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Long term fan chooses Hitachi for his first machine

Sun 14 Jul 2013

Long term fan chooses Hitachi for his first machine

Royston Westlake left school at the age of 16, and immediately got a job working for Michael Vanstone Plant Hire of Kilkhampton. During the next four years, Royston gained a wealth of experience and attained all the necessary CPCS tickets for excavators, forward tipping dumpers, and ride on rollers. During his time there he operated a number of Hitachi excavators, including EX15, EX30, and EX60. It was during these few fledgling years that Royston’s affection for the Hitachi product manifested itself. After four years, Royston moved on to work for another local company called GM Contractors, where he was to remain for the next 8 years. The work was a lot more varied on this company and Royston found himself doing farm work, construction sites, pond construction and hedging. His first machine on this company was a 1997 Hitachi EX120, which he ran for 12 months, before it was replaced with a brand new ZX130-1. Royston remained on this machine for the next 2 years before it was handed down to a new member of staff. Royston then took charge of another new ZX130-1, which he remained on for another 3 years, racking up over 6000 hours on the meter. Commenting on the machine, Royston said, “It was a great machine, and during all the time I had it, the only thing that went wrong was a water pump failure.” After that machine Royston took delivery of a new ZX130-3, this machine was totally different to the earlier models. Royston said, “These new models were far more Hi-Tech than the previous ones, with the built in cameras, and great cab layout. They were also a lot faster, but still had that almost legendary smoothness of the hydraulics that Hitachi men have come to love.” Once again Royston kept this machine for 3 years before deciding it was time for a job change. At this point, Royston moved to Coles Plant and was put on a Caterpillar 320D, and for the first time in many years he was not on a Hitachi machine. During his time on Coles Plant, Royston started picking up his own work at the weekends for one of his close friends Ian Ellacott. During this time, Royston was reunited with another Hitachi machine, a 2006 ZX180, which was owned by Mr Ellacott. Around this time Royston and his partner Laura had just had a baby son called Aiden, and this got them thinking about future plans for their young son. Like many plant men, Royston had always wanted to start his own business, and during a chat with his good friend Ian Ellacott about his plans, he offered Royston all the work on his farm and also offered him a contract to do all the ground work for Mr Ellacott’s steel building fabrication business, South West Steel, who are based in Holsworthy, Devon.  After pondering over the idea with his partner Laura, they decided to take the leap into machine ownership, which can be a daunting experience for anyone. It was now time for Royston to decide what machine to buy. Royston said, “I knew Hitachi was the only way to go for me, having been operating them nearly all my working life, I have seen them progress with every new series that comes out, and to be honest, they have never failed to impress me.” His next decision was what size machine to go for? After operating 13 ton machines on farm work for so long, but also experiencing the power and extra capacity a 20 ton machine could offer, Royston decided he wanted something in between these sizes, and the ZX180 appeared to be the perfect compromise. Decent secondhand ZX180’s are hard to find, due in the main to the size not being as popular as other sizes of machine, so after further long discussions with his partner they decided to order a brand new ZX180-5, which was the first of its kind to be sold into the UK market. RW Plant officially opened for business on February 3rd 2013, and due to a delay in supplying the new machine, Royston hired his friends 2006 model ZX180, until his new machine finally arrived on May 15th. The new machine has now amassed over 420 hours, and Royston is clearly delighted with his immaculate piece of kit. I was once again kindly invited to take to the controls of the ZX180-5, as I did on Tim Olver’s ZX210-5 for my blog report recently. Once again the machine was a pure delight to use, silky smooth hydraulics, with a really positive and precise feel to the controls, as we have come to expect from the Hitachi product over the years. The machine purred away nicely in its Eco mode and you hardly know the machine is running at all, it’s that quiet. In the dig I put the machine into its Power mode setting and to me it certainly made the machine feel a bit more lively. I know the current trend is to educate operators to use the Eco mode but for “old school” operators like me, it has to be full throttle when digging. I suspect younger generation operators will be brought up to use the Eco modes which of course can give massive savings in fuel consumption. Royston attached his grading bucket for me to test out the machines fine grading ability whilst levelling some topsoil, which unsurprisingly was excellent. It would have been great to spend a few hours in this cracking machine but sadly time was against me on this occasion. Throughout my visit it was clear to see that Royston has a real passion for the Hitachi excavator range and it was a delight to see this well cared for machine being put to work. We wish RW Plant all the very best for the future, and with an ever expanding order book in front of him, I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of Royston over the coming years.              

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