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Tarmac turns to JCB for backhoe and lowest vibration breaker

The UK’s leading road surfacing and maintenance organisation, Tarmac National Contracting, has purchased 41 new JCB 2CX Streetmaster backhoe loaders complete with HM25LV handheld breakers – to provide workers on its nationwide contracts with the safest equipment available.

Purchased from dealer Gunn JCB, Tarmac National Contracting now operates a fleet of 56 of the JCB 2CX backhoe loader models which are purpose-built for roads maintenance and 41 of these are now equipped with the new HM25LV models which are the lowest vibration handheld breakers ever built. Each breaker is permanently connected to the carrier machine’s hydraulics via a side mounted hose reel.

The HM25LV is primarily used by Tarmac National Contracting for breaking-out asphalt and joint cutting as part of the road re-surfacing process. It incorporates a new power cell to deliver unrivalled blow energy while a revolutionary new concept in vibration control means that - at 1.59m/s (BS8662-5) - it is the lowest vibration handheld breaker ever made. This equates to a three-axis level of around 3.2m/s2 which is less than half that of any competitor’s equipment. Operators can now safely use the breaker for a full eight-hour working day without risk of exceeding recommended HAV levels – longer than any hydraulic or electric breaker.

Tarmac’s National Plant Manager, Steve Wragg, said: “After an evaluation of the products available we were pleased to choose JCB. We have used Streetmaster backhoe models for a number of years as the base specification is tailor-made for our needs. When it came to specifying the hand-held breakers, some of our operators had trialled the JCB HM25LVs on demonstration and were impressed by the performance. In particular they highlighted the low height of the handle which, given that the use of hand-held breakers has been dramatically reduced with the introduction of the Streetmaster, provides a comfortable working position on the occasions when the breaker is used.

“Within Tarmac, the health of our staff is of paramount importance particularly with regard to Hand Arm Vibration syndrome and the Streetmaster builds on a number of initiatives we have introduced across the company to help tackle the issue. As such, the vibration level of the breakers was the main driver in our decision-making process. Tests were carried out on the HM25LV, confirming JCB’s claims that they are the lowest available. The combination of these two factors produces an extremely operator-friendly piece of equipment. Furthermore, in an effort to improve productivity and deliver health and safety benefits to our workforce, each backhoe is kitted out with a HM165Q dipper mounted breaker for heavy duty work. These are proving to be extremely effective in reducing the need for the majority of traditional manual breaking tasks.”

Tarmac National Contracting undertakes over 5000 individual contracts per annum on a national basis. They vary in size and scope from minor discrete resurfacing schemes to larger reconstruction projects as both principal contractor and major subcontractor. The company is the UK market leader by volume in asphalt surfacing operations, laying approximately 3.5 million tonnes of asphalt per annum.

Applications include long-term maintenance contracts, major new-build highway projects, airfield surfacing, lane rental type motorway and trunk road reconstruction schemes as well as smaller scale surfacing works such as non-trunk roads, residential streets, industrial estates and car parks.

The JCB 2CX Streetmaster is the perfect balance of manoeuvrability and performance. The compact machine with 4x4x4 steering is ideally suited for small urban areas. Powered by the JCB Dieselmax engine, it features a powerful self-levelling loader with high lift capacities and breakout forces. The result is maximum productivity and the ability to maintain the load level during raise and lower cycles. Compatible with a range of attachments it provides the versatility needed for a wide range of road maintenance applications. Operating conditions are unrivalled for machines of this size with a ROPS/FOPS canopy or cab providing a safe and spacious environment with exceptional visibility and lower noise levels.

JCB developed the innovative HM25LV breaker concept in conjunction with a leading vibration research university – working towards a vision of eliminating contact between the breaker and handles. The ground-breaking system dispenses with the traditional design in which HAV was controlled by conventional springs and rubber bushes. Instead, the handles on the active head of the breaker are effectively floating as the pin is supported by hydraulic pressure. As a result, the only vibration in the handles comes from friction against linear ball bearings. The handles on the HM25LV are also 50mm lower than on the previous HM25 version and feature increased protection.