Monthly Archives: December 2017

Excavator or skidsteer, or something else?

When it comes to getting the right equipment for your job, or for your business, here’s a quick and dirty (pardon the pun) look at diggers and excavators, and which types are suited for various types of jobs.

excavator

From small to large…

Skidsteers

The main manufacturer of these is Bobcat and in fact their name has become synonymous with this piece of kit. A skidsteer is essentially a small, highly manoeuvrable digger that is good to have when you’re working in a confined space or when getting to where you need to do the work involves narrow access, for example if you need to go round the side of a house to get to the backyard.

Skidsteers are able to literally ‘turn on a dime’ as their steering is independent on each side, so while the wheels (or tracks) are going forward on one side, they are going backwards on the other, enabling so-called ‘zero radius’ turning. Skidsteers like the Bobcat also come with a huge range of different attachments for different types of jobs – from stump grinders, to mowers and blowers for landscaping type projects, to more conventional buckets and even forklift type pallet forks.

The only downside of skidsteers is their limited size and power, which makes bigger jobs, like digging huge holes in the ground, not the ideal use for them.

Skidsteers are a great choice for work involving for example…

  • Excavating a hole for an in-ground swimming pool
  • Rubbish removal on a building site
  • Landscaping work in backyards with narrow entry/exit points (as above)
  • Backfilling

Excavators

If you’re looking to make light work of a bigger project and can get wide access to the site, a conventional excavator will be the right choice. Major projects like large scale construction, building demolition and major landscaping projects will get done more quickly and easily with an excavator. Excavators can be anything from 1.5 tonnes to 13 tonne behemoths.

Loaders & Backhoes Loaders

Other types of equipment that perform similar, but slightly different roles are the loader, predominantly used for scooping up and transporting larger amounts of material (eg earth, sand, rubbish) from one spot to another, and the hybrid backhoe loader.

They are not really designed to do any digging, however (confusingly) the iconic JC Bamford (better known as JCB) digger seen on building sites around the world is technically a ‘backhoe loader’ and designed to do the digging and the transporting. Developed by JCB in the UK in 1953, the machine rapidly became a fixture on smaller building sites, for its relatively small size and flexibility. Much like the Bobcat, backhoe loaders can be fitted with a wide variety of accessories to allow all sorts of jobs to be performed, from digging holes to trenches, to moving material around.

There are plenty of resources on the internet to help you decide which piece – or pieces – of equipment you will need for your project or business. Just like cars have people like Jeremy Clarkson to tell us which car to buy, there are also a few people out there who review building, landscaping and construction equipment! Here’s a site that has reviewed a range of mini excavators for example – ‘6 awesome mini excavators’ and there are also reviews of individual models such as these…

McLoughlin J1T Mini Excavator
CAT 308E2 Mini Excavator

As well as speaking to the manufacturers and dealers, it’s also worth hiring out different types of equipment first to get an idea of how they work and how suitable they would be. Once you’re ready to get your own, call us at Ezilend and we’ll help you with the equipment loan!

The fastest cars… in the world

The urge to go faster must be deep-rooted in the human psyche – before cars it was trains and horses, but still the same urge. Perhaps it has something to do with our ancestors having to outrun large hungry marauding animals with big sharp teeth.

hennessy venom

Despite the fact that the vast majority of roads in the world have speed limits imposed on them (the well known exceptions being stretches of motorway in Italy or Germany), the need for speed is still there, and there’s no shortage of car manufacturers willing and able to help people satisfy that need. That satisfaction can be pretty pricey though – top speed cars command top speed prices.

There’s also the issue of how you define the word ‘fastest’. The Guinness Book of Records has a category for ‘production’ cars as opposed to say F1 cars – the vehicle must be in production, that is not be a one-off prototype, it must be road legal, and produced in sufficient number to be classified as available for the public to buy. This can be a pretty small number*.

Also, what aspect of speed are you measuring? The traditional top speed measurement is not the only one. A more useful measure is of acceleration – this is much more useful on the road than absolute top speed. If you’re driving a Porsche 911 behind three cars towing caravans on a single lane road, you’re much more likely to be able to overtake them all in one go than if you were driving a Hyundai Getz, and this is all about the acceleration, not top speed (witnessed by your author once in the UK).

Again your ability to get from point A to point B on a windy road has as much to do with the handling of the car than its sheer engine power. So by these three measures it’s perfectly possible you’d have three different cars winning the coveted title of fastest car.

Having said all of this, US-based website Digital Trends has recently put up an article about the fastest 25 production cars in the world and defaulted to top speed as the base measure, so that will have to do.

What’s really interesting with this list is firstly, how quickly things change in the rarified world of sper fast cars and secondly, how some brands you’d expect to be near the top just aren’t. Beautiful cars though they may be, Ferrari and Lamborghini are present in the list, but not really anywhere near the top.

A surprising late entrant to the list is Tesla’s new roadster, coming in at number 7 with a claimed top speed of 250mph (402 km/h) and all on electric power, with a battery pack twice the size of either the Tesla S or X models. Elon Musk has always worked on the premise that the electric car must compete on all measures with its petrol powered equivalents, and the new Roadster seems to have pulled this off, also boasting an impressive range of 620 miles (998 km) before it runs out of puff.

And some brands you’d expect to see included aren’t – BMW for example, although its engines power some of the cars in the list – the McLaren F1 has a 6.1l V12 BMW engine in it for example.

The other surprise is how many quite old models are still in the list – as well as the McLaren F1, the Jaguar XJ220 is also still there (with a top speed of 217 mph / 349 km/h), despite the fact that it was built in 1992.

Finally, another sign of the times is how the list is not completely dominated by conventional internal combustion engine driven cars. The Tesla is the only pure electric car that makes the list, but there are three other hybrid drive cars that also appear – the Porsche 918 Spyder, the McLaren P1 and the eponymous Ferrari LaFerrari models. How long will it be before all the cars in the list are electric?

Did we forget to mention the fastest car? According to Digital Trends (but not, we might add, the Guinness Book of Records) it is the Hennessy Venom F5 with a top speed of 301 mph (484 km/h) and a price tag of AU$1.53M. It’s based on the rather less pricey Lotus Exige which comes in at a (comparatively) more affordable AU$139,000. Give us a call when you need to arrange the car loan. For either model.

*25, apparently

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/el_ave/14768831359 Hennessy Venom GT