Firm invests in mixer bodies, pump and a static batching plant in a programme of expansion and standardization. ESTABLISHED in 2009, Hull-based Ashcourt Group consist of a diverse portfolio of companies covering a range of activities including property, construction, civil engineering, quarrying, plant hire, haulage and ready-mixed concrete. The Group has a wealth of experience in the construction industry and through this identified the need for an efficient, reliable, independent concrete supplier to focus on both the quality of products and the quality of customer service.
Investment in the former Robin Concrete and Waste Ltd business in 2015 allowed Ashcourt Group to bring the supply and pumping of concrete in house and also provided them with a large tract of land to expand their operations further. The site at Foster Street, in Hull, is where the Group is now headquartered with all facets of the organization located under one roof.
The concrete side of the Ashcourt Group's business has undergone gradual modernization and expansion since the takeover in 2015, and the company has invested heavily the purchase of a range of mixers, a concrete pump and a static batching plant from Liebherr-Great Britain Ltd. 'The area around Hull has traditionally been served by a number of small independent concrete suppliers, with the majority of larger national companies staying away from the area,' commented Ashcourt Group's concrete manager, Steve Walsh. 'Whilst the Group's decision to enter the concrete market was to service our own requirements, a third of our annual concrete production goes to outside contractors. We are looking to bring this closer to a 50-50 split as some of our larger projects come on line.'
Having decided to standardize their mixer barrels by selecting a single manufacturer, Liebherr were approached to supply the first of the company's fleet replacements and additions. 'The standardization across our fleet makes it easier from a maintenance point of view, meaning we only have to have a single point of contact when it comes to sorting any issues out,' said Mr Walsh. Favouring Volvo truck chassis throughout their other business arms, the Group purchased a number of chassis cabs from their local dealer before delivering them to Liebherr's Biggleswade facility for the fitment of HTM 704 and HTM 804 truckmixer bodies. The build quality and reliability of earlier Liebherr mixer bodies over the three years they have been in use has seen the company return to Liebherr for a further eight mixers to be mounted on Volvo FMX and FE chassis. 'The operating system is straightforward and the drivers find them easy to use. Everything is well made and the installation on the chassis is first class. They are exactly what we want from a mixer,' said Mr Walsh.
However, the mixer bodies are not the only purchase the company has made from Liebherr, with Ashcourt Group recently taking delivery of a 37 Z4 XXT truck-mounted concrete pump on an 8.4 Mercedes chassis. Capable of a vertical reach of 38m and horizontal reach of 32.8m, the unit is fitted with Liebherr's XXT variable outrigger system that allows the machine to operate where conventional pumps cannot. The 37 Z4 XXT has the ability to deliver more than 100 cubic metres per hour and can pump to a working range of 70%, including over the operator's cab - a feature unique to Liebherr. The company has also recently commissioned its largest purchase from Liebherr in the shape of a Betomix 2.5 batching plant with a capability in excess of 100 cubic metres per hour.
Commissioned in January 2017, the new batching plant will offer savings on running costs, as the technological efficiencies built into the installation will result in a lower cost per cubic metre produced, whilst still offering the flexibility of high-volume capabilities. According to Steve Walsh, the high quality of the Liebherr products runs through the whole product line, including the back-up and service. 'We have had very minor issues with the pump and batching plant, but the way that Liebherr attended to the faults reflects their high level of customer service,' he said.