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The Borders groundworks contractor is on its fourth Hill Engineering attachment.

Four years after he was first introduced to the Tefra Tilt, groundworks contractor Gary Collins has marked one of his company's most significant investments in plant with the purchase of two diggers, both spec'd with the innovative Hill Engineering quick coupler.


Gary has most recently purchased a Wacker Neuson EZ36 - the first sale in Europe of the upgraded compact excavator with a new Tier IV engine - and EZ80 - the manufacturer's biggest zero-tail excavator - from the Lanark depot of the Hamilton Ross Group, specifically for the additional flexibility on groundworks that he has come to expect from the Hill attachment.

This first became apparent in 2016 when Gary bought a new, hitch-less EZ17 mini-digger from another dealer and then had a Tefra Tilt fitted to give 180 flexibility.

“Straightaway, the benefits were brilliant,” he said.

He has not looked back since then. His first purchase from Hamilton Ross, in 2016, was an ex-demo 8003 triple-boom Wacker Neuson which came with a standard hitch but it was not long before Gary had it re-fitted with a Tefra Tilt, which combines the award winning Tefra coupler with an HKS extra-tilt power actuator.

Gary, who founded Collins Plant and Groundworks (Collins PAG) in the Scottish borders 15 years ago, has been using the latest additions to his plant portfolio on a large private pond project and a new car park for a wedding venue.

He said: “Operating an excavator without a tilting hitch is like having an arm without a wrist. You can pick up awkward loads without moving the machine which is a great time-saving benefit. You can also pick out exactly the material you want, and because of the angle at which you can work, it's very effective for example if you are excavating strip founds or drainage tracks in soft ground you can grade an angle on both sides at the top of the dig, stopping material from falling back into the excavation, making it safe and easier to work.

“It isn't just time saving, it's also more accurate. You can also intermittently use a breaker in the vertical position which you can't do with a rotating tilt. Factors like that I reckon give us a 20% time-saving, and over and above that, you are probably reducing the requirement for another man on the ground which you sometimes need when it comes to fine grading and trimming work.”

Collins PAG places great importance on operating modern, reliable equipment for reasons of efficiency, effectiveness and safety.

Gary added: “We have different operators on different machines all the time and the Tefra Tilt is a lot more user-friendly for less experienced operators.

“Although you can't rotate your bucket or attachments, the difference in cost more than outweighs not having the rotating function for us and is not an issue. We can always uncouple the bucket, turn and reattach it as a face shovel if required. I would say a tilting hitch can be up to 60% as effective as a rotating tilt hitch and probably a similar percentage cheaper also.”

Brian Hamilton, sales and brand manager of the Hamilton Ross Group, the UK's longest-standing Wacker Neuson dealer, said: “The Hamilton Ross Group have worked with Hill Engineering for three years. If a customer asks for a hydraulic quick hitch, then we will fit a Hill Tefra hitch.

“The award-winning Tefra coupler and HKS extra-tilt power actuator has proven to be very popular with our customer base. We have found the flexibility of a 180 tilt has helped us offer business with more dynamic solutions for groundworks and renovation projects, and that the simple and hard-wearing design is what makes this product a market leader.”

Andrew Muir, Hill Engineering's northern UK sales manager, said: “We have a strong relationship with Hamilton Ross and are proud to be supplying Collins PAG with our award-winning Tefra fully automatic couplers.”


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