Hadley Recycling and Waste Management seeks to divert as much waste from landfill and into recycling and renewable energy as possible. At its busy transfer station, located just outside Theale in Berkshire, the company processes each week approximately 1000 tonnes of mixed waste including mixed construction and demolition waste, wood, plasterboard and green waste. The first machine to touch it is a brand new JCB Hydradig 110W, which plays a vital role in keeping the throughput flowing at the busy site.

“The JCB Hydradig fits our front-end pre-sort process perfectly,” says Paul Lock, Operations Director at Hadley – one of the first customers for the Wastemaster-spec Hydradig. “It has a small footprint but covers a big operational area and is very productive. Safety was a predominant reason the purchase with the driver able to see all four corners of the machine from the operator seat because the engine is beneath the cab. Our machine is fitted with reversing cameras, which gives the operator perfect rear visibility when reversing.”

Lock is also impressed that the Wastemaster spec Hydradig is fitted with a reversing fan. “I struggled to get any other manufacturer to spec one on this size of machine.”

The skip hire and waste management company sorts waste within its 2700 square metre purpose built transfer station, which opened in March 2017. Servicing Reading and the surrounding areas, the site can accept all industrial and commercial waste, including hardcore, metal, wood, paper and cardboard, soil and plastics.  

“Skip sales are up 30% and bigger bins by 53% – demand is going crazy,” says Lock. The waste brought onto the site in these skips and bins gets tipped in the building for sorting and the Hydradig performs the pre-sort. The task was previously undertaken using a 5.5 t rubber-tracked mini-digger, sourced from another manufacturer.

“It was a bit small and didn’t suit the operation,” says Lock of the mini-digger. “We were flogging it to death and because it didn’t have a reversing fan, it was constantly overheating. We also needed something that was kinder than a tracked machine, to our concrete surface.

“We turned to Greenshields JCB, who ran through what the Hydradig could do. It fitted the bill perfectly so we ordered one in May of this year. The 11.5 t Hydradig has a 4-metre turning circle and can lift 1000 kg at maximum reach. “It is easy to use, dexterous and quick. The driver was soon up to speed, making the pre-sort operation look easy. “The operator loves it because it’s very comfortable and quiet.”
We also use it to fill in on other jobs in addition to sorting such as stripping, feeding a shredder, tidying up any of the bins around the site and even to stack loads flat on pallets.”

Equipped with a swivelling selector grab for sorting waste, the Hydradig proves to be an incredibly dexterous and flexible tool. This allows the operator, spotting a piece of contamination among a waste pile, such as an individual plastic bottle, to delicately ‘pinch it’ with the swivel grab in order to pick it up and remove it from the pile. In the next movement the same tool can grab a bucket-load of waste free of contamination.” This means the Hydradig can not only carry out the heavy shifting that only a machine can perform, but it can also do the job of manual pickers.

The Hydradig’s reversing fan on its radiator gives a big productivity and reliability advantage in an environment such as Hadley’s waste transfer site, according to Lock. “Our site can get very dusty and with our previous machine we had to ‘blow out’ the radiator several times a day, which made it very hot,” says Lock. “With the Hydradig, the operator simply presses a button to reverse the fan, which then automatically blows out dust from the radiator to maintain operations and keep the machine in good condition.”

“When working in this industry it’s important to have equipment which is safe, strong and suited to the environment which is something that JCB does very well. Its support has been second to none – right from initial enquiry through to the purchase of the machine, they’ve listened to everything I have to say and been very helpful.”