Product feature: Hidromek HMK102B

By: Chris McCullough, Photography by: Chris McCullough

When a Donegal plant hire company required a replacement backhoe, owner Joe Barron travelled to Scotland to view a Hidromek HMK102B and bought it on the spot.

The partnership between Joe Barron and his 10-year-old New Holland B110B backhoe was coming to an end and so the Donegal man was looking for a replacement.

Joe has been involved with operating plant machinery for almost half a century and wanted to change his old New Holland B110B backhoe, which had accumulated 16,500 hours this year.

Joe’s 2016 Hidromek HMK 102B is in everyday use

Back in March 2018, Joe and his son Stephen, who operate Barron Plant Hire from their base in Sappagh near Muff, took the ultimate decision to upgrade their faithful New Holland but the decision on what to purchase next was proving quite tough.

"The New Holland B110B certainly had been a good workhorse," says Joe. "I am contracted in to Donegal Council for excavator work and have been working for them for the past 44 years.

"I mostly work around the Inishowen area of Donegal at whatever the council needs. The New Holland was 10 years old and had 16,500 hours on the clock, which caused a bit of a hurdle when trying to sell it locally.

"We would have liked to have bought another New Holland but a deal was not on the table so it was time to look further afield.

The backhoe has a maximum digging depth of 4.4m and a reach of 6.8m

"One evening, Stephen noticed the Kattrack International Limited page on the internet and saw they had a 2016 Hidromek HMK 102B demonstrator for sale with just 1100 hours on the clock," he says.

Joe took one look at the excavator and immediately booked the ferry to go over and have a look at the Hidromek, which was located at the dealer’s depot in Ayrshire.

"We didn’t waste any time and got on the ferry immediately to go and see the Hidromek," said Joe. "All I knew about the brand was that it was made in Turkey and had a good reputation in manufacturing powerful machines.

"This particular digger was being used as a demonstrator model by the Kattrack company and was already working on-site when we arrived.

"I was able to have a go myself," adds Joe, "and I was well impressed with the machine."
Joe and Stephen did a deal for the Hidromek while in Scotland, which included trading in his reliable New Holland backhoe.

Exceeds expectations

Joe Barron is well pleased with his Hidromek backhoe

The Hidromek HMK 102B is powered by a Perkins four-cylinder 1104D-44TA diesel engine rated at 100hp. A total of six forward and three reverse gears propel the backhoe via the autoshift transmission.

The front arm can extend to 3.2-metre high while the backhoe has a maximum digging depth of 4.4 metres and a reach of 6.8 metres. Inside the cab, the operator is treated to a host of features, including a cool box, air conditioning, lots of storage, three-inch LCD display, and an air-suspended seat.

Still using his Hidromek daily, Joe is full of praise for his backhoe with his main satisfaction coming from the savings he is making on fuel use.

"I normally work 40 hours per week for the council and am already experiencing half the fuel use in a week with the Hidromek compared to the New Holland," says Joe.

Cab interior layout is comfortable and spacious

"Even though the Hidromek is around one tonne heavier than the New Holland and is 10hp less, I am experiencing a significant reduction in diesel use.

"If this rate continues, I estimate I will save around 5000 litres of diesel in one year, which represents huge savings for an owner-operator like me.

"I am impressed with so many features on this backhoe compared to other machines such as more technology, safety cut off valves on every ram, and a full set of worklights. 

Visibility is also maximised for the operator

"In order to cater for all the job types I carry out with the Hidromek, I have a full set of buckets for the backhoe including a one foot, a two foot, a three foot, one 18-inch, and a six foot bucket.

"I have plenty of room inside the cab where all the controls and instruments are well laid out. Visibility is superb all around the excavator from the operator seat and the Hidromek is extremely quiet running.

"My impulse buy on this occasion has proven to be beneficial all round and so far I am suitably impressed with Hidromek."

The Hidromek HMK 102B is powered by a Perkins four-cylinder 1104D-44TA diesel engine rated at 100hp

About Hidromek NZ 

Hidromek NZ distributors Magnum Equipment says that while there are no firm plans to import backhoes into the country, they are happy to talk to anyone interested.

"If we did bring any backhoes in, there would be the appropriate measures in place to ensure owners received the correct levels of support and service," says Magnum director Liam Field.

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