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A reliable Hitachi earthmoving solution

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A new Hitachi ZX470LCH-5 has been rented by DSJV (Dragados Sisk Joint Venture) from Flannery Plant Hire to work at Crossrail’s Limmo Peninsular site. The Zaxis large excavator was delivered directly to a wharf on the River Thames in January 2013 by the UK Hitachi Construction Machinery dealer, HM Plant, to work 24/7 at the hub of the project’s earthmoving operation.

Crossrail is the wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London that is delivering a major new suburban rail service for London and the South East of England. It will provide easier, quicker and more direct travel opportunities across the capital for the first time via new railway lines and tunnels.

DSJV comprises of two leading construction companies, Dragados SA (Spain) and John Sisk & Son (Ireland), and is the main contractor at Limmo Peninsular until all of the tunnelling works are complete at the end of 2015. The tunnelling work commenced in late 2012 with two of Crossrail’s 1,000-tonne, 150-metre long tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) engaged on this site.

The giant TBMs also remove the 55 million-year-old London clay and create sealed concrete tunnels. As they advance forward, the cutterheads excavate the ground and the loosened material is transported out of the tunnel via a conveyor belt, which is already more than 2km long.

It takes more than 20 minutes for the materials to reach the end of the belt, which allows the earth to fall into a huge pit at certain points. The ZX470LCH-5 then lifts the materials from the pit and either loads a fleet of trucks or barges (via a mobile hopper).

The mode of transport is dictated by the tides on the river, with only time for four barges to be loaded in each 24-hour cycle at the wharf. Nearly all of the excavated materials will be reused at Wallasea Island in Essex to create a new nature reserve in partnership with the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).

“We can load 1,000 tonnes of materials into a barge in approximately 2.5 hours and an 18-tonne truck in two minutes,” says Ed Connor, DSJV’s Wharf Manager. “Our whole operation is dependent on the large Hitachi excavator, which has already proved to be reliable and versatile. We’ve not had any unscheduled downtime to date. It’s a brilliant machine and can do anything on this demanding site, from maintaining the access roads to loading the hopper and trucks.”

Flannery Plant Hire’s operator, Piotr Makowski, has been working with the Zaxis excavator on the day shift since it was delivered. “The ZX470LCH-5 has been fantastic,” he says. “It has so much power and has been 100% reliable. This is one of the best excavators that I have ever operated. It’s a strong, smooth, fast and hard-working machine. The cab is comfortable, there’s more than enough leg room and I find the colour monitor to be particularly useful for safety purposes.”

See the ZX470LCH-5 in action below