“Around 12 years ago, we first looked at the ECR235 as a replacement for other short radius excavators on our fleet and we’ve never looked back,” says transport manager Steve Meade. “Our operators like them. They are a compact, powerful and very stable platform, and they are ideally suited to what we do.”
The Shorts Group operates an extensive waste and recycling operation that also encompasses demolition, site clearance, and plant and tool hire. As the business has grown, so too has its machinery fleet. It currently operates around 70 items of Volvo construction equipment which extends from mini and midi excavators for its plant and tool hire operation up to a 50-tonne EC480 excavator used for demolition work.
“We’re really pleased with the level of service we get from Volvo,” he says. “Yes, there have been issues, but they have been dealt with in the same way that we deal with our customers – and that really matters to us. Everyone is tested on how good their service is.”
Restricted working hours at the Ascot waste transfer station dictates that a high level of productivity and reliability have become essential daily requirements.
“Ascot is a 7am to 5pm operation, and we expect to get 10 hours of work from our machines on site every day,” he says. “We get a lorry over the weighbridge every 90 seconds, so when a machine operator needs to stop for a break, another operator takes the controls to ensure these machines don’t stop working until the end of the day. In these applications, the Volvos will clock up around 7,000 to 8,000 hours in three years.”
Each waste transfer station uses its ECR235 to sort and sift through all materials arriving on site to recover as much as possible through the latest state-of-the-art processing equipment. A selection of composts, recycled aggregates and soils are produced, while materials that cannot be recycled - with the exception of hazardous or contaminated materials – are sent for processing as refused derived fuels suitable for energy plants.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary during 2017, the Shorts Group of companies has evolved from a one-man operation started by the late David Short, into a multi-million pound business employing a workforce of around 200. David’s son Gary is now managing director.
“Waste management remains the biggest part of our business, and each aspect of the operation blends seamlessly with the next,” says commercial business manager Bryony Short, who represents the third generation of the family working in the business.
“There is so much synergy across the business that we can make the most of every opportunity to reuse and recycle from the many different aspects of the group’s activities. Our target is zero to landfill, and that means making the most of new technologies and processes to enable new ways of recycling the waste streams that we handle,” she says.