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Thu November 30 2023

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Erith puts remote control Bobcat to work

19 Dec 19 The UK’s first remote control Bobcat compact loader has been working on a demolition contract in London.

Remote controlled Bobcat S450 at work
Remote controlled Bobcat S450 at work

The remote control S450 skid-steer loader is working on the top-down demolition of a former wing of the Whittington Hospital in Upper Holloway in North London.

It is on hire to demolition contractor Erith from BooBoo Plant Hire, based in Kings Langley, which bought the machine from Bobcat of London, its local Bobcat dealer.

The machine was bought with a kit for the Bobcat remote control system, allowing the driver to get out, walk away from the danger zone and still operate the loader.

BooBoo Plant Hire also has conventional and specially modified E85 8.5 tonne mini-excavators and an S70 skid-steer loader on Erith’s Whittington Hospital demolition job.

Two of the E85 units have modified hydraulics that allow them to operate a Multi Quick Processor 25 (MQP-25) and large hydraulic breakers, while still maintaining the low ground pressure that is required for working on the floors of buildings being demolished in this way.

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Harry Allen, owner of BooBoo Plant Hire, said: “With the number of injuries on sites increasing again, maintaining maximum safety is paramount. I believe remote control is the way to go in the future in our industry – it’s a no-brainer really – so I was very interested in the excellent demonstration provided by Phil Stoneham at Bobcat of London.

“As well as increased safety, the remote control saves costs by removing the need for a banksman as a lookout for the machine, a prerequisite now on many sites. Banksmen are necessary to help avoid collisions of machines with other workers on site, which after falls from height is one of the major causes of accidents and injuries.

“So instead of the contractor having to pay for both a banksman and the loader driver, these are both replaced by the operator on the remote control system. On top of that, they do not have to pay for pensions, holiday pay and other associated costs, providing further savings.”

He added: “We see many other uses of the system – with trenchers and wheel saws, where the operator specifically needs to drive backwards with the loader; this solution offers perfect visibility of the project. It also allows operators to talk face-to-face with project partners and manage the surroundings (verbally or non-verbally) at the same time.”

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