June 2005 News

JCB Plays a Starring Role in the “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

Intergalactic blockbuster “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is set to take cinemas by storm this year — with a helping hand from a dozen JCB machines, which make a spectacular cameo appearance. Douglas Adams’ sci-fi classic has received the Disney treatment and been turned into a feature film starring a whole host of household names.

But stars of the movie’s opening scenes are none other than JCB’s famous yellow excavators. Hitchhiking hero Arthur Dent awakes to find a convoy of roaring machines poised to bulldoze his home, but luckily for him he is whisked to safety by his alien friend Ford Prefect before Planet Earth is demolished in a huge explosion to make way for a hyperspace highway.

The novice space traveler then embarks on the greatest adventure in the universe, finding the meaning of life and discovering that everything he needs to know can be found in one book — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Excavator giants JCB were signed up for the multi-million pound production after impressing movie bosses with their huge range of machinery and highly skilled operators.

They star alongside a whole host of familiar faces, including “The Office’s” Martin Freeman as hero Arthur Dent, “Love Actually” star Bill Nighy and U.S. rapper Mos Def as Dent’s best friend Ford Prefect. Twelve JCB machines and a team of operators were whisked down to a secret location in rural Bedfordshire for eight days to film the movie’s explosive opening scene.

As well as starring in front of the cameras, the JCB team also played a vital role behind the scenes constructing sets and in the post-film clear up. The JCB “demolition” team included a cast of 8060 midi excavators, a JS200 wheeled excavator, a JS130 wheeled excavator, a 722 dump truck, a 456ZX wheeled loading shovel, a 4CX backhoe loader, a 3CX backhoe loader, a 411 wheeled loading shovel and a 532-120 Loadall telescopic handler.

One of the film’s “demolition crew” was JCB demonstrator Paul Knapper. The 52-year-old, from Tean, Staffordshire, England, admitted the chance to star in a big budget movie was a great experience.

“In 30 years of driving for JCB it is the first time I’ve had to jump out of the cab to escape from an alien invasion. But it was great fun and a fantastic opportunity,” Knapper said.


Perkins 400 Series Wins Prestigious Queens Award

Perkins Shibaura Engines Ltd. has been awarded the 2005 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category for its design winning 400 Series engines — exported to North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Small engines with a big punch, these compact engines range in power from 7 to 75 hp at 3,000 rpm and fit a wide range of applications including turf maintenance, compact construction equipment, lighting towers, generator sets, aerial lifts and general industrial applications such as welders and pump sets.
A delighted David Goldspink, general manager, Perkins Shibaura Engines, said: “This is an amazing accolade for us to have won. We are absolutely thrilled to win such a prestigious award. The 400 Series is well established in the marketplace as a class leader in the small engines market. Its popularity is steadily increasing as more and more original equipment manufacturers [OEMs] gain first-hand experience of these engines.”

“The 400 Series has been an outstanding export success and we are extremely proud to have our achievement recognized by winning a Queen’s Award,” said Katsuhiko Sasai, president of ISM (Ishikawajima Shibaura Machinery Co. Ltd.) in Tokyo. “ISM and Perkins have a long and successful partnership together and we are confident our small engine business will continue to be a truly global success.”

Global demand for Perkins 400 Series products has been steadily growing.
To meet demands, Perkins Engines and Ishikawajima Shibaura, parent companies of Perkins Shibaura Engines Ltd., opened the first-ever Perkins manufacturing plant in Georgia in 2004.

This plant now provides 400 Series engines to North American OEMs. It is expected to produce as many as 60,000 engines and this production will prove essential to meeting customer demand in North America.


“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” Gets Help from RSC in Kansas City

RSC Equipment Rental dealers are accustomed to getting unexpected telephone calls from people needing equipment and tools. After all, that’s what they’re in the business to do.

The RSC store in Kansas City, Mo., received an especially exciting request. The staff was invited to join the crew of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in a major local building project.

For each show, the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” entourage pulls up to the selected house in a huge, black customized bus with a television crew. Following team leader Ty Pennington, a band of planners and designers then descend on the site, working with a local builder and subcontractors to construct the new house.

RSC was involved at the project’s earliest stages, after being approached by Kevin Green, president of Kevin Green Homes in Parkville, Mo. Green was the project’s general contractor, and he is a loyal RSC customer.

“We were already part of their team on an everyday basis, so it made perfect sense that we would be involved withthem in ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’” said Larry Reeves, district manager for RSC.

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” chose Kansas City because of Stephen Johnson, a true local hero. Last year, Johnson was one of six Kansas City firefighters who risked their lives in a barrage of gunfire to save a paramedic who had been shot in the chest when responding to a fire emergency. Mary Seymour, the wounded paramedic, nominated Johnson for “Extreme Makover: Home Edition” after she realized she could have died at the scene if Johnson hadn’t rescued her. Seymour also discovered that Johnson was a single father of five, two of whom he adopted when their mother died.

Johnson’s blended family squeezed into a modest 1,200-sq ft ranch house, where three of the boys slept in the basement. Their living room wasn’t big enough for all of them to sit down at the same time. To help support his family and keep them together, Johnson works nights to supplement his firefighter’s income.

When word reached the Kansas City construction community that “Extreme Makeover” had selected the Johnson home, it generated an avalanche of responses from local businesses, corporations and individuals offering to contribute.

“The support from the community has been overwhelming,” said
contractor Green. “Everything from the nails to the grass to every drop of sweat has been donated.”

One of the major contributors was RSC Equipment Rental, which provided numerous pieces of machinery, utility vehicles, tools, containers, lights, generators, heaters and more — even 300 hardhats for the onsite work crews.

A major home-building project like this would typically take about four months, but thanks to incredible coordination and cooperation, the new house was successfully finished on schedule, in just seven hectic days. Not counting donated labor, RSC’s expenses to the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” project were about $19,000.


Environmental Cab-Equipped John Deere Dozers Make Ideal Fire-Fighting Machines

When wildfires are running rampant across North America’s forests, crawler dozers are first in line to help. These machines and their operators work in the most difficult conditions imaginable, contending with smoke and flames of monumental proportions to contain the dangerous blazes.

Dozers play a critical role in fire suppression. Fighting forest fires involves applying extinguishing agents, removing fuel and isolating the fire until it’s contained and burns itself out. Dozers work alongside hand crews to construct fire lines around the fires, removing fuel from their path to prevent spreading, while trucks, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft douse the flames with water and foam.

It’s dangerous work and there’s no room for equipment failure. Machines need to be reliable, simple and able to work in the harshest conditions, according to Jim Karels, assistant director of the Florida Division of Forestry. Of the Division’s 250 dozers, 60 percent are John Deere machines. Medium crawlers such as the John Deere 550H and 650H are the Division’s primary on-the-ground firefighting equipment. These machines are used to scrape 8- to 10-ft wide firebreaks to stop the fire from reaching property and natural resources.

“Hand crews can’t handle the heavy fuel loads down here — you have to have dozers,” Karels said. “The medium crawlers are our initial attack tractors. We use them to cut two or more fire lines to keep the fire small.”

Each of the Division’s dozers is prepared for the harsh requirements of the job by G.R. Mfg., a company that customizes the John Deere crawlers with the special equipment needed to fight fires. The main objective is to protect the operator as much as possible. Key among these special customizations is the environmental cab — an enclosed, air-conditioned operator’s station equipped with a sophisticated air-filtration system to protect the operator from smoke and dust. The system consists of three stages: a spark-arresting screen; a
high-efficiency particle element; and an activated-carbon element to absorb hydrocarbons.


New Ingersoll-Rand AirSource Compressors

Combining IR’s Long-Time Valued Features with Its Latest Technologies

Ingersoll-Rand recently introduced its new AirSource and AirSource Plus portable rotary-screw compressors, combining all the valued features of the previous generation of compressors with the latest IR technologies. According to company officials, the corrosion-resistant compressors offer rental customers Ingersoll-Rand quality and reliability, with enhanced performance and value.

The Ingersoll-Rand AirSource compressor, 160 cfm at 100 psi, runs off a high-performance 49-hp Ingersoll-Rand diesel engine that has an eight-hour runtime. The AirSource weighs only 1,850 lbs and allows for two-tool use, creating the best value in a 160-cfm compressor size. The Ingersoll-Rand AirSource Plus, 185 cfm at 100 psi, is for higher-demand applications and is available with either a 62.4-hp Ingersoll-Rand diesel engine or a 65-hp John Deere diesel engine. The AirSource and AirSource Plus come in a compact size, with an overall width of 67 in. and overall height of 59 in.

Both the AirSource and the AirSource Plus feature a new modular design canopy. The lockable, lightweight and aerodynamic canopy is made of virtually indestructible composite material. In addition, the compressors’ compact frames and tow bars go through a three-step paint process for excellent resistance to corrosion and abrasion. These two features, combined with the composite fenders and rear bumpers, give it the best corrosion resistance in the industry, say IR officials. Manufacturer’s List Price: $16,090-$17,224

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