Six years of reliable and cost-effective service from its previous HMF cranes meant the UK’s leading recycler of unwanted clothing had no hesitation in returning to the Danish manufacturer for its latest truck-mounted hydraulic loader.
Every week family-owned Wilcox Textile Reclaimers collects three-quarters of a million kgs of clothing from 2,500 collection points nationwide, the majority of them charity shops and textile banks.
Loads are then returned to the company’s state-of-the-art production facility in Bilston, West Midlands, where items are reclaimed and processed, with some 30 million kgs being exported each year to Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Wilcox, which has depots in Durham, at Llantrissant in south Wales, and in Newton Abbott, Devon, works closely with charities, local authorities, major supermarkets and waste companies. It operates a fleet of 55 commercial vehicles, ranging in size from 44-tonne tractor units to light vans used to make urgent collections.
The line-up includes 15 highly specialised crane trucks, all of which are based on 18-tonne Iveco chassis. These vehicles are fitted with remote radio-controlled 10-tonne/metre HMF cranes and high-sided alloy tipping bodies by Leeward Truck Bodies, of Darlaston, West Midlands. The bodies have automatically retractable covers by Harsh, which also supplied the underfloor tipping gear.
The cranes are used to lift bottom-opening textile containers which can weigh as much as 800kgs when full, and empty their contents into the truck body
The operator’s latest crane is its second from HMF’s new model range. The 1075-K2 is fitted with a bottle bank-type attachment for lifting the textile containers.
HMF’s technical specialists played a key role in drawing up the specification for the first of Wilcox Textile Reclaimers’ crane vehicles to enter service, some six years ago. And as the operator’s Managing Director Martin Wilcox confirms, it has proved so successful that it remains unchanged to this day.
"HMF were very helpful and worked closely with Iveco and Leeward on the original design," he recalls. "It was all very reassuring and every crane we’ve bought since has been pretty well perfect for the job.
"We only use HMF cranes and couldn’t have picked a better partner," he continues. "HMF’s InfoCentre remote control box is user-friendly and easy to operate, while the cranes handle smoothly, speedily and efficiently.
"They are also safe and extremely reliable. Despite the fact that our cranes make up to 50 pick-ups a day, we’ve incurred very little in the way of defects or damage arising from operator error. The build quality is quite something – even with cranes that are five years old we’ve not suffered anything beyond routine wear and tear, while HMF’s engineer Graham Cook provides an excellent, quarterly maintenance service."
The Wilcox family have been recycling textiles since 1895 and the current owners are from the fourth generation to run the business. Its computer-controlled, 50,000sq ft production facility in Bilston is the most modern and productive of its kind in the UK.