The downside of unreliable plant hire equipment is twofold; for the end-user, unplanned downtime translates into project delays, while for the plant hire company, faulty gear translates to foregone profits and a tarnished reputation, says George-based equipment distributor Carlu Tractors.
The company – a distributor of industrial equipment supplier Smith Power Equipment, which is the exclusive importer in South Africa for Japanese heavy-equipment manufacturer Kubota’s tractor-loader-backhoes (TLBs) – has supplied a plant hire company 2Hire, in Knysna, with a Kubota L45 TLB.
2Hire specialises in compaction equipment rentals and, therefore, is well aware of the dangers of compromising on quality when it comes to equipment selection, says Carlu Tractors owner Iando Minnie. 2Hire scouted for a reliable TLB and says a Kubota L45 was the natural choice. “To sustain a hire business, buying a quality product is non-negotiable.”
By acquiring a Kubota L45, 2Hire can supply top-quality rental equipment to areas in the Garden Route, which extends from Mossel Bay, in the Western Cape, to Storms River, in the Eastern Cape.
2Hire services the building and construction markets, specialising in the rental of small gear, including 3 t sit-on rollers, pedestrian rollers, compressors, mini excavators and hand-held compaction and demolition gear.
Minnie points out that 2Hire decided to add a TLB to its fleet to clean and clear rubble in the Knysna area following the devastating fires that wreaked havoc in the area in June, destroying hundreds of properties.
“The total damage was estimated at R5-billion and saw 700 homes and other structures destroyed by the runaway fires.”
The Kubota L45 is being used to load 2Hire’s tipper truck with demolition waste. Once this demolition is complete, the machine will be deployed to dig foundations and assist with the rebuilding of the lost Knysna properties.
Minnie mentions that the Kubota L45 can also be used to aid farming operations, and for deforesting, street clean-ups and work on golf fairways, owing to it not creating track marks on the grass. The machine’s 3.2 t operating weight, he says, makes it lighter than most TLB offerings in the market.
“One of the key drivers in 2Hire opting for the Kubota L45 is its compact size, which allows operation in smaller areas, especially inside buildings, which conventional TLBs are unable to access. Therefore, the Kubota L45 fits the bill for building contractors, landscapers and property developers.”
The Kubota L45 is a redesign of its predecessor, the L39, replacing Kubota’s conventional Glide Shift transmission with its HST Plus hydrostatic transmission. The L45 is also powered by a four-cylinder diesel engine, which generates 45 gross horsepower, compared with the L39’s three-cylinder engine, which generates 39 gross horsepower.
With a 1.6 t breakout force, the Kubota L45 has a lifting capacity of 1 t at a maximum lifting height of 2.8 m. “The hydraulic pump flow has also been increased by 12%, resulting in smoother, more powerful performance, while maintaining superb fuel consumption,” avers Minnie.
He notes that other features of the Kubota L45 are geared at increasing the machine’s uptime; a simple-to-use quick coupler on the front loader offers easy on/off for buckets, with no need for any tools, only mounting pins and hose couplers. This allows the operator to quickly move on to the next task, reducing downtime related to changing of attachments.
The Kubota L45’s backhoe also features a four-point, quick-mount attach/detach system, allowing the backhoe to be removed and installed easily.
“Apart from product quality, Carlu Tractors’ record of service-orientated parts supply and overall aftermarket support was another key factor in 2Hire’s buying decision,” explains Minnie.
He concludes that a product is only as good as the support received from the dealer.