We were picked up from the Club Hotel Riu Kaya in Belek, Antalya, by Hidromek regional manager Akay Ergun, who was accompanied by an English speaking guide for the day. We swiftly headed off for our first machinery visit of the day to see a 6 week old HMK220LC in action.
This 22 ton class machine is owned by local contractor Murat Yildirim, who has been in business in the Antalya region for over 20 years. A vast majority of Mr Yildirim’s work is in the ground preparation and construction of greenhouses. As well as the HMK220LC, the company also run a larger HMK370LC Gen Series model, that was purchased last year.
The Mediterranean climate in Antalya, with its hot dry summers and mild rainy winters, makes it an ideal place for growing fruits and vegetables. In fact it is estimated that 70% of all fruit and vegetables consumed in Turkey are grown in the Antalya region, and with an ever growing demand for the produce Mr Yildirim is always busy constructing more greenhouses.
During our visit to the site I was invited to take to the controls of the company’s latest acquisition. The HMK220 LC is the most popular size machine in the Turkish market and the Gen Series range is certainly very impressive. I especially like the black and white livery that the company launched to the public at last year’s Bauma trade fair.
I climbed into the cab, which with the soaring 35 degree heat outside was a very welcoming place to be indeed, I cranked up the air conditioning and settled in to a cab that is very comfortable. Hidromek’s talented design team have put a lot of thought into making this cab a nice place to be, with a host of innovative additions to be found.
At the heart of it all is the Opera control panel which features a whole host of vital controls in easy reach from the operator’s seat. It includes a keyless ignition system where the operator only needs to press the red button to start and stop the machine. There are 4 power modes to choose from including, F = Sensitive, E = Economy, P =Power and HP = High Power, also included are 3 work modes which are D = Digging mode, B = Breaker mode and O = Optional attachment mode. Once selected the power and work mode status is displayed on the full colour TFT screen at the front of the cab along with all other vital information like fuel levels and oil and water temperatures.
Also included on the Opera user interface are remote controls for the radio and mp3 player, which enable the operator to search for stations or tracks of music without needing to reach for the radio itself, there is also talk of fitting Bluetooth systems for the use of mobile phones in the cab which I personally think is a great idea.
I put the machine to work loading a lorry which had turned up to take away some good fill material, the well proven 4 cylinder 162hp Isuzu AI-4HKIX engine sprung into life and purred away with very little noise, they are incredibly quiet engines, but give the machine plenty of digging power when coupled with another well proven piece of kit, the Kawasaki hydraulic pumps which are used across the Hidromek range.
The machine was a delight to operate with its silky smooth hydraulics and effortless digging ability. The machine had been set up on the heap for my test drive and the operator had left it in its economy setting. I would have liked to try out the Power and High Power settings just to see how much quicker it would have been, but out of courtesy to the operator thought it was best to leave it in the economy mode. There is a video of me working the machine which I hope to post on the blog at a later date.
It’s not hard to see why Hidromek have a 50% share of the excavator market in the Antalya region. The company have a real quality product, and the design and development team are at the cutting edge of excavator technology. The company also have plans to introduce more models to the range including a 25 ton and 45-50 ton machines in the future. I certainly look forward to covering those machines here on the Digger Blog.
In Part 2 of this article we will continue on our travels around Antalya and look at some other Hidromek machines at work