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Long and short-term benefits of the Hitachi ZX85US-5

Sunday, December 14, 2014

One of the first Hitachi ZX85US-5s with 10m long reach has carried out essential flood prevention work for the UK’s Environment Agency during the summer and autumn months. On hire from Land & Water and supplied through the Environment Agency’s framework supplier, A-Plant, the short-tail swing excavator was used at various sites along the River Medway in Kent, rebuilding new waterway channels, de-silting, cutting weeds, removing trees, trenching and profiling.

Land & Water, the UK’s market-leading supplier of long-reach excavators, was instrumental in the development of this innovative machine. In July 2013, it met with Hitachi engineers to agree a specification for these new models to ensure they would meet its customers’ expectations and specifications.

“As soon as I had seen the drawings of the radius charts and lifting capacities of the proposed machine, I was confident to order our first batch of four units,” says Richard Maclean, Plant Director at Land & Water.

“Moving on from the Environment Agency’s strict plant standards, which came out in September 2013, nearly all of our customers now specify that we can only supply long-reach machines made directly by the manufacturer. These machines fit the bill perfectly. They have more reach and capacity than any similar model on the market, and we trust Hitachi to always produce an excellent machine.”

In addition to using only the latest manufacturer-supplied standard equipment, the Environment Agency insists on machines that can use bio oils in case of spills. The ZX85US-5 was supplied with a class-leading 10.3m long reach by Hitachi and, like all excavators in the Land & Water fleet, it operates with Panolin biodegradable hydraulic oil to meet these requirements.

The ZX85US-5 demonstrated its capabilities at the East Peckham flood barrier in October. It was used to remove silt from a trap in the Coult stream, which is approximately two metres deep, to prevent the grills of the storage unit from blocking and the village of East Peckham from potential flooding.

Stuart Jones, Foreman at the Environment Agency’s Yalding depot, says: “The Hitachi ZX85US-5 is versatile, fuel-efficient and easy to transport from one location to another. It’s also a new machine, so it looks professional on the job site.

“Working on soft ground next to a riverbank requires a light excavator with a long front attachment. The rubber tracks are low impact for this terrain and the 10m long reach makes it ideal – we’d like to hire it again next year. The operators like it as well, they tend to fight over it!”

Operators Lee Harris and Joe Coster were impressed by the performance of the Hitachi short-tail excavator and agreed on its number one benefit – smooth operation. “Compared to other excavators, it’s not as jerky and feels more stable,” says Lee. “It’s also comfortable and I like the ergonomic controls – everything is within easy reach.”