Bell machines impress with their all-round productivity, safety features and fuel economy
FOR more than 50 years, KJ Services have been working in the mining, quarrying, and construction sectors offering operated plant, machine hire, maintenance, transportation, and parts sales.
Based in the Rhymney Valley, in Gwent, South Wales, the company works for some of the biggest names in quarrying, including Hanson (now Heidelberg Materials), and has in recent years added crushing and screening into its portfolio. Using the best and most advanced machinery on the market, the company prides itself on its fleet of more than 100 machines which are offered on both short- and long-term hire contracts.
One of the company’s contracts to extract and process limestone is at Tytherington Quarry, in Gloucestershire. When it was time to renew the quarry’s fleet of articulated dumptrucks (ADTs) in 2022, Bell Equipment were offered the opportunity for the first time to introduce their range of ADTs. After a comprehensive evaluation and demonstration, KJ Services bought four B45Es complete with maintenance contracts and Fleetm@tic telematics. Three units were put to work at Tytherington, whilst one of the machines was delivered to Machen Quarry, in the Rhymney Valley, where KJ Services have another limestone quarry contract.
Impressed by the all-round productivity, safety features, and fuel economy, a further four units were ordered for delivery in 2023. The first of these has now joined its counterpart at Machen Quarry hauling limestone and aggregates from the rock face to the stockpile area, where most products are loaded on to rail wagons.
Jack Stephens, operations manager at KJ Services, was formerly a fitter and keeps his hand in by operating plant and equipment. He is delighted with the addition of Bell ADTs to the fleet.
‘The four machines in the initial order of Bell dumpers have been in operation for 12 months now and they have all performed brilliantly. I cannot fault them. We have had no service issues and not a single breakdown,’ he said.
‘Although we have our own fitters, we took full service and maintenance contracts with Bell Equipment to ensure they are kept in tip-top shape. We have a four-year/8,000h warranty which offers us peace of mind and the Bell Service team really does provide exceptional service.’
A service engineer from KJ Services recently attended a Bell service course to ensure the proper completion of all daily checks and another engineer is scheduled to attend the next course. The machine operators, who have previously driven other ADT brands, have adapted to the control layout with no issues and are generally very happy, reporting that the machines are very comfortable to drive and have great visibility.
‘It’s important that our drivers like the machines as they are in them all day and have noticed improved fuel economy. The client pays for the fuel, we deliver this benefit back to them,’ said Mr Stephens.
The 45-tonne payload has proved to be ideal for the application; a fact supported by data from the Fleetm@tic advanced telematics system. Once KJ Services realized the extent of the analytics available from the system all the ADTs were upgraded to the premium version, which produces reports on materials moved at the end of every day. The material type, which is pre-programmed into the controls, is simply selected by the driver, and automatically recorded. This was previously recorded manually on a tick sheet in the cab. This level of information allows accurate billing and enables reliable stockpile survey reporting for the client.
Another feature that has proved invaluable is the inclinometer, which is fitted as standard on Bell ADTs. This helps to reduce the risk of unsafe tipping, which has happened in the past, and Mr Stephens is now demanding the same level of safety from all machinery suppliers.
‘Fleetm@tic is by far the best telematics system we have used,’ he said. ‘From the inclinometer to the statistical analysis of production and analysis of fuel consumption, it has really helped us understand and improve our efficiency. All our safety and service alerts are updated in real time, which helps us with planning, and we are now actively working with other suppliers to provide similar solutions.’
Three more Bell machines are now due for delivery to Machen Quarry and KJ Services say they are already planning their future machinery requirements.