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JCB develop the 3CX Potholemaster

First published in the January 2015 issue of Quarry Management as Hole in One

JCB introduce a special edition of their 3CX backhoe loader – a single-machine solution for cost-effective and permanent pothole repairs

Aiming to wage war on the millions of potholes which blight British roads, JCB have recently unveiled a special edition of their 3CX backhoe loader, designed as a single-machine solution for road maintenance. The JCB 3CX has long been the most versatile machine on work sites and backhoe loaders remain popular with many local authorities, but now JCB have combined a powerful, high-specification 3CX machine with a dipper-mounted patch planer and a sweeper shovel located on the front loader arms, to create the 3CX Potholemaster. This single machine offers local councils and road contractors a rapid mobile solution to meet their permanent road maintenance equipment needs, in a bid to help rid roads of the pothole menace.


The self-deployable Potholemaster benefits from JCB’s most powerful 81kW (109hp) Ecomax engine and six-speed Torque Lock powershift transmission, to deliver travel speeds of up to 40km/h and to provide the power to effectively operate the planer attachment. This allows local authorities and contractors to rapidly move the machine between sites, without the need for additional transport, increasing utilization and ensuring maximum productivity throughout the day.

The 3CX Potholemaster is equipped with a 400mm wide patch planer from JCB Attachments that has been engineered to work efficiently with the machine’s high-output auxiliary hydraulic service. Advanced Easy Control variflow hydraulics, with servo control levers, ensure an ergonomically superior driving environment and provide the power to deliver total control over all functions of the backhoe when planing. Pressure-compensated variable-flow hydraulics ensure maximum power delivery to the planer attachment, while maintaining complete control of all boom and dipper functions during operation.

The 400mm wide planer, which is equipped with 45 steel teeth to grind away the surface, is suitable for a wide range of applications, from single-pass small pothole repairs to complete highway sections. JCB’s powered sideshift capability ensures that the operator can plane the full width of the machine, without having to relocate the backhoe loader, which is essential when working in a single coned-off carriageway. The planer provides a clean and well-prepared working area, ensuring a long-term pothole repair rather than a temporary solution to the problem.

Once the planing task has been completed, the Potholemaster slips into reverse and drives back and forth over the ground-out pothole, sweeping the resulting dust and debris with a 2.3m wide hydraulic sweeper collector shovel mounted on the front end of the machine. The overall width, including the hydraulic motor, is within the width of the loader, making it easy for the operator to travel safely on the road. The sweeper shovel’s enclosed brush, which uses an integrated mix of plastic and wire brushes for maximum durability, provides clean pick-up of road planings with minimal dust and no risk of material being thrown away from the machine. One or two passes of the planed area are sufficient to provide a clean work area that is ready for permanent repair and relaying of asphalt. The brush enclosure also greatly reduces any dust as the shovel is tipped into road tippers, for removal from site.

JCB have incorporated a hydraulic lift feature that moves the brush canopy away from the bucket. This allows the operator to use the bucket to collect planings from larger areas and to let operatives manually load the bucket in tighter spaces. Being able to lift the brush canopy away from the shovel, in combination with the machine’s standard long loader arms, makes it easier for the operator to load over the back of a tipper truck, again essential when working within a single carriageway width.

JCB’s hand-held power tool hydraulic circuit, mounted on the side of the 3CX Potholemaster, allows operatives to use a wide range of hand-held breakers and saws, to cut around ironwork in the road and to provide a clean end to the patch area. This also allows the road repair crew to access difficult areas that cannot be reached by the patch planer.

Traditionally, councils and contractors have had to use a wide array of cutting, breaking and planning machinery, together with separate road sweepers and rollers to carry out even the smallest of pothole repairs. The single backhoe loader-based solution can carry out road repair preparation and then rapidly move independently to the next site, while the repair team lays the new materials. This greatly reduces the number of machines required to carry out this type of work, reducing cost and increasing utilization for the local authority.

A further benefit of the Potholemaster design is that, when not being used for road repair duties, it is possible to remove the attachments and operate the 3CX as a high-powered backhoe loader. Customers will have a machine that is capable of loading grit and clearing snow in the winter months, or helping with flood prevention and other duties in the summer, without having to have additional machines that may only be used on a seasonal basis. Moreover, when the time comes to update the fleet, the JCB 3CX Potholemaster remains a high-specification backhoe loader, attracting premium resale values and further reducing whole-life costs for the customer.

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