Former owner of Belle Group, Ron Blackhurst, has returned to the plant industry with a powered wheelbarrow called the Truxta, a 300 kg or 450 kg payload, walk-behind unit powered either by diesel or petrol engines or battery pack.
Mr Blackhurst, the son of Belle’s founder Doug Blackhurst, was managing director and then chairman of Belle until its sale to Altrad in 2009. Since then he has been working at Sheen – on the site of the original Belle factory – creating a new company Tufftruk and working on the Truxta.
There are already several powered wheelbarrows on the market – including one from his former company Belle – but the Truxta departs from these by adopting an articulated chassis. What is the big benefit of that? “Just walk behind it – it goes where you push it. You’re not fighting it”, Mr Blackhust told IRN during this year’s Executive Hire Show in the UK.
That makes it suitable for a wide range of DIY as well as contractor applications. This ease of use is augmented by the availability of a number of attachments, including skip, snow plough, flatbed and towing bar. The flat-bed and skip options are likely to be most popular with the rental sector.
There are two models available, the 300 kg capacity TB 300 Bendi and the 450 kg TB 450 Bendi. The smaller diesel version is powered by a Yanmar L48 engine while the petrol engine unit is a Honda GX160. The larger unit uses the same Yanmar but a larger GX 200 Honda engine. The battery powered versions, with two 12 V batteries, will operate for 12 hours on a single charge.
Mr Blackhurst said the focus this year will be on the UK market, with European and other export markets given more focus next year.
If there was an expectation that Mr Blackhurst would slow down following the sale of Belle in 2009, he dismisses it; “I’m working double full time – up at 6am every morning.”