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June 2020
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Executive Hire News › Archives › June 2020 › Executive Report : Executive news

Executive Report : Executive news

CEA survey reveals the impact of Covid-19

The Construction Equipment Association (CEA) has announced the results of a recent survey looking at the effects the ongoing crisis is having on its members’ activities. The figures make for interesting reading.
In terms of topline numbers, 10% of respondents reported that their production had not been affected by the pandemic and it was ‘business as usual’. Otherwise, and perhaps unsurprisingly, 72% were working at reduced levels. The remaining 18% of respondents had closed their businesses temporarily.
The figures for office-based workers were slightly different. 14% of respondents said they had not been affected by the crisis, 80% reported a reduced level of staffing and 6% reported that they had no staff working at all.
The survey also looked at how current operations compare with pre-lockdown business. The overall percentage was a sobering 35% of usual production, while staffing levels were at 52% compared to ‘normal’.
The poll also revealed that an average of 48% of the total workforce had been furloughed as part of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which pays 80% of a worker’s salary up to a cap of £2,500 a month. 43% of companies responding had claimed for staff wages under the scheme, and 4% had tried unsuccessfully. 53% of companies said they had not claimed, although further comments suggested that many were planning to - all of which would increase the 43% figure to over 55%.
The CEA team spoke to over 150 of its members, covering a cross-section of industry sectors. Feedback from niche market members, such as component manufacturers, indicates that sales for this sector are holding up thanks to steady exports to the USA and China, although air and sea freight is hard to source and is unreliable and subject to cancellations. The companies are also picking up unfulfilled UK orders from Italy, France, and China.
Component manufacturers thought the crisis ‘should’ trigger a UK wide ‘reshoring’ - the process of moving an overseas operation back to the country of its origin - and are likewise expecting a post-pandemic reshoring of the supply chain.
Reports from SMEs indicate that they appear to be better prepared to face business disruption going forward, and are more flexible and also carrying larger inventory. However, it seems that some are still struggling from delayed customer payments.
Elsewhere, there are encouraging signs of returning confidence - not all reports were negative, and some of the members surveyed were bullish about continuing business and orders still coming in.


Phoenix rising

Thwaites has announced the appointment of Phoenix Hire & Sales as their authorised distributor for West South Wales.
Phoenix Hire & Sales is the largest independent hire company in Wales, employing over 80 people across six branches. Established for 12 years, the company has seen significant expansion of its plant sales business, which includes Yanmar, Amman and Stihl.
Commenting on the new deal, Phoenix Hire & Sales Director Jason Derraven said, “First and foremost we are really pleased to become part of the Thwaites family. The product and brand are recognised across the market for their quality, reliability, and durability. These are values Phoenix Hire and Sales share and values the business continues to be driven by. We very much look forward, as the market recovers, to widening our offer and supporting further, contractors across West South Wales in these challenging times.”
“We have been most impressed by the enthusiasm and energy Phoenix Hire and Sales have shown ahead of this announcement. We look forward to supporting the business and its customers with the best dumpers on the market for many years to come,” adds Thwaites General Sales Manager, Andy Sabin.
Thwaites returned to manufacturing on 4 May, thus ensuring the continuity of supply through its 13-strong UK distribution channel as the phased return to work of hire companies, contractors and housebuilders gathers pace.


JCB announces first online machine sales

JCB has introduced online machine sales in order to support businesses with their plant requirements throughout the Covid-19 lockdown. Now Poole-based Focal Landscapes has become the first customer, purchasing a JCB 8008 micro excavator and a HTD-5 tracked dumper via the new JCB portal: https://direct.jcb.com
Focal Landscapes owner Marc Woodward said: “I discovered the option to buy online via Twitter. I then placed my order on the website and the machine was here in less than a week. The online buying experience is really, really simple.”
JCB UK and Ireland Sales Director Steve Smith said: “We are determined to support our customers’ machine requirements during the challenging current Covid-19 crisis. The new service gives customers the ability to buy some of JCB’s most popular products online, directly from the manufacturer, with no need to meet face-to-face or leave their homes.”
The new online service is restricted to a handful of machines for the moment, perhaps as a means of testing the water. However, the JCB machines that can be purchased include the 8008 micro excavator, the 16C-1, 18Z-1 and 8026 mini excavators, the HTD-5 Dumpster, the 1T-2 site dumper and S1930E and S2632E access platforms.


Takeuchi launches new 7 tonne

Takeuchi’s old 7 tonne TB175 has been a popular machine, but the arrival of a brand new TB370 model is set to make an impact with hire companies looking for a reliable Takeuchi for the fleet.
Weighing in at 7,042kg, with 42.4kW power output and 48.4kN of digging force, the new TB370 offers powerful operating performance. Even the famous Takeuchi tilt-up cab is making a comeback.
With a unique design, the TB370 is compact with a comfortable cab, the latest jog-dial controls and a colour touchscreen VDU. Other features include all-round LED lighting, floating dozer blade, auto fuel pump, lifting check valves, hydraulic hitch pipework and adjustable auxiliary flows. The TB370 performs well on site too, with a dig depth of 4,085mm, a dump height of 4,545mm and ground reach as far as 6,565mm.
Takeuchi is now Stage V ready across the range up to 9 tonnes and with a model in virtually every weight class. With short tail, hybrid, offset, mono and 2-piece booms, there is a Takeuchi to suit every application.


Yanmar launches new excavator

Yanmar Compact Equipment EMEA has unveiled the next generation of its class-leading B75W wheeled excavator - the B75W-5.
The new machine is designed for urban jobsites, highway construction and landscaping projects. It is powered by the 73hp Yanmar 4TNV98CT turbocharged diesel engine, with DPF fitted as standard. The B75W-5 is fuel efficient and fully-compliant with EU Stage V emissions legislation. Powerful for its size, it delivers 295.5Nm torque at 1,365rpm and can attain speeds of up to 36km/h.
The B75W-5 has a digging depth of 3,500mm (TPA boom), a digging force of 38,000N at the bucket edge, a max reach of 6,990mm (TPA boom) and maximum dumping height of 5,050mm (TPA boom). An LUDV hydraulic system with four independent circuits means the driver can simultaneously operate a tilt rotator with a hydraulic quick-hitch system and a hydraulically-driven tool - such as a sorting grab, asphalt cutter or cutting unit.
Yanmar’s Smart Control operating system, which is fitted as standard, ensures the driver can quickly select optimum power levels for different applications. Many controls have been redesigned for faster operation and real-time monitoring, while a new display design makes the system more ergonomically-friendly.
The B75W-5 is fitted with LED lights mounted on the boom as standard, although other lighting packages are available as optional extras, enabling front and rear working lights, double-beams and rotating beacons.
Other options include a float position function on the front dozer blade, which allows the blade to follow soil contours, thus making levelling and filling work easier, while an automatic refuelling pump prevents overfilling and allows drivers to refuel with a single button. A range of new attachments has also been developed for the excavator, including a bucket and fork carrier, mechanical/hydraulic quick couplers, standard/grading/swivel buckets and DMS breakers.
The B75W-5 has a spacious ROPS/FOPS-approved ergonomic operator station to maximise productivity. Noise and vibration dampening, a 7-inch anti-reflective display screen, extra-wide keypad and optional automatic air conditioning ensure the cabin is comfortable and practical. Meanwhile, maintenance is enhanced thanks to ground-level access to the central electrics service compartment and a ladder integrated into the service flap for increased reach.


New Joint-MD for WINGET

WINGET Limited has announced Phil Winnington as a Joint Managing Director, joining current MD Steve Hodge in the role. Commencing his appointment on 1 April, Phil now heads up the commercial element of this well-respected company, which produces a range of concrete mixers, site dumpers and construction equipment.
Phil joins WINGET from Morris Site Machinery, where he was most recently International Business Director and led the expansion of the company’s export business in such regions as Australasia, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Europe. Prior to this, Phil was Sales & Marketing Director at Seddons Plant & Engineers Ltd for 13 years.
Enthusing about his new role, Phil explains: “WINGET has been a well renowned name in the Industry for over 110 years, one that’s associated with quality site mixers and dumpers, and the challenge of expanding the business in the home market and around the globe really appeals.
“I look forward to meeting current customers, future prospects, distributors and suppliers alike. We will all need to work closely as a team to support the ‘new future’ when it arrives.”
In response, Steve Hodge adds: “This is an important time for Phil to join our business regardless of the challenges that we, like others will be faced with post-pandemic. The brand has remained steadfast and has sustained many challenges since it was first established in 1908, and there will be new opportunities to seek out in the future. I am particularly looking forward to his strategic and managerial contribution.”


New plant operator apprenticeship

A new apprenticeship for trainee plant operators is launching, after many years of development by an industry working group with the support of the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA).
The ‘Construction Plant Operative Level 2 Apprenticeship’ comprises a 15-month course covering four machines - excavators, site dumpers or dump trucks, forklifts and ride-on rollers. Course content also includes operator-level servicing and basic maintenance techniques, as well as the marshalling of plant. Some 20% of the new training is classroom-based, the remainder being undertaken on the job.
The new apprenticeship is the brainchild of a ‘trailblazer group’ chaired by Flannery Plant Hire Director, Patrick Flannery. Having worked on the project since 2016, he says: “After many years of developing this apprenticeship, we’re pleased to have passed the final hurdle. As a team, we are looking forward to engaging with potential providers and ensuring the very best training for our future apprentices. More than ever, we need to attract new talent and we hope industry will support our efforts and take up this important apprenticeship.”
The CPA and Flannery Plant Hire are now seeking training providers and colleges to deliver the new programme. Interested parties are directed to trainingsouth@flanneryplant.co.uk for further information.


RSS adds air hoist range

Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd. (RSS) has secured a UK distributor and service partnership for JD Neuhaus’s Profi air hoist range, which is available in capacities from 250kg up to 100 tonne.
The Profi air hoist range offers air pressure in four or six bar, is an explosion-protected series, and is suited to heavy-duty industrial use. It is available with various control options and is especially suited for use in hazardous areas. The new range boasts high performance with more efficiency and reliability, and high lifting/lowering speeds. Low sound emissions are an additional benefit, and the series boasts permanent motor lubrication during operation thanks to a high-performance grease - no additional motor lubrication is required.
Additional features include infinitely variable speed control, frequent switching and extended duty cycles, low headroom, insensitivity to dust, humidity and temperatures ranging from -20°C up to +70°C. The chain sprocket in the mid-section runs in dust proof maintenance-free ball bearings and the planetary gear is in long-life grease lubrication. All teeth, meanwhile, are made of tempered or hardened high grade steel.


Snorkel gains Retained Value Award

Mobile elevating work platform specialist, Snorkel, has announced that its TB Series of 80ft and 86ft telescopic boom lifts have achieved the EquipmentWatch ‘Highest Retained Value’ award for a third consecutive year.
Specifically, Snorkel’s TB80 and TB86J telescopic boom lifts were lauded for having the highest retained value within the EquipmentWatch telescopic boom category. With an average age in the market of 13.47 years, the models are forecast to retain the highest percentage of their original value after a five-year period.
The annual awards are based on the comprehensive EquipmentWatch market activity database, which covers some 50 categories of construction, access and agricultural equipment. All of this year’s winners can be seen at www.equipmentwatch.com
On noting the achievement, Snorkel CEO Matthew Elvin said, “We are honoured to receive this highly regarded EquipmentWatch award for three consecutive years. This supports our focus on designing simple, reliable and robust products that deliver low total ownership costs and ultimately are a great return on investment.”


Trime shines a light

Appropriate to the world we live in, and particularly befitting urban environments, Trime has unveiled the X-CITY HYBRID lighting tower. The new unit offers advanced battery-power, emits zero noise, zero emissions and consumes zero fuel when operating in ‘hybrid mode’.
The X-CITY HYBRID also addresses current social distancing measures, with one-person operation ensuring that sites can have safe, bright lighting without compromising health and safety.
The new lighting tower features a 3.5m or 5.0m vertical mast with four 150watt, directionally-adjustable lamps. The antiglare LED lamps make the unit useful for highway and trackside working, or for facility maintenance. Power is supplied by a single-cylinder Yanmar diesel engine combined with an AGM battery pack that delivers a running time of eight hours and a re-charging period of just five hours. The 35-litre fuel tank operates for up to 455 hours between refills.
Finally, the X-CITY HYBRID boasts modest dimensions of L:1,395mm x W:950mm x H:1,170mm, and it weighs just 470kg. In practical terms, this means that it can be transported in most standard passenger lifts and manoeuvred into place thanks to a motorised front axle. Similarly, the compact tower easily fits into a small van, and up to 20 sets can be loaded on a single truck.
The Trime Group is continuing to work under Government guidelines. However, the company is welcoming enquiries for this lighting tower or any other products within the Trime range.


Bobcat shuffles dealer network

Bobcat has appointed TVE Hire & Sales to cover Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, this being in addition to its currently held territories of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
TVE will also cover Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall while dealers are sought in those regions. Meanwhile, Bobcat has also appointed JJ Farm Services to look after its agricultural telehandler business in Gloucestershire.
“Following the excellent results delivered by TVE in its first three years as a Bobcat dealer, with market share increases of up to 15 percent in its area, we are delighted to recognise this with the addition of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire to its existing area,” says Bobcat Regional Sales Director for the UK and Ireland, Nordics and Baltics, John Christofides.
While TVE Sales Manager Mat Jones adds: “We are very gratified that our performance since we became a Bobcat dealer has been rewarded with an expanded territory for sales, service and parts for all of the Bobcat range. Customers new and old in Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall can also be assured of full continuity in Bobcat service in our caretaker role for these counties.”


The life of Brian

A-Plant is celebrating the career of fitter, Brian Symcox, after he notched up a remarkable 50 years with the company.
Brian, 72, has worked at A-Plant’s depot in Derby for the last five decades, and has been presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his service. His milestone coincides with another, as A-Plant itself rebrands as Sunbelt Rentals from 1 June 2020.
Much has changed since Brian first joined the company as an apprentice in 1970. His salary, for one, which was a mere ‘Five Bob’ a week at the time. Likewise, the equipment he worked on, which lacked the power and sophistication of contemporary machinery. In spite of that, Brian progressed from being a depot-based fitter to becoming a mobile fitter responsible for managing the maintenance of equipment such as dumpers, excavators and rollers. More recently, he has returned to the main depot to support the training of young apprentices.
“I am really pleased to be celebrating 50 years and I will just carry on and keep going while I’m fit and well,” says Brian. “I have no plans for retirement just yet and am not sure what I might do when I have to retire. It’s great to see A-Plant striving to be better. I’m looking forward to getting my new uniform when we become Sunbelt Rentals.”
For his part, Service Centre Manager Chris Hanley adds: “We are delighted to join Brian in celebrating his 50 years with A-Plant, it is a truly commendable achievement. Brian has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share and he’s a good teacher. The apprentices really appreciate and value his skills and experience and over the years he must have mentored quite a few apprentices.”


National Platforms launches National Telehandlers

National Platforms, the network devised by access professional John Hall and business partners Mike Dell and Ian Davis, has launched a new venture along similar lines in the telehandler sector - the new name to look out for is National Telehandlers.
As with the platform business, members of the group are each allocated specific areas in which to operate, these being segmented by postcode or other regional boundaries. Membership benefits include centralised branding, sales and marketing - and there is strength in numbers too, with the 16 companies signed up so far offering a combined fleet already comprising around 2,800 items. 30 members is the target for 2020, at which point all UK territories will be covered.
The new business is led by Lee Rigby, himself a veteran of companies such as Speedy, Nationwide Platforms and Riwal, where he was recently the UK Commercial Manager. Adapting quickly to his new role, Lee has spent the month of May in meetings with UK plant hire companies. “We’ve certainly created a lot of interest, especially during difficult times. A lot of companies have taken the government help and some of our members have taken advantage of our services during this time, therefore continuing to bring in new business and building the customer base.” he adds.
The new venture is undoubtedly in safe hands, then. Whether Lee can find common ground with John Hall in terms of his footballing allegiances - Leicester City vs John’s beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers - is quite another matter.


LFI segments its range

LFI, suppliers of British made ladders and access products for the last 70 years, has updated its branding and segmented its range to help purchasers select the right products.
Changes to EN131 informs these latest activities, the standard covering the design, strength and testing of ladders and steps in the UK and Europe. Things might have ended there, since it is supposed that LFI products were already up to scratch. However, the company has used the opportunity to realign its range and and introduce these changes.
LFI products are now stratified in three ways - LFI ‘Tuff’, with products built from larger and stronger materials to withstand the heaviest use and abuse; LFI ‘Pro’, which offers the ideal combination of lightweight and durable materials for professional users, and LFI ‘Home’, which is designed for workplace, light duty access or domestic use, where easy storage is also a consideration.
“It’s exciting times for LFI who are well known as a long-standing premium supplier of strong, dependable products into the construction industry. Our new branding is helping us to target some new markets as we enjoy a healthy start to the year so far,” adds LFI Managing Director, Ben Walker.


‘Buy now, pay later’ says Yanmar

It’s two-for-one for Yanmar Compact Equipment, which has announced a limited-time sales initiative across the UK and Ireland.
In short, customers buying any of Yanmar’s excavators, carriers and wheel loaders before 30 June 2020 can freeze their hire purchase repayments for six months. Attached strings include a 10% deposit payment, alongside full VAT and a small document signing fee. However, purchasers basically have a free revenue source for six months before the first payment is due.
According to UK & Ireland Sales Manager, David Cockayne: “We wanted to provide a simple way for UK customers to access the new machines they need today, without the requirement for immediate monthly payments. Our ‘buy now, pay later’ initiative is a hugely beneficial scheme designed with the customer firmly in mind.”


Mobile platform controls standardised

A new international standard announced by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) will see the layout of controls on mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP) brought in line with one another.
ISO 21455:2020, as the new standard is called, has been a decade in the making, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) working alongside the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) following a spate of fatal and serious crushing and entrapment injuries. A CPA guidance from 2010 made recommendations for mitigating the risks of such incidents, while in its RR960 and RR961 reports of 2013 the HSE identified knowledge gaps and suggested the longer term goal of achieving greater consistency in the design and layout of platform and base controls.
Finally, the HSE, IPAF and other global bodies began discussions with mobile platform producers, which has led to the formation of a MEWP manufacturers working group and the publication of the new ISO standard this month.
Speaking of the new standard, IPAF Chief Executive Peter Douglas said: “This unprecedented co-operation between global MEWP manufacturers, trade associations and the UK HSE resulted in the new MEWP control standard. It shows how important IPAF’s committees are in driving forward standards globally and it is gratifying to see this project moving to fruition and improving the safety of MEWPs by standardising the controls.”


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