A Hidromek timeline in NZ

In late 2017, Hidromek machinery hit the New Zealand shores after machinery supply company Magnum Equipment secured the local distributorship for the European-made brand

The H4 series

Originating out of Ankara, Turkey, Hidromek was established in 1978 and has since carved a sizeable market in its home country. Today, it’s distributed through exclusive dealerships in some 100 other countries around the globe.

Since the early days of building agricultural implements, the company made a successful transition to construction machinery and now operates out of five factories in Turkey and one in Thailand, with a staff of around 2000. Construction equipment supplied to the world market by Hidromek includes wheel loaders, motor graders, motorised compactors, backhoe loaders, and hydraulic excavators.

Finding an alternative

Liam Field standing next to the Hidromek HMK110CS construction roller

The Hidromek excavators were the first machines that caught the eye of Magnum Equipment founder and director Liam Field as he negotiated his way around bauma 2016, the world’s largest trade fair in the construction industry held every two years in France.

As Liam tells it, being not entirely satisfied with the excavators supplied to his large Magnum Hire fleet, he took a trip to bauma with the express purpose of finding an alternative to his current arrangements.

"I know I tell people this story a lot, but it’s true," says Liam. "I had people coming to me with gear they had on long-term hire from us a lot and telling me, ‘Mate, it started off good, but the machine is beginning to fall apart’.

"So, I thought there must be equipment out there that can stand up to the harsh conditions, and in a nutshell, that’s how I ended up with the Hidromek brand—made and real-life tested in a country that’s predominantly rock," Liam says.

The first machines

The 14-tonne HMK140LC was featured on DOW 293 cover

Since the arrival of the first machines at the end of 2017, equipment spotters, primarily in the upper North Island would have noticed a steady stream of Hidromek excavators into the country.

Starting with an initial shipment of four machines that arrived at the Magnum Equipment yard in early December 2017—14-tonne HMK140LC and 22-tonne HMK220LC excavators—Liam says around 80 machines now reside in New Zealand, the majority in the hands of owner-operators or owner-managers.

"A lot of machinery buyers here had also been looking for good alternatives to their existing makes," says Liam. "So, we really got off on the right foot."

Experience counts

Kim Dixon operating one of the first HMK220LCs in NZ

One of the first HMK220LCs was put in the hands of experienced and well-known operator Kim Dixon. When Deals on Wheels spoke to her in 2018, the machine had just clocked up 1000 hours on the meter.

Along with the many features Kim found beneficial, it was the smaller details that stood out for her, such as the additional wiper on the lower windscreen—a special bonus according to Kim, who has a background in drainlaying. "This machine is awesome to use. It’s stable and has heaps of grunt when excavating on-site," she said. "And it’s comfortable to be in all day."

‘001’ License to dig

Richard Algar

Another memorable moment for Liam was the sale of a 14-tonne Hidromek HMK140LC to owner-operator Richard Algar of Palmerston North. With more than 30 machines of varying brands under his belt, brand loyalty was something he steered shy of.

"To be honest, I’m not like some others who stay loyal to a particular distributor, although, I have had long-term runs with some brands," Richard said when interviewed in 2018. "I look at things more from the earning potential of a machine and the support I get from the distributor."

Liam says he felt Richard was one of those old-school guys who wanted a machine that could do the varied work thrown at rural-focussed contractors, along with a cab that’s comfortable to be in day-in and day-out.

"He must have liked the earning potential because he purchased a later model H4 off me, and we’ll be getting in to see him once he builds some hours up on his latest machine."

Leica machine control

Hayden McDermott

Another step forward for the brand came in 2018 with the arrival of more large excavators, including the 32-tonne Hidromek HMK300LC model, but it was the smaller, relatively speaking, HMK220LC that the focus was on when Deals on Wheels visited Hick Bros Civil Construction during 2019.

The reason for that was the 23.5-tonne machine had been fitted with a Leica iCon 3D excavate machine control system supplied by Global Survey. In the hands of experienced operator Hayden McDermott, he gave the pairing Hidromek and Leica his stamp of approval. "To be honest, this is a pretty good office to be in for up to 13 hours a day," he said.

The H4 series arrives

As Liam says, "seeing is believing" and despite the popularity of the new H4 series Hidromek HMK145LCSR demonstrator excavator at National Agricultural Fieldays®
a few months earlier, having the first full-shipment in the country towards the end of 2019 allowed orders to be filled and topped up the Magnum Equipment yard with stock of the very latest model.

"For us, it’s another feather in our cap having this machine," he said at the time.
"It allows us to offer the short radius that we couldn’t offer before. The 145 puts us in the game a bit more, allows us to sell a bit more. It’s an important addition to our portfolio."

Ace-ing it

The 16.8-tonne HMK145LCSR excavator in Ace Rental’s fleet

However, it wasn’t until a few weeks later in early 2020 before Deals on Wheels was able to get a closer look at one of the 16.8-tonne HMK145LCSR excavators in action when it paid a visit to Northland, shortly after delivery of two Hidromek excavators to the Ace Rentals fleet.

Ace Rentals boss Clem Simpkin was quick to say that he reckoned the white-liveried machines looked quite smart and stood out from other brands, following that up by saying the purchase was not for aesthetic reasons alone.

"Some people did ask me if I was crazy when I told them that I was looking at buying Hidromek machines," Clem said at the time. "I don’t think they had really taken the time to have a good look at the features and build quality."

More H4 series models arrive 

Operator Deveraux Marshall behind the controls of the newly arrived Hidromek HMK230LC

As 2020 has progressed, Liam says the H4 models are continuing to prove popular with buyers and the newly arrived 23.4-tonne Hidromek HMK230LC had caught the attention of a provincial contractor, who added it, along with the larger 32-tonne model in quick succession to their fleet.

Fortunately, Deals on Wheels got a chance to check out the machine prior to it being transported to its new province, and operator Deveraux Marshall gave his opinion after a stint behind the controls, coming away with a positive verdict. "It’s a nice machine. I would like to have more time to spend on it and see how it performs compared to my usual excavator," said Deveraux at the time.

Hidromek construction rollers 

With the expansion of the Hidromek brand in New Zealand, Liam’s latest foray has been the arrival of a compaction roller, hitting the pavement so-to-speak in early July 2020. It was a short visit to the Magnum Equipment yard to look over the just-arrived Hidromek HMK110CS construction roller.

Fresh out of the box, the 11.2-tonne Deutz-powered machine had already seen an interested party beat Deals on Wheels to the punch and as it turned out a day or so later, the machine was sent south before any of the team could put it through its paces locally.

"When we delivered the roller, we had a couple of hours while we waited for the guys to come out of the forest and collect the machine," says Liam. "I spent that time getting a feel for how it performed, and it did operate a lot better than other brand rollers we have in our fleet," he says.

Just the beginning

So, where to from here? "We’re really just beginning here," says Liam. "We will continue building on the strong foundation that has been set with our great customers. It’s only going to get better."

For more information, visit magnumequipment.co.nz.

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