The Construction Index Digger Blog The Construction Index - Latest Digger Blog The Construction Index Digger Blog Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:17:27 +0100 Zend_Feed_Writer 1.12.3 ( 2014 The Construction Index What does this picture tell us about Case? Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:21:28 +0100

Companies the size of Case generally have systems in place to ensure that publicity stills like this go through strict corporate vetting procedures. They must ensure that they send out the right corporate message and that all the appropriate health & safety protocals are being adhered to.

Case has a slick marketing operation so this particularly image has probably been scientifically constructed to convey a very particular message. However, I just can't quite decide what it might be.

I have come up with the following shortlist; some or all of these statements may be true, but judging by the photo none can be absolutely ruled out.

1. You have to be very tall to work for Case.

2. Case customers are very short (but also happy).

3. Case is a big, powerful company, but rather faceless and anonymous.

4. Case looks down on its customers.

5. We all look up to Case.


The good news is that it gives me an excuse to watch this again...




New Holland makes its debut in the marble quarry sector. Sun, 13 Apr 2014 21:28:08 +0100

The BI00C was fitted with a chain cutter (CST 965) developed by Benetti Macchine SpA, who are based in Carrara and specialise in supplying marble-cutting machines.

They worked in close collaboration with the New Holland Construction Engineering division in Lecce, which has the capability to produce bespoke machines, based on requests from its customers, for niche sectors. 

Federico Benetti, owner of Bennetti explains the background to the development of this new product “This machine was created to meet the needs of our customers, who know better than anyone how to improve their business and what machines are required to best achieve it. What they were missing until now, was a machine that could operate autonomously in the quarry and cut blocks of marble insitu. To accomadate this requirement we explored the idea of combining cutting equipment with a backhoe loader.”

The prototype underwent several months of vigorous testing in the Carrara marble quarries, in which the most expert operators in marble extraction made the machine work at full speed and for long periods. The result was, the New Holland B100C backhoe loader passed with flying colours, and made its official debut at the Marmomacc trade fair (VR) in autumn 2013.

LiuGong at ConExpo Wed, 26 Mar 2014 11:51:39 +0000

There are dozens of Chinese manufacturers – there must surely be massive consolidation to come at some time in the future – and the product quality varies, inevitably. At the top end, LiuGong is generally recognised to be one of the best of the Chinese manufacturers, along with the likes of Sany and a small handful of others.

LiuGong has been selling machines in Europe for seven years and in June 2012 opened its European headquarters in Almere, Netherlands.

New from LiuGong at ConExpo was the 950E crawler excavator – one of the largest that it has ever produced.

Operating weight is 48 tonnes, maximum digging depth is 6.5m and maximum dumping height is close to 6.9m. Bucket capacity is 3.2 cubic metres.

LiuGong says that development of this machine started with its Intelligent Power Control System (IPC) to match engine speed with main pump flow. The control valve and cylinders have been optimised to improve front-end performance, efficiency and fuel consumption, while cutting down on the damper loss of the hydraulic system, the company says. The 950E has six working modes to choose from: Power, Economy, Fine, Lifting, Breaker and Attachment.

The 950E is powered by a Cummins QSM11 375hp diesel engine, and there is a fuel-saving automatic idle speed function that slows the engine to 1000rpm after just seven seconds when the machine is at rest.

Inside the cab, there is plenty of daylight, with wide windows and an enlarged skylight. Cameras help out with the rearview, with what’s behind you displayed on the LCD monitor in the cab. The pilot lock handle installed on the handrail box prevents unexpected movement as it interlocks the machine ignition system.

There is no news yet on when this machine will be available in Europe, but we are promised an announcement in the near future.




Big red rock eaters Wed, 19 Mar 2014 13:01:31 +0000

Bradley Demolition owns and operates a range of specialist machines and equipment, including excavators to 60 tonnes and high-reach excavators with a range of attachments including cold cutting sheers and concrete pulverisers.

It also has Brokk 90 and Brokk 45 remote control excavators as well as concrete crushers, skip wagons and dust suppression equipment.

Its latest project is the demolition of an old school in Winsford, Cheshire.  A new school building has been built nearby and so the old school is coming down and the foundations excavated. The old building was three stories high in places, and because of its age it had a lot of asbestos to be removed before the full demolition work could begin. 

Almost all waste materials were to be separated out for removal or recycling, apart from the arisings. These are being crushed and left on site so that they can be used to create level sports fields in in the place where the old building once stood.

To reduce waste going to landfill and maximise the reclamation, all waste streams that are separated out are reused wherever possible.  On this project, non-ferrous materials such as copper, brass, steel and aluminium can be sold on for reuse.  Wood and plastics are sent away to recycling plants. Concrete and rock is crushed for reuse.

Among the specialist equipment being used on this latest project are a series of demolition grabs and a pulveriser from leading demolition attachment specialist Rotar, supplied by Worsley Plant, the exclusive dealer for Rotar attachments.

Bradley Demolition owner Paul Johnson (that's him, pictured below) bought the Rotar attachments after seeing them at work at the Bauma exhibition in Germany last year.  He discussed his needs with Worsley Plant managing director Sean Heron and bought an RSG1000 grab. He has since followed this up with three more grabs – the RG12, RG22 and RG37.  His favourite recent addition is a RDP42 pulveriser.  The RDP42 is used on a 48-tonne excavator, the larger grab on a 30-tonner and the smaller grabs on a 15-tonne excavator.

“The Rotar pulveriser has a 35% quicker cycle time than anything else on the market,” Paul Johnson says. “It has bigger pipes, bigger return valves, bigger booster values and bigger speed valves.  For us, this has resulted in 35% less driver’s time and 35% less diesel.”

He adds: “We couldn’t afford not to buy them.”




Move over Mickey. Here come the Diggers Tue, 18 Mar 2014 15:06:02 +0000


Yes, that's right, the land of Disney’s mouse and Magic Mountain is adopting Hugh Edeleanu’s rather beefier brainchild. The HE Services boss set up the first Diggerland theme park in Kent in 2000. Since then they have opened up in Yorkshire, Durham and Devon.

And now, coming this summer, is Diggerland USA, in West Berlin, New Jersey – billed as “the most unique amusement experience in the world”, which is going it some.



JCB is providing 35 machines for what will be the first construction-themed adventure park in the USA. Featured plant will include a JCB 4CX backhoe, a 220 LC excavator, eight 135 skid steer loaders, and a variety of backhoe loaders, Loadall telehandlers and mini excavators.

Ground-breaking took place last week on the 14-acre site next to Sahara Sam’s Oasis water park, a partner in the project.



“JCB has played a key role in Diggerland’s continued success by providing the parks with specialized equipment that gives many children their first hands-on experience with the construction industry,” said Thom Peebles, vice president of marketing for JCB North America. “Now, we’re very pleased to help Diggerland successfully bring its unique brand of fun and educational entertainment to children and their families right here in the United States.”



So kids, where do you want to go for your holidays this year?


Volvo's augmented reality concept machine Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:33:09 +0000

This is the GaiaX concept compact excavator unveiled by Volvo Construction Equipment at the Las Vegas Conexpo trade fair earlier this month. "This is the future of Volvo" they tell us, with great certainty.

Apparently the structure is inspired by Swedish furniture, with the operator’s seat formed from three-dimensional molded wood – a first in the construction equipment industry, apparently. Very Ikea.



It's also battery powered, keeping it clean and green.

“This is a machine, designed to work in harmony with nature, with minimal environmental impact, and that cares for the user and site staff, keeping them safe from harm. The excavator is the first of a generation,” says Volvo CE design director Stina Nilimaa Wickström

Far more wowee and exciting than the strange structure, however, is the augmented reality operating system. It will be controlled by a tablet device which the operator can either sit with in the machine or wander around, for remote control, with the job to be done all programmed in.



I could explain how it works but you are really far better off watching the videos below. The first two are nice calm Scandinavian presentations. The third has a rather enthusiastic American presenter.






New lubrication system for Viby buckets Fri, 14 Mar 2014 12:23:06 +0000

The system developed by Viby means that plant operators now need only to add lubrication to their attachment at one central greasing point rather than at multiple points.

The technology behind this new lubrication system ensures that the grease reaches all key areas instantly from just one central point, the company says. An equivalent automatic version, which is operated via the machine’s own auto lubrication system, is also available.

Viby reckons the system will not only save time, it will also improve greasing and improve safety as well. The system optimises the delivery of grease to all critical parts of the attachment in the correct quantities, it says. Site safety is improved as manual lubrication can be carried out with the bucket at one ground-level position.



Andrew Little, director of Viby Attachment UK, says: “Viby has consistently managed to remain ahead of the competition in terms of technology, durability and quality for many years. The introduction of this new and advanced lubrication system is a perfect example of how committed our designers are to ensuring our customers see continual product improvement, and, importantly continual efficiency improvements within their operations.”

The system has been trialled by a number of customers in the UK and Europe over the past few months, and will be fully introduced with all new Viby products this spring.

This development closely follows the introduction of a new anti-vibration system on all Viby direct mount buckets and Quickhitch attachments. You may have read about it here. The addition of the shock-absorbing blocks (pictured below), provides operators with benefits including noise-reduction, minimised bucket vibration and reduced operator fatigue, enhancing the smooth-ride function already built into the machine.






Kitten rig refurbished back to full purring glory Wed, 12 Mar 2014 09:13:19 +0000

Regardless of what your friendly local equipment dealer may tell you, it is always better to keep existing machines running well than simply trading them in for the latest model every couple of years – even if new machines are more fuel efficient and have new whizzy features that you never knew you needed.

So I was interested to hear about the work Chris Monk has been doing at Fairway Plant Services in Wellingborough.

Fairway Plant is a specialist hirer of piling rig equipment, but less well known are its capabilities in rig maintenance, repair and refurbishment.

Back in summer 2012, Chris Monk obtained a second hand Kitten piling rig on behalf of customer, DJE Construction of Norfolk, and set about renovating it back to ‘as new’ condition.

Here it is below in its 'before condition'.



The 1.5-tonne tracked unit, originally manufactured by Unwin Hydraulic Engineering, was dismantled by the engineering team at Fairway Plant who managed to recover and recycle over 70% of the original unit before re-assembling it to its former glory.

Each and every part was stripped down, sandblasted, primed and either powder-coated or painted. All consumable parts, such as hydraulic hoses, seals, nuts and bolts, were bought new to put the unit back together. The engine, hydraulic pump, hydraulic motor and rams were either overhauled or replaced with new.

David Evans, owner of DJE Construction, has been using the refurbished rig on site continuously since taking delivery at the end of 2012. Working predominantly on sites with restricted access, the mobile Kitten rig is ideal for small piling jobs in gardens, yards, car parks etc. It can be towed to site by trailer and off-loaded ready to access the smallest of entrances.



Mr Evans says: “I am really pleased with the unit. It saved me over 50% of the cost of a new unit but still has plenty of years life left in it. Its utilisation rate since we’ve had it has been practically 100%. The service from Chris and the team was first class and I know I can get any replacement wear parts from them really quickly too, so downtime is never an issue.”

The beauty of the Unwin mobile Kitten rig is in its simple, practical design making it easy to service and maintain, he says.

Fairway Plant has a second Kitten rig now going through the workshop at present, if anyone’s interested.





Dancing digger time Thu, 06 Mar 2014 12:17:54 +0000


Every hour of every day demon fiddlers scrape their fiddles and the diggers dance up a storm, drawing crowds in their thousands.

It's a sure fire hit every time.

Or if we want to be more correct, and I think we should, an array of backhoe loaders, telescopic handlers and skid steer loaders perform synchronised manoeuvres to the accompaniment of an accomplished string quartet.

Among the new product highlights on the JCB stand at the show are a new generation of midi excavators, the 85Z-1, the 86C-1 and the 67C-1, which are manufactured at JCB's Compact Products factory in Cheadle, Staffordshire.

The video below has been posted on Youtube by Chris Maginnis of






Manitowoc extends use of innovative counterweight system Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:35:11 +0000

Manitowoc makes crawler cranes but, as I’ve said before, doesn’t sell much in the UK. Contractors here have gone from favouring NCK and Ruston Bucyrus to Japanese machines for smaller and mid sizes and German ones at the upper end. However, in much of the world Manitowoc remains synonymous with lattice boom crawler crane, so it is always interesting to see what they are up to.

And at Conexpo they’ve got two new machines using the new Variable Position Counterweight (VPC) system first seen on its top-of-the-range 31000 model (2,300-tonne capacity).

The new MLC650 crane (that's the red one in these photos) is rated at 650 tonnes capacity and the MLC300 (the yellow one) at 300 tonnes. It's a pleasant surprise, that, since Manitowoc in the past has tended to give its cranes names that reveal absolutely nothing about their lifting capacity, like the 999, which lifts 250 tonnes, and the 18000, which lifts 600 tonnes.



Anyway, the most notable feature of this new crane is the VPC system, which automatically positions the counterweight to suit the required lift. If the boom is lowered and more counterweight is required at the back end, the ballast moves along the rotating bed away from the fulcrum by just the required distance. It means there is less ground preparation, lower ground-bearing pressure and less counterweight, without losing capacity. Clever stuff.

According to senior vice president John Kennedy, the VPC is a game-changer. He claims: “This new technology will have a significant impact on the lifting industry, as it enhances crane capacities, reduces mobilization time on the job site, and in the end, saves customers a significant amount of time and money.”

The MLC650 has a 104m main boom, 30m fixed jib and 101m luffing jib option for a maximum ream of 157m.

The MLC300 has 96m of boom with the option of a 30m fixed jib attachment. A 96m luffing jib can also be added to extend its reach to 144m.



There is also a VPC-MAX capacity enhancing attachment that allows increased capacity for heavy lifts that would usually require a wheeled-type ballast trolley.

The VPC-MAX attachment increases capacity and boom and jib combination lengths. The counterweight movement is based on the lifted load, boom length, boom and jib length, and load radius. The MLC650 can raise 140m of boom with the VPC-MAX attachment and a boom and luffing jib combination of 205m. Maximum capacity increases to 700 tonnes with the VPC-MAX installed.

Because the counterweight attachment of the VPC-MAX never touches the ground, it can be used on barges, for example, where a trailing trolley could not be used.



No doubt a competitor will try and come up with a similar solution but they should beware Manitowoc’s eagle-eyed attorneys who are already on the case of Chinese manufacturer Sany for infringing VPC patents.

Manitowoc filed its patents in 2007 and 2008. In 2010 its chief designer John Lanning left and moved to Sany. Sany then introduce what it calls ‘Auto Counterbalance Equalization’ or ACE on its 500-tonne SCC8500. You may remember my post from the last Conexpo, in 2011 – – about Sany plastering up 100ft-high posters of Lanning around the show ground to rub Manitowoc’s nose in it. It seems there's no love lost there.







It's Conexpo week Wed, 05 Mar 2014 11:52:38 +0000

Of course, all the important stuff for UK and European buyers happens nearer to home. The Bauma fair in Munich is a much bigger deal – more machines, more people, more everything. Except possibly fun. Las Vegas knows how to do that rather well.

Both Bauma and Conexpo take place evey three years. As Bauma was last year, Conexpo is the biggest international event in the construction equipment calendar this year.

Anyway, here's my first post on Conexpo 2014. It shows the Liebherr stand, which covers 4,600 square metres (50,000 square feet). It is impressive, of course. At Bauma, however, which is Liebherr's home show, it takes more than 14,000 square metres.

If you are in Vegas and want to share your photos with Digger Blog readers, please send them in.

Flood clean-up work across Europe for New Holland machines Wed, 05 Mar 2014 11:36:48 +0000

I am grateful, therefore, to New Holland Construction for this series of photographs showing their machines at work on flood response work across the continent.

A wide range of New Holland machines, from large excavators to small compact machines, have been helping to repair and clean-up towns and cities affected by the recent storms and floods.

AS we know all too well, the south coast of England experienced some of the most ferocious storms last month. As part of the clean-up and repair of the sea defences in Weymouth, Dorchester-based G Crook has supplied a New Holland E385 excavator to the Environment Agency, which has been working to reinstate the shingle sea defences at Preston beach (pictured above). 

In the last few weeks Spain’s northern coast has also suffered several storms from the North Atlantic with many Spanish provinces on high alert. With wind gusts reaching 140km/h, combined with heavy and constant rain, several rivers have caused flooding in cities along the north coast. Waves of more than 10m have caused damage to sea walls and seafront promenades.

In the City of Gijon on the northern coast of Spain, local authority highway contractor Ruvicam sent several of its New Holland machines to repair initial damage of the seafront promenade, before another incoming storm made the situation worse.



“After several days of working to repair the damage, we parked one of our mini excavators – an E35.2 – in the promenade, ready to continue,” says Ruvicam manager José Luis Vigil Sánchez. “But the storm got worse and spectacular waves managed to break down the wave breaker wall. These wave breakers are used to protect the sea promenade. This was then flooded and the machine was soaked.

“We picked it up, washed it with fresh water and lubricated it. Despite the dip, it is continuing to working as well as on the first day.”



He adds: “We have a total of three New Holland machines working; the E35.2 mini excavator is equipped with a small hammer to chip the pavement off the promenade. A top wall beam will be placed here in order to re-attach the wave breakers to the seawall. The New Holland E80 midi excavator has been equipped with a special implement, which allows us to remove and place the wave breakers again. Each of these pieces weighs 700 kilos, which was a difficult task.

“Last but not least, an E50.2 is working on the rest of the ruined wall, where it is being used to extract stones of between 200kg and 400kg buried in the sand.”


At the end of January Italy was struck by violent rains that led to serious floods and emergency situations in Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Liguria. A total of 2,000 emergency operations were carried out by firefighters around the regions to help during the emergency – often with New Holland equipment helping out.



Some of the worst flooding happened in Modena area where the river Secchia broke its banks. More than 1,000 people had to be rescued from flooded homes, 80 of them by helicopter. The fire brigade has a special division called the Gruppo Operativo Speciale Movimento Terra, or GOS, that operates earthmoving equipment. It soon had the river banks reinstated to prevent further flooding.



In Tuscany and Liguria, which was also severely hit by floods and following landslides, the GOS carried out more than 600 operations to help remove water from homes, clean rivers and repair damaged roads.

New Holland Construction machines in use included several skid steer loaders, mini-excavators and some larger crawler excavators were also there to help bring the situation under control.



New Holland Construction has a long-standing relationship supplying Italian fire brigades and has also manufactured machines specially fitted for the needs of the firefighters. They are also used for natural disasters, to secure the area and demolish and to remove ruins. During Emilia Romagna earthquake in 2013, for example, New Holland machines were used to demolish more than 400 damaged buildings. 









New Volvo rocks at Shetland quarry Wed, 19 Feb 2014 15:39:45 +0000

So I can only imagine that anyone buying machinery there will put quite a premium on reliability, because no matter how much your supplier prides itself on customer service, logistics are always going to be a little bit trickier there than for those in Glasgow or Birmingham, for example.

I was interested to hear, therefore, that Lerwick-based Tulloch Developments has been choosing Volvo lately. It has just taken delivery of its fourth Volvo excavator, a new 25-tonne class EC250D. This machine has been put to work as the prime mover at the company’s Staney Hill Quarry on the outskirts of Shetland’s capital.

Smooth performance and fuel savings were also mentioned as key criteria in the buying choice, along with operator preference and comfort.



The EC250D joins the three 14-tonne EC140Ds that were bought a year ago for general contracts supplying plant, equipment and material to the oil and gas industries at Sullom Voe. “We’ve found the fourteen-tonner to be a good all-rounder for general contracting work,” says project manager Shaun Tulloch.

And the newest machine seems to be well on top of the job of loading the resident mobile crusher. “So far we’ve been very pleased with its performance and already we are starting to see some significant fuel savings over the machine it replaces,” he adds.

Quarrying is just one facet of Tulloch Development’s diverse business interests on Shetland. It was established back in the late 1960s by Shaun Tulloch’s grandfather, who started out as a carpenter and builder. The business developed with his father and uncle joining in the late 1970s. The now fully-fledged civil engineering company remains family run and does a whole variety of works such as industrial construction, pipelines and harbour reconstruction and development. In particular it concentrates on harbour and port development in Lerwick and other ports on Shetland, as well as on long-term contracts at the oil and gas plant at Sullom Voe.



It also offers plant hire to customes including Shetland Council and it was specifically for council work that Tulloch last year bought a Volvo ECR48C reduced swing compact excavator (pictured above). A larger ECR88D is now on order for delivery next month.

The recent Volvo additions join a mixed fleet of equipment in Tulloch Development’s portfolio with excavators up to 36 tonnes, a variety of loading shovels and other equipment such as telehandlers, rollers etc. The company also operates a fleet of eight tipper lorries, two articulated lorries, lorry mounted concrete pumps and asphalt pavers and employs around 65 permanent staff.




Accugrade helps Maveric keep it on the level Tue, 18 Feb 2014 11:58:36 +0000

It has been using the system on the construction of a new research and development building for Hewlett Packard.

Maveric Contractors has two Cat 330DL hydraulic excavators and a Cat D6R XW crawler tractor fitted with the Cat AccuGrade control system. They are preparing the groundwork on the 90,000sq ft site.

Managing director Maurice McNamara says: “We pride ourselves in adopting traditional engineering methods and combining them with the latest technology. When we presented the Cat AccuGrade Control System to our client, they were impressed with the delivery of millimetre-accurate results and the increased productivity if offers.

“Whilst using this technology, we have noticed that our operating costs have reduced dramatically. This enables us to get projects completed quicker and more economically, so we’re able to take on more work as a result. It also eliminates the health and safety risks of traditional grade control methods, which included typically having someone on the ground, guiding the operator.”





Molson moves earth for dirt bike arena tour Mon, 17 Feb 2014 11:49:25 +0000

That is why it has been involved once again in this year’s Garmin Arenacross tour, a series of indoor dirt bike races taking place at big shed arenas in Belfast, Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield and London’s Wembley Arena.

The Molson-sponsored SR75-Molson team are the reigning Arenacross team champions but they are trailing a distant fourth this year, with just the final round to come at Wembley next month, on 1st March.

But Molson isn't just a sposnor fo the event; it also makes the whole thing possible by providing the machinery to make the tracks, which is the biggest single job when it comes to putting on tour event.

The organisers can have as little as 24 hours to shovel, mould and sculpt upwards of 10,000 tonnes of dirt into what they describe as “a whoop-filled, jump-infested monster of a circuit”.

Molson equipment used includes a Hyundai HL760-7 wheel loader and two Hyundai excavators – an R140CL-9 and an R27Z-9. It also has a Cat 289C skid-steer loader on the job (below).

Steve Price, production director for event organiser e22 Sports, says: “The equipment is as good as it gets and allows us get in, build the tracks and then tear them back down again when racing is finished with the minimum of hassle.”






Worsley offers another dredging option Mon, 10 Feb 2014 13:47:57 +0000

Worsley is promoting the Remu Big Float as just the thing for aquatic environments like shoreline, rivers, swamps, waste ponds and canals.

Finish company Remu has been making amphibious excavators for 10 years now. Its Big Float is an excavator mounted on a patented pontoon undercarriage that can be narrowed to make it easier to transport on roads.

Worsley says it can dredge to depths of nine metres. Special hydraulic tools can be attached to cut away at riverside foliage.

Of course, I can't help thinking that for the poor folk of the Somerset levels (- unless your name is Sam Notaro -) that horse has already well and truly bolted.

Anyway, let's hope Worsley and other plant supplies with dredging equipment, start to get some good business out of all of this.

As ever, moving pictures provide a better explanation than my written words so watch these:







Big Hitachi helps Crossrail muckaway operation Fri, 07 Feb 2014 06:10:47 +0000

The large Zaxis excavator was delivered directly to a wharf on the River Thames last month by Hitachi dealer, HM Plant, to work 24/7 at the hub of the project’s earthmoving operation.

DSJV is the main contractor at Limmo Peninsular until all of the tunnelling works are complete at the end of 2015. The tunnelling work began in late 2012 with two of Crossrail’s 1,000-tonne, 150m-long tunnel boring machines (TBMs) engaged on this site.

As the TBMs drive forward, the cutterheads excavate the ground and the loosened material is transported out of the tunnel via a 2km conveyor belt. It takes more than 20 minutes for the materials to reach the end of the belt, which allows the earth to fall into a huge pit at certain points. The ZX470LCH-5 then lifts the materials from the pit and either loads a fleet of trucks or barges (via a mobile hopper).

The mode of transport is dictated by the tides on the river, with only time for four barges to be loaded in each 24-hour cycle at the wharf. Nearly all of the excavated materials is going to Wallasea Island in Essex where an RSPB bird sanctuary is being developed.



“We can load 1,000 tonnes of materials into a barge in approximately 2.5 hours and an 18-tonne truck in two minutes,” says Ed Connor, DSJV’s wharf manager.

“Our whole operation is dependent on the large Hitachi excavator, which has already proved to be reliable and versatile. We’ve not had any unscheduled downtime to date. It’s a brilliant machine and can do anything on this demanding site, from maintaining the access roads to loading the hopper and trucks.”

Flannery Plant Hire’s operator, Piotr Makowski, has been working with the Zaxis excavator on the day shift since it was delivered. “The ZX470LCH-5 has been fantastic,” he says.

“It has so much power and has been 100% reliable. This is one of the best excavators that I have ever operated. It’s a strong, smooth, fast and hard-working machine. The cab is comfortable, there’s more than enough leg room and I find the colour monitor to be particularly useful for safety purposes.”






Dancing digger time Thu, 06 Mar 2014 12:06:20 +0000

Every hour, the fiddlers saw away at their fiddles and the diggers dance up a storm, attracting crowds in their thousands.

It's a sure fire hit every time!

Or if we want to be more correct about it (and we should), an array of backhoe loaders, telescopic handlers and skid steer loaders move in synchronicity to the accompaniment of a talented virtuoso string quartet.

Among the new product highlights on the JCB stand at the show in Las Vegas are a new generation of JCB midi excavators, the 85Z-1, the 86C-1and the 67C-1,which are manufactured at JCB's Compact Products factory in Cheadle, Staffordshire.

The video footage below has been posted on Youtube by Chris Maginnis of



10 JCB backhoe loaders for Farwell Plant Thu, 06 Feb 2014 08:55:34 +0000

Farwell Plant runs more than 80 machines in total from its premises in Blandford Forum, Dorset. The latest fleet additions also include tracked and midi excavators.

Owner Mark Farwell says: “We’ve operated JCB machines for 32 years and they’ve always been a good machine. We’ve never had a bad one and they’ve always been reliable.” 

Farwell is split between its own civil engineering and earthmoving contracting and the plant hire side where machines are available with or, in some cases, without operators. Farwell has always run backhoe loaders as part of the fleet, changing the machines every two to three years to keep pace with the latest technology and to provide the best machines and service to its customers. 

The 10 backhoe loaders are the latest 3CX ECO, powered by JCB’s EcoMAX Stage IIIB/Tier 4 Interim diesel engine. This highly efficient powerplant offers 6% more torque than the previous model, yet consumes up to 9% less fuel. The EcoMAX engine also meets the latest emissions standards without the need for a diesel particulate filter (DPF) or any form of exhaust after-treatment, simplifying maintenance and further reducing ownership costs. 

Farwell has specified the machines with powershift transmissions and the optional Torquelock lock-up torque converter, which offers fuel savings of as much as 25% when travelling on the road. The machines are also specified with JCB’s Smooth Ride System (SRS) loader arm suspension and with hydraulic hammer piping.                                         

Mark Farwell adds: “We have always had backhoe loaders. They are a very versatile machine that is always in demand, both for our own contracting work and for the plant hire side of the business. 

“The JCB product is good value for money and it’s a good British product and it is nice to buy British. They are not the cheapest machines on the market, though the cost to buy is reasonable. But when you come to sell a JCB you always get a good resale value, so that gives us the best total cost of ownership.” 

I wonder how they would measure up to the old JCB Sitemaster or "grey cabs"? ( Pictured below a Sitemaster from 1991)



Hitachi looks to marine markets Wed, 29 Jan 2014 10:40:36 +0000

The excavators are mounted on to pontoons, which are stabilised in the water with spud legs.

Hitachi says it was the first manufacturer in the Japanese market to produce an excavator for use on a pontoon. It has supplied approximately 240 excavators for this sort of application, mainly in Japan, working on port construction or maintenance projects. Some have been involved in recovery operations following the 2011 tsunami.

Demand from for excavators used on pontoons is also increasing in other countries, it seems. We reported last week on Land & Water's modified 7-tonne Hitachi Zaxis 70LC dredging in the Fens. But there are jobs for the big excavators mounted on pontoons too. Hitachi has sold four EX1200s to a sector of the Chinese government, for example.

With the expansion of the Panama Canal, container ships are getting bigger and so all the ports are having to up their game and expand accordingly, if they want the new generation of ships to dock there.

Various Hitachi models can be found mounted on pontoons, with the most popular proving to be the EX1200-6, EX1900-6 and EX3600-6. The largest available is the EX8000-6 backhoe, which is a new model launched in 2013, giving customers with an 800-tonne option.

The large excavators share many similarities with the standard mining models. Manufactured at the Development Centre of Mining and Heavy Equipment Division in the Rinko Works factory, they are designed to work in tough environments, 24 hours a day. They also have the same on-board computer (DUL) monitoring the performance of the engine and hydraulic system.

Some aspects of the design have been modified to allow for simpler maintenance while the machine is working at sea. These excavators have a new fast-fill system at the front, for example, allowing easier access to refill fuel and lubricants. On the standard mining excavator, this system is located under the counterweight to provide access at ground level.

The excavators can also be customised. For example, an EX1900-6 excavator was recently delivered to the Jan De Nul Group, with a custom-modified front attachment by Belgian dealer Luyckx. That's the machine pictured here, above and below.

This machine was required to work on dredging and marine construction projects in Dubai. The front attachment provided a maximum digging depth of 18m. It also had additional piping for a breaker attachment and was delivered with two arms, measuring 8m and 5.5m, which can both be used with the breaker.

Working in a marine environment has implications for the after-sales requirements of this machine, which differ to those of a mining excavator. The EX1900-6 is equipped with an anti-seawater specification, but working in the ocean can cause corrosion, which does not usually occur in a mine. Cylinders require extra care, additional painting is required, and lubricants must be refilled at least every four to five hours to prevent the wearing of pins and bushes. This is because more dirt and sand enter into the bucket pin due to the water pressure.

Working underwater also makes it difficult to see the material being dredged or excavated, which tends to place more stress on the excavator than if it was operating above sea level. On the swing circle, extra care is required to prevent the bolts from loosening, and daily inspections are vital.

One of the most challenging aspects of supplying this particular excavator, Hitachi reports, was the fact that the pontoon had been built for use with a competitor’s machine. In order to make the EX1900-6 fit on to the pontoon and for sufficient swing clearance between spud holes, the Hitachi engineering department had to adjust the front attachment several times.

Hitachi says that with the growing demand for excavators used in dredging operations, it is now looking at future developments for these machines. One of the main challenges will be to introduce an electric model with a low-range voltage, because of high oil prices and strict emission regulations, it says.