Remote control increases safety on demolition jobsite


Bobcat offers remote control systems to increase safety, comfort and productivity by distancing the operator from dust, noise, vibrations and other hazards encountered on job sites that require special safety precautions. In the confined spaces of top-down demolition,for example, a remote control system removes the operator from any danger, such as rebar penetrating the cab space as well dust inhalation and the effects of vibration and noise in the cab.

The Bobcat remote control system allows direct sight of the work in progress in demolition and many other sites, further increasing the versatility of the loader and a comprehensive range of attachments including angle brooms, augers, breakers, buckets and snow blowers.

The UK’s first Bobcat remote control compact loader has increased safety and reduced costs on a major demolition contract in London. Purchased by BooBoo Plant Hire, based in Kings Langley, and supplied by Bobcat of London, the local authorised Bobcat dealer, the Remote Control S450 skid-steer loader is working on the top-down demolition of a former wing of the Whittington Hospital in Upper Holloway in North London, being carried out by main contractor, Kent-based Erith. 

Bobcat of London supplied the S450 with a kit for the Bobcat Remote Control System - installed in a matter of minutes, the remote control System allows the operator to leave the seat in the cab of the S450 and control it remotely whilst maintaining full visibility and safety. Compatible with any Bobcat skid-steer, compact track and all wheel steer loader equipped with the company’s selectable joystick controls, the remote control system can be quickly removed, leaving the standard machine in its original form.

The new S450 forms part of a fleet of Bobcat machines purchased from Bobcat of London by BooBoo Plant Hire, that are being used on the contract - the company is responsible for supplying specialist equipment for the project. They include conventional and specially modified E85 8.5 tonne mini-excavators and an S70 skid-steer loader.

Two of the E85 units have specially modified hydraulics that allow them to operate a multi quick processor 25 (MQP-25) and large hydraulic breakers, whilst still maintaining the low ground pressure that is required for working safely on the floors of buildings being demolished in this way. 

Harry Allen, Owner of BooBoo Plant Hire, commented: “With the number of injuries on sites increasing again, maintaining maximum safety is paramount. I believe remote control is the way to go in the future in our industry. In addition to increased safety, the remote control saves costs by removing the need for a banksman as a lookout for the machine, a prerequsite now on many sites. Banksmen are necessary to help avoid collisions of machines with other workers on site, which after falls from height is one of the major causes of accidents and injuries.

So instead of the contractor having to pay for both a banksman and the loader driver, these are both replaced by the operator on the remote control system. On top of that, they do not have to pay for pensions, holiday pay and other associated costs, providing further savings.”

Harry Allen added: “We see many other uses of the system - with trenchers and wheelsaws, where the operator specifically needs to drive backwards with the loader, this solution offers perfect visibility of the project. It also allows operators to talk face-to-face with project partners and manage the surroundings (verbally or non-verbally) at the same time. To market the advantages that this equipment offers, we have recently formed a new company called Lobotics, which will specialise in robotic/automatic solutions such as the remote control loaders for work on our sites throughout the UK.”

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