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Wednesday, April 27, 2022
To mark HCMUK’s 50th anniversary, we are celebrating our success and customer base through a series of insightful articles. In this first instalment, we meet BCL Groundworks Operations Director Gary Caddick in Bridgwater, UK…
Like many Hitachi owners (and operators), Gary has demonstrated remarkable loyalty in using Hitachi construction machinery throughout his career. Working for a family business up to the launch of his own company in 2009, his love of EX and Zaxis excavators started with an EX135 in 1998.
Since then, he has purchased every generation of Hitachi short-tail swing machines, from a ZX225USLC-1 in 2004 to a ZX225USLC-7 in 2021. In between he has owned and operated the ZX135US-3, ZX225USLC-5, ZX65USB-6, ZX85USB-6 and ZX225USLC-6.
“When I started BCL from scratch in 2009, the first machine I bought was a used ZX135US-3,” says Gary. “Every time I get into a Hitachi, I am in my element. From an operator’s point of view, nothing has ever come close to Zaxis excavators over the years.
“They are fluid – you’re not fighting the machine when you’re in the operator’s seat – as well as being fast and a pleasure to operate. Hitachi is the ultimate machine, no other excavator has the same characteristics, and I’ve tried many different brands.
“I’ve just invested in a new ZX225USLC-7 from Hitachi Construction Machinery UK to replace the previous -6 model – and that was the best Hitachi I’ve ever owned. After nearly 8,000 hours, it was immaculate and I can say that it was the best for reliability – we never even had to put a spanner on it.”
With his background as an operator, Gary also values his operators’ needs to the extent that he will investigate any machine that his colleagues desire. One of the civil engineering and groundworks contractor’s most experienced operators, Rich Matthews, has been working with the company since 2015 and agrees with Gary’s sentiments on the company’s Hitachi fleet.
New and improved
“I worked with the ZX225USLC-6 and it was a really powerful and accurate machine,” he says. “The new ZX225USLC-7 is similar, but a step on from its predecessor in many respects. The cab has been improved with more space, increased comfort and better, more ergonomic controls. I prefer the bigger and clearer monitor, and the flexibility of how it moves and can be adjusted.
“In addition, the overall operating experience is better, with excellent all-round visibility, including the bird’s-eye view from Aerial Angle – which is especially good on housing sites. Like the -6 version, the new model is powerful and precise, and it does exactly what you want it to do. I’m really happy with the ZX225USLC-7, and in my opinion it’s the best all-round machine.”
Having started working in the commercial sector (schools, universities, hospitals, care homes, schools etc), BCL now works successfully in house-building, which accounts for around 70% of its turnover. “We work from green fields to damp course on new housing sites,” explains Gary, “including below-ground substructures, roads, substructures, foundations, below-ground block work and floors.”
Looking to the future, BCL is also eager to keep up with the latest developments and maintain its competitive advantage. As an example, the ZX225USLC-7 was equipped with machine control and special attachment solutions available through Hitachi Connected Technology (HCT).
“HCT is brilliant, because it enables us to operate a larger machine than we would otherwise be able to do for deep drainage and heavy lifting work, even in confined spaces. We selected Leica 3D machine control so that we could undertake all work safely and to fine tolerances. In addition, the Engcon tilt rotator allows the operator to follow the contours of a site, and while we’ve always had a RCI on our 20-tonne machines, we’ve now added Xwatch height and slew restrictors to increase the machine’s versatility.”