Office With a View

Nestled in the Mountains of Virginia, Rich Patch Quarry Has a View That Doesn’t Disappoint – With the Added Bonus of a New Excavator.

The ZX350LC-6 keeps the quarry crushing eight hours a day.

Located near the Appalachian Mountains and a national forest, Boxley Materials Co.’s Rich Patch Quarry in Covington, Va., is a little more picturesque than a typical limestone quarry.

“We live and work in a beautiful part of the country here,” said Steve Robertson, superintendent at Boxley Materials’ Rich Patch Quarry. “The quarry is very close to George Washington National Forest. I tell people in the company that I’ve got the office with the best view!”

Established in 1892, Boxley Materials Co., a division of Summit Materials, purchased its first quarry 58 miles west of Roanoke, Va., in 1908. Today, the company operates several sites selling aggregate, asphalt, hardscapes, concrete and paving services throughout Roanoke and Lynchburg, Va. The company acquired Rich Patch Quarry from Vulcan Materials in 2002.

Rock-Solid Durability

The newest addition to the Rich Patch Quarry site is a Hitachi ZX350LC-6 excavator, and it’s Boxley Materials’ primary workhorse, transforming massive limestone rocks into a crusher-friendly size.

“We’re pulling limestone out and producing anywhere from 25,000 to 35,000 tons a month through the crusher,” Robertson said. “We’re operating and crushing nine months a year so we keep a rock breaker on the Hitachi 350 for 90 percent of the time. The material we have here is very blocky and we wind up with a lot of big rock. There’s just no way to shoot it to get it down to crusher size so we use the Hitachi.”

The ZX350LC-6 keeps the quarry crushing eight hours a day.

“We’ve got a jaw crusher, two impact crushers and two screens making six products: crusher run, #57, #8, #9, lime and sand,” Robertson said. “The products that we make are being used in concrete, asphalt and road bases.“

While crushing is the norm, Boxley Materials also adjusts its operations as needed, for example, to help with the aftermath of Mother Nature’s wrath.

“In June 2016, we had a 500-year flood just to the west of us,” Robertson said. “The flood washed a railroad out and we worked 12- to 14-hour days shipping material to get that up and running. We sent a lot of Class III rock, which is 500 lbs. and bigger.”


The newest addition to the Rich Patch Quarry site is a Hitachi ZX350LC-6 excavator.

Year-Round Productivity

Although quarry production runs for only nine months, Boxley Materials keeps its ZX350LC-6 working year-round. The machine is equipped with a quick coupler so operators can easily switch from the breaker to a bucket for other applications.

“In the winter months when it’s cold up here in the mountains, we try to do our stripping and overburden removal,” Robertson said. “So we’ll use the Hitachi with a bucket to take care of it.”

As a lifelong heavy equipment fan, Robertson is a hands-on superintendent and enjoys operating the Hitachi excavator. He admitted the new machine took a little getting used to.

“The hydraulics on the 350 are a little bit faster than what I was operating before,” he said. “It took me a week or two to get used to them, and now I like them. No going back now!”

Cost-Effective Reliability


Steve Robertson, Boxley Materials superintendent.

Boxley Materials has owned and operated Hitachi equipment since 1996 – starting with an EX700 shovel – and continues to add to its fleet.

“The reason we continue to use Hitachi equipment is that they’re cost-effective,” Robertson said. “The Hitachi 350 for us has been fuel-efficient. Serviceability has been great. It seems to be very smooth operating.”

Even the local wildlife seems to be fans of the new excavator at the quarry.

“We’re in bear country and we found a footprint on the Hitachi where a bear crawled up on it!” Robertson laughed. “I guess he was curious and wanted to check it out.”

Along with reliable equipment, Robertson said the company appreciates its dependable dealer support as well. “Any time we need service, James River Equipment is spot on,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the service we’re getting from them. Parts and service are a big part of why we buy Hitachi.”

As for Robertson, he continues to enjoy his office view – and the equipment.

“I love this work,” he said. “I get to run equipment every day, and not all superintendents get to do that.”

Boxley Materials is serviced by James River Equipment, Roanoke, Va. This article first appeared in Hitachi’s BREAKOUT magazine, spring issue, 2018. Check out the video at


The Hitachi 350 has been fuel-efficient, and serviceability has been great, according to the company.

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