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“Reliability and the back up that’s second to none….”

That's the continued sentiment of Tom Blackwood, proprietor of Ayrshire plant hire company Blackwood Plant Hire Ltd as he takes additional Volvo excavators into his fleet.

Since 2001, Tom Blackwood has steadily increased his park of machines from three to some seventy five items of plant, the backbone of which carry the Volvo brand. Joining the fleet ranging from one and a half to twenty one tonne sized excavators come a further three five and a half tonne EC55B's and new for Blackwood Plant - a Volvo EC290C. "Diversification is the key in the current climate," explains Tom Blackwood. "Whilst we are reasonably optimistic on up and coming projects it's become essential for us to look at alternatives. That's why we took the decision to invest in a larger machine to tackle medium sized muck shifts and demolition jobs and still be an optimal size for civils and plant hire opportunities."

Another area where Mr Blackwood has put diversification into his fleet is the bespoke modifications made to a five and a half tonne EC55B and a fourteen tonne EC140BLC. Both machines have had their undercarriages significantly widened to enable them to carry out projects on soft ground such as peat and bog. "Again this has been a new departure for us, and both machines have been fully employed on contracts requiring maximum low ground bearing pressures," continued Mr Blackwood. The modified machines feature 1 metre wide and 1.2 metre wide pads respectively on the EC 55B and EC140B.

Underpinning Blackwood Plant's continued investment in an expanded range of Volvo branded excavators is, according to Mr Blackwood, Volvo's first class after sales support and overall reliability of the product. "Besides the machines' continuing reliability, the combined package of the after sales support coupled to the excellent residual values which we are beginning to realize with the older units adds up to a value for money package from Volvo," he continued.

Blackwood Plant Hire's new flagship EC290C excavator is powered by a Volvo 7 litre 208 hp low emission Tier III compliant engine which is precisely matched to the hydraulic system's components and design. An advanced mode control system ensures the maximum possible hydraulic horsepower available is delivered at a constant engine speed under varying load conditions. In addition, boom and arm geometry provide highly competitive digging forces and lifting capacities, which makes for faster work cycles. Hose rupture valves are fitted as standard to the boom and dipper cylinders as are quick fit hydraulics and a hammer/shear service.

As with all Volvo excavators, the hydraulic system is designed to function with low operator effort and high precision. To achieve maximum efficiency on a full range of job applications, the system is designed with four power modes that respond automatically to the operator's joystick movements. The boom, arm and slew priority system, boom and arm flow regeneration, and two variable displacement piston pumps enhance the system's performance, giving high slew torque, powerful digging forces, and fast digging and slew speeds. These features translate into faster cycle times and more efficient operation. The EC290C offers a maximum reach of 11.29 metres, a dig depth of 7.98 metres and a practical load over height of 7.34 metres. Lifting capacity across carriage is equally impressive, the machine handling over four tonnes across carriage at full reach.

Similarly the EC55B compact excavator gives the feeling of big machine performance. The 16-valve, 3.0 cubic litre 37 kW engine offers plenty of power and torque, while providing low fuel consumption. The direct injection also helps reduce emissions and noise levels. The machine features the largest cab in its size class with a roomy environment with a flat, uncluttered floor and a fully adjustable seat.

Blackwood Plant Hire Ltd has its headquarters located in Stewarton, Ayrshire and provides a hire service with operators for the whole of central Scotland.

Volvo Construction Equipment Ltd market wheeled loaders, articulated haulers, hydraulic excavators, graders, Volvo Compact Equipment and Volvo road machinery products. Nine strategically placed customer support centres and a network of compact equipment dealers ensure high quality customer support throughout Great Britain.