High Speed Hybrid

April 21, 2020

Leading Plant Hire company, Lynch Plant Hire Ltd, deliver the first Hybrid excavator to the prestigious HS2 project in London.

The Kobelco SK210HLC-10 Hybrid excavator that Lynch have bought from Molson Group is part of the range of eco-friendly equipment Lynch have provided to HS2 in the London area to meet the client’s demands to reduce emissions, fuel consumption and the project’s carbon footprint, all without impacting productivity.  The Kobelco Hybrid not only meets these requirements but also improves health and safety thanks to quieter working conditions.

What is HS2?

HS2 is the development of a new High-Speed rail line linking the South East to the North of England. With an estimated cost of £30 billion, it set to become the single largest infrastructure project in Europe. Whist HS2 remains a politically polarizing subject, Government ministers claim that it will create approximately 40,000 jobs and will be available to the first passengers in 2026.  Once complete, it will offer commuters significantly reduced travel times.

The project is split into two phases; phase one sees the creation of a line from London to Birmingham, with phase two extending that route from Birmingham to Crewe and the addition of a second line from the Midlands to Leeds.

The work on phase one of the project has already begun, with an initial focus on the careful resettlement of over 60 archaeological sites spanning more than 10,000 years.  These sites include St. James’s Burial Ground in London, the Romano-British Medieval Settlements of Doddershall in Aylesbury and an 18th Century Baptist House and Industrial Revolution Burial Ground in Birmingham.  HS2 has created once in a generation an opportunity to reveal, document and share over 10,000 years of British history.

Kobelco Hybrid excavator is a perfect fit.

Since the project was first put to parliament, the environmental impact of HS2 has been high on the agenda.  Right from their initial application for the position of Principle Contractor, the Costain/Skanska JV have been committed to protecting the environment through the avoidance and prevention of pollution and by meeting all compliance obligations.  This approach has been carried through into the JV’s procurement policy and the availability of Hybrid excavators and other electrically driven equipment was an important element of their supplier selection process.

Lynch purchased the Kobelco SK210HLC-10 from Molson Group, who fitted a range of after-market safety specification to meet the high safety standards demanded by Costain/Skanska.  These include a 360-degree camera system, high-visibility contact points and hand rails, a safe working load indicator as well as a full slew and height limiter systems.

Lynch Plant Hire’s Head of Key Accounts, Chris Gill said; “We did our homework on the Hybrid excavators available on the market.  Price was obviously a factor, but not the be all and end all; it was much more about getting the right machine with the best Hybrid technology that would deliver for our client”.

“Molson listened to our requirements, understood what we wanted to achieve and then explained the Kobelco Hybrid system and its benefits.  For me the fuel consumption figures and low emissions, without any compromise on performance, were a key part of the decision to go with the Kobelco over its rivals”.

What sets the SK210HLC-10 apart?

The Kobelco SK210HLC-10 Hybrid excavator is redefining what a Hybrid excavator can do, thanks to a number of unique features that no other Hybrid excavator can boast. It is based on the standard Kobelco SK210LC-10, which means it comes with a tried and tested base unit.  Whilst the complete undercarriage, engine and hydraulic systems are identical to the standard SK210, the addition of an electric slew, a lithium-ion battery powered generator motor and a smart control unit are what makes this model very special indeed.

Lithium-Ion battery pack:

The Kobelco SK210HLC-10 is the only hybrid excavator on the UK market to feature a Lithium-Ion battery back that stores energy recovered by the machine; other Hybrids run a capacitor system.  Energy is recovered by the Kobelco during slew braking and when hydraulic oil is returned to the tank during operation of the boom and arm functions.  The ability to generate and store energy within the machine is a real game changer in comparison with other Hybrid models on the UK market. The Kobelco’s ability to store and distribute the power stored over longer periods of time creates a smoother operating experience and delivers improved fuel consumption figures.

Electric slew motor/generator:

Most Hybrid excavators feature an electric slew motor, replacing the hydraulically operated slew motor on standard models – thereby creating a “Hybrid” excavator.  The Kobelco SK210HLC-10’s unique feature is the fact that this slew motor also functions as a generator during deceleration when slewing the machine.  The slew motor/generator performs a similar function to that seen in Formula 1 cars and their KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems).

A key benefit when comparing the Kobelco Hybrid to other hybrids available, is that the slew motor is run independently to the rest of the machine controls. This means that operators will not experience delays when switching between slewing and digging functions

Smart control unit:

Kobelco have also developed a smart control unit that is positioned above the Lithium-Ion battery pack.  This unit measures the demands being made on the machine and is capable of delivering 25Kw of power from the battery to the engine when the machine is under heavy load.  This boost of power allows the machine to work at a lower RPM, saving fuel and reducing engine wear whilst still delivering the power the operators require to complete the task at hand.

Molson Sales Manager, Stuart Butler said; “Chris and his team have been, as always, fantastic to work with on this machine.  Their focus from the moment we first started speaking about the Hybrid has been on their client… what they needed and which machine would deliver the best value to them.  As soon as we talked about the application, I knew that the SK210HLC-10 was a perfect fit as loading wagons makes full use of the Kobelco electric slew motor/generator feature.  This is proved by the current fuel performance of the machine – running at 5l p/h it is outperforming the figures quoted to Chris and his team during the sales process”.

Chris Gill went on to add; “This machine is a symbol of the Lynch Plant Hire approach – we listened to our customers’ requirements, did our homework to source the right equipment needed and made the investment required to meet their needs.  Credit to Stuart and his team at Molson for getting the machine ready and to the specification required on such short notice – we need great suppliers to help us deliver on the high standards we set ourselves”.