HAVING successfully operated a wide variety of HARSH products over many years, the Ashcourt Group of Hull has just put into service its first two HARSH skiploaders. These premium-spec vehicles continue Ashcourt’s policy of buying trucks that combine the maximum possible performance, reliability and cost-effectiveness.
Mounted on Volvo FL chassis, these 18 tonnes gvw vehicles feature the latest version of HARSH’s popular radio control skiploader unit, which has recently seen a number of significant tweaks and updates.
Key among these from an operational viewpoint is the fitting of a bigger valve block along with a more efficient hydraulic circuit to allow an increased oil flow to the lifting cylinders. This optimised design now makes the HARSH HS14T the fastest-acting skiploader in its class. Constructed from heavy duty Domex and Hardox steel, the HS14T combines a 14 tonnes lift capacity (arms retracted) with no less than 10 tonnes of lift available when the arms are fully extended to their maximum reach of 4250mm.
With an unladen vehicle weight of 8,500kgs, the maximum legal allowance for the skip and its load is therefore 9,500kgs – ensuring that in any situation the skip unit is always working well within its design capability.
Ashcourt’s new skiploaders also feature a novel variation in their sheeting system. Produced by HARSH in-house, the covering tarpaulin features a cut-out aperture enabling the driver to have an unimpeded view of the skip through the window in the rear wall of the cab.
Other options fitted by HARSH include dual rear-facing LED lights to illuminate the load deck, numerous anti-slip tread surfaces, a fold-away nearside access stepladder and grabrail plus an open top storage box mounted to the chassis side-rail.
In service, the two new skiploaders offer significant benefits to both their drivers and the wider working environment. In particular, operation of the loading / unloading procedure can be done with either conventional, hydraulically controlled levers or by full radio remote control.
This latter system, operated from a small portable handset, allows the driver to stand anywhere around the truck whilst delivering or collecting containers. This maximises his or her visibility and situational awareness, thereby helping to avoid any obstacles or potential danger to third parties such as pedestrians, parked cars or street furniture – all key factors when working in congested urban and residential environments.
Another consequent benefit is that operating the skiploader by remote control significantly speeds up the whole loading / unloading process as the driver no longer has to walk away from the fixed position manual levers to check the working area around the back of the truck. Similarly, much greater accuracy in positioning a skip can be achieved if the driver is watching and carefully controlling the unloading operation from the rear.
Ashcourt’s Waste and Recycling Manager Paul Cutsforth commented: “We’re delighted that HARSH is able to offer a truly top-spec skiploader built to meet our precise requirements. In particular, their remote control system will significantly improve both the speed and safety of our operations.
“In the past, our skiploader bodywork has often been decided by the availability of various items of vehicle stock from the chassis manufacturers, whereas on this occasion we’ve made the deliberate decision to choose HARSH.
“HARSH is now well established in our Group, both as our preferred supplier of tipping gears for our 40-strong eight wheeler fleet, as well as for wet kits on our tractor units. Put simply, we’ve found that HARSH products work really well for us – and their back-up service is just great too.”
Founded in 2009, the family-run Ashcourt Group today comprises 12 operating divisions that besides waste management include aggregates, civil engineering, construction, homes and highways. The company is therefore able to offer clients the key advantage of being able to deliver a full package of integrated services, greatly assisting the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of each particular project.