Sometimes running a plant hire company can be a heartbreaking experience, as a couple of shots that appeared on Twitter recently confirmed.
Many of the major plant hire company’s must have thousands of disaster photos in their files, especially those who operate in the mainly self drive sector. I know myself, from bitter experience, that things can go wrong when you hire out a machine to someone who doesn’t really know what they are doing! During my first venture into plant hire, I ran a brand new Komatsu PC20-8 mini excavator, which I put out on hire to a guy on its first day in service. He was one of those who had been there, done it and got the T Shirt, but within hours he had the machine stuck in a bog, with a track off and the drain tap broken off the bottom of the diesel tank! I promised myself never to do self drive again. Top national hire firm Fork Rent, from Ipswich, posted a couple of photos on Twitter that confirmed my feelings.
The shot above features one of the company’s nearly new Hitachi Zaxis 130LCN’s on its side after it struck a low bridge whilst being transported between sites. Sadly this is not an uncommon occurrence globally, as anyone who has trawled in the internet looking for excavators accidents can confirm.
Another common machine to feature in accident shots is the telescopic handler, not that they themselves are dangerous or unstable machines, but in the wrong hands they can be. I know from the many site inductions that I have attended over the years, someone always has a tale to tell about these machines and the fact that they seem to like lying on their sides!
Like many of us Austin Wilkinson, who hails from Irlam, in Manchester, started in the plant game at an early age, learning the ropes in the time honoured way from his father. After many years operating for others, Austin has decided to bite the bullet and buy his own machine.
Austin Wilkinson originally comes from a haulage background, with his grandfather owning his own haulage business. The business was later passed onto Austin’s father, who himself was a mechanic with a background of engineering and fabricating. As such, in his formative years Austin often found himself around engines and spanners. This experience was further enhanced when his father decided to go it alone and set up in business as a diesel fitter specialising in plant, transport and steel fabrication. Some years later Austin’s father bought an old house that required knocking down to facilitate building of a new property. It was at this time that Austin caught the digger bug!
Austin’s father bought an old JCB 806 hydraulic excavator and a Thwaites 2 ton dumper to do all the demolition and groundwork’s for the new family home, and it was in this classic JCB machine that Austin fine tuned his operating skills from a young age.
Austin would spend many hours at the controls, often sat on his father’s lap being taught on the correct operating techniques, something I’m sure many of us can relate too. Needless to say from that time forward Austin was hooked on diggers, and birthdays and Christmas’s became perfect opportunities to receive model diggers and other JCB digger related items.
Our @TheDiggerBlog Twitter account is gaining more and more new followers on a daily basis. One of the latest companies to follow us is the UK arm of Australian skid steer manufacturer, Kanga Loaders.
When I received notification that Kanga Loaders UK were following me, I was trying to think of my last encounter with the distinctive green and yellow skid steer machines from the land of sun and blue skies down under. Looking back through the Digger Blog archives, it appears that I last got close to one of these machines at the 2005 SED (Site Equipment Demonstration) in Milton Keynes, where the team were putting on a great display of their range of products.
I also checked out Kanga loaders You Tube channel and came across this video, which incidentally caught the eye of “Mrs Digger”, who is a professional equine consultant, and keen all round horse woman. I must say this Kanga TK216 “Kid” multi-purpose tracked skid steer loader would be a very useful addition to any equine yard.
Digger Blog reader Paul Clarke sends in some cracking photos of a new Volvo ECR145DL he has been operating recently, working in Blackpool.
Paul Clarke, 23, initially worked for a local builder after leaving school. Paul then attended the CITB College at Bircham Newton, where he gained his NVQ level 2 in plant and groundworks. For the last three years he has been working for Bradford-based family-run business Bunton Plant Hire. Paul has recently been deployed to a job in Blackpool, where he is on hire to Balfour Beatty on a United Utilities contract installing a new sewer line. Paul is operating one of the company’s latest machines, a Volvo ECR145DL, which is proving its worth in the tight working conditions in a suburban street.
Talking about his latest steed, Paul said: “The machine itself is a really nice piece of kit, similar to our JCB JZ145s and Hitachi ZX135s that are currently on the fleet. I think they are the best tools for jobs like these, as the compact radius tail swing provides a safe working area when slewing and working around operatives on the ground.”
Paul continued: “Also with the rubber street pads that are now being fitted to these machines they are perfect for working on tarmac without damaging the road surface, the machine is a great all rounder with its long boom and dipper arm, and with a large selection of buckets that are supplied with a Buntons machine, it is possible to complete a whole host of tasks in a small working area”.
Two JCB excavators are helping to complete the final stages of a brand new subway line in Milan.
Civil engineering firm Tagliabue SpA is one of the contractors appointed to build the new M5 (or Purple Line) which will run from Bignami to San Siro. The company has used a JCB JS220 and a JS145W for groundworks on the section approaching the new San Siro Stadium subway terminal which serves the iconic AC Milan and Internazionale football stadium.
A spokesperson for Tagliabue SpA said: “Given the nature of the subway construction, we needed machines that could work effectively in confined spaces. Both the JS145W and JS220 models delivered excellent results. They have fast cycle times and are very accurate. They were definitely the right choice for this project.”
The development of the new 12.6km M5 line is a €500 million project which forms part of major investment in Milan’s transport network in preparation for hosting 2015 Milano Universal Exposition (Expo 2015).