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Kitten rig refurbished back to full purring glory

Digger Blogger | 09:09, Wed March 12 2014

Those of us who write about construction plant get fed a lot of great material about the latest shiny new machines, but actually it’s the old stuff that continues to do 99% of the work across the industry.

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.

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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.






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