystem. The algae gives off a sulphurous odour when it decomposes. The gases, which are very toxic, cause headaches and vomiting, attack the hulls of boats and even affect household appliances. Beyond the disruption of economic and leisure activities linked to the coastline, this is presents a significant threat to public health for all the island’s residents.

In order to efficiently extract the sargassum, which washes up in large quantities, the Communauté d’Agglomération de l’Espace Sud de la Martinique (CAESM) chose, following a call for tenders, to acquire two modified Develon DX225SLR-7 excavators via local dealer MADIMAT, Groupe André LANES. After the changes were made, the 17 m arms of the excavators are now equipped with a ‘skeleton’ bucket or rake to comb the surface of the water and extract the seaweed, which is then removed by truck for burning at a waste disposal site.

Since the beginning of the year, the two excavators have been working almost daily, standing most of the day in the extremely corrosive mixture of seawater and decomposing algae. Both machines have been coated with specially prepared with epoxy paint for this purpose, and are systematically rinsed in fresh water after each day’s work. 

The Develon DX225SLR-7 excavators have also been fitted by the dealer with SKF-type automated centralized greasing systems, to ensure that the axles remain well lubricated at all times. Operators particularly appreciate the comfort of the machines in the cab, with very low noise and vibration levels, and excellent visibility in all directions. Thanks to the extremely efficient ventilation and the BM AIR air filtering system, these Develon excavators can work without interruption despite the heat and highly toxic emissions.

CAESM operators have also praised the hydraulic flexibility and stability despite the length of the articulated arms. With a wingspan of almost 17 m, the machines can efficiently pick up and extract large quantities of algae from the surface. Weighing in at 23 tonne each, the excavators are mounted on 800 mm wide tracks runners to them from sinking into the sand.