In its largest order with Hitachi Construction Machinery (UK) (HCMUK) to date, self-drive plant hire firm Keyway has purchased 96 new machines, bringing the total of Hitachi models in its fleet to more than 400 units.

The new deliveries between April and August 2015 range from 2 t to 35 t excavators, including several short-tail swing models, and the company’s first wheeled excavator, the ZX140W-5 (pictured).

The order could be extended up to 150 machines before the end of March 2016.

This significant investment coincides with Keyway’s plans to open a new facility in Avonmouth in the south-west of England, to serve the Bristol market. The family-run business, established in 1966, operates from a depot in Gloucester.

Part of the McGurk Group, Keyway specialises in operated and self-drive plant hire, supplies aggregates, and offers earthmoving, demolition and recycling, transport and waste removal services. More than 200 people are employed in its construction-related activities, which make up half of the McGurk Group’s £50 million (€70 million) annual turnover.

Keyway founder Eamonn McGurk said: “We’ve seen a 30-40% growth, through acquisitions and widening our geographical reach, and we work on between 100 and 200 projects at any one time nationwide.

“Our work on the nuclear plant at Hinckley Point and for the Environment Agency requires highly efficient low-emission machines, such as Zaxis-5 excavators. Working on housing sites also requires machines with the cleanest emissions possible.”

Service and maintenance are mostly carried out in-house, but some Keyway machines are registered on contracts with HCMUK.

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