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2022 / 2023 Edition

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Aggregates firm boosts productivity with Bell loaders

Bell L2606E wheel loader

Holme Sand & Ballast increase productivity by 10% with two new Bell L2606E wheel loaders

AGGREGATES firm Holme Sand & Ballast LLP say they have increased productivity by 10% since purchasing two new wheel loaders from Bell Equipment.

The Hampshire-based company recently took delivery of two Bell L2606E wheel loaders to operate in its Masters Quarry, near Wareham, Dorset. There, the Bell machines load raw sand into the plant and blend and stockpile the processed aggregate to produce high-quality, engineered silica sand for the construction, horticultural, equine and industrial sectors.

A Bell loader had previously impressed in a demonstration where it was pitched against machines from two other leading manufacturers.

Trevor Poole, managing partner of Holme Sand & Ballast LLP, said: ‘Masters Pit is an arduous application. Our deposit is predominantly a rounded-grain silica sand which has high wear characteristics and needs careful selection, processing and blending to produce grades to exacting standards.

‘We do a lot of blending and our shovels are really on load-and-carry duties for most of the time. I am interested in the production cost of the sand per tonne; it’s as simple as that. The two Bells fitted with the biggest buckets I could use means we are much more productive and hence our costs are reduced.

‘In real terms, it means that I can complete our weekly production in five days rather than five- and-a-half days. A 10% improvement in production is a massive saving. The Bell deal represents a fantastic payback.’

And Mr Poole has no doubts about the technical capabilities and build quality of the Bell loaders, which are manufactured for Bell in the US by John Deere.

‘There’s no loading shovel like a well-built American one,’ he said. ‘I particularly like the build quality and the way Bell have packaged them for the UK market. Over the years I’ve used Scandinavian, Korean and Japanese machines, but I can safely say the Americans make the strongest loaders in the world.’

The purchase choice eventually fell between Bell and one of the competitor machines also demonstrated on site. Yet the price difference meant Mr Poole could purchase the two L2606E Bells for about the same cost as two smaller models from the rival manufacturer.

‘There was very little difference in the build quality of the two machines,’ he said. ‘But with Bell I could get much more for my money without any compromises. The Bell machines are a good size, nicely balanced when travelling on load-and-carry duties, and the Viby Jern 4.7 cubic metre buckets Bell supplied with the loaders are great.’

This is the first time that Holme Sand & Ballast have purchased Bell wheel loaders, but confidence in the brand was boosted by the experience of their sister company, New Milton Sand & Ballast, which is still operating a Bell B25D articulated dumptruck that was manufactured in 2002 and has now completed more than 12,000 operating hours in a sand and gravel quarry with no major problems.

Mr Poole continued: ‘Bell clearly make very reliable machines. In terms of the loaders, in my view Bell are right up there with Cat and Volvo. I have no doubt about that.’

He added: ‘My confidence in these machines is such that I would consider them a candidate for a manufacturer’s rebuild at the end of their operating life rather than a straight replacement. This would produce worthwhile savings and help to future-proof the investment that we’ve made.’

Nick Learoyd, managing director of Bell Equipment UK, said: ‘It’s fantastic to hear our loaders are delivering such incredible cost savings for Holme Sand & Ballast LLP.

‘We’ve worked extremely hard to convince the UK market that our wheel loaders deserve to stand alongside the best of the best. That work is now paying off, as more and more customers are recognizing how good our machines actually are.’

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