First published in the August 2023 issue of Quarry Management as Driving Decarbonization
Molson Group, one of the UK’s largest independent dealers of new/used plant and machinery, host successful open days to showcase sustainable technologies and innovative mobile equipment solutions at their Avonmouth headquarters and facilities
Molson Group recently staged a series of open days (20–22 June) at their Avonmouth head office, just outside Bristol, where around 900 specially invited guests – including customers, OEM partners, and members of the construction press – had the opportunity to see the latest additions to the company’s 360° portfolio of product offerings, as well as learn more about the efficiency savings and sustainability benefits that the latest equipment solutions can bring to quarrying, construction, and waste-recycling projects.
Since its inception in 1996, the business has rapidly grown to become the largest UK stockist and supplier of construction/earthmoving machinery, mobile crushing and screening equipment, aggregate washing systems, bulk materials handling solutions, waste-handling machines, and specialist attachments/tools (eg shears, buckets, drum cutters, grapples etc) for the demolition, scrap, and recycling sectors.
During the three-day event, Molson Group highlighted their single-source supply capabilities with an impressive static display of plant and equipment from market-leading brands, including Kobelco, Sennebogen, Hyundai, Finlay, Ammann, EvoQuip, and Rokbak, among many others.
A comprehensive range of hydraulic attachments, ranging from buckets and breakers to tilt-rotators and grabs, were also presented from leading OEMs such as MB, Daemo, SMP, BMC, and Genesis, whilst a number of ‘guest spots’ were occupied by supply chain partners, including Geith, Strickland MFG, and Ardent.
With over 30 OEM suppliers and brands in their growing 360° product portfolio, Molson have built up an enviable reputation in the market for providing innovative and reliable world-leading material processing/handling equipment and aftermarket services.
Husqvarna, one of the leading manufacturers of remote-controlled demolition equipment, recently appointed Molson Group as exclusive UK distributors for their DXR range of demolition robots, with the DXR 145, DXR 275, DXR 315, and DXR 305 models on display and demonstration during the open days.
As momentum for taking on the challenges of waste-recycling increases, so too does the need for more productive solutions and improved operator safety. Adding Husqvarna’s unique demolition products to Molson’s single-source supply offering reflects the company’s ongoing commitment to innovation, efficiency and, more importantly, health and safety.
Collaborating with vehicle fleet safety equipment specialists ABD Solutions, Molson are currently working on a highly configurable 360° pedestrian detection zone camera system that is extremely effective and easy to use – reducing accidents on site and protecting workers from potentially life-threatening situations.
With a detection range of up to 30m, the intelligent collision-avoidance system (a prototype unit was demonstrated at Molson’s Technology Centre) provides a bird’s-eye view of the machine’s entire working environment on a full HD screen in the cab. Tracking pedestrians/workers in real time, the modular safety system – which uses an algorithm to distinguish between moving and static objects and pedestrians – can be divided into programmable green, amber, and red areas, and alerts the operator to the presence of potential hazards.
Paving the way to net zero
As the construction and quarrying sectors work towards becoming a net-zero carbon industry, the next few years will be critical for driving forward sustainability initiatives. Meeting the UK’s net-zero targets represents not only a huge challenge but also real opportunities to unlock new and innovative decarbonization solutions.
Demonstrating their commitment to the future of quarrying/construction sites, Molson put on a broad display of equipment (Decarbonization zone) during the open days to emphasize how the heavy construction industry has evolved in many ways to adapt to sustainable technologies, low-carbon fuels, and more eco-friendly practices.
Taking pride of place in the Decarbonization zone for the company was the all-electric Hyundai/UMS HX260E crawler excavator. Powered by three replaceable and swappable lithium iron phosphate batteries (each unit delivers 130kWh), the medium-sized machine is said to deliver the same performance as its conventional diesel counterpart – the HX260AL – but with the added benefits of zero tailpipe emissions, reduced noise/vibrations, lower running costs, and increased uptime and throughput.
The HX260E was developed by Dutch clean tech engineering firm Urban Mobility Systems (UMS), who worked closely with HD Hyundai Construction Equipment and their Netherlands dealer Van der Spek Vianen BV, to enable a full electric version of the HX260AL.
According to Shaun Harrison, after-sales operations manager for Molson Group, the battery-electric HX260E excavator has already proved successful in a variety of commercial applications in Holland.
‘Whilst diesel-electric hybrids and tethered electric-powered machines can provide lower total cost of ownership and deliver a positive impact on climate change in response to the industry’s net-zero challenge, there is still huge potential for further improving the eco-friendliness of heavy construction equipment,’ said Mr Harrison.
‘At Molson, we are always looking to work with our OEM and supply chain partners to develop and deploy low-carbon solutions and technologies to transform the way we now operate in response to the environmental challenges facing the industry. Today, customers increasingly want reliable, efficient, and carbon-neutral construction equipment. And we believe the UMS HX260E excavator marks a significant step on the path to net-zero construction.
‘It’s important that we keep up with the pace of change and Molson’s vision is to be at the forefront of supplying groundbreaking electric products and technologies that will accelerate the construction sector’s progress towards net-zero emissions.’
Future technology trends
Choosing an OEM, heavy equipment supplier or distributor who understands the rigorous demands of the sector and the quarrying environment in which customers are working is imperative. Over the years Molson have developed a strong reputation for holding/supplying not only the latest and most advanced construction plant in their expanding portfolio of products, but also as a leading provider of end-to-end solutions.
The company has invested substantially in an extensive redevelopment of its Avonmouth headquarters and depot, creating large modern workshops, 10 extra service bays, an overhead gantry crane, and extensive warehouse facilities for spare and wear parts.
‘These state-of-the-art purpose-built service facilities, along with our Technology Centre, will allow us to continue to provide the very best product support for our growing and loyal customer base, as well as become the preferred one-stop-shop for the construction, quarrying, demolition, and recycling sectors,’ said Jason Powles, chief operating officer at Molson Group.
‘We operate from 16 strategically located depots across the UK – backed by a team of around 100 fully equipped mobile service engineers and an OEM stockholding of spare and wear parts worth more than £16 million.
‘An important part of Molson’s business strategy is to provide an unrivalled total-support offering to our customers. We work closely with our supply chain/OEM partners to ensure that contractors, fleet operators, and end-users get not only the right plant and machinery to meet their needs, but also aftermarket support and availability of premium parts to help continue to deliver their business growth.’
Molson Group are clearly supporting the drive towards digitalization. Within the Avonmouth Tech Centre, open day visitors were able to gain an insight into how digitalization of established technologies is having a significant positive effect on all parts of the value chain, from design and manufacturing through to purchasing and servicing/maintenance.
The business, for example, used the three-day event to soft launch a brand-new e-commerce platform for spare parts, allowing customers to place orders, track shipments, manage invoices and make payments for OEM and high-quality aftermarket parts. The new web service portal (available on desktops and mobile devices) has been specifically designed to make it easier for customers to find, order, and purchase genuine spare parts and components.
As well as offering an online shop for replacement parts and service kits, the e-commerce website also provides visitors with a wide range of useful features and content relating to Molson’s product and service portfolio. Customers can access interactive parts manuals linked to their fleet of machines, view detailed schematic drawings from a manufacturer, receive live order status notifications, and so forth.
Digitalization has proved to be increasingly important to customers in the mineral processing and construction sectors. Embracing the digital age and offering everyone in the industry the opportunity to become smarter, ‘greener’ and more efficient, Molson over the last couple of years have invested heavily in their digitalization and telematics offerings.
‘There is no doubt, the future of quarrying and construction is digital,’ said Mr Powles. ‘Our fleetCMD digital platform has been purposed designed to help our customers know how their heavy equipment is being utilized effectively and efficiently. With telemetry technology comes a lot of data, and fleetCMD has the capability to provide accurate monitoring of a wide array of parameters, from cycle time reporting to payload data, and machine performance to energy consumption.’
Central to the success of fleetCMD is that – as a trusted and reliable third-party fleet-management application – it can bring together diverse fleets of plant and machinery from multiple manufacturers and provide the end-user a real-time view of the entire fleet in a single location.
The provision of after-sales support and parts delivery (ie Molson’s new e-commerce platform storeCMD) is also integrated into the fleetCMD software, to ensure customers enjoy not only greater visibility into the utilization of their machinery fleets but also benefit from a state-of-the-art, innovative online platform that makes it easier and faster to access Molson Group’s aftermarket services.
Providing exceptional customer care and great return on investment has been Molson’s focus ever since they were formed, and the recent open days demonstrate the company’s commitment to build successful business relationships and meet growing customer demands for effective equipment solutions in the construction and quarrying sectors.
Subscribe to Quarry Management, the monthly journal for the mineral products industry, to read articles before they appear on Agg-Net.com