A world first for Highland groundworks specialist

312D and E in yard MR-2

FINNING UK & Ireland have worked with Scottish groundworks specialist John Mackay Ltd to produce the world’s first low ground pressure (LGP) Cat 312 Hydraulic Excavator.

The modification will allow the machine to function accurately in the peat-riddled wetlands of the Flow Country.

Working in the Scottish Highlands with Caterpillar machinery for over 25 years, John Mackay Ltd is an expert contractor in rural groundworks. Providing mulching, drainage, forestry and forestry road services across Caithness and Sutherland, it is essential that the firm is able to stably traverse the severe wet conditions.

The new machine has been modified with reconditioned undercarriage including Finning reconditioned track motors, with 1.4m non-offset track pads originally belonging to a 2005 Cat 312C LGP model. The customisation was enabled by crane as the brand new machine, complete Cat C4 ACERT engine, was lifted and then placed on the LGP undercarriage. The result of which gives John Mackay and his team the surface area needed to work the wetlands without sinking or causing damage to the highly sensitive area.

John Mackay, owner of John Mackay Ltd, said, The Flow Country is a region of international natural importance, and as such is protected by Scottish National Heritage, the Forestry Commission, Fountain Forestry and the RSPB. It is essential that we take every possible precaution in order to prevent damage to the region, whilst not compromising the functionality and productivity of our machines.

“Working with Finning to deliver this solution has been vital to our on-going operation and the specialist services we are able to provide. The recent LGP installation on our Cat 312E, our Cat 312D and our Cat 320D gives the Forestry Commission and the other local conservation authorities peace of mind that we are not only doing a good job, but protecting this wonderful Scottish cultural heritage. The LGP also allows John Mackay Ltd to undertake specialised works on other projects for companies such as Morrison Construction and R J McLeods.”

John Stuart, Finning’s Area Sales Manager oversaw the Cat 312E sale and the team at the Muir of Ord branch (John Rait and Derek Brookhouse) worked with John Mackay to facilitate the LGP customisation. John Stuart added, “Bespoke engineering is a huge part of what the Finning Equipment Solutions Division has to offer our customers. John Mackay Ltd’s need to facilitate LGP is an uncommon and highly interesting request. Not many of our customers undertake work on peat rich wetlands in northern Scotland. Therefore our checks identifying the specifications and reconditioning the undercarriage, allowing the 312C tracks were compatible with the new Cat 312E, was essential to the transformation. Having previously provided a similar service for John and his team on the 312D which was converted from a 2003 Cat 312C LGP, we were confident we could deliver once again.”