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CEA: Filling the market gap

Cut, crop and clean with just one machine.

The JCB Pothole Pro Hydradig is a unique three-in-one solution tackling rough roads one pothole at a time. JCB CEA’s Deon Cope, and Stephen Gillies of Roadworx, sit down with Roads & Infrastructure to detail the new piece of equipment.

Data from the Australian Local Government Association and Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) says 537 councils have suffered more than $3.8 billion in damage to their roads, leaving drivers frustrated and facing repair costs for damaged cars. 

JCB is tackling this problem on a global scale with the JCB Pothole Pro – the newest addition to the company’s Hydradig range, available through its Australian equipment distributor, JCB CEA. 

JCB CEA Product Manager Deon Cope says a gap in the market was first noticed in the United Kingdom.

“The initial design for the machine came about in the UK, following the pothole problem in smaller county areas,” he says.

“After looking at the lengthy process for repairing the potholes, we found people using different machines and varying techniques to repair the roads. Not only this, but there were many people working on the ground, dedicating multiple hours in poorly lit and dangerous conditions to get the work done.

“To counteract this, JCB came up with the Pothole Pro solution, where it’s ideally one operator and one machine.”

The JCB Pothole Pro maximises on-site performance.
The JCB Pothole Pro maximises on-site performance.

Cope says the Pothole Pro is a machine that operators can trust.

“Some of the key safety features of the JCB Pothole Pro include the hydraulic cropping blade which eliminates the use of jackhammers, the high seating position in the cab which enables the operator unhampered 360-degree visibility to all four wheels and its ability to work safely in congested areas, operating in a single lane without causing danger to pedestrians or vehicles,” he says. 

Chief Executive Officer at road infrastructure company Roadworx, Stephen Gillies, has put the JCB Pothole Pro to the test and agrees. 

Gillies says that before the purchase of the Pothole Pro, workers would traditionally use a road profiling machine, hand jack hammering and a skid steer with a broom/bucket.

“Using the all-in-one machine we will notice improvements in many factors on the work site,” he says.

“Productivity is a noticeable improvement, moving from multiple pieces of equipment and manpower to a one-man operation has helped to make our worksites more efficient.”

Roadworx is a multi-disciplined infrastructure contractor, with an appetite to be an early adopter investing in new technology, innovation and company acquisitions to deliver a diverse set of capabilities and experience to its core market . Its foundations sit in delivering infrastructure maintenance solutions to local councils, government departments, and public and private companies engaged in roading.

In working with smaller scale local councils, to large contracting jobs with the New South Wales Government, Gillies highlights the importance of efficiency and safety while looking after the wellbeing of his 200 plus workers.

“With the Pothole Pro replacing multiple machines and many manual elements of the job, the work we are doing for clients is not just quicker but also safer,” he says.

“For example, using multiple machines and heavy handheld equipment can lead to potential accidents onsite, mostly through operator behaviour. The Pothole Pro replaces all of this on site, so the risk of this is substantially lowered.

“Not only this, but it also eliminates the potential for Repetitive Strain Injury that usually occurs through the repetitive use of a jack hammer, commonly used to repair potholes. The self-driving capability is also a great feature – the machine can reach speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour and can drive from each job site without truck transport, reducing downtime and the number of workers and equipment required onsite.”


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Efficiency on site

The JCB Pothole Pro is an easy to use, versatile and safe machine. It comes with a high seating position that enables unrestricted 360-degree visibility to all four wheels, allowing the operator to work in a single lane carriageway with confidence, protecting both pedestrians and vehicles. 

The machine is also fitted with standard features such as 2/4 wheel and crab steer, reverse camera, LED work lights, reverse steer and a heated air seat. The machine comes fitted with LiveLink telematics which provides instant notifications when a service is due and critical alerts if there are any serious mechanical or electrical problems with the machine. 

Cope says the true highlight of the machine is its three dedicated attachments to crop, cut and clean.

“The Pothole Pro can run a 600-millimetre patch plan on the front of the machine so that it can cut to the correct depth needed, up to 170 millimetres. This attachment has eight degrees of tilt either way and hydraulic depth control with the option of either powered or floating tilt.”

Following this is the cropping process. 

“This next step basically creates a clean, straight edge on the outside of where the hole was just cleaned out,” Cope says.

“The cropping tool has a 450-millimetre-wide blade; however, a variety of blades can be fitted if need be.

“The beauty of this attachment is that you can maximise the life of the pothole repair with the dedicated cropping tool, which provides a uniform hole profile.”

The Pothole Pro provides solid repairs at a low cost.
The Pothole Pro provides solid repairs at a low cost.

The last piece of the puzzle is the cleaning stage. Cope says this attachment helps to prepare the pothole in minutes.

“The 1200-millimetre-wide sweeper collector with dust suppression means the job is done quickly and efficiently,” he says.

“After the hole is cut, it is the cleaning attachment tool’s job to remove debris from the pothole. It then collects and dumps chippings into a truck or trailer. 

“This finishes the job off seamlessly, significantly reducing the time it takes to prepare the road surface for re-laying.”

These three attachments on one machine mean other machines are replaced on site. According to Gillies, the all-in-one feature really stood out when making the decision to invest in the Pothole Pro.

“The tilting broom, chisel attachment and fitted milling plane for small profiling jobs are all fitted to the machine and do not require hitching and unhitching, saving us time and energy,” he says.

“JCB delivered on the expectation that all of these components would provide higher productivity, less labour and safety while offsetting the capital cost.

“The machine is safer and more reliable, providing less machinery clutter on site. In turn, providing higher revenue at a lower cost.”

The efficiency and reliability provided by the multi-use tool is made possible by the hydraulic components of the machine. 

Cope says the difference between this piece of equipment and other machines is that the heavy componentry is in the lower frame, with the main control being the only thing on the rotating frame.

“This means one thing – exceptional stability,” he says.

Cope says the aim for JCB in the future is to further develop its hydraulic platform, while continuing to focus on being at the forefront when it comes to technology, ergonomics, functionality and safety. 

“Just around the corner for JCB is development into electric solutions and a unique hydrogen combustion engine – all technology we are keen to see evolve and grow to meet market demand.

“As JCB continues to deliver solutions for companies like Roadworx, we are excited to be at the forefront of the industry with a solution that delivers real benefits to companies and consumers across the country.” 

This article was originally published in the June edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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