Derbyshire based Paul Hudson Civil Engineering (PHD) specialises in road, sewer and heavy landscaping contracts and discovered the many benefits of using an Avant mini loader as a do-it-all materials handling machine in 2005. The company is now waiting to take delivery of its fourth unit, the very latest 750 model launched at the beginning of the year.
According to Mr. Hudson, one Avant equals four men on site and the company's current 635 model is mainly used either with pallet forks or a standard bucket. However, PHD has built up a collection of around 10 different attachments in order to maximise the machine's outstanding versatility including specially built items such as a high powered pressure washer and a jib crane assembly. This latter item is used to make light work of handling materials such as 0.5 tonne York stone paving slabs in conjunction with a vacuum lifting system.
In fact, Mr. Hudson now considers the Avant to be the most important piece of kit in the company's plant fleet and hence his decision to change it every year for the latest model. “Although it costs about the same as a typical mini excavator,” says Mr. Hudson, “the little green machine can do so much more and therefore really earns its keep.”
PHD's work is usually within a 15 mile radius of its New Mills base and as the Avant is very easy to transport on a small plant trailer, the company never has to leave it on site, hence avoiding any possibility of theft or vandalism.
The 635 model, which PHD specified with the optional foam-filled tyres to avoid costly downtime caused by punctures and also to increase the ballast, weighs in at 1380 kg and features hydrostatic all-wheel drive, an articulated chassis giving an inside turning radius of just 900 mm and a useful lift capacity of 1000 kg. In addition, like all Avant machines, the 635 has an offset telescopic, self-levelling boom which not only ensures excellent handling capabilities but also provides the operator with an unrestricted view of the attachment in use.