Shining A Light On Compact Equipment



When it comes to versatility and customisation, it is the growing popularity of the compact track loader that is really making an impact on the market.

To find out more, we spoke to Cat Compact Dealers Reeds and Versatile Equipment, both of which have witnessed the market for track loaders grow by 300% from 2012 to 2014, thanks in particular to a focus on the creation of large-scale Solar Farms.

Haydn Waters of Wiltshire based Reeds: “Over the last few years there has been a growing demand for Solar Farm construction in the UK, as the focus on renewables increases. From a practical point of view, constructing these farms is not a simple task, particularly as they are often located in remote areas, on disused scrub or farmland.

“So there are real challenges to overcome, particularly as you find that larger more traditional plant, like dozers, are not very suitable for the application, churning up the ground with their tracks.

“This is where the customised compact track loader has come into its own, as its size and rubber tracks allow it to manoeuvre effectively around a site, without churning up the ground. Couple this with the power of the machine and its array of attachments and you have a multi purpose unit, capable of creating access roads, levelling solar panel bases and much more.

“From a customisation point of view, the Cat 279D Compact Track Loaders that we prepare for this application come with a complete GPS and blade package, the type of which you would normally associate with a large motor grader.

“By creating this bespoke attachment, which comes with its own guiding wheels and mounted wing mirrors, the operator can grade to the accuracy required by the customer, creating the right levels for access roads and also the concreting phase of the project.

“In addition, the beauty of using a Cat 279D on such a job, is that it can also be used to help demolish existing buildings, move materials around the site and dig trenches, using other attachments.”

For Kent based Versatile Equipment, the Solar Farm opportunity is one that has seen the business create its own hire fleet, in addition to selling equipment, as Lee Chater explains:

“Like other Cat Compact Dealers, because we specialise in a small range of equipment, we are able to push the boundaries of the types of application they can assist customers with. We have seen a huge explosion in demand for the Solar Farm type projects and also others applications that you would not normally associate with the equipment.

“A good example of this is a recent fleet sale we have made into the water industry. Here we have been able to customise tracked loaders with special laser guidance systems to help clean the filter beds in water treatment works.

“So it is clear to see that coupled with the more traditional uses for compact equipment, there really are very diverse new opportunities that exist throughout the UK. This is why I think shining a light on the large range of attachments and bespoke solutions that are available is so important, as it will ultimately help compact equipment owners to increase their profitability.”