Ten Hitachi short-tail swing excavators have been working on the M3 smart motorway project in the counties of Hampshire and Surrey in England. Eight ZX135US-5 and ZX225USLC-5 excavators owned by Skyland Drainage Contractors, and a further two ZX225USLC-5s owned by Davey Civils, have been employed on the subcontractors’ drainage works.
Skyland Drainage Contractors is part of the M O’Brien Group, which has over 150 mini, medium and large Zaxis excavators at its disposal. The family-run company is based in St Albans and was established in 1991. “Our Hitachi machines are very reliable and easy to maintain,” says Director Dan O’Brien.
“Operators love Hitachi excavators, as they have spacious and comfortable cabs, and are also easy and smooth to drive. The resale value of the machines after three or four years is also better than other brands.”
Having previously hired Zaxis excavators, Kent-based Davey Civils has been a Hitachi customer for one year. Established in 2008, it has two other Hitachi excavators in its fleet in addition to the ZX225USLC-5s – a ZX135US-5 and a ZX29U-3 mini excavator. “We decided to invest in our own fleet and chose Hitachi because we knew the machines could do the job we wanted them to do – they were tried and tested,” says Director William Blake.
The zero-tail swing of the two ZX225USLC-5 excavators is a particular advantage for drainage and pipeline projects. “They make it easier and safer to work in confined spaces such as the side of a busy motorway like the M3,” he adds.
Both models were supplied with service contracts from Hitachi Construction Machinery (UK) (HCMUK) when they were delivered in January 2015. “Our machines are serviced at 500-hour intervals and it’s reassuring to know they are using Hitachi genuine parts,” says William.
Skyland Drainage Contractors also relies on Hitachi genuine parts for its fleet: “We source parts for our Hitachi excavators from HCMUK, which has been very reasonable with pricing and quick with delivery,” adds Dan. “HCMUK also offers good support when required via a strong nationwide network.”
An estimated 130,000 journeys are made on the M3 daily, which links south-west London to Southampton. The figure is set to increase by 30% over the coming years. The £129 million (€180 million) smart motorway scheme – awarded to international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty in July 2014 – will increase capacity, reduce congestion and shorten journey times by up to 15% between junctions 2 and 4a. Further benefits include smoother traffic flows, fewer road traffic collisions, and reduced noise and vehicle emissions.