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Potteries success for Case Construction

A modified Case wheel loader replaces a telehandler for work at a major tile-manufacturing site in Stoke-on-Trent

A CASE 621EXR machine has been delivered to Johnson Tiles of Tunstall to work at a vital part of the company’s production process. The machine is being used to stockpile incoming raw material, such as clay and limestone, and to feed the material into the tile-making procedure. It is also used to pull a trailer that collects reject tiles, which are fed back into the manufacturing process.

The company had been using a telehandler for all these roles but decided to seek an alternative to provide a much more reliable approach. ‘It was normal to look at what we did and why we did it that way, and to ask ourselves ‘is there a better option,’ explained Jason Bridges, engineering buyer for Johnson Tiles.

That ‘better option’ proved to be a Case 621EXR machine, which has been modified with longer arms to allow it reach into the production hoppers and also ensure stockpiles could be kept as high as possible. It is also fitted with a heavy-duty high-tip bucket, a hydraulic tow-hitch and monitoring camera, as well as heavy-duty mine tyres for working in a harsh environment.

‘We took a bit of a risk, a calculated risk, in changing the way we work,’ said Mr Bridges. ‘But the new loader does the job and it does it well. The biggest benefit for us was the promise of reliability. In a side-by-side comparison with the telehandler we could see the difference in the strain being placed on the two vehicles. On the telehandler we were forever breaking half-shafts. With the shovel you can load the bucket on tickover.’

This is particularly important as Johnson Tiles plan to increase production by a further 30%. The company was also seeking a high level of customer care as part of the three-year/10,000h lease arrangement of the wheel loader.

Mr Bridges continued: ‘The loader works at the front end of the operation. As a result, the strategic importance of the shovel cannot be underestimated. If it breaks down we might have no more than two days to get it running again. Whatever machine is recommended, the supplier must be able to support it - this was essential.’

The supplier Arnold Plant Hire’s combined experience of having already maintained Johnson Tiles’ existing machines and of having supplied loading shovels into a variety of equally pressurized production roles stood them in good stead.

‘We understood the machine and the potential pressures of the job it had to do, and we had the experience to be able to back it up,’ explained Stuart Hunter, business development director at Arnold Plant Hire.
 
The company also had the ability to modify the machine to meet the specific requirements of the job. ‘We knew what was required and we had good support from Case dealer Warwick Ward to make it meet the necessary specifications,’ continued Mr Hunter.

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