Tools of the trade

CMME looks at what’s new in attachments.

CMME looks at what’s new in attachments.

Swapping the old adage about a workman and his tools, a good operator can always thank the right attachment for getting the work done. And when it comes to using attachments like buckets and breakers selecting the right tool can be essential.

Unfortunately as the market for construction machinery fell in 2007/08 the attachments sector was unable to escape the collapse in demand. Demand fell by 40% over the next three years but the sector has since managed to prove itself to be as flexible as it is varied.

After a period where the message was always about power, the manufacturers have learned to focus on what attachments do best, namely make construction much more efficient and targeted.

Scan the pages of the manufacturer’s brochures and web stores, and you’ll not most are promoting their use as an aid to boosting productivity and site efficiency.

They have also become popular for turning excavators into green recycling machines with the most popular tool being the hydraulic breaker.

Hydraulic breakers are powerful, productive machines used to break a variety of materials. Depending upon the job to be done, the breaker chosen may be light, medium or heavy. For use, these breakers are to be mounted on some equipment such as backhoes, excavators etc.

Despite the increasing prevalence of Chinese-made breakers the Middle East is dominated by the traditional power houses of Europe and North America, Japan and Korea.

Outside of the OEM brand names, Sandvik is perhaps still the name most related to the sector.

The mining and construction equipment manufacturer and leading manufacturer of hydraulic breakers, has been setting the standards for breaking for over three decades. Sandvik, through its former Rammer brand, was the first manufacturer to offer large and heavy-duty hydraulic rock breaking hammers for tough conditions.

The company enjoyed a successful 2011 seeing its Middle East business increase by 32% in its last quarterly results, with its mining business making up for falls in its construction side.

The company has been taking great strides since it integrated Rammer into its portfolio in 2007. At the end of the year Q-Fab in Qatar supplied its first Sandvik DX700 top-hammer crawler drill rig and array of attachments to Qatar National Cement Company for Qatar’s largest limestone quarry, near to Doha.

QNCC are using Sandvik drill bits, rods and shank adapters to bore to depths of 75ft (22m). The DX700 is using Sandvik 89 mm RT300 Uniface Retrac drill bits – a newly launched range of threaded button bits that use one super grade of cemented carbide throughout and a universal face design. According to Sandvik, the user needs only to select the best button shape – spherical or ballistic – and open skirt design – regular or retrac – to obtain the best bit for the rock formation; keep blastholes clean during drilling, minimising re-crushing and ensuring longer service life.

Major rival to Sandvik in the sector Atlas Copco was similarly left bemused by the drop in the construction sector but has again been more positive about the mining sector in the region, citing a 19% in sales.

The company brought its attachment and tools business together with its other construction equipment businesses in July last year but has continued to release product into the market.

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