Demanding specials - heavy duty high reach for HDI

01 February 2011

A monster has taken shape in the Kocurek factory in Ipswich for Heavy Decom International, in this c

A monster has taken shape in the Kocurek factory in Ipswich for Heavy Decom International, in this case a 30 m reach with a 15 tonne tool on a heavily modified Hitachi EX1200

It appears that even when times are challenging, the demand for special 'one-offs' custom-tailored for specific customers remains relatively strong. And there is no question that the envelopes are being pushed. One of the leaders in the field is Ipswich, UK, based Kocurek Excavators and a machine that is in the final stages of preparation for delivery at its factory as this issue went to press graphically illustrates the point.

The statistics are impressive. Based loosely on a Hitachi EX1200, Kocurek is producing, for UK customer Heavy Decom International, a unit weighing just over 200 tonnes that will be able to carry a 25 tonne shear to 20 m (82 ft) and a 15 tonne shear to 30 m (98.5 ft), based on a three section articulating boom. Kocurek is also providing a fly dipper to take the final height to 35 m (115 ft) with an 8 tonne attachment.

HDI is initially planning to target two major sectors, North Sea oil & gas decommissioning and marine applications anywhere in the world, although it would also be happy to deploy the machine on any major general heavy duty demolition contracts in the UK. Use in marine applications is made possible by the fact that the machine, as well as functioning as a high reach, also has the capability of working underwater below the level of the carrier itself.

Despite being a massive piece of engineering, the machine has been designed with transport needs firmly in mind. A special feature of this design are four hydraulically operated pads that descend to support the carbody and upper structure off the ground. The track units can then be removed and lifted away from the machine using the boom foot - to make one transport load. The carrier and boom foot make up a second load, with the various upper boom sections making a third, with all three being suitable for container shipment anywhere in the world.

The machine sports an unusual cab design as part of this. As one would expect on a machine this size, the cab hydraulically tilts to allow a clear view of the tool at all time, but it also has two horizontal positions. The lower position keeps the cab in line with the upper structure, which assists when the machine is transported, but it also has a higher mounting point slightly to the rear. This allows the operator a clear view over the side of the machine, specifically with marine applications in mind.

Development of the machine has been very much of a joint venture. According to Hardy Worsey, joint founder of HDI with Chris Hinett: "After many years experience using large high reach around Europe, we had a pretty clear idea of what we needed. We favoured using the Hitachi carrier as a basis for the machine - we have used other high reaches using that carrier, it is reliable, strong and above all, its hydraulics are not computer-controlled. We believe in keeping it simple."

HDI presented Kocurek with its requirements - 15 tonne capacity at 30 m on a Hitachi EX1200 carrier base -and then the two companies together proceeded to meet these requirements. Having seen the machine at Kocurek's Ipswich, UK, factory and been suitably impressed, D&Ri hopes to follow the story into the future by reporting on its first deployment, which should be in the spring of this year.

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