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JCB has unveiled a special edition of its world-beating 3CX backhoe loader, designed as a single-machine solution for road maintenance. The JCB 3CX has always been the most versatile machine on site and backhoe loaders remain popular with many local authorities. Now JCB has combined a powerful, high specification 3CX with a dipper-mounted patch planer and a sweeper shovel located on the front loader arms, to create the 3CX ‘Potholemaster’. This single machine offers local councils and road contractors a rapid, mobile solution to meet their permanent road maintenance equipment needs.

The Potholemaster benefits from JCB’s most powerful 81kW (109hp) Ecomax engine and a six-speed Torque Lock powershift transmission, to deliver efficient travel speeds of up to 40km/h and to provide the power to effectively operate the planer attachment. This allows local authorities and contractors to rapidly move the machine between sites, without the need for additional transport, increasing utilisation and ensuring maximum productivity throughout the day.

The 3CX Potholemaster is equipped with a 400mm wide patch planer from JCB Attachments that has been engineered to work efficiently with the machine’s high output auxiliary hydraulic service. Advanced Easy Control variflow hydraulics, with servo control levers, ensure an ergonomically superior driving environment and provide the power to deliver total control over all functions of the backhoe when planing. Pressure compensated variable flow hydraulics ensure maximum power delivery to the planer attachment, while maintaining complete control of all boom and dipper functions during operation.

The 400mm wide planer is suitable for a wide range of applications, from single pass small pothole repairs, to complete highway sections. JCB’s powered sideshift capability ensures that the operator can plane the full width of the machine, without having to relocate the backhoe loader, which is essential when working in a single coned-off carriageway. The planer provides a clean and well prepared working area, ensuring a long-term pothole repair, rather than a temporary solution to the problem.

At the front end of the machine the 3CX is equipped with a 2.3m wide hydraulic sweeper collector shovel. The overall width, including the hydraulic motor, is within the width of the machine, making it easy for the operator to travel safely on the road. The sweeper shovel’s enclosed brush, which uses an integrated mix of plastic and wire brushes for maximum durability, provides clean pick-up of road planings with minimal dust and no risk of material being thrown away from the machine. One or two passes of the planed area are enough to provide a clean work area that is ready for repair and relaying of asphalt. The brush enclosure also greatly reduces any dust as the shovel is tipped into road tippers, for removal from site.

JCB has incorporated a hydraulic lift feature that moves the brush canopy away from the bucket. This allows the operator to use the bucket to collect planings from larger areas and to let operatives manually load the bucket in tighter spaces. Being able to lift the brush canopy away from the shovel, in combination with the machine’s standard long loader arms, makes it easier for the operator to load over the back of a tipper truck, again essential when working within a single carriageway width.

JCB’s innovative hand-held power tool hydraulic circuit, mounted on the side of the 3CX Potholemaster, allows operatives to use a wide range of hand-held breakers and saws, to cut around ironwork in the road and to provide a clean end to the patch area. This also allows the road repair crew to access difficult areas that cannot be reached by the patch planer.

Traditionally councils and contractors have had to use a wide array of cutting, breaking and planning machinery, with separate road sweepers and rollers to carry out even the smallest of pothole repairs. The single backhoe loader-based solution greatly reduces the number of machines required to carry out this type of work, reducing cost and increasing utilisation for the local authority.

Smaller tools and machines have to be carried to site on additional tipper trucks and delivery vehicles, while the JCB Potholemaster can carry out road repair preparation and then rapidly move independently to the next site, while the repair team lays the new materials.

A further benefit of the Potholemaster design, is that when not being used for road repair duties, it is possible to remove the attachments and operate the 3CX as a high powered backhoe loader. Councils will have a machine that is capable of loading grit and clearing snow in the winter months, or helping with flood prevention and other duties in the summer. This ensures that the customer can achieve maximum utilisation, without having to have additional machines that are only used on a seasonal basis.

In addition, when the time comes to update the fleet, the JCB 3CX Potholemaster remains a high specification backhoe loader, attracting premium resale values and further reducing whole life costs for the customer.