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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Ireland’s first Hyundai HX900L excavator digs deep

Hyundai HX900L excavator

Mill Road Plant Ltd take delivery of unique 90-tonne machine for use in gravel production

HAVING run Hyundai excavators since 2005, Irish plant and dredging contractors Mill Road Plant Ltd are familiar with the positive long-term performance and reliability they afford, which accounts for the company’s long-term loyalty to the brand.

This was further bolstered recently when the Co. Offaly company, run by Donal Walsh and his son Mark, took delivery of the first Hyundai HX900L excavator to enter service in Ireland, from long-serving dealer Whelan Plant Sales, based in Barefield, Ennis, Co. Clare.

Joining a large-scale fleet dominated by Hyundai machines, which work collectively on gravel recovery, production, loading and pit development, the new HX900L is tasked with recovering gravel from lagoons at an intensive operation at Derryarkin, close to Rochfordbridge, in Co. Westmeath.

The 90-tonne machine is at the core of gravel production, making reliability and consistency of output obvious prerequisites, which accounts for the level of investment made in the new unit.

Since the machine is destined to work in this role over the longer term, the demands of the application inspired its specification and account for the unique combination of reach and bucket capacity it presents.

Taking over the role from another machine in the same size class, Donal Walsh’s experience of Hyundai suggested the HX900L was a very desirable successor, as he outlined: ‘I travelled to see a HX900L working in the UK and even though it was in a very different application to ours, I immediately knew it was the right machine for the job. I agreed the specification with George Whelan, and he put an attractive deal together without delay.’

This prior research culminated in the recent delivery of the new HX900L, which has recently been commissioned on site and represents the beginning of a new era for gravel recovery at Derryarkin. And so far, it has not failed to deliver on Mr Walsh’s expectations as owner operator.

‘The digging power with the HX900L is excellent and it’s a really smooth machine to operate,’ he said. ‘To get the most out of a machine like this with the kind of reach it offers, stability is very important, and I see it as being first class since it’s so well balanced over the whole working range.’

Achieving this balance of digging power, stability, reach and bucket capacity has been achieved by close co-operation between Donal Walsh and Whelan Plant Sales, coupled with the range of options presented by Hyundai to best tailor the machine to a specialist application such as this.

Incorporating the longest possible boom specification without moving up to a specialist long-reach boom configuration, the machine has been delivered with an 8.2m mono-boom and 4.4m dipper arm. When allied to a directly mounted bespoke bucket produced by Tighe Engineering, the machine offers a maximum digging depth of 9.6m while delivering maximum reach at ground level of 14.43m.

With a bucket capacity of close to 6 cubic metres thanks to its wing shields, achieving favourable stability has been aided by the fitment of an optional heavier counterweight which weighs 16.5 tonnes, whilst the long undercarriage running on 700mm wide double-grouser track shoes affords an operating width of 4.2m.

This level of working capacity places particular importance on the build quality of the machine, which has been singled out for particular praise by Mr Walsh. ‘The build quality looks very impressive on the new HX900L and from every point of view it just shows pure strength and quality,’ he said.

The machine also offers impressive power in relation to its size and is said to outclass many competitors’ machines in the same weight classification. Despite the impressively high power rating of 478kW provided by the Scania V8 engine at the heart of the machine, initial findings on fuel economy are positive, as Mr Walsh explained: ‘For a machine in this size class, the fuel consumption is already quite low and without even been run in just yet it is using 400 litres per day.’

According to Hyundai, much of this economy is attained by the sheer power of the machine, which assists in deriving maximum return from the hydraulics while running at low engine revs. Consequently, the unit is very much at ease with its current application despite recovering high volumes of material over the course of each working shift.

‘Based on the speed of its boom and slewing movements, it’s hard to believe it’s a 90-tonne excavator,’ said Mr Walsh. This was already noticeable on the HX480L, but I am surprised at how fast the HX900L actually is, since machines of this size are usually more about capacity than speed, but this has both with first-rate comfort and smooth controls.’

Settling into its working role particularly well, the new HX900L is just the latest manifestation of Mill Road Plant Ltd’s faith in the Hyundai brand, with a series of other machines already present on the fleet and working on other roles within the same operation.

These range from the oldest Robex 500LC-7A long-reach excavator through to an HL980 wheel loader and right up to recent excavator additions, in the form of a HX480L and HX235LCR.

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