Issue#9
Features in this issue:
  • David Watson Transport
    The Midas touch
  • Smiths Heavy Haulage
    Powering into the future
  • John Sutch Cranes
    High-quality lifter
  • J A Mackenzie
    The art of moving artwork
  • Montracon
    Upping step-frame production
  • AE Yates
    Automatic for the people
  • Aylward Heavy Haulage
    Keeping it in the family
  • Galt Transport
    Celebrating 70 years
  • Keith Rhodes
    Machinery movement specialits
CoverStory
Remote Control
Ireland's Mar-Train Heavy Haulage define they history, evolution and outlook for the future

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COVER STORY: CROSS-BORDER CONFIDENCE

MAR-TRAIN HEAVY HAULAGE CAN BEST BE DESCRIBED AS ONE OF THE MOST PROGRESSIVE OPERATORS IN IRELAND. IT’S THE ONLY HEAVY HAULAGE COMPANY TO HAVE OFFICES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER. MANAGING DIRECTOR TIM MARTIN DEFINED THE HISTORY, EVOLUTION AND OUTLOOK FOR HIS THRIVING BUSINESS TO HEAVYTORQUE.

At 16, Tim Martin left school and worked as a diesel fitter. He then went on to selling plant machinery for a period and spent any available time helping his father Sammy with his haulage business that was established back in the late ‘70s. By 1993 the business was expanding and a second vehicle was needed. “My father started with a F86 Volvo and step-frame trailer delivering plant machinery locally and cross border into the Republic,” recalls Martin.

“We bought our first new 6×4 Volvo F12 in 1993. His father was driving a Scania 142 at the time and the new lorry was to be for him. When the Volvo actually arrived, he changed his mind and decided to stick with the Scania, giving me the Volvo, having only passed my test a couple months previously”. This was the start of an expansion which continues today. By 1995 the fleet had increased from two vehicles to six and currently the fleet stands at 26 tractor units, with another arriving in the new year, and well over 80 trailers.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: Mar-Train Heavy Haulage

HIGHER AND HIGHER

PLENTY OF HAULAGE BUSINESSES SPRING FROM DRIVERS WHO FEEL THEY CAN DO IT BETTER THAN THEIR EMPLOYERS. IN THIS CASE, IT WAS CRANE DRIVER JOHN SUTCH, WORKING FOR AINSCOUGH IN 1989, WHO RECKONED HE COULD SET UP ON HIS OWN. HEAVYTORQUE WENT TO MEET HIM IN BOOTLE.

John Sutch would be the first to agree that his scholastic career wasn’t cov-ered in glory. Shown the door by his school, he walked away with his head-master’s comments echoing in his ears. “John Sutch, you aren’t going to amount to much.” It reminds us of the words attributed to John Lennon’s grandmother – “The guitar is all right, but you’ll never make a living at it.” In John’s headmaster’s case, what he hadn’t reckoned on was John’s horse sense and capacity for hard work, outside the classroom. With his father a crane driver, it was an obvious job to go for, so he started racking up expe-rience without delay.

They say the strongest steel has been through the hottest fire, and when John Sutch mortgaged his house against his first crane in 1989, he didn’t know that a recession was waiting around the corner.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: John Sutch Cranes

Issue Nine: January 2017

Issue Nine: with 164 pages of first-class journalism and photography, what more can you wish for? HeavyTorque, Britain’s best loved specialist transport title! Click the appropriate link below to purchase your annual subscription, or individual copy.

UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE

THE ABNORMAL LOAD BUSINESS HAS MANY FACETS, AND FOR SOME, THE HEAVY LIFTING IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE MOVEMENT. GET THAT WRONG, AND THE REST IS ACADEMIC. HEAVYTORQUE WENT TO MEET MARK WATSON, SALES DIRECTOR OF DAVID WATSON TRANSPORT IN EARLS COLNE, TO FIND OUT HOW IT OPERATES.

Specialist companies can often trace their roots back to a single individual who decided he could do something better than his employers. David Watson was such a person, and he started working as a driver for Milbank Floors in 1984. David was a pioneer, the first to operate his Volvo F7 6×2 with a Tico lorry loader arm, acting as a mobile crane. Just two years later, David’s successful operations led to the formation of Milbank Trucks, and he was appointed managing director.

He wasted no time in establishing the beginnings of a specialised heavy lift truck fleet, specifying chassis that could out-lift his competition on heavy plant and industrial equipment. Milbank Trucks expanded, with over 115 trucks in the fleet and over 140 employees. Depots at Earls Colne, Brandon, Cliffe, Stafford and Northampton gave the company great coverage throughout the United Kingdom. Fast forward to 2008, and with a deep recession looming, the building industry was one of the first to crash and Milbank Trucks was placed into administration as a result of the failure of Milbank Floors.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: David Watson Transport

MIGHTY COMBINATION

WITH MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS SLATED FOR THE SOUTH WEST, INCLUDING HINKLEY POINT C NUCLEAR POWER STATION IN SOMERSET AND THE NEWPORT RELIEF ROAD, SOUTH WALES-BASED SMITHS HEAVY HAULAGE IS GEARING UP FOR THE CHALLENGES. HEAVYTORQUE REPORTS.

During the course of 2016 South Wales-based heavy haulage specialist Smiths has taken delivery of two new pieces of equipment that between them signal the company’s success in the current market and its ambitions for the next few years. In April, the first of these new investments became an industry talking point when it was displayed at The Heavies awards ceremony, as it was the first Faymonville CombiMAX trailer to be ordered in the UK. At the ceremony it was hitched to the largest tractor unit Smiths had at that time, a Scania R620 8X4 bought in 2014. But since then the company has invested again, moving up to the top of the Scania range with a V8 R730 8×4.

The combination of the new truck and trailer gives Smiths the capacity to pull loads up to 250 tonnes. “The plan is to use them to get new work and push into bigger stuff,” explains Smiths Mechanical Services & Heavy Haulage director Simon Griffiths, who says major construction projects will play a role in the company’s growth.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: Smiths Heavy Haulage

Issue Nine: January 2017

Issue Nine: with 164 pages of first-class journalism and photography, what more can you wish for? HeavyTorque, Britain’s best loved specialist transport title! Click the appropriate link below to purchase your annual subscription, or individual copy.

MACHINE AGE CHALLENGES

GLOUCESTER-BASED KEITH RHODES MACHINERY INSTALLATIONS LTD OFFERS A WIDE RANGE OF SERVICES TO THE SPECIALIST ENGINEERING SECTOR. HEAVYTORQUE GETS AN INSIGHT INTO THE PROBLEMS FACED WHEN MOVING THE LATEST KIT.

While the British economy has undergone many dramatic changes in the past three decades, with far less focus upon heavy industry, there’s still a great deal of specialist engineering undertaken by many companies. The machines and equipment used by these companies are very sophisticated with one machine carrying out a range of tasks that used to require a number of smaller machines. This creates a whole new range of challenges for specialist machine transport and installation companies.

Handling modern computer numeric controlled machines requires highly trained, multi-skilled staff, capable of operating a wide range equipment. Companies competing in this sector tend to be relatively long established concerns, often run by individuals who, above all, relish a challenge. Many of the techniques that were developed in the early years of the operation, when vehicles and equipment were far less sophisticated, have been adapted for the modern era and have been passed on to new generations of staff.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: Keith Rhodes Machinery Installations

THE ARTFUL MOVER

THE ART WORLD’S FAVOURITE HEAVY LIFTER GOT INTO THE BUSINESS BY CHANCE, AS HEAVYTORQUE DISCOVERS.

Have you ever wondered how to move a Barbara Hepworth bronze to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park? Or how to get a grand piano out of a fourth floor window? Or how to lift the next controversial artwork onto the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square? Or how to get a sculpture through the doors of a 13th Century cathedral? If so, the answer is likely to be “get Jimmy to do it”.

“Jimmy” is James Mackenzie, owner of Wiltshire-based lifting and haulage specialist JA Mackenzie, which has over the past 20 years developed a reputation as the “go to” company for complex moves and lifts – particularly in the art world. Such is his reputation that Mackenzie now works directly for many artists, who talk to him before they start work on a new piece. “They send me drawings or images of their initial models, and I will tell them where they will need to make cuts so that we can lift it and fix it together on site,” he explains.

Among the contemporary artists he currently works with are Sophie Ryder, Helaine Blumenfeld and Marianne Heske, and he has also moved works by Henry Moore and Jeff Koons. The clients for these artworks include major UK and European galleries, museums, public authorities, the Royal Family and celebrity art collectors.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: JA Mackenzie Ltd

Issue Nine: January 2017

Issue Nine: with 164 pages of first-class journalism and photography, what more can you wish for? HeavyTorque, Britain’s best loved specialist transport title! Click the appropriate link below to purchase your annual subscription, or individual copy.

REELING IN THE GEARS

AFTER CHARTING THE EVOLUTION OF AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS, HEAVYTORQUE VISITS SPECIALIST CIVIL ENGINEERING COMPANY AE YATES TO FIND OUT HOW VOLVO’S LATEST I-SHIFT GEARBOX PERFORMS IN THE REAL WORLD.

After a shaky start in the 80’s and 90’s, when vehicle electronic control systems were still in their infancy, automated transmissions have virtually taken over from manual gearboxes. The first versions, like the Mercedes Benz EPS and Scania’s CAG system were really an attempt to minimise the physical effort required by changing the gear ratio via air servos, the driver still operated the clutch and moved a small lever to instruct the transmission when to change.

ZF took things a step further with early generation AS Tronic transmissions fitted to Iveco trucks, the clutch pedal was taken away, but the driver still had control of when to change. Eaton offered its semi-automatic system based on the Twin Splitter design, which gave some of the UK manufacturers an opportunity to enter this new era, but there were still limitations.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: AE Yates

ALL IN THE FAMILY

NOW IN ITS THIRTY-FIFTH YEAR OF BUSINESS, AYLWARD HEAVY HAULAGE IS ONE OF THE BEST KNOWN OPERATORS IN IRELAND. PJ AND MARC AYLWARD SPOKE TO HEAVYTORQUE, DETAILING THE DEVELOPMENT OF OPERATIONS AND THE SUCCESS THAT HAS FOSTERED SUCH A REPUTATION.

In 1981, PJ Aylward bought himself a truck and started a business delivering goods all over Europe. In the early nineties, his first step-frame trailer was acquired for a contract to move some machinery for a local branch of the state body in forestry. By 1995, the decision was made to concentrate solely on heavy haulage, and so began the building of a reputation that has become well known throughout the industry, both in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe.

Based outside Durrow in Co Laois, on what was the main route between Dublin and Cork before the opening of the M8 motorway, Aylward’s premises is almost equidistant between Dublin and Cork and has good access to anywhere in Ireland.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: Aylward Heavy Haulage

Issue Nine: January 2017

Issue Nine: with 164 pages of first-class journalism and photography, what more can you wish for? HeavyTorque, Britain’s best loved specialist transport title! Click the appropriate link below to purchase your annual subscription, or individual copy.

EMPIRE OF THE SON

DUMBARTON BASED GALT TRANSPORT WAS FOUNDED AFTER GLASGOW HAD ESTABLISHED ITSELF AS SECOND CITY OF THE EMPIRE. OVER 70 YEARS, THE FAMILY RUN FIRM HAS GRADUATED FROM LOCAL TO UK AND EUROPEAN HAULAGE, PREDOMINATELY UNDER THE CONTROL OF SECOND GENERATION, ALLAN GALT. HEAVYTORQUE VISITS THE COMPANY TO DISCOVER HOW DIVERSIFICATION AND USE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES HAS KEPT IT REACHING NEW HEIGHTS.

Established in 1947, Galt Transport now operates in UK and European haulage with its fleet of 50 vehicles and over 100 trailers. The fleet’s diverse specifications include crane equipped tractor units and rigids that haul a vast variety of load types up to STGO CAT 3 specifications. The company also provides specialist lifting services, industrial storage and a driver training school from two sites in Dumbarton, which are supported by a number of designated operating centres across the Central Lowlands and Scottish Borders.

Company founder Daniel T Galt was an ex-Royal Army Service Corps member and on his return from wartime service was transport manager for the Blackburn Aircraft Factory in Dumbarton, where the famous Shorts Sunderland flying boat was built.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: Galt Transport

STEPPING UP

MONTRACON, ONE OF THE UK’S MOST PRODUCTIVE TRAILER BUILDERS, HAS RECENTLY INCREASED ITS FOCUS ON THE STEP-FRAME SECTOR. HEAVYTORQUE TRAVELLED TO ITS FACTORY AT MALLUSK, NEAR BELFAST, TO SEE THE PRODUCTION FACILITY IN OPERATION.

Montracon, which has the capacity to build more than 5,000 trailers per year over a comprehensive product range, is investing in its step-frame machinery carrier production. It has updated the designs, widened the range and recruited dedicated sales personnel to increase market share. The company has considerable resources including extensive research and development facilities, good product availability, flexible production methods and the ability to source components at competitive levels due to economies of scale.

Montracon has identified certain key sectors of the market, particularly three- and four-axle step-frames and has also revised and adapted its products – and engineered a range of standard production options that meet the needs of the majority of operators in this sector.

HeavyTorque Issue Nine: Montracon

Issue Nine: January 2017

Issue Nine: with 164 pages of first-class journalism and photography, what more can you wish for? HeavyTorque, Britain’s best loved specialist transport title! Click the appropriate link below to purchase your annual subscription, or individual copy.

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