JCB develop remote-controlled excavator

Coleman and Co's JCB Excavator
Coleman and Co’s JCB Excavator

JCB has developed a remotely-operated excavator for one of the UK’s leading demolition specialists.

Birmingham-based Coleman & Company has purchased the bespoke 21-tonne excavator that combines a JCB JS190 upper structure with a JS220LC undercarriage and rubber track pads. The result is said to be a machine powerful enough to deploy a 4-tonne multi processor attachment without exceeding a gross weight of 25 tonnes.

The development of the machine has required close co-operation between Coleman Engineering Services, dealer Gunn JCB and JCB Heavy Products in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

The new excavator is working 20 hours a day on the highly prestigious redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Train Station. It has been purpose designed for the project at the redeveloped station and Grand Central shopping centre. Its work involves the removal of existing reinforced concrete floors to create a void beneath the new atrium roof.

Coleman is the principal demolition contractor working on the Birmingham New Street project and is now in its fifth year on site. The current phase sees the removal of 6000 tonnes of mass reinforced concrete during 2014/2015. Some beams weigh as much as 80-90 tonnes and are 2.5 wide and 1.5 metres deep. Outside, on an industrial site, these would present a significant challenge – yet this project is taking place inside, directly beneath the newly constructed, multi million pound atrium steelwork structure which must be protected from all aspects of the demolition. It is also taking place within a live construction site while 140,000 people continue to travel through the station each day.

Coleman & Company Technical Manager, Chris Holland, said: “We asked JCB to design a bespoke machine that could carry out specific tasks in high risk and technically challenging environments. Nothing was ever an issue or problem. It was more a challenge the company rose to. This was very encouraging as the stakes are very high at New Street given we’ll be operating above twelve live train lines carrying thousands of passengers per day.”

The new JCB machine is expected to work on the project for the next 9 months.

Coleman & Company Contract Support Manager, Malcolm Hurst, added: “The remote control machine gives Coleman & Company the option to operate in restricted and confined areas while the operator remains in a safe location. It can be used on demolition projects that are deemed too dangerous to risk an operator in the cab or in contaminated structures where human access is unsafe.”