Volvo’s miles better


Two machines for Orkney firm Andrew Sinclair Contractors.


Low loader drivers have been clocking up the miles across Scotland to deliver new Volvo excavators. Latest customers include a civil engineering business in the Outer Hebrides, a contractor in Dumfries & Galloway and an Orkney groundworks firm. In addition, dealer SMT has helped overcome one company’s scepticism on reduced swing machines.

First drop was at Lockerbie general contractor Scott Young & Sons which has added a 16-tonne EC160E excavator bristling with extras. Joining an EC160E and EC220E in the fleet, the newcomer is fitted with a unique two-piece boom and Steelwrist X20 tiltrotator.

Bristling with extras: Scott Young’s 16-tonner.

Other add-ons include all-round LED lighting, heavy-duty cab guards and a superstructure produced specifically for the EC160E by Lammer Engineering of East Lothian. Also part of the high-spec package are impact protection for the superstructure, a special deflector mounted on the dipper arm, a Prolec height limiter device, Lexan safety glass for the windscreen and a factory-fitted dozer blade with heavy-duty wear plate.

Operator Scott Young junior switches attachments between the Steelwrist tiltrotator and a mulcher. “The machine has plenty of power to operate the mulcher and in conjunction with the priority control valve, makes it highly responsive,” he said. Using the Steelwrist with the two-piece boom provides extra versatility, especially when he’s working on narrow forest tracks or up against embankments.

Established in 1992, the business is headed by proprietor Scott Young Snr. whose other son, Steven, is also involved. The company specialises in forestry work, building and maintaining forest tracks, as well as general contracting, crushing and screening.

“It’s early days yet, but so far I’m very pleased with the way the machine is performing, said Scott Jnr. “It is certainly ticking all the boxes as far as I’m concerned. The machine is robust, well-built and extremely comfortable from the operator’s point of view; I cannot fault it.”

Over in the Outer Hebrides, civil engineering contractor MacAulay Askernish Ltd. has bought two EC140E excavators for a utilities contract in Stornoway. They follow last summer’s order for a larger EC200E, the first to arrive in Scotland, and all three are working in Stornoway; the bigger model is on various civil engineering projects with the EC140Es deployed on a 21-kilometre utilities contract that will last two years.


MacAulay’s latest additions arrive in the yard.


“Both sizes of machine fit in well with the typical contracts we undertake,” said operations manager Callum McDowall. “In particular, the larger EC200E has plenty of capacity for general site clearance and muckshifting duties.”

Founded in South Uist in 1949, MacAulay Askernish Ltd operates across the Western Isles and the Highlands.

In Orkney meanwhile, Andrew Sinclair Contractors opted for an EC140E and an EC200E for its groundworks and contracting operations. The family-run business, a long-standing Volvo user, has replaced its EC160D and EC180D machines with an EC140E and an EC200E.

Director Bruce Sinclair explained: “Deciding to go with the 14-tonne and 20-tonne machines this time around will give us greater flexibility for the typical groundworks contracts we undertake on Orkney. In particular, the addition of a Steelwrist rotator on the EC140E will add another dimension and enhance the work the machine can do onsite, especially when working in confined spaces. On the other hand, the EC200E will provide that extra capacity for site clearance and muck shifting duties.”

Joining a fleet that includes general purpose and compact excavators, backhoe loaders and dumpers, the new machines will work mainly on groundworks for commercial and domestic property developments.

Based in Kirkwall, the company is managed by Douglas and Bruce Sinclair and was established in 1973 by their parents, Andrew and Ruth. As well as its contracting and plant hire activities, it operates a fleet of tipper and grab lorries, supplies ready mix concrete and has a paving division.


Nicol has second thoughts


Elsewhere, SMT has persuaded Aberdeenshire contractor Nicol of Skene to change its thinking on reduced swing excavators.

Derek Nicol, chief executive of the civil engineering and groundworks business, explained: “A few years back we tried a reduced swing machine, not a Volvo I hasten to add, and it was most unimpressive when it came to its over-all stability and digging performance. That made us quite sceptical about the zero or reduced swing design concept, favouring conventional excavators for our plant fleet. That is until we took an ECR235E on hire for a specific job.”



A combination of stability across the carriage, powerful digging, operator comfort and general all-round safety, convinced the company to take on reduced swing models – two ECR235Es and an ECR355E – for the first time.

“Originally, we were only going to buy one machine,” added Nicol. “However, after taking the stability, build quality and all-round specification of the machines into consideration, together with our desire to improve in all aspects of our safety and performance, we decided to take a pair of ECR235s and the larger 35-tonne ECR355E for the fleet.”

The 25-tonne ECR235Es are equipped with Stage V 6-litre Volvo engines, producing 174hp, while their larger stablemate has an 8-litre unit developing 245hp. “We are that impressed with the reduced swing machines from Volvo that we feel these will become the norm for our business moving forwards,” Nicol predicted.


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©Scottish Plant.  Article posted 10/2/2020