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September EHN issue
"Fulfilling our potential"
Safety in the spotlight
Bobcat bucks trend
Taking our industry's pulse
Market Report: Floor Care & Surface Preparation
Success on the surface
How much more can we take?
Profile: Griffiths Hire Shops
Griffiths' steady growth
A great deal of nonsense
Executive Hire News › Archives › September 2009 › Executive Report : Executive news
Executive Report : Executive news
GREEN LIGHT FOR HERTS
Growing demand for its traffic management services has led Watford-based Herts Equipment Rental to add more than 50 sets of battery-powered traffic lights from Pike Signals to its fleet. Herts is also trialling the manufacturer’s new XLEclipse, a battery-powered light charged by integral solar panels and doing away with the need for an engine.
“We currently have the XLEclipse at a high-profile site on Southwark Bridge,” Herts Director Chris Winfield told EHN. “Clients increasingly demand greener products and this machine seems ideal, requiring no fuel and producing no fumes. We would normally have to check or replace the batteries on conventional lights at regular intervals, and, if we can reduce the frequency of site visits, it saves staff time and decreases our vehicle usage. This sort of technology is a huge leap forward. We also have Pike’s XLTxt facility which sends text message alerts for low battery status or bulb failures.”
Pike says that, even if the photovoltaic panels were removed completely, the batteries would provide power for at least 20 days’ running, so that periods of low sunshine should have no adverse effect. An in-built monitoring system ensures the batteries are charged as required, and a status indicator is incorporated.
Chris Winfield adds “our three depots at Watford, Gatwick and Braintree are all very busy, serving an area stretching roughly from Cambridge down to Bognor Regis. We are adding a CAD department at the Watford headquarters dedicated to producing the detailed drawings that accompany every contract, showing the exact location of lights, cones and other equipment on a site. This should be up and running by the end of this month.”
Another strategic review at Hewden
Almost nine years after it acquired what was then the UK’s largest plant and equipment hirer, Finning still appears to be searching for a strategy to run Hewden. In its half year report, the Caterpillar dealer indicated that a strategic review was underway “to assess alternatives and to maximise value” at Hewden, which saw a 33% drop in revenues in the second quarter of the year. Finning CEO Mike Waites stated that he would not “rule anything out”, suggesting that a sale or partial sale of the business was a possibility. He indicated that Caterpillar had given its ‘blessing’ to any changes that Finning might seek to implement.
Since 2001, Hewden has made two significant disposals, those of its Tool Hire business to Speedy and its Tower Crane operations to Harringtons, which subsequently also bought Hewden’s hoist business. Last Autumn’s re-organisation of the Hewden depots into three regions, each with responsibility for the full range of the company’s products, would imply that a partial sale of, say, cranes or powered access equipment might not be too simple an undertaking.
Click here for Crosshire’s comment on Hewden’s ‘Return 2 Sender’ campaign.
More Power Towers for Mr Plant Hire
Enfield-based Mr Plant Hire plc, which hires tools, plant and access equipment throughout London and the Home Counties, recently received the first consignment of the new Power Tower Nano push-around, low-level access platform.
Tony Crawford, the hirer’s Powered Access General Manager, said, "the move into access equipment was a conscious commercial decision we made, given that the majority of tools we hire are used at height. We viewed this as a natural extension to our then core mainstream hire business. Today, our access division consists of several hundred platforms of one variety or another, up to 17m articulated booms.
“Recently we have seen a significant increase in demand for low-level push-around platforms because of more stringent controls on contractors working at any height. We saw the original Power Tower at the Executive Hire Show in February and were instantly impressed with its build quality, innovative design, lift height capabilities and compact footprint. We subsequently added a sizeable number to our fleet.”
Andy Cairns of Red Band UK, which distributes Power Tower products to the hire industry, commented, "we are especially pleased to have supplied the first production Power Tower Nanos to Mr. Plant Hire, whose equipment features prominently on many key construction sites throughout the capital and surrounding areas."
Speedy invests in new kit
Speedy has invested £600,000 in low-level access products to meet growing demand from maintenance contractors, facilities management companies and mechanical and electrical engineering customers. The latest additions comprise compact mobile platforms including Bravi’s Leonardo tower, the Power Tower and Power Tower Nano, and the Eazzi-Lift Hy-Brid.
Andy Connor, Speedy’s Supply Chain Director, told EHN, “We have also been buying more equipment for utilities related contracts, including 40 Doosan Infracore compressor generators, Wacker compaction plates, Pike traffic lights and JCB 8018 1.5 tonne mini excavators. In addition, we are supplying a lot of fencing, which suggests that more construction sites are opening up again.”
Speedy has also launched a new low-level access guide to help customers select the most appropriate equipment for a particular application.
Honda launches new EU30i generator
Available in the UK from this month is Honda’s new EU30i portable inverter generator. It provides 3kVA maximum and 2.6kVA continuous power. Offering 1kw more output than the EU20i, the machine is mounted on two wheels with a foldaway multi-position handle to deliver a tow weight of just 8kg. Two further fixed handles have been added to the side of the unit to enable two people to load and unload.
Phil Winnington, Sales & Marketing Director of Seddons (Plant & Engineers), Honda’s leading Power Equipment dealer in the UK, comments, "the EU30i is a progressive step forward for Honda's range of invertor generators with customers looking for more and more portable power with all the benefits of low noise, easy start, economical and clean power output. Handy generators offer additional hire opportunities for those targeting the DIY/leisure market and domestic customers."
As illustrated, one of the first OEMs to fit the Honda EU30i is Italian lighting tower manufacturer Tower Light. According to Paul Hay, “we have re-designed our 7m TL6 tower to accommodate the new engine. Originally developed last September for sale in Europe, we have now introduced this option into the UK. This is a great package - you get the latest highly efficient inverter generator technology with the full power output of metal halide lights.”
Imer organises open day
All hirers are invited to attend an open day being held at Imer Direct’s headquarters in Tividale, near Dudley, on 23 September from 9-4pm, when the company’s entire equipment range will be displayed and demonstrated.
“Every machine in our portfolio will be available for inspection, including mixers, tile saws, masonry saws, equipment hoists, pulleys and pumping and spraying products,” says MD Bob Hughes. “We will be showing the wide range of consumables and accessories we offer, and will be able to talk to hirers and Health & Safety officers about training requirements regarding any product.
“Refreshments will be available, and visitors will be able to benefit from some very special offers available only on the day. We are easy to find, being located near to junction 2 of the M5 and junction 10 of the M6.” For further details, ring Imer on 0121 522 5930.
Thai hirer chooses MCS
Namsang Chakkol (NSC), a hirer based in Thailand, has chosen MCS’ hire software program, MCS-rm, to handle day-to-day business transactions such as creating quotations, contracts, invoices, work orders and purchase orders. It also gives information on the current status of equipment at each depot, and can create detailed management reports.
With its head office in Bangkok and depots in other parts of the country, Namsang specialises in the hire of generators, air compressors and welders. This order represents the first sale MCS has achieved in Thailand, and it expects more to follow.
Showman’s Show promotes advantages
The popular Showman’s Show takes place once again at Newbury Showground on 21 and 22 October. The annual event typically attracts more than 4,500 visitors, and the organiser, Lance Show & Publications, believes that one of its advantages is the event’s layout, as exhibitors can devise stands with fewer restrictions, including large stages, screens, roadways and multi-level structures. This enables visitors to see products and services in an environment similar to those in which they are likely to be used. For more information about the exhibition, visit
Hire One keeps Rhondda in trim
Hire One of Pontyclun, Glamorgan, has supplied 31 Paladin TG fine turf mowers, made by Lloyds & Co Letchworth, to Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council for maintaining bowling greens and cricket pitches.
The machines are designed for light weight and low vibration, and are part of a tranche of grounds care equipment that Hire One supplies to the Council on a long term contract hire basis, together with full maintenance and backup. Other items provided include tractors and aeration equipment. Parks Officer Geraint Jenkins says that, since using the mowers, the Council has received positive comments from members of the public on the high standard of the playing surfaces.
HSS ENHANCES TRAINING
HSS Training has just opened a custom-built confined space tank at its flagship facility in Solihull to add a practical element to its confined space awareness training courses. Various scenarios can be simulated within the tank, providing a range of hazardous environments for trainees to respond to, including floods, gas leaks and reduced visibility situations.
Training Director, Mark Winfield, said that more training tanks will be commissioned at other sites in the near future to allow more trainees to benefit from practical instruction. In all, HSS Training offers more than 100 safety, technical and management courses.
HSS has also opened its latest tool and equipment hire branch in St Helens, the twelfth rolled out by the company in as many months. It says that more are planned in the near future, including sites in Oxford and Brighton.
Youngman establishes events division
The Youngman Group has launched a new division targeting the needs of the events industry. Youngman Event Solutions will offer products for use at sporting and media events, concerts, exhibitions and corporate functions, and has developed a range of equipment including lightweight aluminium crowd barriers, modular staging and a camera and lighting tower.
Head of Business Development (Events Division), Jason Carlton, who previously ran his own film and rigging company, said “we are not simply modifying scaffolding equipment but are focused on providing bespoke products for technically demanding clients.” The new operation is also distributing lightweight modular performance staging systems and seating risers made by Staging Concepts of Minneapolis.
Latest PHIR now available
Catherine Stratton has published the 2008/2009 Plant Hire Investment Report, covering the most challenging period yet of the 16 years of the publication. It is in two sections, the first covering the industry as a whole and market conditions, while the second gives a review of each of the
75 largest UK hirers, using not only published information and that available from Companies House, but also the author’s own inside knowledge. The Report includes 18 tables and charts comparing the businesses according to different statistics and ratios, and concludes with a table of the top 100 UK hire companies by the gross book value of their fleets. For further information visit www.phir.co.uk