For a Kent-based contracting business – Synergy Recycling, working thousands of miles from home, a Fendt 828 Vario and a customised HM Hook Lift Trailer prepared by skilled technicians at R W Crawford was the obvious choice of tractor.
Business partners and father and son team – Sam and Simon Roud at Excel Trading provide a specialist recycling service, often working at remote locations across the globe. Much of their work is for large organisations including the MOD, and the Fendt 828 Vario was purchased with a specially designed trailer manufactured by HM Trailers to move aggregate, soil, recyclable materials and waste as part of an extended contract in the Falkland Islands.
Specialising in logistics, the Roud’s team engages with trusted subcontractors sorting thousands of tonnes of waste accumulated since British forces arrived in 1982. “We reclaim as much as possible for recycling locally, but most is sorted and prepared for shipping elsewhere,” explained Sam. “When this phase is complete then we arrange for the material to be collected by a self-loading ship, then we transport it from the holding area to the port. Substantial costs are incurred while the ship is docked, so we must keep the loading crane supplied with sorted material and that requires efficient machinery. Anything that isn’t recyclable is packed into containers then shipped for responsible disposal.
“Our final task is clearing and cleaning areas where waste was stored and leaving them looking more attractive.”
The machinery fleet this year includes two rigid eight-wheel lorries with hook-lift bodies, three large 360-degree tracked excavators, a telehandler, several smaller vehicles, and the Fendt 828 with the trailer. Other equipment includes shipping containers and a huge stock of spare parts.
“When we started the contract two years ago we relied on the lorries to move the containers, but access proved a problem on soft and uneven ground. Then the Covid 19 pandemic meant we had to pause the operation and ship our machinery back to the UK until it was over, it gave us the opportunity to consider how to improve our working efficiency. We decided that adding a tractor and a trailer on agricultural tyres to our fleet would give us greater flexibility,” explained Sam.
Various makes of tractor were considered and models with a simple, mechanical specification were favoured initially as it was assumed these would be simpler to repair if problems occurred. However, Fendt’s excellent reputation for build quality and reliability meant the high specification brand was also considered. Simon visited an agricultural event where he spoke with the Crawfords team about a black 40th Anniversary special edition Fendt 828 Vario displayed on the company’s stand. “It matched our company colours and projected a professional image which is important to us,” he explained. “It also had an excellent specification, and we were confident that it would be easy to sell and attract a high resale price when our contract was complete.”
Trailers from the HM Trailers range were also at the event, and Simon was impressed by the design and build quality. Having discussed his requirements with the Crawfords team, he visited the HM Trailers manufacturing base in Essex. “As soon as I met Managing Director Grant Perry, I was impressed by his depth of knowledge, and knew that I wanted him to build our trailer,” he stressed.
The trailer’s main role is carrying four 35 cubic yard hook-lift, roll-on containers as well as a 25 cubic yard tipping container with hydraulic opening rear doors. Large 560-series Trelleborg flotation tyres, triple axles and air suspension were recommended for maximum stability on uneven ground and while tipping, and an integral camera which provides a clear view of the hook while mounting the containers was also considered essential. The tractor and trailer combination can operate at up to 65kph and the trailer has ABS braking. The first and third axles can be raised for tight turns.
8,000 miles from dealer
An order was placed with Crawfords for the tractor and trailer, and the Fendt UK and dealer teams put together a spares pack for the tractor. It takes up to six weeks for deliveries from the UK to arrive in the Falkland Islands, so it was essential that anything that might be needed was included to avoid downtime. “We are not only working 8,000 miles from the supplying dealer, but this tractor is probably further from any authorised Fendt dealer than any other Fendt tractor in the world, so we had to know that it had been properly prepared and thoroughly checked before shipping,” added Simon.
Even though March and April mark the late austral summer in the Falkland Islands, the weather is often challenging. Winds as strong as were experienced in the UK this February are present on most days, and there is a constant risk of damage to windows and cab doors as operators enter and exit the vehicles. Stocks of replacement glass for every vehicle on the fleet have been transported in the shipping containers ensuring immediate availability if needed, but on days when it is especially windy the work must stop to avoid the risk of damage as well as injuries to the team.
The right choice
Within a short time of the team restarting work, it was obvious that the right tractor and trailer combination had been chosen. During its first month on site it performed well, and when a puncture occurred in one of the tractor’s front wheels the Fendt VarioGrip central tyre inflation system was used to re-inflate the tyre after a patch was installed – saving time which would otherwise have been wasted waiting for a mobile compressor to arrive. The tractor and trailer cope easily on boggy and stone-littered ground where the lorries would struggle.
The tractor and trailer’s ability to operate on challenging terrain has also provided an opportunity to transport soil and aggregate from several miles away to the waste site, to create a bund to contain the material. Previously old shipping containers were placed in a ring around the location to block access, but the bund is more effective and blends into the landscape. “Having the tractor has allowed us to add this sort of value to the service we provide, and now there is additional interest from other countries and organisations keen to use our services too,” explained Sam.
The team is due to finish its work by late April, after which the machinery will be shipped back to the UK. The journey takes approximately six weeks including a stop in the Ascension Islands. When it arrives home, the Fendt and trailer will be sold. “Another advantage of Fendt compared to other tractor brands is the higher retained value” continued Simon. “The HM Trailers name is highly respected too, and we know that there will be strong demand for the high specification hook-lift trailer as well.”
Simon said he has no doubts that the best tractor and trailer combination was chosen for the task. “We work in a very unusual but demanding environment and were very well supported by everyone involved in the supply – from those who advised us at the start to the specialists who made up our spares packs. If we need similar products in future, then we wouldn’t hesitate to select the same brands and dealer again.”