Mick Dann Excavations Ltd, based in Leicester, has chosen the well-proven Geith Claw Auto-lock Quick Hitch from Doosan Infracore International Attachments (formerly Ingersoll Rand Attachments) instead of semi-automatic hitches on new 14 tonne and 20 tonne Doosan excavators supplied by Tag Plant Sales. Based in Whittlesey near Peterborough, Tag Plant Sales is responsible for sales and servicing of the Doosan excavator and wheeled loader range in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire, South Lincolnshire and part of Bedfordshire.
The change to the Geith automatic hitch is in advance of major industry moves to ban semi-automatic hitches. This is in response to a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) initiative following several fatalities caused by the incorrect use of safety pin semi-automatic hitches. As a result, leading manufacturers have agreed to not supply semi-automatic hitches on new excavators sold into the UK market from the 1st October 2008.
Managing Director Mick Dann said: "The Geith hitch is a proven product - we wouldn't be using it on our machines if it wasn't well tested in the field. From the safety point of view, the removal of pins is a continuous problem on semi-automatic hitches and I welcome the move to outlaw their use for increased safety."
The two new machines at Mick Dann Excavations Ltd are part of a fleet of five Doosan excavators and a Doosan Mega 400 loading shovel run by the company. The equipment is used to load construction debris from sites throughout Leicestershire into the company's screening and crushing equipment which processes it for sale through builders merchants. Open for the last four years, the 6 acre processing centre in the middle of Leicester is unique - it is the only one in the area.
As well as increased safety, Mick Dann believes there are many more advantages offered by the Geith hitch in terms of productivity. "The Geith system is so easy to use for changing attachments and it speeds up the process and frees up personnel. We have to change buckets to breakers regularly to clear blockages in the crusher, where the breaker is used to drive the material down. So one operator can take a ditching bucket and breaker and change between attachments to do both secondary breaking on concrete debris and then load it into the crushers and screeners - one machine can do everything which is a big productivity gain."
Whilst costs have been rising steadily for the last three years, the price of the products produced by Dann Excavations is virtually unchanged, so the company's philosophy is to change its cost structure to fit the market situation.
Over the last 12 months, the company has switched from large shovels to smaller, more compact and fuel efficient Doosan excavators and in the process, has halved its fuel bill. After 20 years in the business, Mick Dann knows that fuel efficiency and productivity gains such as those offered by the Geith hitch all add up. The latest investments in the new excavators and new screens demonstrate the company's confidence in the future.
The operations at the Leicester processing site are complemented by the company's role outside the centre as a sub-contractor for removing waste and debris from construction sites. Mick and his team have carried out contracts as far afield as St Ives in Cornwall and these are normally turnkey in nature combining demolition with removal/recycling of the debris from the site.
The Claw Auto-lock Quick Hitch has been developed by Geith to meet safety regulations demanded by different countries and organisations around the world as an alternative to semi-automatic hitches. For new excavators, the HSE is proposing that powered couplers have an automatic device such as that in the Geith Claw system, that prevents the attachment from falling off in the event of a loss of hydraulic pressure. There must also be an indicator as offered by the Geith system, which is viewable from inside the cab, to show the device is secure.
The Claw offers the widest range of attachment interchange across different machine models of any coupler on the market. Its unique patented safety features include a positively activated pin-lock ensuring safe release of attachments and providing advantages over gravity operated systems where dirt and corrosion cause jamming and malfunction. It is also highly operator friendly - Auto-lock is fully visible from the cab and its status is impossible to misinterpret. The hydraulic circuit incorporates two independent in-line check valves and is also backed up by Geith's patented over centring pin retaining clasp, which together prevent the accidental release of an attachment in the event of a loss of hydraulic pressure.
The quick hitch is manufactured using Extra High Strength (EHS) and Abrasion Resistant (AR) steels for maximum abrasion resistance and durability and to ISO 9002 standards. High strength materials and cast steel components are used throughout the coupler structure. This minimises weight and maximises the operational life cycle even in the toughest applications.