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PLANT PLANET The Mission to fix The nation’s roads Exclusive:

Mecalac TLB880

HS2 Update: Preparations in progress for tunnel boring

is 5g the answer to boosting industry productivity?

LIUGONG 9018F Stands up to the test

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JCB potholepro:

ISSN 2631-4622

Issue 14, February 2021

Plant Planet is published by

Kiwi Media and Promotions Ltd 2nd Floor, 41-42 Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1ES


A word from the editor: What a way to start 2021! A very happy new year from the Plant Planet team! This issue, as always, is packed with the latest industry news. From updates on the ongoing HS2 project from David Chuck (see page 36) to JCB’s all new PotholePro (page 53), this issue has something for everyone. Some of the most exciting features this issue explore both new and favourite machinery alike. The exclusive on Mecalac’s new TLB880 Backhoe Loader can be found on page 42. Interviews and articles unpacking Liugong and SUNWARD’s best performing excavators can also be found in this edition. This year, we’re expecting technology in construction to really take off. From automated machinery to government backed 5G projects, technology is proving to be the way forwards. This issue unpacks all you need to know about the latest construction tech. Of course, 2020 was a tough year for the industry. Both Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic loomed large. The start of 2021 has seen some uncertainty remain with these topics. However, as the year progresses, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As always, stay safe.

Hannah Bounford, Head of Creative

4 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

Kiwi Media and Promotions Ltd. 2019 all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited except with permission in writing from the company. Note to contributors: articles submitted to the Head of Editing and Design for consideration must be the original work of the author. Where photographs are included that are not the property of the company or contributor, permission to reproduce them must have been received from the owner of the copyright. Any views or opinions expressed within this magazine are not necessarily those of the company. ISSN: 2631-4622 Registered in England No: 09910499

Conditions for Advertising All advertisements are accepted subject to the Kiwi Media & Promotions’ standard of insertion. For a copy of Advertising Terms & Conditions, please write to Darren Shelton at 2nd Floor 41-42 Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1ES

Find Us Online Www.plant-planet.co.uk


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Our Team

Management Team Darren Shelton

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kate Hutchison

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social media co-ordinator

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6 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

10 Latest News

A round up of the news from the plant machinery industry over the past two months.

28 Topical Commentary

What does 2021 look like for construction recruitment?

Kate Hutchison explores the year ahead for construction recruitment.

32 Company Profile

ISR Group: Inspiring Trust in the SUNWARD Brand Hannah Bounford catches up with Ian Rollinson to discuss SUNWARD’s best selling machines.

8 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

36 topical commentary HS2: Preparations in place for tunnel boring

David Chuck brings the latest updates from the ongoing rail project.

59 Topical Commentary Productivity in Construction: Is 5G Technology the Answer? Hannah Bounford explores how recent developments in 5G might shape the next few decades for the industry.

65 topical commentary EC350E Launch Firmly Establishes the 35T Excavator Segment

Plant Planet take a look at the new Volvo machine.

71 Topical commentary A Brief Introduction to Digital Technology in Construction

Kate Hutchison breaks down the technology making an impact in the industry.



Plant Planet exclusive MECALAC UNVEILS ALL-NEW TLB880 BACKHOE LOADER Plant Planet take a look at the newest addition to the Mecalac backhoe range

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 9


Written by the industry for the industry David chuck @KingstonPR David Chuck has worked in the Construction Plant industry for over 50 years. As well as being a contributor to Plant Planet magazine, David is a social media and website management consultant, and a Partner of Kingston PR.

Ian Rollinson ISR Group Ltd

Edward Willmott Prova

Emmanuel Ficot


Sunward Europe

Rachel Lambert @KingstonPR Charlotte Brown

Rachel Lambert is a PR consultant and the founder of Kingston PR, a business she started over 28 years ago. A former magazine editor, she is also a freelance writer covering a range of sectors.

Liugong Direct UK

Hannah Bounford Kate Hutchison @PlantPlanetUK Kate is a graduate from the University of Portsmouth with both a B.A. (Hons) and MSc degree. Kate deals with marketing, writing blogs and also is the social media co-ordinator for Plant Planet.

10 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

Nigel chell



Hannah has worked as the Head of Editing and Design for Plant Planet Magazine for 18 months. She particularly enjoys writing about new advances in construction plant.

Alex Cox SMT GB

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Latest news

Kubota strengthens aftermarket team


part of its continued investment and commitment to delivering first class aftersales support, Kubota (UK) Ltd is pleased to announce two new appointments to its aftermarket team. The first is Martin Tyler, who has been appointed as business development manager for service. Martin has been with the company for seven years, formerly as field service manager, and this new role will see him heading up the aftermarket service team. His responsibilities include working closely with the dealer network resolving technical queries and warranty claims, and to further develop Kubota’s

front-line support through technical training. The second appointment is that of Simon Chadbone, who takes up the position of business development manager for parts. Simon joins Kubota following 25 years at the Turney Group, where he joined as an apprentice technician and latterly held the position of group service manager with responsibility for agricultural and ground care equipment. Overseeing the aftermarket parts team, Simon is responsible for working in partnership with Kubota’s dealer and distributor network to deliver competitive and cost-effective solutions with original parts.

Astrak Group appointed as Eaton Authorised Distributor


carriage and wear part specialists, Astrak Group UK Limited, has become an authorised distributor of Eaton Final Drives. A typical Final Drive of the kind found on an excavator is composed of a reduction gear, hydraulic motor, parking brake and other components and it is responsible in driving the excavator or crane forward or backward and they are widely considered to be one of the most important hydraulic components of many tracked machines. The Eaton range of Final Drives (sometimes called travel motors) are engineered to provide consistent amounts of power during operation and are available for a wide range of excavators and other tracked equipment from 1 to 50 tonnes. Astrak’s Group Operations


12 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

Latest news Manager, John Wyllie, commented: “Our company has been supplying Eaton’s market-leading hydraulic final drives to our customers for many years. “During that time, we have confirmed our belief that their final drives have been designed and manufactured to meet even the toughest of challenges that today’s industry can throw at them. This reliability makes them the first choice of many operators. “Today’s announcement signals the logical next step in our relationship with Eaton and we are all very proud to be recognised as an Eaton Authorised Distributor

and we look forward to the opportunities this new status will bring to our business.” Eaton Hydraulics’ UK Sales Manager Mark Ward stated: “This agreement confirms both Astrak’s and Eaton’s firm commitment to stocking and selling Eaton Final Drives into the OEM and replacement markets and growing our mutual market share. The partnership will continue to be a great success.”

service for which the company is already recognised for throughout the construction industry. https://astrakgroup.co.uk/ products/final-drives/

Astrak’s new arrangement with Eaton will enable them to continue in supplying high-quality products to their customers alongside an outstanding level of customer

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 13

airBOSS IN ACTION Case Study DEAL – DAVID EVANS AGRICULTURE LTD David Evans Agriculture Ltd (DEAL) got in touch with airBOSS early in 2020 as they were looking for a suitable tyre for their Skidsteers. A few months on and they have been so impressed they have commissioned airBOSS to develop tyres for some of their other vehicles – working under heavy conditions and extremely high temperatures. Here’s what they had to say: “Moving with the times, we at DEAL are always looking for

be easy enough to sort but if they are part worn, they may have

new innovative products/equipment to offer our customers,

to be replaced as a pair – it becomes quite expensive.

helping to somewhat reduce todays modern issues. This has seen a big demand for battery machines across all our sectors. Yet, while that solves a lot of the emissions and noise issues, another major issue we sort to combat to help complement our battery machines was tyres. This led us to our latest search, where we soon found airBOSS… When searching for a tyre to suit various applications across all industries in which to supply to our customers, longevity and low maintenance costs were at the forefront of our search.

While this is the regular procedure of many of our customers, we thought there must be someone out there who has developed an alternative. Through word of mouth and research online, the name airBOSS tyres took a firm hold of our attention. Offering the benefits of ‘eliminating vehicle downtime’ and the fact that they ‘last 4 times longer than the average tyre’ – airBOSS met the requirements we set out for. We took delivery of our first set some 2-3 months ago, from the moment they were delivered we were impressed with

With our customer base covering everything from farming

the manufacturing quality and service provided. Impressive

to forestry, construction to demolition, one thing they can all

looks with a heavy-duty, robust feel. We fitted them to one of

agree on is that downtime is needed to be kept to an absolute

our New Holland Skidsteers to be used by a local demolition

minimum. While standard tyres are good in performance,

company. We let our client put these to the test and it soon

punctures will always be a stumbling block as well as blowouts.

became apparent that we were not the only ones impressed with

Misuse can also result in a deep gouge which would rule the tyre

the airBOSS tyres, as the owner now would not look at anything

to be unsafe and therefore would call for a replacement. This can

else for his machines.

“From the moment they were delivered we were impressed with the manufacturing quality and service provided.”

About DEAL Starting out a farmer’s boy with a passion, it was imminent that David Evans would pursue a career in something close to his heart. This soon saw him turn his attention to agricultural engineering and the labour of love that it is. Before

The real big USP (Unique Selling Point) behind airBOSS is the

long, alongside his mechanical services, he found

interchangeable tread segments giving you the end-user, the

himself trading used machinery to many of his

ability to keep segments of the tyre at home and be able to fit in a

customers. With the passion for more, he founded

matter of minutes. It changes the game. Enabling less downtime

David Evans Agricultural Ltd (DEAL) in 1993 and has

and saving on call-out fees, which, therefore, enables us to put

not looked back since.

more time into research and development of products to be able to offer our customers.

From the one-man band that it once was, DEAL now stands as one of Wales’s finest agricultural dealers,

A few discussions with airBOSS helped us to realise the

offering machinery in the Agricultural, Construction,

potential of the product and what it could do for the machinery

Forestry & Ground-care sectors. With a team of

we supply. Therefore, with some ambition in mind and the

likeminded, passionate, and approachable members,

knowledge of the team at airBOSS, we set out to work together

DEAL is proud to not only offer an array of machines

in producing some tyres to suit machines such as a Cast

to suit your every need, but to provide a second to

Workyquad and a Polaris Ranger.

none back up service, should you ever need us.

We at DEAL are really looking forward to our next chapter


of working with airBOSS. We’ve been so impressed with the functionality of these tyres, we won’t be looking anywhere else!”

Try airBOSS in action for yourself! Visit www.airbosstyre.com or telephone 01242 577877 to arrange your FREE 30-day trial. Trial includes one set of wheels delivered free to any UK location. If you do not wish to purchase after 30 days we will arrange collection free of charge.

Latest news

New Holland Agriculture wins 2020 Good Design Award THE

Good Design® international jury panel of design professionals, leading industry specialists, design journalists and critics awarded the BigBaler 1290 High Density, which takes a new direction, using effectively advanced design techniques to enhance the efficiency of the ‘engineered’ components. This range, designed for delivering all-out efficiency and productivity, has already received recognition from the industry, having been awarded both an Agritechnica Silver Innovation Medal and

16 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

a Machine of the Year 2020 award. The BigBaler 1290 High Density was one of the product designs selected by the jury from a record number of submissions from the world’s leading manufacturers and industrial and graphic design firms from over 48 countries. The award recognises the most innovative and cutting-edge industrial, product, and graphic designs produced around the world, and the selection is based on the criteria of quality design of the highest form, function, and aesthetics a standard beyond ordinary consumer products and graphics. As a winner of the award, the BigBaler 1290 High Density will feature in the Good Design Yearbook for 2020-2021.

Carlo Lambro, New Holland Brand President, commented: “We are honoured to receive this prestigious award, which recognises New Holland’s ability to put innovation at the service of its customers, always pushing the boundaries of productivity and efficiency. The BigBaler 1290 High Density is a winning example of how the collaboration between the CNH Industrial Design Team and our Product Engineering Teams enable New Holland to keep raising the bar on performance to the advantages of our customers. I would like to thank the design teams who developed this exceptional product and our manufacturing team at our Center of Harvesting Excellence in Zedelgem.”

Latest news David Wilkie, CNH Industrial Design Director, added: “The design vision for the BigBaler 1290 High Density stems from nature, inspired by the flowing lines of crops as they sway in the fields. It incorporates the natural flow vision denoted by its sinuous, sleek lines that encapsulate the functionality of the machine and enhance the efficiency of the machine’s components.” The New Holland BigBaler 1290 High Density is designed for delivering all-out efficiency and productivity. It produces bales of up to 22% higher density than conventional large square balers,significantly increasing transport and bale handling efficiency.

The unique patented Loop Master™ knotting technology ensures best-in-class solid tying and protects both the environment and forage by eliminating twine offcuts. By introducing a loop-style second knot, during an average 10,000-bale season, this system eliminates over six kilometres or 46 kg of twine offcuts. The range also introduces the unique SmartShift™ gearbox, winner of an Agritechnica Silver Innovation Medal, that delivers a soft start up resulting in greater comfort for the operator and overload protection for the tractor’s driveline. Operator comfort is further enhanced with a new intuitive user interface using the large

IntelliView™ IV touchscreen display. A range of automated features, such as IntelliCruise™ technology, which automatically adjusts tractor speed in relation to crop throughput, further enhance productivity. All the advanced features of the BigBaler 1290 High Density result in outstanding in-field efficiency, with fewer bales per field and more tons transported in each trailer load. In short higher productivity saving time and transport costs. The BigBaler 1290 High Density is built at the New Holland Center of Harvesting Excellence in Zedelgem, Belgium, and is the culmination of more than 30 years and over 30,000 large square bales produced to date.

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Latest news

Covid, Grenfell, Net Zero likely to drive AI and automation take-up – CITB report THE

pandemic, Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the decarbonisation agenda will likely increase adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, according to new CITB research. In one of the largest studies of its kind, CITB asked 1,500 construction employers, 97% being SMEs, for views on the use of these new technologies. Only 3% said they used AI, with fewer than 10% using automation or related tools like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) or drones. Barriers to greater adoption included a lack of high-speed internet connections in remote areas, limited data collection and sharing, high costs and rapidly changing technology.

The employers added that Government commitments on Net Zero would likely be a key driver for adoption in future.

framework to help establish more standardisation within training, and also to encourage increased take-up.

Nearly two thirds of large employers with 250 or more employees said they used at least five new technologies, though this fell to 31% for firms with 25-99 staff, and 15% for those with 10-24.

“Given the low take-up revealed by this research, it’s clear that smaller firms need more help in accessing the benefits of transformative technology like AI and automation.

CITB senior research lead Martin Turner said: “As has become clear during the past year, new technologies can prove very effective in transforming ‘business as usual’. They can provide real benefits for construction employers, and the pandemic has in all probability helped spur on their use. “During 2021 we’ll be developing plans for a digital skills

“We will support them by funding pilot projects aimed at providing digital leadership training, with a focus on the needs of SMEs and the supply chain.” Although CITB’s research was started during 2019 and preCovid, it states the pandemic and emphasis on safer working conditions will likely accelerate the adoption of technologies like AI and automation. The report adds that the Grenfell Tower Inquiry will almost certainly see new safety requirements for tall buildings. Sensors, for example, can improve structural monitoring, while better use of data will help pinpoint issues with components and materials and identify affected buildings. The draft Safety Bill would also require more accurate records, improved data collection and sharing. Read Artificial Intelligence And Automation In the Construction Industry online.

18 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet



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Latest news

Get tanked-up with MHM


the facilities on site to safely, securely store and dispense all fluids is a vital factor in proper site management. Leaks and accidental spillages can cause serious injuries and contribute to hazardous ground contamination. To help with fluid management on site, MHM have designed and built a wide range of fluid storage tanks that are fully bunded, transportable and most importantly, UN approved. MHM’s Fuel Buddy range consists of 950, 2000 and 3000 litre sizes with the 950 and 2000 models available either skid mounted or fitted onto road tow braked trailers. All are delivered with a three year warranty. To guard against ground contamination, they each feature a fully bunded base which retains all spilt fluids and, when space is at a premium, their handy stackable design is particularly useful for safe positioning. Each Fuel Buddy is equipped with a lockable access/storage hatch for the pump kit (electric or hand) and for added versatility, the pump kit has been designed to be quickly interchangeable and can transferred in under

20 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

Latest news 15 minutes. A user also has the alternative to either manually operate the fuel delivery pump or take up the option of a 12, 110, or 230 volt or petrol driven system. For added protection, an anti-slip chequered plate is fitted at the front for steady access to the cabinet space. For sound loading and unloading the Fuel Buddy is supplied with four forklift pockets and lifting eyes. Its attractive and protective galvanised framework with a durable powder coated paint finish renders the Fuel Buddy robust, rugged and ready to safely dispense fuel in just about any environment. With environmental considerations at the forefront,

MHM have included the option of having a 30w solar panel fitted to the Fuel Buddy. This system is designed to trickle feed a charging kit situated inside the cabinet, which in turn, provides a similar charge to a 12v battery. This dual operation results in supplying sufficient power to the 12v fuel transfer pump. For restrictive access applications, MHM has the handy Fuel Caddy which is an intermediate bulk container (IBC) with a 105 litre capacity. The Fuel Caddi can be delivered, full of fuel, without the need for a driver to have ADR training. It is ideally suited to refuel generators, heaters and other similar items of small plant.

Biofuel and water storage tanks in their range. All MHM tanks are available for purchase brand new or, quality used. They are also available for rehire to bona fide UK and Ireland rental firms. The MHM Group’s head office is based in Port Talbot, South Wales. The Company was incorporated in 2010 and carries a wide range of power generation, solar-hybridgenerators, lighting towers, engine driven welders and product related accessories. They deliver throughout the UK and Ireland.


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Latest news

Taylor & Braithwaite expand sales territory HYUNDAI

is pleased to announce that Hyundai distributor, Taylor and Braithwaite, based in Sandford in Cumbria, has expanded its territory to include, South Yorkshire. The new area is in addition to the company’s existing patch, which covers the rest of the Yorkshire areas, Lancashire, Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland, Dumfries and Galloway. The change formed part of Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe’s strategy to realign dealer coverage in the UK, where South Yorkshire remained a ‘vacant territory’. T&B’s sales areas already encompassed the three other Yorkshire regions, therefore it made perfect business sense to add South Yorkshire to the company’s territory. Tony Reeves, UK and Ireland sales manager said, “Taylor & Braithwaite is a high performing Hyundai construction equipment dealer. The company has an excellent sales provision in the Yorkshire areas and currently offers great service and sales support in the County. The territory expansion for T&B will give customers in the region improved accessibility and availability to the Hyundai range.” Taylor & Braithwaite’s sales director, Ian Burton, commented on the

22 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

expansion into South Yorkshire, he said, “This is a natural expansion of our territory. Bev Walker, our Yorkshire territory sales manager, has already built up many contacts within the Yorkshire region. Combined with our regional team of service engineers, I am extremely confident we can continue to support both existing and new customers throughout the lifetime of their machine purchased from Taylor & Braithwaite.”

further into the construction and recycling industries, which includes a partnership with vehicle dismantling attachment manufacturer, Powerhand, in combination with Hyundai excavators https://www.t-and-b. co.uk/manufacturer/vrs/ .

Taylor and Braithwaite have over 50 years’ experience in supplying, servicing and maintaining construction, recycling and agricultural equipment throughout the North of England and Scotland. The company was awarded the Hyundai dealership in 2010 and to date has sold more than 1000 machines to date. Most recently the business has developed

Visit https://www.t-and-b.co.uk/ for further information.

Taylor & Braithwaite’s expansion into South Yorkshire for Hyundai construction equipment was effective from 1st January 2021.

Latest news

Red knight 6: 19 Tonne Jaw Crusher Ready To Demo THE

first of the new Nordmann T-750 tracked jaw crushers has landed in the UK and is ready for demonstration from Surrey based reseller Red Knight 6 Ltd (RK6). The T-750 and it’s hooklift sister the K-750, exclusively available from RK6, are capable of processing construction and demolition materials and are built in Ireland by Nordmann. The 700x500 jaw crushers seek to address the gap between the mini crushers and larger tracked machines. With a diesel/ electric on board generator and dual power as standard, the Nordmann models drive good fuel economy and lower carbon footprint. Transportation is easy, with a short setup time and simplicity of operation, positioning the Nordmann

models as ideal for even small crushing contracts and shortterm rentals. “We know the UK market so well and we know these machines can do really well here. It’s important we give our customers the right choice and offering. We are well known for our work with impact crushers with Rubble Master, but the T-750 and K-750 models are great machines and adding

the option of a 700x500 jaw crusher to our range really allows us to make sure we are giving our customers the widest choice possible,” said Paul Donnelly, Managing Director of RK6. To arrange a demonstration of the T-750 call 01293 862619 or for more information please visit https://www.redknight6.co.uk

t-750 at a glance Jaw Crusher Output Power unit

700x500 40-100tph (depending on feed material and desired product) Diesel Electric generator & dual power full operation


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Fixed hopper & Vibrating grizzly

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 23

Latest news

New Brexit Guidance from BEIS THE

UK government has recently produced some general guidance titled “UK Product Safety and Metrology Guidance for the market of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) – what’s changed from 1 January 2021?”. This document describes, in general terms, the main product compliance regulatory changes that will occur on 1st January 2021. The guidance aligns with the information that has

24 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

previously been provided to GTC members and provides nothing that is new or different from previously issued guidance. It identifies a number of key facts, which are summarised as follows: Only certain, minimal legal provisions of existing UK regulations have been modified in order that they can work effectively from 1 January 2021. This is to ensure a functioning regulated UK market from that date.

The safety and other technical requirements have not changed. Products lawfully placed on the European Economic Area (EEA) or UK markets before 1 January 2021 can continue to circulate in the UK. Lawfully CE marked products will continue to be accepted on the GB market until 31 December 2021. Products being placed on the GB market for the first time from 1 January 2021 must meet the same technical requirements as before –

Latest news and importers can place goods on the GB market lawfully bearing the CE marking where they have been assessed by an EU recognised notified body (where required), for a further 12 months from the end of the transition period. The UK is publishing a list of references to designated standards. These have the same function as EU harmonised standards and give a presumption of conformity to legal requirements. As at 1 January 2021, these designated standards will be the same as EU harmonised standards.

but labelling or notification requirements may have changed. There is a new UK Conformity Assessed marking (“UKCA”) which should be used for products placed on the GB market as soon as possible and at the latest for any product placed on the market after 31 December 2021. The UK continues to recognise goods that meet EU requirements, including assessment by EU recognised notified bodies and CE marking, for goods placed on the GB market until 31 December 2021. This means that manufacturers

From 1 January 2021, the role and responsibilities of the manufacturer will be unchanged. However, some UK businesses which bring products into Great Britain from an EEA State (or Switzerland) and who were previously “distributors” from 1 January 2021 become “importers” acquiring new legal duties, including complying with an enhanced set of requirements to check product compliance as well as to keep documentation and ensure their address appears on the product. There is a 24-month transitional period for these “new” importers during which they can put their details on documentation accompanying the product, rather than on the product itself. The same will apply to imports from Switzerland for certain products, for the same 24-month period. The UK government has committed to providing unfettered access for qualifying Northern Ireland goods to the

GB market after 1 January 2021. Products that can be placed on the market in Northern Ireland in accordance with the legislation, as it applies to Northern Ireland, can be sold in the rest of the UK without any additional approvals. This means that, under certain conditions, products that are qualifying Northern Ireland goods can be sold in the rest of the UK. From 1 January 2021, UK notified bodies automatically become UK approved bodies. This means they can carry out conformity assessment of products for the GB market, and if the assessment is successful products can be UKCA marked. The EU does not recognise conformity assessment by UK approved bodies for the purposes of CE marking and placing on the EEA market. However, conformity assessment by a UK body is recognised for the purposes of the NI market, in which case the product should be marked ‘CE’ and ‘UKNI’. Mandated authorised representatives for the GB market can be based in GB or Northern Ireland but after 1 January 2021 cannot be based outside the UK. The guidance document includes useful tables that identify, for each individual piece of legislation, the main changes that will be implemented from 1 January 2021.

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 25

Topical Commentary • Construction Recruitment

What does 2021 Look like for construction recruitment? Kate Hutchinson explores the year ahead for construction recruitment


is no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption for business across the construction industry. However, with the government already looking at making the construction industry a priority sector and the launch of the new playbook looking to help the industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic. There is hope for a slow but steady recovery throughout 2021.

comply with government safety guidelines. This resulting in a halt on most aspects on construction recruitment. It is estimated that almost 80% of construction businesses have been forced to make use of the coronavirus job retention scheme and the vast majority of recruitment activities were put on hold, due to many companies working remotely following government advisement to stay home. Despite being one of the quickest sectors to reopen after the early stages of lockdown, many within the construction industry have handled the immediate impacts of lockdown restrictions as best as possible. With the government go-ahead that construction can now continue to remain open and function throughout lockdown, businesses are now →

Around 80% of businesses have used the coronavirus job retention scheme Recruitment within in the construction sector has been heavily impacted with some sites having to close completely, whilst others have remained open, but have had to adjust completely with reductions in labour to enable them to

28 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

Construction Recruitment • Topical Commentary

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 29

Topical Commentary • Construction Recruitment looking to get things moving again. Investing in having the right people in place is a vital element of getting business and their projects back on track. What can we expect to see happen to recruitment processes in the sector over the next few months? With the industry having fallen behind on a lot of projects, predicts the industry could see an increase in job opportunities within the sector. The construction industry is starting the road to recovery which will come with its own set of challenges, but also allows for major opportunities and the potential to bring in a wider range of new workers.

Medium-sized Enterprises are being offered increased funding for taking on apprentices. Universities are seeing an increase of students applying hoping to break through to their chosen profession. Some choosing more hands-on courses such as productivity and construction courses, something we welcome with open arms as we hope to kickstart growth and level up construction industry careers. Some businesses have taken this opportunity to start the recruitment process early with the idea to recruit now but have a delayed start date on any new employees. Employers are keen to attract this demographic and offering a variety of roles such mentoring opportunities which will provide more on the job training and experience making their businesses much more appealing.

The industry could see an increase in job opportunities People are desperately looking for jobs and employers are receiving more job applications and CVs than ever from people trying to break into the sector. With shortages continuing in key areas of the industry there is a high demand for construction skills in the hopes of getting any sectors that have fallen behind back on track. The Government have set out plans for a ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’ in order to recognise the need for new skills within the sector. The scheme aims for those without A-Levels or equivalent qualification to be offered a free, fully-funded college course alongside an increase in apprenticeship opportunities. Small and

30 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

Covid-19 has encouraged greater digital adaptation within the construction industry and the use of this technology such as drones and artificial intelligence has indeed made an advance in regard to on site working. But on-site construction is not the only aspect of the industry that can benefit from the inclusion of digital technology. Recruitment has also had the opportunity to take advantage of this technology. The process of recruitment can be lengthy and time-consuming. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems can

give recruitment a competitive advantage. Offering a smarter, more efficient system within the recruitment process. AI can be used to schedule interviews, screen CV’s and using algorithms, can match the right people to the right jobs, showing the relevant jobs to targeted audiences. Chatbots can also be used to increase candidate engagement. All these factors leading to an increase in productivity that also equates to lower business costs. Alongside the change in recruitment, the pandemic has brought around a stronger than expected demand for housing and refurbishment work. The residential market seems to be picking up speed in terms of getting house building projects back on track. With many new projects due to start alongside the current projects that fell behind now scheduled to resume, could well result in an increase in demand from large housing projects. Alongside the rise within the residential market, industry professionals have estimated that infrastructure will see a rise by a third this year! Despite the slow start at the beginning of the year, this particular sector may become one of the main drivers to the construction industry. Looking ahead for the construction industry, things are predicted to have a gradual but sustained recovery in the year ahead. Industry forecasters are predicting construction output will rise 14% this year, we keep our fingers crossed that this will be a good year for the construction industry with many opportunities.





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Company Profile • ISR Group Ltd

ISR GROUP LTD: inspiring trust in the sunward brand Hannah Bounford catches up with Ian Rollinson of ISR Group to discuss SUNWARD’s best selling machines


Group Ltd, a midlands based leading provider of compact excavators has been providing the West Midlands with SUNWARD Excavators for almost two years now. This makes the company the longest standing dealer of SUNWARD equipment in the UK. This Issue, Hannah Bounford sits down with company owner Ian Rollinson to discuss building trust with clients, an excellent end to 2020 for the company, and the benefits of SUNWARD excavators for UK operators.

looking at opportunities to break out on my own. I became aware that SUNWARD were coming into the UK and I met with them at Bauma in 2019. I was very impressed with the products, the sales support, and what they’d been doing in Europe for a number of years previously before coming into the UK. I came to an agreement with them to become their dealer for the Midlands.” Covering this area, the ISR group has supplied numerous companies with SUNWARD machinery to fit their specific needs. For Ian, the key to a good sale is knowledge and trust in the dealer.

The key to a good sale is knowledge & trust in the dealer Ian started the ISR group after looking to start up his own plant dealership, before starting to deal SUNWARD machinery in 2020. “I knew of SUNWARD back when I used to work for another manufacturer and I’d been

32 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

“I guess you could say that I have a fairly

comprehensive knowledge background in plant and machinery, having worked for various other main dealers. Over the years, I have met a lot of customers and built up a good level of trust with the customers I have dealt with.

The SWE25UF mini excavator ON SITE Now, if I go to some of my customers and recommend a product to them, they will look at it with great interest. I’ve always backed my customers up and supported them, so they’ve not had much hesitation. Once they’ve tried the product and seen the benefits and cost savings for themselves, they know they have a good partner in me and that I’ll back them up – they’ve been quite happy to move over in ever growing numbers” These ‘ever growing numbers’ are evidenced in the news that the ISR group sold six SUNWARD SWE25UF mini excavators in the final quarter of 2020. A bit of good news for Ian in the midst of a tricky year for the industry. Ian explains why the SWE25UF is one of the bestselling among the SUNWARD range: “It’s the whole package really. The high specification that it comes with, it’s a reliable →

ISR Group Ltd • Company Profile

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 33

Company Profile • ISR Group LTd

Now Looking for UK Dealers

product. The components are already known by the end user. It’s very tight and nice to drive whilst being zero tail and it’s competitively priced which is a key driving factor behind it. The three year warranty as standard gives the end users confidence in the brand.” Finally, Ian discussed the benefits of SUNWARD machinery. From the machines themselves, to the after-care provided by the company and their dealers. “The top benefit is that we bring in high specification equipment as standard. All machines come with hydraulic quick hitch lines and double acting hydraulic circuits. We use quality components throughout, including Yanmar and Kubota motors, Bosch hydraulic systems, all top end parts that customers have knowledge of and are very accepting of. We also offer spare parts. Spare parts are easily available at the UK, at ISR group we stock service kits and fast moving parts.”

Sunward are currently looking for dealers to cover the following areas: • Northern Ireland • North East England • North West England • East Midlands • South East England

34 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

If you are interested in becoming a Sunward dealer, contact Tom Armstrong today: Tel: +44 (0) 7960 502 468 Email: armstrong.tom@sunward.cc https://www.sunwardeurope.com

This is indeed one of the key selling points of SUNWARD machines. As well as premium parts delivered within 24, SUNWARD excavators come with 4 LED lights and proportional joystick control as standard. For more information on the SUNWARD brand and products available in the UK, visit https://www.sunwardeurope.com

Large range of final drives and rubber tracks We offer many different ranges of aftermarket and OEM parts including excavator spare parts, dumper parts, JCB spare parts, final drives, mini digger parts and construction machinery and heavy equipment parts. ad

With our many years experience in the construction and agricultural industry, we are able to supply any part you require and ensure that you get the correct spare for your machine in the quickest possible time and at the best possible price. Our aim is old fashioned service - you are the most important person to us and we are here to help you.

Topical Commentary • construction safety

HS2: Preparations in Progress For Tunnel Boring David Chuck brings the latest updates on the on-going rail project


first images of one of the largest construction sites in Warwickshire has been revealed showing preparations being made for the launch of a tunnel boring machine (TBM) for HS2.

manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht, is due for delivery on site early in 2021 and will be launched next summer, with the boring completed by mid-2022. The tunnel will be around 9-10 metres in diameter, with the TBM taking around five months to complete the first bore of the twin bore tunnel. Once completed, the TBM will be extracted at the South Portal and transported by road back to the North Portal to commence the second bore.

The tbm will dig under long itchington wood in Warwickshire The TBM will dig under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire, creating a 1-mile twin bore tunnel, before the route heads north and into Birmingham’s Curzon Street Station. Current works on the 1km2 north portal site include a large and deep excavation, with 250,000m3 of material being removed in layers before being transported and deposited locally to form environmental embankments for the main line. The 2,000 tonne TBM,

36 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

HS2 Job Opportunities This key site is managed by the BBV Joint Venture (Balfour Beatty Group and VINCI Construction), who will be one of the biggest recruiters in the Midlands over the next two years, expecting to recruit some 7,000 individuals to support the delivery of Britain’s new high-speed railway. There are currently 60 workers on →

Construction Safety • Topical Commentary

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 37

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BS 8620 Certified Podiums We are pleased to announce that our Podiums have been tested and certified to the BS 8620 Standard. Euro Towers always aim to supply the safest access solution for our customers. As part of that we make sure that our products and service conform to the latest standards including our low level podiums. Why not contact us to find out more about our certified products. Available Platform heights include Stepfold 1 - 1m, 1.2m Stepfold 2 - 1.2m, 1.5m Stepfold 3 - 2m

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Construction Safety • Topical Commentary site including student engineers and apprentices. There are already 25 new apprentices from Warwickshire working with them and their supply chain, representing 7% of total new apprenticeships. They have also been working with stakeholders in Warwickshire to develop their Job Brokerage Model, due for launch in 2021, an initiative to showcase the vacancies being created by the delivery of Phase One of HS2. At present a list of HS2 job opportunities can be found at: shorturl.at/fioH6 Across Warwickshire, 82 businesses are supporting the delivery of the project, over 80% of which are SMEs, from sectors including construction training, builders’ merchants, forestry, electrical suppliers and labour providers. They are actively promoting supply chain opportunities to businesses in Warwickshire through partners that include Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Coventry and Warwickshire LEP (Growth Hub), West Midlands FSB and Kenilworth Chamber.

A few Fast Facts There are 100 bridges, 35 viaducts, 36 cuttings and 70 bridge structures on this part of the route and BBV are also building the Bromford Tunnel. Works on a Green Tunnel located south of the Long Itchington Wood South Portal will also begin later this year. At the peak of construction covering the whole of →

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 39

Topical Commentary • construction safety Phase One, some 10 tunnel boring machines (each a selfcontained underground factory) will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Weighing up to 2,200 tonnes, each 160m long machine will bore and line the tunnels as they drive forward at speeds of up to 15 metres per day.

West Midlands, 60,000 trees will be planted at locations around South Cubbington Woods, Ashbeds Wood, Fulfen Wood, Ravenshaw and Broadwells Wood. A broad range of tree and shrub species will be planted to reflect each local area, including oak, hazel, birch, holly and hawthorn. This builds on the 80,000 trees already planted in the Midlands, with 40 ponds and many acres of wetland, heathland and meadow also created across the region.

Hs2 is set to reach a 730,000 planted trees landmark by spring 2021 There is a great fly through video on YouTube which details the complete route from Birmingham to London including the Long Itchington Woods Tunnel that is well worth watching.

Environmental HS2 is set to reach a 730,000 planted trees landmark by Spring 2021. In Warwickshire and the wider

40 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

HS2’s Environment Director Peter Miller states: “HS2’s extensive tree planting programme this winter is the next step in delivering our Green Corridor which will see up to 7 million new trees and shrubs planted between London and the West Midlands and which will support delicately balanced local ecosystems

running through the spine of the country. “We are planting more than double the area of woodland than has been affected along the route between Birmingham and London creating 33 square kilometres of new woodland and wildlife habitat – an area over 7 times bigger than Sherwood Forest Nature Reserve. “Some of the country’s most experienced ecologists are working with us and we’re pleased that HS2 can sustain jobs in this specialised profession and play an important role in the UK’s economic recovery. We’re also looking for opportunities to expand the benefits of the green corridor and we encourage local communities to apply for funding that’s available.” Watching the fly-through video, it becomes clear to see exactly how HS2 will fit into the environment that is being expertly created for it.


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exclusive • Mecalac TLB880 Backhoe Loader

Mecalac unveils all-new TLB880 backhoe loader Plant Planet take a look at the newest addition to the Mecalac Backhoe Range

MECALAC Construction Equipment UK has launched a new addition to its backhoe loader portfolio – the TLB880. Combining impressive power, efficiency and capability with heavyduty design and exceptional build quality, the state-ofthe-art model is perfect for small companies and rental fleets alike.

Available now through approved dealers nationwide, the TLB880 completes Mecalac’s worldrenowned backhoe range, joining the TLB870, TLB890 and TLB990. Powered by a Stage V-compliant Perkins 904 turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine, the TLB880 delivers 100hp (74.5kW) at 2,200rpm and 317 lb.ft (430Nm) of torque at 1,500rpm. Paired with a choice of either four-speed synchro shuttle transmission or servo power synchro powershift gearbox, the new

The TLB880 completes Mecalac’s world-renowned backhoe range

42 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

model offers fast and effortless roading speeds of up to 24mph (40km/h). To ensure fast cycle times and precise actuation, the TLB880 adopts Mecalac’s proven closed-centre hydraulics system, delivering a maximum flow rate of 143L/ min and operating pressure of 250bar. Combined with ergonomic controls for comfortable operation,

MECALAC TLB880 Backhoe Loader • Exclusive the innovative hydraulic system makes the TLB880 a powerhouse of productivity. Bringing class-leading performance to the worksite, the TLB880 achieves a dig depth of 4,401mm (5,744mm deep dig dipper), dipper reach of 5,725mm (6,995mm deep dig dipper), dipper tearout force of 42kN and bucket tearout force of up to 69kN. This ensures maximum efficiencies for the operator and makes the backhoe suitable for a wide variety of applications, including civil engineering, highway maintenance, utilities and agriculture. Like all Mecalac equipment, safety has been considered a top priority in the →

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 43

Exclusive • Mecalac TLB880 Backhoe Loader

design and development of the TLB880. Alongside conforming to ROPS and FOPS ISO 3471/3449, the new model guarantees exceptional visibility, boasts front and rear LED worklights as standard, features a mechanical transport lock and can be fitted with a reverse warning alarm. A fully-tilting engine hood allows for easy service access, while a lockable side-mounted toolbox means you’re perfectly prepared for daily maintenance checks. Alongside standard fittings, operators can specify an extensive range of optional attachments including a variety of buckets, pallet forks and more!

44 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

For more information about the Mecalac TLB880, or other models in the company’s backhoe loader portfolio, visit www. mecalac.com/en.

MECALAC TLB880 Backhoe Loader • Exclusive

Mecalac TLB880 at a glance Max Operating Weight



Perkins 904 Turbocharged


74.7kw (100hp)

Digging Reach


Digging Depth



Stage V

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 45

LIUGONG • Company Profile

LIUGONG 9018F: Standing up to the challenge Hannah Bounford explores how the F series excavator has incorporated technology to ensure productive and efficient operation.


LiuGong F Series range of excavators have been on the market for over a year now. The series first launched domestically in 2019 at the BICES exhibition in China. This launch was followed by an official launch to the global market at ConExpo in March of 2020. Built with future market needs in mind, this issue we find out how the sixth generation of Liugong excavators

to integrate technology, intelligence and environmental protection have stood the test over the past year. In the case of the 9018F mini excavator, LiuGong aimed to meet ‘future market needs’ by designing the machine with operator needs in mind. All LiuGong excavators follow the LiuGong Development Process to meet customer requirements for performance, comfort, safety, durability and reliability. The 9018F has a range of →

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 47

Company Profile • Liugong components designed to meet these requirements, , including the well-known and trusted Yanmar engine, Inline GMBH Hydraulics, Eaton slew motor, Nachi travel motors and Bosch Rexroth joysticks. The cab of the 9018F is also designed with operator needs in mind. As the industry looks towards new methods of working, with more time being spent in machinery due to developments in

machine capabilities, LiuGong has ensured a comfortable operating environment. The ROPS and TOPS protected cabin is spacious, offering great visibility during operation. A mechanically adjustable suspension seat, adjustable arm rests, tracking pedals and footrests aim to ensure operator comfort. Further additional features, such as the radio with USB and media port, large cup holder, phone storage and +12V power, add to the comfortable space. These features

The ROPS and TOPS protected cabin is spacious, offering great visibility during operation

reflect the fact that LiuGong have taken into account that advancements in technology have not only improved the productivity rates of the industry, but can also enhance the experience of machinery operation. LiuGong’s development process has also taken into account that the way in which machines are used is evolving, with more time spent in the cab. Dual way proportional high flow auxiliary lines are fitted as standard and options for rotation circuit and quick hitch pipework are available. The Aux 1 and Aux 2 lines both come →

The Graphic overleaf shows the key specs of the 9018F excavator 48 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

Liugong • Company Profile

Yanmar 9018f at a glance Max Operating Weight



Yanmar 3tnv80f-ssly


13.4kW (18.2hp)

Bucket Capacity

0.015 - 0.056 m3

Digging Reach


Digging Depth



Stage V

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 49

Company Profile • Liugong with adjustable flow control and flow lock functions to make using any attachment easy and comfortable for the operator.

easy maintenance. The 9018F features fully opening large access panels to allow for daily maintenance.

In today’s industry, productivity is key. With the pandemic

The 9018F has been designed to meet the needs of the modern construction site. With a national drive towards lowering emissions, LiuGong have ensured that the excavator includes an auto idle feature. This ensures that the Stage V compliant engine can be powerful when needed whilst remaining environmentally friendly.

The 9018F has been designed to meet the needs of the modern construction site causing delays to projects, getting the job done efficiently is of vital importance as we move into 2021. The 9018F excavator aids operators in this task. With cast boom ends, a large 1.267L engine and high tear out forces, the 9018F has big machine performance in a compact design. The load sensing hydraulic system provides smooth and powerful operation that boosts productivity up to 20% more than the benchmark competitor. Also crucial to any machine’s productivity is

The 9018F has stood up to the challenge of meeting future market needs over the past year, providing operators with the technology required to remain productive, efficient, and environmentally friendly. UK rental specs are listed to the right. For more information visit: https:// www.liugong. co.uk

9018F UK Rental specs Stage V with Auto Idle Two-Way auxiliary pipeline with proportional handle control 2 speed auto shift travel motors Canopy with mechanical damping seat & 2 inch red retractable seat 230mm rubber track, 1685mm boom, 1070 mm stick, 0.07 ton counterweight & additional counterweight Long arm dozer blade & hydraulic extendible undercarriage LED Cab & boom lights Orange & Green Rotating warning lights iLink GPS

50 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet





STANDS: 608-609

JCB PotholePRo • Company Profile

JCB PotholePro: “Delivering rapid Permanent Repair solutions”

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 53

Company Profile • JCB PotholePro


has developed a highly productive single-machine pothole repair solution to fix potholes permanently, first time, without the need for labour intensive repair methods or additional expensive machinery. The company has launched the PotholePro - a machine that can repair a pothole in less than eight minutes - four times quicker than standard methods and at half the cost of current solutions.

dreadful problem and as a British manufacturer I am fixated on finding a solution. We simply cannot allow our road network to continue to be blighted by potholes. JCB’s solution is simple and cost effective and fixes potholes permanently, first time. Once the machine has done its job all the contractor then needs to do is just add tar.” Tests with contractors and local authorities show the JCB PotholePro can complete a pothole repair in less than eight minutes – equivalent to 700 potholes per month. With a 40km/h travel speed, the machine can rapidly relocate between sites without additional transport costs.

“JCB’s solution is simple and cost effective and fixes potholes permanently, first time” The machine’s development has been personally led by JCB Chairman Lord Bamford. He said: “Potholes really are the scourge of our nation. Our country is quite rightly fixated on this

54 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

The JCB PotholePro is equipped with a modified Simex planer, with integrated dust suppression, mounted on the machine’s rear →

JCB PotholePro • Company Profile

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 55

Company Profile • JCB PotholePRO skid steer hitch. The planer is 600mm wide, with up to 1.3m of side-shift adjustment. This allows the operator to plane a full carriageway from the kerb, without repositioning the machine. Hydraulic tilt and depth control provide a consistent depth for larger patches.  

‘Multi-tool’, mounted on an X12 Steelwrist tilt-rotator. The ‘Multi-tool’ comprises of two attachments, a dedicated hydraulic cropper and a sweeper/bucket. The 600mm cropping tool eliminates the need for floor saws or hydraulic breakers, providing a squared off, clean cut to the repair area. The operator then rotates the boom head to bring a 1.2m wide sweeper/ bucket into use, to clean up the pothole area, eliminating the requirement for a separate sweeper truck. Material lifted by the sweeper/bucket can be

The multi-tool comprises of two attachments: a dedicated hydraulic cropper and a sweeper/ bucket The machine’s TAB two-piece boom is fitted with the JCB

56 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

loaded directly into a support truck for rapid removal from site. The PotholePro can prepare up to 250m2 of roadway in a single shift, or 5,000m3 per month and allows the contractor or local authority to cut the defect, crop the edges and clean the hole with one machine – mechanising jobs traditionally done by pothole gangs and delivering up to a 50% cut in daily costs. Safety is also improved as the gang does not have to complete the hand held cutting and breaking, eliminating the risk of hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). The machine’s launch follows a vow from Chancellor Rishi Sunak last November to invest

JCB POTHOLEPRO • Company Profile £1.6bn to fix potholes in Britain and ‘level-up’ uneven roads. Shock figures from the AA reveal more than £11bn-worth of potholes need repairing across the UK. The machine has been in trials on roads in Stoke-on-Trent for months and the city council has worked with JCB over the last 12 months as innovation partners to develop the PotholePro. In initial testing, the machine completed 51 road repair jobs in 20 days, which would have taken a team of up to six operatives 63 days to complete normally. Councillor Daniel Jellyman, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration

and heritage, said he had seen a 700% increase in productivity. He said: “Potholes are a nuisance to motorists up and down the country and we’ve worked closely with JCB to come up with a solution to what is a national problem. In a time when every penny and pound counts for local authorities, we’re delighted to be at the forefront of developing and trialling new technologies and ways of working, especially ones which could save residents money.”

However, as more people take up cycling due to avoiding public transport in the pandemic and if e-scooters are legalised, then sorting our poor road surfaces becomes more important than ever. JCB has taken the initiative to fix these problems, and we’re excited to see its new PotholePro take to the streets.” Councils get a request to fix a pothole every 46 seconds and more than £8.1 million was paid out in compensation to drivers last year for vehicle damage caused by potholes.

AA President Edmund King OBE said: “The toll of pothole damage on cars is already breathtaking.

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 57

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Technology • Topical Commentary

Productivity in construction is 5g technology the answer? Hannah Bounford explores how recent developments in 5G might shape the next few decades for the industry.

PRODUCTIVITY is a buzzword across the construction industry. A key factor in all working practices and innovations from the largest OEMs to the smallest sites, productivity is something striven for across the industry. Over the past few years, productivity has become a key selling point for digital solutions. From BIM and Cloud Collaboration, to automated services and machinery, the industry is constantly looking to increase productivity. 2021 will undoubtedly see this trend continue, most notably with the use of 5G technology.

Over the past few years, 5g has become a key selling point for digital solutions It’s no secret that the industry has previously faced →

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 59

Topical Commentary • Technology

challenges in productivity. There is no way to ignore the significant impact the Covid-19 Pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have had over the past year. Now, as the UK construction industry has found its footing in a world where Covid is a part of everyday life, new challenges are arising to hinder the industry’s productive capabilities. Or, more accurately, old challenges are resurfacing from a pre-Covid

retire over the next five years; questions remain regarding the outcome of the Brexit deal struck with the EU; and a serious skills shortage weighs heavy.

to improve people’s lives and help build back better from the pandemic’. As one of nine projects to receive funding, BAM Nuttall will explore how 5G can support the industry.

5G was set to revolutionise the industry in 2020. However, with much of the industry struggling as a result of the ongoing Covid pandemic, this revolution seems to have been rescheduled for 2021. Certainly, as the year opens, it looks as though 5G will play a big role in developing the industry’s working practices. In January, BAM Nuttall announced that it will participate in a governmentfunded £28 million trial to ‘explore the potential of 5G

The project, working as 5G AMC 2 (Accelerate, Maximise and Create for Construction), seeks to explore how 5G can enable the use of data to maximise productivity of construction processes. The project will set up a private 5G network at BAM Nuttall’s regional office in Kilsyth, Scotland and a construction project in Shetland, using cameras, drones, mixed reality and IoT sensors to monitor construction process and track assets. The £1,692,733 project will be delivered by a consortium led by BAM Nuttall partnered with AttoCore and Building Research Establishment with →

The 5g amc 2 project seeks to explore how 5g can maximise productivity of construction working environment. We are still faced with the issue of an aging workforce, with almost 20% of the workforce set to

60 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

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Topical Commentary • Technology £846,365 funding coming from the government. Colin Evison, Head of Innovation at BAM Nuttall said: ‘We are really excited to join the 5G Create programme and have the opportunity to further develop our digital capability that will help us in our mission to build sustainable environments that enhance people’s lives. We believe the project outcomes will benefit our business and the wider construction industry in its drive to improve productivity.’

construction industry is hampered by the fact that 5G is not yet widely available. Despite various mobile networks claiming the arrival of 5G technology, the government have actually set a target date of 2027 for the majority of the UK to access 5G. From this, it is clear that we have a way to go before 5G becomes a factor in the everyday working practices of the industry. This being said, the arrival of 5G technology within the UK construction industry should provide answers to some of the industry’s most pressing problems. Most notably, the technology will aid construction sites in becoming safer working environments. From the use of drones, to mixed reality programmes, to the use of fully remote controlled and autonomous machinery on sites, 5G will allow the average working site to operate with people on site. This cuts the possibility of injuries due to man and machine working in close proximity. Further 5G could be used to bridge the skills gap the industry has been facing in recent years. With younger workers feeling comfortable with using more advanced technology, a shift from hands on work to more technology based skills may occur. As a result, the skills required for working on construction sites may change drastically over the next few decades.

The government have set a target date of 2027 for most of the nation to have access to 5g It is not only the use of drones, mixed reality and IoT in the industry that will draw on the use of 5G to revolutionise productivity. In time, the development of remote controlled and autonomous machinery will also utilise progress in 5G technology. Back in 2019, Telia, Ericsson and Volvo Construction Equipment launched Sweden’s first 5G network for industrial use at Volvo CE’s facility in Eskilstuna in order to test remote-controlled machines and autonomous solutions. The testing (pictured right) explored how the 5G network can be used to develop solutions for remotely controlling construction machinery and fully automated solutions. As things stand, the use of 5G across the wider UK

62 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

Technology • Topical Commentary

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 63



Be impressed by the Magni passion and know-how. The elegant lines of the iconic RTH range give life to machines with strength and style. These attractive machines incorporate cutting-edge technology, and incredible performance, to elevate the concept of the rotating telehandler to new heights.


Volvo ec350e • Topical Commentary

EC350E launch firmly establishes The 35t excavator segment Plant Planet take a look at the new Volvo machine.


all-new EC350E from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has been designed to perfectly bridge the performance profile of the company’s existing EC300E and EC380E excavator. The 35-tonne excavator is the go-to guy for general construction duties. With a total height of under four meters when loaded on a trailer, it can be transported without dismantling – taking the hassle out of site moves.

As well as being optimally sized this versatile machine can be adapted to suit a wide range of jobs in no time at all. Operators can select several functions depending on the task at hand and their preferences. This includes boom/swing and boom/travel priority, enabling one function to take the lead over another. The boom-down speed can also be adjusted, giving added control for tasks that require extra precision. A range of matched Volvo Attachments

enable the job to get done with optimum productivity, efficiency and performance.

Operators can select several functions depending on the task at hand Efficient and comfortable Long days in the cab are made less stressful thanks to boomand-arm bounce reduction technology – lessening machine shocks. The Comfort Drive Control option helps reduce fatigue by enabling →

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 65

Topical Commentary • Volvo ec350e operators to steer the machine using the joystick rollers instead of the pedals. There are also customizable settings that include a ‘long push’ functionality on the joystick, allowing operators to set an additional shortcut function.

and depth limit. This helps to avoid contact with side obstacles, overhead obstacles such as power lines, and underground hazards such as pipes and cables.

Safety first Safety is enhanced by bolted antislip steps, high visibility handrails as well as the ergonomic, low-noise, and low vibration Volvo Care Cab. When it comes to accessing the upper structure, operators can be confident thanks to the 3-point right-hand side access. Visibility is at the heart of safety: the low machine hood design contributes to best-in-class eyelines to the side and rear of the machine from the operator’s seat. Visibility is boosted further thanks to rear and side cameras, along with the optional all-round Volvo Smart View.

Operated are assisted by the optional dig assist apps Operators are further assisted in their tasks by the optional Dig Assist apps – powered by the 10in. Volvo Co-Pilot tablet. These include 2D, In-Field Design, 3D software packages, and On-Board Weighing. Not forgetting Volvo Active Control, which automates boom and bucket movements, making digging twice as fast. With Volvo Active Control, operators can also set swing fence, height limit,

maintenance costs The EC350E delivers classleading fuel efficiency, thanks to a combination of features that includes the classic ECO mode, selectable work mode and intelligent electro-hydraulics. The D8M Volvo engine features a power rating of 1,600 rpm while delivering impressively high torque at low rpm, and comes fitted with auto-idle and shutdown to help reduce unnecessary fuel use. With auto-regeneration technology, the machine doesn’t need to be stopped to clean the diesel particulate filter. Additionally, the hardworking (and hot) turbo-chargers are carefully cooled, thanks to an optional delayed engine shutdown feature, which helps avoid overheating and increases the machine’s reliability. Also contributing to increased machine reliability is the electro-hydraulic system, which requires fewer hoses than is normal – reducing the need for couplings and minimizing maintenance requirements. Time and maintenance costs are further reduced, due to the engine oil and filter change intervals of 1,000 hours, as well as ground-level access to grouped filters. And when the urea needs topping up the new splash guard makes filling quicker →

LowReach the upper structure with safety operating and and confidence thanks to 3-point righthand side access

volvo ec350e • Topical Commentary

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 67

Topical Commentary • volvo ec350e and easier – while also reducing the risk of spillage and subsequent corrosion.

Working harder for longer Volvo CE’s portfolio of Uptime Services is key to ensuring long term machine performance. Oil Analysis, Care Inspection, and Undercarriage Inspections help keep machines in top condition, while easy-to-read reports – powered by CareTrack telematics system – help owners track productivity, fuel efficiency, and machine condition. For even less hassle Volvo Uptime Centers monitor the machine and notify customers, if required. This service is called Volvo Active Care. Combining versatility and efficiency with ease of operation and simple maintenance, the EC350E is designed to help customers get maximum profitability of their general construction projects.

Volvo ec350e at a glance Operating Weight

34,690 - 40,600 kg

Gross power


Bucket capacity

0.87 - 2.33 m3

Lifting capacity

12,470 kg

Digging Reach

11,123 mm

Digging Depth

7,490 mm

tail swing radius

3,600 mm

68 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet




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Topical Commentary • A Brief introduction to digital technology

70 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

A Brief introduction to digital technology • Topical Commentary

A Brief Introduction to Digital technology in Construction Kate Hutchison breaks down the technology making an impact on the construction industry today


technology has impacted a great number of industries across the globe. The world is constantly changing, especially over the last year, and various industries have found the need to adapt to new trends as a result of Covid-19 and climate change. The construction industry is one of the least digitised sectors with the majority of construction firms still operating the same way they did decades ago. Adopting more digital technology would also help the construction industry to reduce its emissions.

that digital technology has to offer. Technology has made construction sites safer and workers more efficient. It has allowed those in the industry to increase productivity, improve collaboration, and tackle more complex projects.

Productivity & Planning Apps In a world where there is a smartphone in every pocket, there is no surprise that we can put these to use. From preconstruction to project management and even managing the never-ending forms and office paperwork, there is a software solution to help streamline your processes and improve productivity and quality.

The construction industry is taking on the challenge and transforming the way they build

The construction industry is slowly taking on the challenge and transforming the way they build and reap the advantages

Most software solutions make use of cloud-based software, which allows all changes →

Plant Planet • FEBRUARY 2021 • 71

Topical Commentary • A Brief introduction to digital technology to be updated in remote servers in real-time, enabling on and off-site employees to submit and access timecards, reports, and other documentation easily, facilitating improved communication and organisation.

themselves at risk.

Software Clash detection software, a component of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) process, carried out on 3D models to determine clashes or conflicts within multiple structures. This is a useful tool for architects, contractors and many more, as the programme helps reduce project errors in ongoing or completed models before construction. This software also reduces the manual time required to carry out model checks and also lower the overall construction costs of a project.

Technology will enable managers increase workforce safety Drones Safety in the workspace is a priority within the construction industry. As projects increase in size and complexity, technology will enable managers to do more to protect their people and minimise accidents on site. The use of drones are increasingly common on sites. Drones allow contractors to survey an area more efficiently and give a greater view to dangerous and hard to reach areas without putting

72 • FEBRUARY 2021 • Plant Planet

Augmented & Virtual Reality Augmented/virtual reality is a tool used by contractors to model structures and visualise progress onsite and reflect

on their progress without having to visit the site. Virtual reality is also being used in training programmes to train workers and augmented reality simulators are used to create scenarios to help workers identify and prevent possible hazards. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning systems have also proved their worth within the industry as they turn collected data into predicted future outcomes on projects. Robots help to increase productivity and quality of work by inspecting the work performed on site to determine how much progress has been made and estimate time till completion. Overall, this is set to be an exciting year for construction technology as digital innovation services bring the leap forward the industry needs for working towards a safer, smarter and more efficient working environment.

9th & 10th November 2021 ExCeL, London

9th & 10th November 2021 ExCeL, London

Where construction meets flood defence and drainage

The end to end show for drains and drainage

A majority of damage from flooding is caused by surface water runoff. Visit FLOODEX and talk to exhibitors about how to protect your projects and property against water damage and associated costs. Supported by: • Environment Agency • LGA Coastal SIG • Future Water Association • CIWEM • Institution of Civil Engineers



T: 01327 876250 E: jon@floodex.co.uk

Running co-located with Floodex, the National Drainage Show will serve both as a supply chain showcase, as well as an important event, where buyers and end users can meet leading suppliers, technical experts and consultants, to source the perfect products and solutions. Supported by: • National Association of Drainage Contractors • Drain Trader Magazine • UKSTT • LoDEG • UK Rainwater Management Association


www.drainageshow.com T: 01327 876250 E: jon@floodex.co.uk

KEEPING YOU AND YOUR SITE SAFE g ; to in er 9 er d rt ev . -1 th e po er t D ge st p h ex VI To adju y su rs wus n l CO ing lly afe me ed k u s o e or s f d st n W ha y an r cu you l KD ib ou r G ns ng eve o i n sp rv e re se wh d d an an

HEIGHT The GKD 1HLi Height Limiting System, easy to self-install, easy to operate. Manufacturers of the most intuitive motion safety indicator on the market. A simple, accurate and cost effective solution that protects workers on site from overhead dangers, when operating construction equipment in restricted conditions. Reduce risk and improve productivity by choosing GKD Technologies.

Visit us online at gkdtec.com Call 01202 971 972, E-mail sales@gkdtec.com

Profile for Plant Planet UK

Plant Planet - February 2021  

A very happy new year from the Plant Planet team! This issue, as always, is packed with the latest industry news. From updates on the ongoin...

Plant Planet - February 2021  

A very happy new year from the Plant Planet team! This issue, as always, is packed with the latest industry news. From updates on the ongoin...

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