Foyle & Marine Dredging know what they’re doing when it comes to excavators and water. Gary Ashe took a trip up to the tip of Ireland to check the company’s two new Hitachis in action.

Driving into the port at Greencastle, Co. Donegal, one can’t help but notice there’s definitely some works going on and amongst it all you can pick out the distinctive blood orange (I may be colourblind) colour of one of Foyle & Marine Dredging’s Hitachi excavator booms working away. The day I visited there were two (plus several more elsewhere on site) in action building a new breakwater at the bustling port – a ZX 890-7 and an EX 1200-7, both machines the latest models that Hitachi has to offer.

The 890 was positioned at the harbour’s edge picking up rock deposited from dump trucks taken from several nearby quarries and loading it into a specialised barge until full. Once the horn is beeped the barge makes a short trip across the harbour to dump the load at the tip of the new breakwater where the Hitachi EX 1200 is waiting to dredge the rock into place. It’s an impressive sight (see our YouTube video).

Dredging & profiling

Foyle & Marine MD Stephen McCormick is impressed with the new machines. “The 1200 with the long reach is profiling at the minute, as you can see the barge is taking the material over and dumping it.

The profiling will take a while as it’s quite deep there, from sea floor to top elevation is about 25 meters,” he says. “With a 30 metre outreach it’s carrying a 50 tonne bucket (about 2’5 metre cubed).”

There was another longer reach EX 1200 perched on a barge the day we were there but it wasn’t operating at the time. Its longer reach is needed to bring material up from the sea floor about halfway so that the other Hitachi can bring the rock the rest of the way. “There will be about 300,000 tonnes of material used to build this breakwater, consisting of core, underlay and rock amour,” adds Stephen. The project is expected to be completed in November this year.

Great service

The new machines were supplied by TBF Thompson along with two Bell dump trucks. “We are very happy with the service from the lads at TBF,” says Stephen. “We work very well together sourcing the right machines. They do all the servicing on all the machines including the two dump trucks. We upgraded to the dash 7s to be more environmentally friendly, but also there is a massive 25% fuel saving compared to the older models with no loss of power.”
All the Hitachis use the Topcon GPS systems bought from Topcon Positioning Ireland in Dublin.

“The Topcon GPS was supplied by Seamus Costello at Topcon Dublin,” says Stephen, “they are also great to work with.”
Attachments are also a key part of the set up. “We are using mostly Geith buckets with Hill hitches,” Confirms Stephen.

Efficient & effective

The EX1200-7 is a unique excavator within the Hitachi range, able to adapt to many different operations. At the core of a beautifully simple, operator friendly machine lies some clever and complex engineering.

It houses a robust and reliable Cummins QSK23, 6 cylinder, 23 L, turbo- charged, after-cooled 567 kW (770 PS) engine that provides ample horsepower and torque to handle demanding tasks.

The engine is designed to deliver high levels of power while optimising fuel efficiency, reducing operating costs, and minimising environmental impact. This ensures that the excavator can operate efficiently and effectively even in the most challenging working conditions.

One of the key features of the EX1200 is its exceptional digging force and bucket capacity. With its powerful hydraulic system and reinforced boom and arm, this excavator can efficiently move large quantities of material with ease. The high breakout force enables quick and efficient digging, while the generous bucket capacity allows for maximum productivity on the job site.

In addition to its impressive digging capabilities, the EX1200 offers excellent stability and manoeuvrability. The excavator features a robust undercarriage that provides stability on uneven terrain, allowing it to operate smoothly and safely. The advanced hydraulic system ensures precise control and smooth operation, enhancing the operator’s productivity and comfort.

The EX1200 is also equipped with advanced technology and safety features to enhance performance and operator safety. It incorporates a comprehensive monitoring system that provides real-time information on the machine’s status, performance, and diagnostics. This allows for proactive maintenance and troubleshooting, reducing downtime and maximising productivity.

Furthermore, the excavator is designed with operator comfort and convenience in mind. The spacious and ergonomic cabin offers excellent visibility, adjustable seating, and intuitive controls, enabling operators to work efficiently and comfortably for extended periods. The cabin is also equipped with noise reduction measures, climate control, and vibration isolation, ensuring a pleasant working environment.

Maintenance and serviceability are key considerations in any heavy equipment, and the Hitachi EX 1200 addresses these needs effectively. The excavator is designed with easy access points for routine maintenance tasks, such as fluid checks, filter changes, and component inspections. This ensures that maintenance can be performed quickly and efficiently, reducing downtime and maximising the machine’s uptime.

Higher productivity

The ZX890 is a 37 tonne workhorse which was working flat out dumping rock into the barge. The manufacturer claims up to 20% reduced fuel consumption compared to previous models. And this was verified by Foyle & Marine MD Stephen McCormick.

Higher productivity is achieved thanks to improved front speed and increased engine output while reduced noise and low vibration levels in the cab provide a more comfortable working environment.

Under the hood it has a six-cylinder,16L Isuzu engine pumping out 382 kW and it is also fitted with the Topcon GPS and iDig systems.

There is no doubt that Foyle & Marine value quality when it comes to choosing their machinery and it was certainly evident after seeing the steel they had on show working on the port at Greencastle.

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