Hidromek digs into SA wheeled loader market

The HMK 140W is a 14t wheeled excavator.

Maximum Equipment is determined to capture a sizeable share of the southern African wheeled excavator market with its 14t Hidromek HMK 140W wheeled excavator.

The big advantage of the wheeled units over their tracked counterparts is that most of these units are road legal and can travel at speeds of up to 36km/hour. This eliminates the need for costly low-bed trucks to move the machine from one site to another. The machines are not so fast but where you need to drive them over a distance, they offer that possibility.

However, these units come at a higher price than tracked units and Vaughan Ellis managing director of Maximum Equipment explains why. A tracked machine comes with only two drives to move the machine forward and backwards, while a wheeled excavator is a four-wheel drive machine. Each wheel has got its own hub, while it also has a transmission, which the tracked machine doesn’t have. “The steering is specialised and the unit also comes with outriggers, which you don’t have on a tracked unit,” says Ellis.

Wheeled excavators are primarily used in areas where tracked machines are not usable, such as built up urban areas, townships where you need to drive in and out of tight spaces areas and road construction applications where damage to the new pavement may be of concern with a tracked unit. “They are popular in road construction, township development and urban municipal works,” says Ellis.

Equipment Africa says: Local contractors still prefer tracked excavator solutions. This is demonstrated by the fact that the wheeled excavator market averages about 20 units per year with a few players vying for a share of this market in SA. But, for built up urban areas and townships, these units offer better benefits than tracked units.

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