BooBoo Plant Hire take UK’s first Bobcat remote-controlled compact loader
New S450 skid-steer offers high levels of safety, performance and productivity
THE first remote-controlled Bobcat S450 skid-steer loader in the UK has been supplied to BooBoo Plant Hire of Kings Langley, in Hertfordshire. The machine is currently working on a demolition project involving the former wing of Whittington Hospital in Upper Holloway, north London.
Installed in a matter of minutes, the new remote-control system on the S450 allows operators to leave the cab and control the loader remotely. This is particularly useful on demolition projects that are too dangerous to risk an operator in the cab or in contaminated structures where personnel access is unsafe.
The plug-and-play remote-control kit is compatible with Bobcat skid-steer, compact track and all-wheel-steer loader models equipped with the company’s selectable joystick controls.
With established links to the demolition and construction plant hire markets in and around London, BooBoo Plant Hire are constantly seeking the latest technological developments and enhancements for the benefit of their customers.
The company prides itself in running a state-of-the-art equipment fleet and like all the machines across its fleet, the Bobcat products, including a number of 8.5-tonne E85 mini-excavators and an S70 skid-steer loader, are under three years old and meet the Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) emission standards.
More importantly, health and safety is a key driver behind BooBoo Plant Hire’s purchase of rental equipment. Remote control aims to increase safety, comfort and productivity by distancing the operator from dust, noise, vibrations and other hazards encountered on job sites that require special safety precautions.
In the confined spaces of top-down demolition, the Bobcat remote-control system removes the operator from any danger, such as rebar penetrating the cab space as well dust inhalation and the effects of vibration and noise in the cab.
‘With the number of on-site injuries increasing again, maintaining maximum safety is paramount,’ said Harry Allen, owner of BooBoo Plant Hire. ‘I believe remote control is the way to go for the future of the industry. As well as increased safety, the remote control saves costs by removing the need for a banksman as a lookout for the machine – a prerequisite now on many sites.
‘Banksmen are necessary to help avoid collisions of machines with other workers on site, which after falls from height is one of the major causes of accidents and injuries. So, instead of the contractor having to pay for both a banksman and the loader driver, these are both replaced by the operator on the remote-control system.’
The Bobcat remote-control system allows direct sight of the work in progress in demolition and many other sites, further increasing the versatility of the loader and a range of attachments, including angle brooms, augers, breakers, buckets and snow blowers.
Every remote-control kit is protected by a dedicated password, with two-way communication providing all the important information about the loader (eg fuel and oil status, warnings etc) on a 3.5in transflective colour backlit LCD display.
The system provides most of the functions that can be performed via direct loader operation, including throttle, light, creep and float controls, and is very intuitive to use, although Bobcat dealers will provide training for end-users.
Supplied with two exchangeable batteries offering a 20h battery life and housed in a rugged and weatherproof enclosure, the remote-control system comes with a protective case for transporting from one job site to another.