Gary Ashe had a nice drive down to South Kilkenny to view a new Turkish-made Hidromek HMK 102 B backhoe loader at Brophy Bros Construction’s depot.

Hidromek has been taking a good hold on the Irish plant market in recent times and gone are the days where a backhoe loader was only known by one brand – it was yellow and had three letters in is name.

Kilkenny-based Brophy Bros chose a Hidromek HMK 102 B backhoe and went for for the Supra model which means it has all the bells and whistles. Sure, why not? Life is too short.

Under the bonnet it packs a 100 HP Perkins 3.6 litre stage V diesel engine spitting out plenty of power for the job at hand. Included in the many extras on board are servo controls, air seat, air conditioning and a super quiet spacious cab.

First impressions

I spoke to operator Richie Bourke about his first impressions of the new unit. “I’ve been driving the Hidromek now since last September,’ he says. “I was on a 3CX and then a 444 Cat before this. The Cat is a bit bigger so the Hidromek more equivalent to the 3CX.”

So how do you find it so far? “To be honest I’m very impressed, compared to other manufacturers it’s far more comfortable. Power wise there’s plenty there for the size of it. I really couldn’t fault it.”

The backhoe was bought from Kelly’s of Borris and Richie is impressed with their service.“Their back up service has been brilliant,’ he confirms. “Any issue we had (even though they were small issues) and they were out straight away to help get it sorted. 

So far, it’s a great machine, it’s been working all through the winter doing a variety of works proving itself to be a great all-rounder.”

Technical specs

The HMK 102 B Supra Series has a six forward, three reverse, fully automatic transmission that allows smooth driving. The standard torque convertor lock (lock-up) provides fuel economy which is automatically engaged in fifth and sixth gear.

The optional MSS (Motion Stabiliser System) works as a shock absorber on the loader lift cylinders. By damping the shock that occurs when a full loader bucket is used on rough terrain, it provides a comfortable ride that is not only smooth but also fast as well. Heavy-duty type Axles have been used in the SUPRA Series for better load carriage and durability.

This model features an optional piston type hydraulic pump that provides load sensitive hydraulic power, as much as the operator needs with precise control independently from the amount of the load and engine rpm. It works with efficiency up to 95%. 

The optional flowsharing valves provide excellent hydraulic control independently from the amount of the load and operator’s skills for various field works such as pipe lying and channel trenching. It allows simultaneous boom, arm and bucket motions even in the low rpms and provides the opportunity of working in noise restricted areas such as hospitals, schools and city centres.

As another add-on, flow charging valves with an extra regeneration feature have been applied on the boom and arm lines, providing more efficient hydraulic power and preventing cavitation.

In conventional backhoe loader cabins, while the operator is controlling the machine in the loading and excavation position, he has to turn his head by 90° to the right and left side in order to check the gauges. In the Supra Series, operators can easily check gauges through an LCD screen in the forward and rear areas while sitting in both the loading and excavation positions. 

Thus, the operator may easily check the gauges without taking his eyes off the driving direction. This working position allows the operator to work for longer periods without suffering from neck and back aches.

Front & back

One of the characteristics that makes the Supra Series different is the superior performance of the front loader. Thanks to the bucket and arm breakout force, the machine drives the load without being stressed. 

Boom construction intended for heavy conditions has been designed for durability fand long life. 

A 6-in-1 loading bucket (1.1 m³ in B Series; 1.2 m³ in Supra Series) provides advanced loading performance thanks to the bucket geometry. A hinged joint on the cylinders claw opening and closing prevents damage on the cylinders. Thanks to the proportional control button on the front control lever, claw speed and angle can easily be adjusted.

The Supra series is designed for tough and heavy working conditions. The hydraulic system provides maximum breakout force even at low rpms with a maximum 163 l/min oil flow.

Rear joysticks that are optional in Supra models allow for easy control of lifting and lowering and are easily adjusted independently from each other providing an ergonomic working environment.

The 102B also has excellent weight distribution and wide stabilisers allowing safer excavation in soft and slippy terrain.

In addition there is a cushioning system in the cylinders which softens any jerking at the ends of strokes, absorbing the impacts and prolonging the machine life. The telescopic arm has digging depth up to 5.80 m. giving it the edge in deep excavations and works that require a longer reach.

The 102B comes from Kellys with a Dromone hitch and the buckets and attachments are a mixture of different brands that Richie has acquired over the years.

Richie Brophy from Brophy Bros is well happy with his new acquisition and the loader has been flat out and is already paying for itself.

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