Hertfordshire based Brace Civil Engineering was initially a plant hire business although historically their background was in civil engineering. In recent years they have focused on the civil engineering sector and water and waste water engineering, supplying and installing sewerage treatment plants and associated underground watermains.
On the civils side the company works for several blue-chip companies, local authorities and a couple of local housebuilders offering employment to around 20-25 people including a handful of subcontractors. The business has an annual turnover of just over £2m.
Chris Brace said, “Our first involvement with Hyundai was following the demise of a local plant dealer we had dealt with previously, which meant we became more involved with Ernest Doe with whom we had always had a good relationship with for many years previously anyway.
As our company has grown so has our need to purchase larger bits of kit and with our regular dealers now gone, we now use Doe’s almost exclusively for our machinery requirements.”
However, not having had any dealings with Hyundai previously, Doe’s were keen to show Chris what the manufacturer and the product is all about. Ernest Doe’s Area Sales Manager Rob Freestone reported, “When we originally started discussing machine options with Chris he was looking at updating a 13 tonner, but we had a number of options he could look at like the new HX130LCR, the HX145LCR or the conventional tailswing HX140L, with this in mind we decide to invite Chris to visit the factory in South-Korea to see the full line up of products, get hands on with them and to see first-hand what Hyundai is all about as a manufacturer and what the future is for the manufacturer.”
Chris had an amazing time in South-Korea and he certainly made his mark on the event! Chris commented, “We were at the Hyundai factory and they started rolling out the machines onto the demo area and we were asked to smile for the camera’s and to shout Hyundai! I decided to shout out the traditional old English saying, Tough as Old Boots, which caused a few ears to prick up, especially those of Alain Worp, Managing Director of Hyundai Heavy Industries Europe, who asked me what I had just said, so I explained it’s an old saying meaning something is strong, durable tough and generally up to the job and that’s how it started, a bit of English craic and by the end of the trip everyone was walking around shouting ‘Tough as Old Boots’ it was absolutely brilliant!”
On the back of all the Brace lorries they have the slogan “A Lovely Ol Job” and now they are planning on having “Tough as Old Boots” on the back of the Hyundai HX140L that they have recently taken delivery of, as a mark of their confidence in the machines ability and durability, Chris explained his thinking, “We’ve invested in this HX140L which is our very first Hyundai, so far we have found it to be an extremely good machine which knocks spots off all the other makes we currently run.”
Chris continued, “We’ve been so impressed with it, not only by the build quality and the power of it, but more importantly by the built-in safety aspects like the AAVM (Advanced Around View Monitoring) cameras, overload warning system and Smart Start immobiliser, it’s really fully loaded as standard so whatever jobsite it lands on it ticks all the boxes from a health and safety perspective.”
“We also note that the Perkins engine fitted in this machine is on average around 30% more fuel efficient than any of our previous machines, which in fairness you would expect from a newer machine but either way you look at it, it’s impressive and at around 93kw (124hp) it’s got plenty of poke too!”
“Some of our other machines are now coming up to three-years old and on the strength of the performance of this first machine we expect to be replacing them with Hyundai’s now going forward. We do find a dozer blade to be a useful addition on any machine, great for general backfilling, keeping the machine stable when digging and in addition great for carrying our buckets on the blade too – we will be specifying blades on all the Hyundai’s we purchase in the future.”
Operating the new Hyundai is Chris’s oldest son Owen Brace, a great forward-thinking operator who uses the technology built into the machine to get the best out of it. Chris hinted at a problem with older operators being put off by the modern technology which is increasingly being adopted in the machines these days, often preferring to stick with the older models, but Owen has certainly embraced the technology especially the Leica 2D laser system that they have had fitted to this new machine. The company is keen to embrace modern technology and anything that cuts down costs and saves money in the long run is looked into. Owen also likes to tailor the machine to his own individual needs by using the myriad of setting options available in the menu display.
Talking about this Rob Freestone of Ernest Doe said, “The good thing is in the early stages when this machine was delivered when Owen raised a question about setting up the modes he could phone us and ask for assistance, we could then log in to his machine remotely via the Hi-Mate system, look at his settings and modes in real time and advise him on the preferred options to suit his needs for any particular task”.
Asked about the new machine himself Owen said, “It’s a very good machine and has been very reliable so far, it’s excellent for grading – it’s very smooth on the joysticks and incredibly quiet in operation, which is very important when working in some of the noise sensitive places we work. There is great all-around vision not just via the large glazed areas but also via the in-cab monitor and the views from the various cameras that are fitted.”
Owen continued, “To be perfectly honest I didn’t know too much about the Hyundai’s until we got this one, as we had always been Takeuchi and Kubota customers, but obviously dad went to Korea to find out more. We have been delighted with what we have seen so far – in addition, we do get great service and support from Doe’s which means a lot to anyone running machines.”
Summarizing Chris Brace said, “I was a tad sceptical in the first instance but having seen what I saw in Korea and now using Hyundai – I am now fully embracing the Hyundai machines, which really are proving to be Tough as Old Boots!”