Hyundai shovels are a perfect fit for RMR Sand and Aggregates

RMR Sand and Aggregates is part of the Construction Hub group of companies owned by Rob Morris and undertakes the company’s inert material recycling and material handling operations.

Rob started his business just under 20 years ago and has grown into a multi-million-pound turnover company not just undertaking groundworks and earthworks contracts but also a wide variety of other operations. “We run each business as its own entity but wanted them to come under the same umbrella, hence The Construction Hub branding.” Rob commented “We have grown to offer not just the groundworks side of the business, but also plant hire, transport, recycling, demolition, and winter services such as ploughing and gritting. We have also set up a training facility at Barry where we not only train our own staff, but we offer training services for outside contractors and companies.”

The groundworks side of the business operates across South Wales stopping at the River Severn and heading as far North as Brecon. “We get a nosebleed if we go any further North!” Rob jokes. Undertaking packages for both housebuilding and commercial clients, the company has invested heavily in a range of excavators from 3 tonnes up to 30 tonnes along with ancillary equipment such as dumpers, rollers, and telehandlers. A recent order for ten Molson Equipment supplied Kobelco SK130LC-11 excavators along with five SK85 and four SK280 machines has seen the fleet split between the Japanese branded equipment and a South Korean brand. “We won’t put our eggs in one basket as some of our operators like one brand, others like another. It’s all about getting the balance right between keeping everyone happy.” The strive to productivity gains has also seen a huge investment in GPS machine control being added to the fleet with Leica Geosystems being the preferred choice.

Whilst much of the businesses’ success has tied to the groundworks aspect of the company, a chance meeting in 2018 whilst looking for a yard to base his tipper fleet from saw Rob agree to buy a small recycling facility on the edge of the Pen-Y-Fan Country Park. “We had originally run the trucks from the family farm but as things started growing, we wanted to find a more suitable location to base the tippers and the growing fleet of machines that we had.” Rob explains. “We looked at a few locations and didn’t really find anything suitable until this site came up. The owner was looking to retire and whilst we weren’t on the lookout for a recycling company, the added flexibility the planning permission gave us made the deal very inviting.”

Moving their operations up to Blackwood has seen Rob and his team not only expand their business offerings but also take a huge step into becoming a supplier of high-quality materials for both their own operations and outside entities. “Our groundworks operations require large volumes of aggregates, and these were either sourced as virgin materials from quarries or as recycled material from a variety of producers in South Wales. We were finding that virgin material prices could fluctuate wildly whilst the quality of the recycled material was quite often below our expectations and often contained contaminants from the demolition and recycling processes. Having purchased the recycling yard, we were then able to offer a better product for our customers.”

Rob’s desire and drive to produce a better material has seen the company invest heavily in a state-of-the-art wash plant to handle over 5000 tonnes of material per week and with that, open up a new market for the company in high-quality recycled aggregates. “We wanted to put ourselves in the position between your virgin material and standard recycled material.” Rob explains. “We wanted a clean and quality material and whilst it has taken a while to dial the system in, we are very happy with the results.”

Having the operation allows Rob’s tippers to leave the yard in the morning with a load of stone or sand, tip at one of his projects and return to the yard with a load of material to be recycled. This not only minimises empty running, but also ensures deliveries are made on time and are correct. Once the inert material is tipped at the yard it is screened, crushed and washed to produce perfectly graded and clean products.

Whilst the production of the materials is one thing, having the ability to handle, sort and load the product is key to keeping the trucks flowing through the yard. Replacing a similar sized machine, Rob turned again to Molson and Salesman Luke Mercer to add a new 16 tonne, Hyundai HL955A as the material processing area’s machine.

“The HL955A came with the specification we wanted, it is well-built and comes with a proven and efficient driveline.” Rob commented “Dealing with Molson and Luke in particular is very easy, there’s no messing about.”

The HL955A is powered by a Stage V Cummins 6.7 litre engine delivering 210hp and 990Nm of torque and is mated to a 4-speed powershift transmission. With an operating weight around the 16-tonne point and carrying a straight-edged bucket with a 2.8m3 capacity, the wheeled loader has really impressed full-time operator Paul Julian. Paul has been a machine operator for ‘more years than he cares to remember’ spent mainly on excavators but has settled down to enjoying life behind the steering wheel of the Hyundai. “It’s a great bit of kit, very comfortable and manoeuvrable which is what we need on this yard as the space is limited.” Paul commented. “It’s a powerful little loader and handles both the screened oversize for crushing and the finished product equally as well.” With the yard being so compact, Paul is very pleased with the lightweight steering and 40° steering angle allowing him to nip around the yard with ease. “I’m kept busy all day, every day but get out of the cab at the end of the day not feeling exhausted.” He comments. 

Sitting on just 3 acres, the site has been designed to make the most of the space, or lack of. A one-way system allows vehicle to drive past the small material bays where Paul is able to put the manoeuvrability of the Hyundai to the fore picking the relevant material from each bay and quickly loading each truck. Fitted with a hydraulic quick coupler allows Paul to swap buckets between material with the sticky clay dropping off the presses at the end of the wash plant using one bucket and a clean bucket for outgoing aggregates. “Both myself and the lads on the plant won’t tolerate any cross contamination between materials.” Rob pointed out. “We charge a premium for the recycled material as it is as clean as virgin material would be and that is part of our guarantee to our customers. If it doesn’t meet their specification, we will refund them, and these instances have been very few and far between.”

“Having a reliable and productive wheeled loader is key to us maintaining our delivery schedules.” Rob commented. “We don’t have massive stockpiles of any material on site due to our site constraints but having a machine and operator that can keep each bay clean as they are loading and managing the flow of materials allows us to keep up with schedules.”

During the machine’s first months of operation, it has fared well and has dealt with the continuing increase in output as the wash plant beds in. “When we took on this project, the site was producing 6000 tonnes a quarter. We’re close on doing this on a weekly basis and this is down to the combination of having reliable kit and brilliant team of operatives.” Rob commented. “We have a great team from the training school, office staff and all of our teams on site. Everyone is behind what we do in terms of productivity, quality, and development and this also goes out to our suppliers and sub-contractors too. We want to work together, to develop what we do and with that we want to run the best kit. We think we do that with the machines that Molson supply.”  

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