Milestone wheeled excavator is boxing clever at London excavation site

FLANNERY Plant Hire has taken delivery of Britain’s very first Volvo EWR130E wheeled excavator.

Supplied by SMT GB, the machine has gone straight to work at the HS2 Victoria Road Crossover Box site in west London where Flannery is supporting SCS Railways – a joint venture between Skanska, Costain, and Strabag – to construct the huge underground box structure that will hold the crossover track mechanism for trains to switch between tracks as they travel in and out of the HS2 Old Oak Common station.

The Volvo EWR130E is currently excavating foundations for a large conveyor that will carry material from the crossover box excavation site to Willesden Euro Terminal where it will be transported away by rail, reducing both road traffic and emissions from the site.

Despite the size of the project, conditions are described as tight, meaning Flannery required an excavator that could easily manoeuvre around the site and dig in confined spaces.

“The EWR130E is a versatile machine that is good to use because it’s compact, easy to move around and can work within the small areas we have on site,” said Jason Wells, foreman at SCS Railways. “From my perspective, Flannery’s Volvo machines have been doing everything we need them to. They’ve been working efficiently, reliably and contributing to the health and safety on site, which goes towards delivering the project on schedule and on budget.”

The EWR130E is said to be able to take on jobs that a conventional excavator cannot, thanks to a new boom and arm design, which possess what SMT GB revealed has the shortest front (1.81m) and rear (1.55m) swing radius on the market.

The footprint is also kept small by the inline outriggers which, along with the divided blades, help operators to position and stabilise the excavator in a variety of locations.

When Flannery needs to move the digger between sites in future, the low machine height and optimised tie-down points on the lower frame are designed to make it easy to transport.

Flannery operator Alex Moraru said, “I would drive it home if I could. It’s a really good machine to drive all day. The seat is really comfortable, the buttons are easy to reach and the shortcuts are really useful. I also like the Volvo Smart View, where the cameras show a 360° view of the machine. This is a great safety feature when you are working in tight spaces, and where you have other people around you on site.”

Alex also praised the ease of maintenance and low fuel consumption. “It’s very easy to maintain. The greasing points are easily accessible and gathered together in two places only, which you don’t often see on competitor models. A good thing as well would be the fuel consumption, which is really low. I wouldn’t expect it to be so low for the size of the machine.”

Laura Bradley, marketing manager at Flannery, added, “The EWR130E has been a great addition to our fleet on the HS2 Victoria Road Crossover Box site, and we are very happy with it so far. We’ve had great feedback from the operator and are looking forward to seeing it develop.

“We have a great partnership with SMT GB that we have been developing over the years. We have a lot of Volvo machines in our fleet, we are very happy with how they are performing, and are going to continue investing with SMT GB.”

Alan Shea, regional sales manager at SMT GB, commented, “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to support a big tier one company such as Flannery on major infrastructure projects, including HS2. We have an excellent working relationship with them and are always looking to help them get the best out of their machines. For example, we use telematics data to monitor idle times, fuel burn, and fault codes to be proactive in our servicing, maintain uptime and decrease their total cost of ownership and operation.”