Hyundai remote monitoring video…

New video showing benefits of Hyundai Hi-Mate remote monitoring system.

The good people of Hyundai Heavy Industries Europe have just unveiled a new video demonstrating their new Hi-Mate remote machine monitoring system. Similar in concept to Komatsu’s Komtrax, Hi-Mate allow users to monitor their Hyundai construction equipment fleet live, on their computer screen. It uses GPS & GIS (Geographic Information System) to pinpoint the machines’ exact location and to retrieve operational and diagnostic data.

Oh, and it has quite a catchy theme tune as well.

Coming to an iPod near you…

Demolition News’ exclusive audio and video content will soon be on iTunes.

In another attempt to provide demolition professionals with the information they require in the format they prefer, is in advanced stages of bringing its exclusive audio and video content to Apple’s worldwide iTunes store.

This move, which will hopefully be concluded within the next few days, will allow readers and visitors to listen to and even watch our content “on the move” on iPods, iPod Touch and iPhones.

“It’s obvious really,” says Demolition News’ Mark Anthony. “The majority of demolition professionals don’t have the luxury of being sat behind a desk with a computer constantly at their disposal. They are constantly on the move or on site. By adding our exclusive content to iTunes, our ‘readers’ will be able to listen to our audio content in the car, or watch our videos on the train.”

Full details on how to subscribe to the Demolition Podcast Network’s output from iTunes will follow just as soon as the feed goes live.

CDC tackle Southport gas holder…

Video of the initial stages of demolition of giant gas holder in Southport, Merseyside.

At the end of last month, we featured outline details of a project currently being undertaken by CDC Demolition to dismantle a giant gas holder in Southport. That project is now advancing and here’s the video to prove it.

Demolition News backing Quick Switch…

Demolition News is backing the Quick Switch semi-automatic hitch safety alarm.

Objectivity is one of the foundations upon which the traditional journalistic trade is built. In 20+ years writing about demolition and construction equipment for trade magazines, I have never allowed my personal opinion to cloud my writing, regardless how good or bad I thought a particular product.

However, as a “blogger” I am under no such constraints; and when I see a product that could potentially save lives and remove a huge amount of confusion from an industry that remains puzzled over the use of semi-automatic quick hitches, I have no hesitation in backing it 100%. (Interestingly, my endorsement is shared by someone with a far greater knowledge of the subject, NFDC chief executive Howard Button).

I have added a copy of the company’s press release at the foot of this item but, to be honest, the two videos tell the story far better than the words. Quite simply, it is a system that warns the operator when a quick hitch retaining pin isn’t inserted correctly. Simple. And with an installed cost of around £600, it is a viable and potentially life-saving solution to an ongoing problem.

Interview with inventor, Tony Bianchi

Footage from press conference

Press Release
Quick Switch UK has unveiled a new quick hitch safety pin warning device that has been developed specifically to address the issue of accidents caused by buckets and other attachments becoming unexpectedly detached from their carrier machine due to the failure or misuse of what is commonly known as a semi-automatic quick coupler.

The Background
Following a spate of accidents and four fatalities between December 2006 and November 2007, the Health and Safety Executive brokered a deal that has seen European manufacturers cease production of semi-automatic hitches. However, that agreement is not retrospective, leaving tens of thousands of these quick couplers in day-to-day use on UK construction, demolition and quarry sites.
“The semi-automatic quick coupler is an intrinsically safe product when it is used correctly,” says Quick Switch inventor and company founder Tony Bianchi. “But all too often, operators are failing to manually insert the retaining pin, leaving buckets and attachments prone to becoming disconnected from the machine.” According to Health and Safety Executive statistics, “approximately 13 percent of all accidents investigated on excavators are attributed to the bucket detaching from a quick hitch and injuring a ground worker. These are mostly fatal and major injuries. However, there may be many more dangerous occurrences that occur when a bucket detaches unintentionally from the hitch, but without injury because no-one is underneath at the time. This means that quick hitch failures are relatively common.
Although industry and media speculation has focused upon semi automatic hitches, there remains a similar concern over some of the more advanced automatic hitches, with mud, rubble and other contaminants blocking the locking latch and rendering them as potentially unsafe as their semi-automatic cousins.

The Solution
Against this background, Hertfordshire-based plant and demolition veteran Tony Bianchi has invented and developed the Quick Switch system, a safety pin detection device that utilises state-of-the-art sensor technology from a world-leading sensor manufacturer. The system works via a sensor located by the safety pin aperture of a semi-automatic hitch. This in turn detects the presence or absence of the required retaining pin. Acting as a mini metal detector, the system is not fooled by mud or other contaminants that might block the retaining pin aperture, nor by the insertion of lengths of reinforcing steel bar, aluminium or other “make-do” measures.
This sensor is linked to a warning device in the machine’s cab that gives off an audible alarm and displays an ultra-bright flashing red LED if the operator attempts to use the machine without the correct pin in place. While the pin is in place, the operator will see a simple green LED indicator. “Because the sensor has quite a specific sensing range, we have used this to our advantage by installing the bracket and sensor in such a way that the correct sized pin has to be used,” Bianchi explains. “An under-sized, inappropriate or temporary pin will not be detected or only detected intermittently, thereby activating the alarms.”

Thoroughly Researched & Tested
Developed over the past two years and with some 12,000 live test hours under its belt, the Quick Switch system is more than merely a knee-jerk reaction to the current furore over the use of semi-automatic quick hitches. It meets the requirements of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 and the essential health and safety requirements contained within it.
“The sensor comes from the factory with an Environmental Protective rating of IP69K. With our additional bracket and conduit arrangement the highest degree of protection is ensured. The system has been designed for optimum shock and vibration resistance and it has an extended temperature range of -40° to +85° C ensuring it can operate in either Antarctic or Saharan conditions. The system has a lot more to it than meet s the eye and we have had to meet very stringent standards and regulations. Of course this is only too right given the vital job it is there to do. It has taken a lot of time and money to ensure that we have got it right” Bianchi asserts. “In short, it has been designed to withstand everything that a construction, demolition or quarry site can throw at it.”

Other Benefits
Although it has been designed specifically to address the issue of operator’s failing to engage the retaining pin, the 12,000+ hours of site testing has thrown up some additional and previously unforeseen benefits, according to Tony Bianchi. For example, there is now a strong motivation to ensure that the safety pin does not go missing. “There should be no more lost pins with this system. Because of the nature of the warning the pin should rarely, if ever, get lost,” Bianchi says. “The operator tends to remember where the safety pin is if he is the one who has to listen to the siren because he has tracked it into the mud.”
Bianchi further reports that the system can also act as a plant theft deterrent against opportunist thieves. “Removing the pin at night can be beneficial as an anti-theft alarm. An opportunist attempt at robbery or kids trying to drive a machine for fun will result in the external siren going off unexpectedly. This should be a deterrent. The system is NOT being sold as an anti-theft device; that is simply a by-product. But we are actively exploring other avenues of development that do lead off from here.”

Further information from Tony Bianchi, Quick Switch UK on Tel: 01923 267 608

JCB competition winner announced… has announced the winner of its JCB model competition.

First of all, an apology. Back on 14 April, we launched a very simple competition to allow one lucky reader to become the proud owner of a 1:35 scale JCB JS330L excavator. At that time, we said that the prize winner would be drawn on 24 April. Well, we forgot. And it was only when I tripped over the model in question for the 18th time this morning that I realised the time had come to part with this sought-after but unwieldy item.

So, the draw was made and we’re pleased to announce that the winner is Chris Dobson, Health and Safety Manager of UK demolition contractor Thompsons of Prudhoe who correctly identified the new addition to the JCB excavator line as the JS360.

Chris’ model will be winging its way to the North East of England shortly and we hope to bring you a photo of Chris (playing) with it soon.

A wry look at the UK economy…

Exclusive podcast of speech given to The Builders’ Conference AGM by HSBC’s chief economist.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be invited (top table no less) to the annual general meeting of The Builders’ Conference trade organisation in London. At a surprisingly well-attended event (attendance actually broke organisation records), the guest speaker was Dennis Turner, chief economist for HSBC. In an excellent and entertaining speech, Turner highlighted the key causes of the current economic crisis and highlighted what might be seen as the first green shoots of recovery.

The audio podcast – which you can hear by hitting the blue link below – runs to 34 minutes and the sound quality is not exactly studio quality. But if you’re seeking an insight into the current economy and what it will take for a recovery to take hold, I would strongly recommend that you set aside half an hour of your time.

Dennis Turner Speech

Is that used machine stolen…?

TER is offering used equipment buyers a fast check on the origin of their purchase.

Buyers of used equipment can now check online whether it’s registered as stolen or on finance before parting with their hard-earned cash thanks to new developments at TER (The National Plant and Equipment Register), which operates Europe’s largest database of owned and stolen plant and equipment.

With TER’s new quick and cost-effective online Check, potential purchasers simply log onto TER’s website and enter the make, model and serial number of the item they are proposing to buy. Within seconds, they get a report showing whether the item has been registered as stolen or if there is outstanding finance. If the item has nothing registered against it, the buyer can then print his or her own TER Check Certificate directly from the system as evidence of due diligence.

“You wouldn’t buy a second hand car without checking it wasn’t stolen or on hire purchase yet every day buyers of used plant and equipment spend tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds on kit that may have been stolen,” says Tim Purbrick, Manager of TER. “With more than £1M of equipment being stolen every week in the UK alone the reasons for doing a TER Check before you buy used equipment are clear.”

Allowing demolition contractors, rental companies, auction houses, dealers, individuals, insurers and banks to check the status of plant and equipment before they buy it, auction it, insure it or finance it, the new online service is designed to provide peace of mind. It could also prevent customers from losing substantial amounts of money.

The human face of demolition…

Short video shows the human side of the demolition business.

In a short video by David Elks showing a Walter Forshaw Ltd contract in Middleport North Staffordshire, the real human side of demolition is beautifully captured, from the care that is taken to recycle roof tiles to the preservation of a door number for a former resident.

Davis Avenue bridge implosion…

A few broken windows are all that is left after bridge implosion.

As we reported via our Twitter feed yesterday, Pittsburgh’s Davis Avenue bridge finally succumbed yesterday in an explosive demolition project that required the evacuation of a number of nearby houses.

“…as secure as a wet paper bag…”

Demolition News takes a timely look at the issue of equipment theft.

Every once in a while as a journalist, the news plays right into your hands. Last week, I had arranged to interview Tim Purbrick of The Equipment Register (TER) to look at the ever-present problem of equipment theft. That interview took place at 10.30 this morning.

Unbeknown to me, as that interview was taking place, the Institute of Demolition Engineers’ president Terry Quarby had the unenviable task of writing out yet another list of equipment lost to the plant thieves over the Bank Holiday weekend (see story below)

The resulting podcast, which you can hear by clicking the blue link below, probably wouldn’t have helped Quarmby and his security-conscious team at Dorton Group. However, in an interview in which Purbrick suggests that some demolition sites are “as secure as a wet paper bag“, it does make for an interesting listen.