Hertfordshire based Robert Swann first set up on his own in 1989, initially as a self-drive plant hire business. His very first machine was a 2.5 tonne Nissan mini excavator which proved to be rather unreliable and as Robert jokingly commented, “I spent more time fixing that thing, than I did actually operating it!”
Today Robert’s business, R.A Swann Ltd, provides work for around 22 employees including two full-time mechanics in the yard who are responsible for the maintenance and servicing of the machines and vehicles – the fleet contains seven Hyundai machines – including a brand new HX160L.
The company’s relationship with local Hyundai dealer Ernest Doe goes back to around 1997/98 when Robert purchased his first Hyundai machine, which was an R55 model which was painted in a bright green livery back in those days, Robert recalls how the machines were affectionately given the nickname of the “Kermits” a reference to Kermit the Frog in the Muppet Show!
Robert, who coincidentally is an internationally renowned and successful rally car driver, also has an excellent working relationship with Ernest Doe’s salesman Nigel Booley and the pair have been friends since school days, which is a nice position to be in.
Robert commented, “We have had very few issues with the Hyundai machines and find them very reliable overall. We do all our own servicing and if we are not sure about something technical, the team at Ernest Doe are always very helpful with advice, they have lots of experience with the product as they are, I believe, the longest-serving Hyundai dealers in the UK, which offers us peace of mind.”
Robert added, “Our operators really like them, and we have all noted the vast improvements the company has made in quality as each new range comes out. They are now much more refined, smoother and more controllable to operate and features like Bluetooth functionality and heated seats make them a pleasure to spend time in, in addition servicing is now easier than ever, with all filters, etc accessible from ground level. We felt the biggest leap forward came with the introduction of the HX range in 2016, which we feel puts them right up there with the perceived big brands.”
RA Swann currently has seven machines in the Hyundai stable ranging from six tonnes up to 30 tonnes. The latest arrival on the fleet is a brand new HX160L which features the full factory fit demolition specification, which in addition to the ROPS and FOPS cab structure also includes a FOG (Falling Object Guard) demo cage, the front part of this cage can be released and folds out forwards to facilitate cleaning of the front windscreen. Full rotation circuit pipework is fitted, and proportional joysticks are standard.
Talking about the new HX160L Robert said, “We do like the 160 sized machines as they offer us great flexibility, due to the weight we can move them about ourselves using our tri-axle trailer towed behind one of our eight-wheeler trucks. We find them to be a great size for groundworks, offering us that bit extra reach, they can also pick up and use 21 tonne sized buckets and attachments on 80mm pins and handles them comfortably. We also find them good for demolition work too making good use of that extra weight and reach. Ultimately, we pay 16 tonne money for a machine that is nudging just shy of 19 tonnes, so as far as we are concerned, it’s a great buy!”
The Hyundai HX160L tips the scales with an operating weight of 18,100kgs and the power comes from the Tier VI Final emissions-compliant 4-cylinder Perkins 1204F diesel engine which produces a power output rating of 96kw (128hp) @2050rpm. With bucket capacities ranging from 0.39 – 1.05m 3 the machine has a maximum digging depth of 6560mm and a dumping height of 6390mm.
Sitting on 700mm track pads the HX160L has a footprint width of 2,690mm some 400mm narrower than Hyundai’s 20 tonne offerings, which allows the 16-tonner to access gateways where a 20 tonner might not be able too, another example of this size machines versatility.
RA Swann is now undertaking all the groundworks for 12 bespoke large luxury houses in what is a highly sought rural area for properties on behalf of the developer Robert Dixon Developments.
Summarizing on the new addition Robert said, “We have been delighted with all our Hyundai’s so far and I’m confident this one will prove to be equally as good, for a compact 16 tonner it certainly packs a big punch!”