Molson Compact Equipment might be a new name in the mini excavator sector, but there’s a very experienced team behind it. Construction Plant News visits the new importer of the Kobelco range of minis.

A change of name, a change of colour – but the same expertise in compact plant; with Yanmar’s decision to establish a network of dealers in the UK, A&Y Equipment will no longer be importing the manufacturer’s mini excavator range, but where one door closes another opens, and the Warkwickshire-based firm is now looking forward to a new association with a Japanese construction plant maker.

Instead, the company has now officially taken on the Kobelco range of compact diggers from 1 – 10 tonne, and will be henceforth known as Molson Compact Equipment. A&Y Equipment are, in fact, already part of the Molson Group and, given that the latter will continue to supply the industry with the company’s larger machines, the same name across all of the associated suppliers provides the kind of continuity that the market demands.

This means the new company will be supplying the same weight class as it did for Yanmar, whilst Kobelco units also feature Yanmar engines, but the machines in that distinctive and vibrant blue can boast a number of unique features. “Kobelco already has a very good reputation on some of its larger kit, with the likes of Plantforce heavily investing in them for their fleet, for example, and we’re looking to build that brand recognition for the smaller excavators,” explains Mike Brown.

Kobelco machines already have a reputation for being quite highly spec’d, with air con and a radio available in the cab as standard from 3-tonne SK28 and above, for instance, and that’s complemented by a genuine appreciation of a smooth and quiet operation.

In addition, Molson Compact Equipment can now boast a number of solutions that were not previously part of its portfolio, including a 1.7 tonne machine with an expanding and retractable track that can be specified with either a cab or canopy, whilst the SK10 1 tonne machines benefits from servo control.

As well as that, the iNDr system on the Kobelco minis is a welcome feature for mini operators. This noise and dust reduction system features a filter fitted in front of the cooling system, removing minute dust particles from the intake air. It’s easy to remove from cleaning and, for anyone in the business of working in dusty environments, will be a potential game-changer.

Similarly, the man, or woman, in the driving seat, of the SK85 will welcome the additional space of a cab which is the equivalent in size to the same manufacturer’s 14 tonne unit. A side and rear camera system is fitted as standard, whilst the machine’s in-built Komex telematics system provides invaluable data on hours worked, fuel usage, and location, all in real time, and a particularly useful function for hirers.

Indeed, the majority of maintenance and regular service tasks can be achieved at ground level, whilst Kobelco machine are also pre-piped for hydraulic quick hitches, which saves huge amounts of time in the workshop.

“We very excited about taking on the Kobelco brand and building it in the UK,” concludes Mike. “The whole team here, from the workshop to parts and sales, are very experienced already, and with the mini excavator sector seeing expansion there is a real opportunity with these machines.”

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