Operators for leading construction materials group Breedon are highly impressed by the company’s two new Hitachi large excavators.

The ZX890LCR-7s arrived at the Cloud Hill and Dowlow limestone quarries in Derbyshire in October 2021 and are utilised to load rigid and articulated dump trucks.

They are the first Hitachi excavators to be operated by Simon Ferguson and Stephen Tuft and have made a big impression. Simon, an operator for ten years, commented on the stability and performance of the Zaxis-7 machine: “It is very stable. The digging force is strong, and it is faster than the last machine that I used in this quarry.

“The ZX890-7 is very smooth, precise and responsive to operate – it does exactly what you want, and when you want it to. I opt for power mode with the heavy rock that we lift and load on this site, but this machine is more fuel efficient than its predecessor.”

The redesigned cab is another highlight for Simon: “I’m 6’6” (2m) tall and yet I find there is more than enough space in the cab. There is ample storage for my belongings, the Bluetooth functionality is great and overall it’s an impressive workspace. I also find that it is quiet – with so little noise from the outside – and the seat is comfortable.”

Stephen Tuft, who has worked at Dowlow Quarry for 35 years, is also enjoying sitting in the cab of the new ZX890LCR-7. “It’s really comfortable and nicely set out. The screen shows you everything you want to see. The radio is easier to reach than it was in the previous machine I used. The controls are really small and handy, and easy to maneouvre. The slew is really quick and it’s got power too.”

Meeting customer needs

Easy access to the cab and upper structure was commented on by both operators as a benefit of the new Zaxis-7 large excavators. Hitachi Construction Machinery (UK) Limited (HCMUK) supplied both models with steps positioned to the side of the machine, rather than at rear, to meet Breedon’s requirements.

“There is easy access to carry out my daily checks around the machine – the engine and hydraulic oil, and the coolant,” says Simon. “There’s good all-round walkways where you’re not having to climb up or down anything. And there’s a firm grip on your feet so that there is no slipping on any plates.”

Safety is also a key aspect of the new machines for both operators and the excellent visibility of the Zaxis-7 machines is invaluable: “It feels safe to operate with the monitor in use for the camera views, which are especially useful to the rear and down the far side of the excavator,” adds Simon. To which Stephen agrees: “The camera system and all-round vision it provides are second-to-none.”

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