The British designed and manufactured Solo range has been developed by the team at Shannon Plant Sales Ltd in Somerset. Following many years of development and fine tuning, it was officially launched to the public at the Executive Hire Show earlier this year.
I put the dumper through its paces first. The machine is incredibly easy to operate and the controls are very responsive and controllable. To demonstrate how easy it is for one man and a digger to use this concept I headed off down the field in my mini excavator to roughly 100 metres which is the range at which the Solo will work. I then turned the machine to operate the dumper, quickly and safely bringing it to the machine for loading.
The dumper was quickly loaded with its specified 500kg load, and from the safety of my cab I was able to send the dumper on its way to the discharge area, something I was very pleased about as the weather was rather unpleasant this weekend! The Solo headed off powered by its 16hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard V- Twin engine and quickly reached the dumping area; with a flick of two switches on the Solo remote control console, the load was tipped and the dumper headed back to me for the next load.
The Solo machines are very manoeuvrable working on the same principles as skid steer loaders, with 4 wheel drive being supplied by 4 separate hydraulic motors, the machine is happy to contra-rotate within its own length or make smooth gradual turns depending on how much space is available. With health and safety such a high priority these days, it is clear to see that this concept could be very useful in dangerous work areas, such as alongside busy roads, close to water, airports and in hazardous areas such as demolition sites where asbestos has been uncovered.
Indeed the applications for these versatile machines are endless and only limited by ones imagination. We even used it to muck out the stables, and as you can see with a width of just 825mm the machine travelled in through the doorway with plenty of room to spare.
Next up we put the Solo mower to the test; built around the same frame as the dumper, the mower is fitted with twin rotary blades which provide a cutting width of 1000mm, cutting height can be adjusted from 30mm-300mm.
Once again these machines provide a lot of safety for the operator, allowing him to work alongside busy motorways and roads whilst operating the machine from a safe vantage point at up to 100 metres away. The machines can be fitted with rough terrain gripper tyres which I would recommend when working on soft and uneven ground.
All machines in the Solo range are operated using this easy to use unique remote control system, with controls for all functions including start up, forward and reverse, height adjustment, skip tip and emergency stop.
Other versions of the Solo include the sprayer model, designed for the safe spraying of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals. There is also a fire hose version which is drawing great interest from fire brigades up and down the country. This machine can be sent in towards a fire where personnel would not be able to go due to the extreme heat.
The Digger Blog looks forward to covering the progress of this forward thinking company and their clever Solo concept.