Review: Hyundai Robex 250LC-9 excavator

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With that brand-new smell and full of features, Ron Horner spent a happy afternoon looking over the latest addition to contractor Andy Haggarty’s fleet, a Hyundai Robex 250LC-9 excavator

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Heading off for the Long Reach refit

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I have often wondered upon meeting certain contractors what has caused them to have selected one particular brand of machinery to run within their fleet.

There are many excellent heavy machinery dealers in Australia which supply a big range of good quality products, and with interest rates at an all-time low, this surely must make the decision to go with one brand a difficult choice to make?

On a long overdue meeting with one of Queensland’s leading long reach and amphibious excavator contractors I was surprised to see his fleet was comprised solely of Hyundai branded equipment. Last time I caught up with him he had a variety of branded machines and of differing sizes offering a variety of "out of the square" options for clients.

In saying this, Andy Haggarty is well known for his ability to come up with that very special, out of the ordinary and unique piece of gear that is as rare as "canine teeth on your pet parrot". He has been specialising in on water works for so many years he forgets how old he is but I know he started off operating draglines with his dad on the canal developments on the Gold Coast way back in the early 80’s.

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Andy Haggarty with his new Hyundai 250LC-9

Over the years he has had a bit of everything but stuck to his specialty "bread and butter" stuff being water works or that which is closely related. His expertise in long reach and amphibious excavators is well recognised Australia-wide, winning Earthmover and Civil Contractor Magazine "Contractor of the Year" in 2015.

Haggarty is a bloke who travels to the beat of his own drum and is not swayed by anyone or anything, so when I noticed his fleet of Hyundai excavators I just had to ask the proverbial question... why Hyundai ?

Haggarty reckons that they are as good as you can get for his applications and he has had a brilliant run with several other Hyundai excavators over the years. Porter Equipment has been a solid distributor and parts supplier and with the interest rate at present at an all-time low, he just stuck with what was proven.

In his yard upon arrival, I saw a Hyundai 210LC-9 long reach excavator on a REMU Big Float pontoon undergoing repairs after recently purchasing it for a WA mine contract. Beside the shed was a 45t Hyundai long reach excavator having the final paint touches done after coming home from a 12 month stint away and just off the float was a brand new Hyundai 250LC-9 with "Ronnie’s" name on the door.

Well fancy that!

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No digging today ... darn

WALKAROUND

As with every new machine I see it never ceases to impress me the level of detail, quality workmanship, technological changes, performance and operator comfort that is built into the new machines of today and this Hyundai LC-9 is no exception.

Conventional body lines but with a perfect paint and panel finish got my heart racing so much that I had to ask the nurse for my heart attack pills should I get a bit carried away!

Sitting beside the other two Hyundai long reach excavators, it seemed like they had just given birth to a brand new baby and it was its first day out of hospital. Unbeknown to me at the time, Haggarty is removing the conventional standard arm of this new 250LC-9 and replacing it with a brand new long reach arm and boom, giving him three long reach Hyundai excavators in his fleet and the family will be complete.

It would have been a good chance to get the three long reach diggers together as I haven’t seen three in the one yard owned by the same contractor in my life so that would have been a first for me – maybe next time.

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Sweet, smart and simple

ON THE JOB

Although Haggarty has a good sized property I was not able to demonstrate the 250LC-9 to any major extent due to some underground services and, with the continuing drought, the extremely dry conditions would only cause a major dust storm around his home … so extreme is the extent of this drought.

I did however get to the operators seat and did some fancy phantom or shadow digging just to see if the balance of the machine was up to scratch at differing speeds and as with everything out of the Hyundai Korean factories these days it was totally up to scratch. The joystick controls are designed in a manner to minimise wrist fatigue, with a new forward-facing shape and four switches associated with attachments and horn. The slew speed was quick and smooth, the track speed both on high and slow speed was strong and powerful for this sized machine and operation of the upper carriage was extremely smooth and operator-friendly in a very quiet, noise resistant cabin.

Haggarty has promised me a return trip once the machine is fitted with the long reach so that will be a demonstration that I am looking forward to bringing to you.

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The smell of the brand new cabin is something everyone should experience

IN THE CAB

What really gets up your nose is the smell … that unique aroma that one can only get when you step or sit in a brand new machine. No lingering body odour or fart smells from the previous guy on shift, no spilled food or empty bottles slinking around the back of the operator’s seat. Perfectly cleaned glass and the operator’s controls spotlessly cleaned and free from grease or oil stains… oh I just had to take it all in for a while.

Just sitting there is an experience everyone should enjoy at least once in their lives!  

Eventually getting my mind back on the job, my body then stepped up to the plate and reminded me of the comfortable seating that someone had perfectly set to suit my short legged, fat arsed, big bellied body. It was truly as if I had pre-set the operators seating myself.

Great vision from the big glassed cabin, which for some reason seemed to me to be a touch wider than normal, a MP3/CD player  with remote control, small cup holder and an ashtray, plenty of storage compartments and, keeping up with technology, a hand- free mobile phone with USB connector … fantastic.

In perfect view is the large 7-inch LCD monitor, which makes it easy to check all the critical systems via the easy-to-read indicators.

The advanced CAPO (Computer Aided Power Optimization) system tunes engine and pump power to optimum levels. Multiple mode selections are available for various work-loads, maintaining high performance while reducing fuel consumption. Features also include auto deceleration and power boost, and the system monitors engine speed, coolant and hydraulic oil temperature. Contained within the system are self-diagnostic capabilities that display error codes on the monitor.

Combine all of this with the fully adjustable air operated seating (optional bum warmer available) and you have an office capable of housing the operator until the fuel runs out.

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Spotless engine bay of the brand spanker

UNDER THE HOOD

Access to the side covered hydraulics, fuel filters for servicing and the radiator/oil cooler system are all ground based access, which makes life easy for everyone. Lubrication points are all centrally located barring boom, bucket and dipper but they are designed to take the pain out of greasing up.

The Hyundai 250LC-9 runs the tried and true 406 cubic inch (6.7-litre) Cummins QSB6.7 turbo charged, water cooled, four-cycle six- cylinder diesel engine with direct injection. It drives the 2 x 222 litre per minute variable displacement tandem axis piston pumps, which complement the machine’s performance overall.

Chuck 400 litres of fuel into the tank on this well balanced little 25 tonner and you have got yourself a neat little workhorse that has for many years impressed the industry.

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Well balanced little digger

THE BOTTOM LINE

They Hyundai excavator range has certainly made massive inroads into the Australian overseas market since the company started producing vehicles in 1947. Now a power house manufacturer worldwide with heavy industry, ship building, motor vehicle and machinery all covered, Hyundai are up there with the best of the best.

Hyundai helped bail out KIA during some difficult financial trading times and has had a major input into the design of its car range; so much so that the Qld Police Force have now incorporated the KIA Stinger as the Police Pursuit vehicles car of choice to replace its Holden Commodore range. That is a pretty high recommendation in any language.

I can’t wait to get a full day on this little digger once it is set up with the long reach so we can put it to a real test. However, I don’t think there will be anything to disappoint anyone in the performance as this Hyundai 250LC-9 has impeccable breeding from impeccable bloodlines … watch this space!

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