JCB, a relative newcomer to the site dumper market, is promising to turn the sector on its head with the unveiling of a new seven tonne prototype model that seemingly solves the safety issues that have dogged these site workhorses since they were invented.

The new Hi-Viz concept machine addresses growing industry concerns over accidents and serious injuries involving site dumpers on construction sites. JCB’s new 7-tonne concept machine is designed and engineered specifically to tackle those concerns by enhancing visibility, operator protection, stability, comfort and serviceability.

The machine will go into production at JCB’s World Headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire at the end of 2017 in a move that will create more than 50 new jobs. It will be manufactured alongside nine other site dumper models for the one to nine tonne market. The biggest market for the machines is the UK and Ireland followed by France.

JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said: “JCB has offered a range of site dumpers under a supply agreement with a third party manufacturer since 2015. In deciding to begin manufacturing our own range, we have taken the opportunity to innovate and we have developed a solution that directly addresses safety concerns. This is good news for everyone in the industry and it’s good news for manufacturing in the UK and Staffordshire.

“We believe that the JCB Hi-Viz site dumper concept will provide a much safer solution in terms of visibility, operator protection and stability. It is a clear demonstration of JCB’s innovative approach to machine design, delivering improved safety and productivity for rental customers and operators.”

The UK construction industry and its suppliers have come together recently to look at ways in which the use of site dumpers can be made safer on site.

The key to site dumper safety, particularly at the heavier end of the dumper range, is visibility.
Current regulations call for the operator to be able to see a 1.5 metre tall person or object, standing one metre from the machine when un-laden. With JCB’s new Hi-Viz concept dumper, the operator can easily see a 1.2 metre high person or object all around the machine, even when fully laden.

There is also a need to improve the level of safety currently offered by a simple ROPS bar behind the operator’s seat. While the operator should use the lap belt supplied at all times, many choose not to use it in order to attempt to jump clear in the event of a machine rollover. To combat this, JCB has designed a ROPS/FOPS Level II glazed cab that can be used on machines above 4.5-tonnes operating weight.

As well as providing additional protection from a rollover or a falling object, the JCB cab also has an integral secondary impact protection system (SIPS) built into the cab’s structure. This supplementary safety measure, in combination with guards on the rear edge of the skip and a front screen guard or hammer glass, could potentially allow the dumper driver to remain in the cab while the dumper is being loaded. This would completely remove the need for the operator to continually climb on to and off the dumper, improving efficiency and keeping the operator in a safe working environment.

The big difference with the Hi-Viz site dumper concept is in the front chassis. The front axle has been moved forwards to make room for the skip to sit behind the axle line. Increased steering lock allows the longer wheelbase machine to maintain the same turning circle as a six tonne dumper.

The front chassis is lowered considerably behind the front axle, to allow the skip to sit much lower in the frame. Despite this, ground clearance has been maintained, as the chassis sits at the same height as the four-wheel drive system’s transfer box and driveshafts.

The totally new skip offers a 3.4m3 heaped capacity on this 7-tonne machine, with overall width falling within 2.5m. The combination of a longer wheelbase and lower skip greatly improve the laden dumpers centre of gravity, boosting stability on rough ground. Fluid load capacity is also increased to 2.0m³, ideal for working with concrete.

The forward edge of the dumper’s skip has been extended beyond the load carrying area. This provides improved dump clearance for the front wheels. JCB will build both forward tip and swivel-tip versions of the Hi-Viz site dumper when it goes into production.