You might have noticed that certain differences of opinion with our continental partners have been dominating the news of late, but in the rather less controversial world of construction plant there is equally often to be found a divergence between ourselves and our European colleagues. Take, for instance, the rotating telehandler, a class of machine that has historically been far more common across the channel, but one in which manufacturers now see real growth potential on these shores in the years ahead. Of course, the reason that these 360° units have not previously found favour with UK contractors is as much to do with the way we build, but with the rise of movements like Modern Methods of Construction, with factory built, prefabricated components brought to site and craned into place, they could well find their place.
In fact, that’s just one of a numerous and diverse range of applications with what is a true multi-tasking machine. Armed with forks and it fulfils all the functions of a telehandler, add a hydraulic winch and you’re in command of a mini crane, whilst a man basket will transform it into an aerial work platform. In recent years, Magni has been quietly forging a reputation for a particularly sophisticated example of the technology, with unrivalled high and heavy lift capability in many of its models, a reputation that led BAM Construction Training to invest in one of its RTH 6.30 SH units a year ago. Since then it’s been busy training the next generation of operators on a piece of equipment that is quickly gaining favour with end users.
The Wokingham centre is a fully CPCS accredited facility and its trainer Joe Henry reports that the five day course on its 6 tonne, 30 metre reach Magni is now much in demand. Clearly a machine that fulfils so many functions will make unique demands on its driver, and that’s why the rotating telescopic concept now has its own CPCS category. If you’re already competent at the controls of traditional telehandler, however, then using the Magni with forks should present no problem, but add a winch and new skills might need to be developed, and that’s where Joe and the team at BAM are delivering for the industry. Similarly, a compact crane driver is likely to be already conversant with the hoist but might be more in need of the telehandler tuition.
“The course attracts all kinds of people, from operators already experienced on other classes of plant to learners with no previous knowledge at all,” declares Joe. “That’s why we cover everything – to make sure that they’re competent across the complete range of tasks, and the Magni certainly helps with that because it’s such a very user friendly machine. The remote control unit is a lovely piece of kit, for example, and could be operated by a child. It means you can be much closer to the load with a completely unencumbered view and we often use the Magni with the remote for Slinger/Signaller training here as well.”
“It’s important that anyone using this equipment is familiar with all of its functions, from a safety perspective but also to be as productive as possible on site,” continues experienced trainer, Joe. “If trainees get up to the standard where they can pass the theory and practical test at the end of this course that’s exactly what they’ll achieve.” That theory element consists of an extensive 101 questions, two of which – on lift charts – are mandatory and must be answered correctly to achieve a pass, even if enough points are achieved elsewhere in the test. The practical involves a three hour long examination at the controls, taking in all of this 3-in-1 machine’s capabilities, including working with the hoist.
Although, as previously mentioned, the rotating concept is now covered by its own CPCS qualification, if an operator is already in possession of an A17D telehandler ticket , they can fast track to the former with an A89 conversion course, with familiarity with the hoist again a key focus. As an added bonus, successful completion of the Rotating Telehandler course will also mean that they will be awarded the suspended loads category to their card.
“The Magni is a very clever piece of kit,” enthuses Joe, “and it does a lot of thinking for you. “Deploy the scissor stabilisers and it will auto level to ensure that the machine is stable, and even if they’re only partially deployed the system is designed to provide the operator with the best possible working load diagram. Switch between different attachments, and with one press of a button the load chart is automatically calculated for that particular tool. If you’re working in a confined area, slew and height restrictions can also be set, whilst the machine will determine the optimum revs for an application.”
With no fewer than 10 CPCS tickets to his own name, Joe Henry’s diverse expertise is itself a testament to the range of courses it offers clients. The fully accredited CPCS, NPORS, Health & Safety and CSCS test centre has also invested in the very best equipment with not just the Magni but a range of new JCB Machinery at the disposal of course attendees.
BAM Construction Training operates three sites, two in the area of Wokingham & Bracknell, Berkshire, and a further centre in Chippenham, between Bristol and Swindon, and is uniquely placed to gauge trends in machine usage on construction projects. “From the number of people coming through our doors, we’re really seeing the idea of a rotating telehandler gaining traction,” continues Joe, “and it’s easy to see why. The technology might be advanced but it’s still a general purpose machine, and I’m sure we’ll see many more of them on UK sites in the future.