Dave Harrower has a lifetime of experience operating a wide range of excavators over the years, but the Hidromek 300LC is the one, he says, that will leave a lasting impression. Plant & Civil Engineer’s David Stokes has been finding out why.
Hidromek might not be a name that readily comes to mind in this part of the world when thinking about construction machinery, but that is steadily changing, as we have quickly discovered.
Founded as a small workshop in Ankara in Turkey in 1978, today Hidromek, with its production of excavators that are completely designed and manufactured in-house and exported all around the world, has grown to become the number one Turkish construction manufacturer – and it’s easy to see why when you speak to those like Dave Harrower who are already familiar with the brand.
Supplied by UK distributors Buntons from Bradford, the 30 tonne Hidromek 300LC is currently paying its way on a water treatment works project in Sheffield where we caught up with Dave to get his ‘view from the cab.’
“The Hidromek is quite simply an exceptional machine,” says Dave. “It compares very favourably with anything I have ever operated in terms of performance, handling and reliability. It is a well balanced machine, and produces plenty of power when you need it.”
Adds Dave: “Unlike other machines, it is not overburdened with technology, so it is easy to operate. I have driven every machine you can think of, and have seen big technical advances over the years, but it seems Hidromek has gone back to basics without compromising on handling or performance. It is very impressive.”
The cab on the 300LC has been designed to allow the operator to work comfortably even under the hardest conditions. It is large enough to enable the operator to enter the cab easily with plenty of clearance.
Other features enhancing operator’s comfort are the ergonomic seat and front console. The standard operator seat of the 300LC can be adjusted in nine different positions and is designed to enable the operator to work without fatigue and comfortably with high performance for long hours.
In addition, the joystick console and seat can move independently from each other which allow the operator to adjust the most suitable position for him, while the seat is equipped with a seat belt as a safety precaution.
The cab is supported by six silicon viscose mounts that dampen the effects of noise, shock and vibrations regardless of working conditions of the machine which also features a high capacity air conditioning system to create the optimum working environment for the operator.
“I work long hours on the excavator in all sorts of conditions, so having a comfortable cab is vital, and the Hidromek does not disappoint in any way,” says Dave. “It is also very fuel efficient. It has a 486 litre tank and I can get a good week’s work out of that before refilling.”
Dave is also complimentary about visibility from the cab. Good visibility, of course, is essential when operating on busy or restricted sites as he often does. On the Hidromek, to further enhance visibility, it is possible to open the windscreen by sliding it towards the roof, while the rear window may be removed and kept under the operator seat.
The machine is powered by a six cylinder, water cooled Isuzu turbo diesel engine specially developed for excavator applications and complies with current EU Emission standards. It is characterised by high performance, long life, and reliability and is well proven in many different markets around the world.
The direct fuel injection and intercooler features not only offers less fuel consumption but also increases the power and torque produced by the engine by providing more efficient combustion.
Without doubt, the 300LC is a rugged workhorse, and has been designed to be just so. All fabricated parts including boom, arm, bucket, undercarriage, lower and upper frames, for example, have been produced as heavy duty type, enabling it to easily cope with the toughest of working conditions.
Dave was also quick to point out what he called ‘the excellent performance’ of the hydraulics, adding: “I’m not getting any gravitation on the machine. Every motion and every movement on it is absolutely intricate.”
Machine performance and pump life have been maximised by using two axial pistons and variable displacement hydraulic pumps from Kawasaki. It is possible to generate the necessary flow rate when required thanks to the negative control feature. By matching the power generated from diesel engine and the power required by the hydraulic pump under increase load, engine stalls are prevented.
The main control valve ensures, as Dave said, sensitive and vibration free operation in each combined movement. The operator is able to focus only on his work since the priority at the arm, boom and swing movements are provided automatically by the control valve, thus maximising efficiency.
The re-generative system prevents cavitations during boom, arm and bucket movements and increases both the life of the hydraulic system and speed of the machine. Thanks to the two-staged main relief valve, it is possible to increase the power whenever is required.