HILLHEAD is a trade show that was originally for the UK quarry industry, but such has been the success that it now attracts visitors from across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Held every two years, the show is organized by the Institute of Quarrying.

It has proved to be so popular with exhibitors and visitors that there is a waiting list of companies wanting to exhibit and visitors are prepared to queue in their cars for up to three hours to get in. In the middle of the Derbyshire dales, it attracts 20,000 visitors over three days to see 400 exhibitors.

The show has live demonstrations of which major exhibitors make a big feature. Being held in an old quarry, there is sufficient material left over to enable demonstrations of extraction, loading, hauling and crushing by a variety of equipment. Several manufacturers now use the event to introduce new products and this year was no different.

Hillhead was chosen by Case to unveil the latest addition to the wheel loader range – the 14.3t 721D XT tool carrier. A breakout force of 12,020 kg, dump clearance at 45° of 2.77m and a bucket capacity of 2.4m3 provides the power, lift and capacity for fast cycle times in routine truck loading and similar applications.

Also new from Case was the TX130-33 telescopic-handler, which, with a 3.5t load capacity and 13m maximum lift height, is the smallest in the company’s range. Case was also scheduled to launch the new 340 ADT, the largest in the current series but it failed to make it to the show in time. With a payload of 36t, Case claims the 340 has the widest chassis in the industry giving it superior traction and stability.

JCB can always be relied upon to have something new at shows where they participate. New at Hillhead was the JCB 456 wheel loader rated at 161 kW and with an operating weight of 21,809 kg it is available in three variations, the 456 HT, 456 Wastemaster and 456 ZX.

Two new excavators were also introduced by JCB – the J330 HRD, a high reach demolition unit and the JZ140, the first JCB zero tail swing excavator in the 14t class to feature a full size cab.

Packaged for pump sets

Another first from JCB was to be seen on another stand, that of Pioneer Pump who were showing, among other products, a new range of self-priming, vacuum assisted centrifugal pumps powered by JCB 44T engines, the same model as in the JCB backhoe loader range. This is the first time a JCB engine has been packaged for pump sets.

It is being offered by Pioneer in 3 (76.2 mm) and 6 (152.4 mm) variations in an open set configuration or fully bundled, with a super-silenced canopy which is said to be the quietest available for pumps of this size – 55 dB(A) at 7m.

Caterpillar , through their dealer Finning, showed the latest 930G and 988H wheel loaders, the 345C quarry excavator and the 365C front shovel. Liebherr showcased the new R945C Litronic excavator and the new hydrostatic dozer, the PR724.

Breakers were making the news. Rammer showed the latest in the G-Series breaker range. Weighing 2,370 kg, the new Rammer G 88 incorporates several new features, which are designed to increase durability and reliability.

Atlas Copco and New Holland have also introduced new breakers. Atlas Copco announced the MB700 – a 700 kg breaker with features generally only found on larger, heavier duty breakers.

New Holland announced a complete line of hydraulic breakers developed in conjunction with a leading manufacturer. The eleven-model range is for carriers in the 1.5t to 70t range and are said to offer greater impact energy for increased productivity.

Montabert showed their Silver Clip hydraulic breakers, suitable for excavators up to 8t. The breakers’ ability to remove debris with the Clip-Bucket and to compact with the Clip-Ram, both features unique to Montabert, attracted considerable interest.

As it is a quarry show, there were many examples of the latest in crushing and screening equipment. Extec Screens and Crushers showed the E-7, a new heavy-duty track mounted self-propelled open flow screening and stockpiling system. This machine has been purpose built for the recycling and quarrying markets.

Key features include a heavy-duty hopper adjustable for length and loading height, a capacity up to 10m3 and a double plated apron plate feeder.

Aughey is an Irish company, whose manufacturing roots go back to 1958 when it operated sand and gravel pits, is beginning to make a name for itself. The latest track mounted primary screen from the Irish company, the A8, has a throughput of 800t per hour. It stood alongside the existing model – the A4 – a tracked screening station with a 400t per hour capacity.

Seat eliminates vibrations

There was a lot of interest from both operators and buyers in the latest seats from Sears. The company appears to have achieved what many thought impossible – a seat that virtually eliminates all vibrations to meet new European directives that come into effect in 2007.

Sears have designed the Sears D8090VRS Semi-Active seat in that all the electronic and computerised vibration monitoring equipment is self-contained within the seat assembly. As a result it is easy to retrofit. Sears claim that with the new seat, off-highway travel can be as much as 20 per cent faster for increased productivity.

Away from Hillhead, Omega Access, from the Netherlands has announced several new models to the company’s range of scissor lifts. These include three wheeled models for heights up to 26.5m, 600 kg lifting capacity and 5.1m long platforms with a 2.4m roll-out extension. There is a new series of rough terrain scissor lifts for heights of 26.5m.

As this column is being written, it has just been announced that JCB has acquired the German compaction company, Vibromax and intends to market a range of vibratory compactors under the name JCB Vibromax. This is the first such acquisition by JCB and may be indicative of the way the company plans to more rapidly expand its product offering.

Commenting on the acquisition, John Patterson, managing director and CEO of the JCB Group, said: “There is a great deal of synergy between JCB and Vibromax. The Vibromax products expand JCB’s all important construction equipment range and we are very excited about the growth potential for the future.”

Gehl has also announced the formation of a strategic alliance with Manitou. The two companies will distribute selected models from each other’s range of telescopic handlers throughout their US dealer networks.

Roger Lindley looks at recent developments in Europe that may impact on the Australian market.