Hill Engineering’s Tefra hitch helps Lomond Plant Hire celebrate 30 years

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All of the new excavators that require a quick hitch feature Hill Engineering’s award-winning Tefra coupler.

One of Scotland’s largest plant hire companies has marked its 30th anniversary and its second foray south of the border with its largest-ever acquisition of new machines, almost half of which are fitted with Hill Engineering’s Tefra hitch.

Lomond Plant Hire, which is headquartered in Falkirk, has purchased more than 250 new JCB machines in a deal which at £13 million is one of the biggest deals in the UK, easily trumping the firm’s investment of £8 million last year.

In addition, an order due to be placed in January for £2.7 million worth of plant will take the company’s portfolio to more than 600 machines and include its very first use of the Tefra Tilt hydraulic quick coupler.

The Tefra Tilt, which combines the award-winning Tefra coupler with the HKS Extra Tilt Power Actuator for excavators from three to 20 tonnes, was specified for four 16-tonne rubber ducks. The January order also includes dumpers and rollers.

This year’s investment was prompted by huge growth at the depot in St Helen’s, Lancashire, which opened in 2014 to serve the north-west. The new machines, including all the excavators of five tonnes and above which feature the innovative Tefra hitch, will be based throughout all of Lomond’s depots, including a new one shortly due to open in Solihull.

Lomond Plant Hire’s portfolio now includes more than 540 machines ranging from 1.5-tonne mini to 22-tonne tracked excavators, one to nine-tonne dumpers and ride-on rollers. The Tefra fully-automatic quick coupler has featured on all the fleet, around 165 excavators, since 2012.

Ross Easton, who is joint managing director with his sister Amanda (their mother Sandra founded the business), said: “We were using a market-leader alternative which was pushed upon us by the changes in legislation from semi-automatic hitches to fully-automatic twin locking.

“Unfortunately, our experience was not good and we had a lot of issues with this particular hitch. Hill Engineering came in at the right time and we trialled a few on the next order and as they say the rest is history. The simple design of the Tefra hitch ensures minimal issues compared to competitors’ products.”

As well as Falkirk, St Helens and Gloucester, Lomond Plant Hire provides general plant hire services, both operated and self-drive and as short-term rentals or long-term supply agreements, to the construction industry from depots in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The future-proof Tefra hitch was fitted to the latest batch of machines by Scot JCB, JCB’s Scottish dealer based in Glasgow. Its positive locking system, rather than a gravity locking system, makes it the safest coupler on the market while its components are cast, making it also lighter and stronger.

Customers include local authorities and major contractors, for projects such as The Kelpies, Edinburgh trams, the new Forth crossing, Manchester airport and the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

Hill Engineering’s Scottish sales manager Ross Fairweather said: “Lomond Plant Hire have chosen to spec our Tefra hitches because of their simple design and reliability thus reducing downtime with breakages.”

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