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Excavating in tight spaces: JCB CEA’s 245XR Tracked Excavator

The 245XR Tracked Excavator features ‘Selectable Slew Swing Smoothing’, giving the operator greater control during slewing actions.
The 245XR Tracked Excavator features ‘Selectable Slew Swing Smoothing’, giving the operator greater control during slewing actions.

With its reduced tail swing radius and advanced safety features, JCB CEA’s 245XR Tracked Excavator is helping MJB Contractors optimise its services in constricted working spaces.

Since its inception in 2000 as a multidisciplinary construction company, MJB Contractors has developed into a multi-million-dollar business, undertaking contracts from some of the industry’s largest players, as well as from the Victorian Government.

Director Paul Ritchie and Co-owner Mick Bourk have used their combined 50 years’ experience in excavation, carpentry and concreting to support the growth of the business.

As Ritchie explains, this rapid growth has also allowed for an expansion of the business’ machinery fleet.

“Once I became the Director, I saw the money which could be saved by purchasing machinery, rather than renting it. From that point onwards, every year I would try and invest a portion of the company’s profits back into machinery,” he says.

MJB works across multiple industries including the industrial, commercial, and civil construction sectors. Ritchie says the company is achieving its goal of becoming a one-stop-shop for project delivery.

“To be a sub-contractor that can do everything, from the groundwork to concreting, installing elevated beams and more, is really important for us. We try to deliver the whole package from start to finish,” he says.

Operators are provided with reduced operational noise and greater visibility inside the 245XR Tracked Excavator’s cabin.
Operators are provided with reduced operational noise and greater visibility inside the 245XR Tracked Excavator’s cabin.

Creating space

In recent years, MJB has been tasked to assist with supporting Victoria’s Level Crossing Removal project, undertaking works across Melbourne.

Ritchie says the constricted space at each level crossing removal job presented a significant challenge. But he says upgrading to a 245XR Tracked Excavator from the company’s previous machinery has proven to be the perfect solution.

“It was time for us to upgrade to a larger machine, with a bit more weight and more power,” he says.

“We work in tight rail corridors where there can be objects such as scaffolding nearby. Using the previously owned machine wasn’t worth compromising the safety of my employees. The shorter swing radius of the 245XR gives me confidence that my workers can be safe when they are near the excavator.”

The 245XR Tracked Excavator features a tail swing radius of 1.72 metres, 40 per cent less than its predecessor the 220X. This equates to a working radius reduction of 1.6 metres compared to the 220X.

In addition to the reduced tail swing, the 245XR Tracked Excavator features ‘Selectable Slew Swing Smoothing’, enabling operators to have maximum control over the speed and accuracy of the machine while working in confined spaces.

Despite the focus on movement in small spaces, the size and features inside the 245XR Tracked Excavator’s operator cabin are not compromised.

A seat-mounted joystick and switch controls move with the operator, while Bluetooth radio is also fully integrated. The cab has double cushion viscous mounts to reduce vibration, and interior noise to 69 decibels.

Ritchie says the cabin features provide operators with a sense of comfort and more importantly, control.

“When you are operating the machine, you also have access to cameras all around the 245XR, so you can really observe what is going on and who is within close proximity of the machine,” he says.

The 245XR Tracked Excavator has a tail swing radius 40 per cent shorter than its predecessor.

On-site adaptability

As Ritchie explains, he has also seen a significant reduction in downtime since purchasing the 245XR Tracked Excavator. He says the pre-loaded preferences on the machine make switching between attachments much more efficient.

“Our 245XR Tracked Excavator has been pre-loaded with configurations for different attachments. By simply pushing a button, we can change the machine’s oil flows to suit our six different attachments,” he says.

“For drilling different ratios and materials, this enables us to quickly and efficiently swap between required attachments. Previously we have had to manually change the oil flows.”

Ritchie says these configurations also extend to the slewing speed of the machine.

“The hydraulics in the machine are also super-fast. The slew speed can be dialled down or up, depending on the movements required,” he says.

“When we are working in tight spaces, it can be quite dangerous if a machine has a high slew speed, so having that option to reduce the speed is really vital.”

For MJB Contractors, purchasing the 245XR Tracked Excavator has also opened the doors to additional contracts and jobs throughout Victoria. As Ritchie observes, keeping up-to-speed with the modern requirements of the industry has been a core strength of the business.

“Costs for manpower is very high in our industry today, so you need to switch to better machinery as much as you can to reduce labour hours,” he says.

“We have already had a lot of enquiries regarding concrete piling. Before purchasing the 245XR, we would predominantly contribute to a job once the piling had already completed.”

Following the success of the 245XR Tracked Excavator, Ritchie says MJB won’t look past CEA JCB for any machinery and maintenance needs.

“We purchased our first JCB telehandler in 2016. Since then, I have been really impressed with JCB’s service. Every single bobcat, excavator or telehandler we own is from JCB,” he says.

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



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