Product profile: First Hidromek for Wellington

By: Steve Atkinson, Photography by: Phil Means

The Hidromek brand is now present in the Wellington region, with the first excavator being delivered to a local contractor


The recent arrival of a Hidromek HMK 145 LCSR H4 excavator has surely set Wellington equipment followers’ tongues wagging, with K&D Contracting moving aside from their usual brand of choice and taking delivery of their first Hidromek machine.


It’s the first Hidromek excavator working in Wellington

Weighing in at 16.6 tonnes and set up with a blade, rubber pads, and Robur DynaMax tilt coupler, the distinctive machine will be seen working on infrastructure and excavation projects around the city.


Owned by husband-and-wife team Karl and Debbie Randall, K&D Contracting 2013 Ltd, with their 20 staff, is well known in the region, who when not undertaking their own work, sub-contract out to a number of the larger infrastructure providers.

"It all seems to work pretty well," says Karl. "We’re a known quantity, so some companies will often get us in on a day rate and not worry about getting us to submit a fixed price, as they know we’ll do the job professionally and not slack around."

Stepping back into contracting


Like many family-owned businesses, Karl handles the operational side and Debbie takes care of administration for the company, which will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary.

"I spent many years employed in the industry, before moving into hospitality for four years with an American-styled diner. That wasn’t a good experience for us, and we eventually regrouped back into contracting, which is something we know well," says Karl.

Starting off in a new venture meant a secondhand four-tonne excavator and some long hours, but that first machine was paid off in six months and it paved the way for another excavator, a heavier workload, hiring of staff — you get the picture.

"Having a lot of old contacts certainly helped a lot, as we already had a track record, and as my old boss had retired, I didn’t feel like I was going behind anyone’s back. That’s the last thing I’d want to do," says Karl.

The move to Hidromek

Prior to the move to a different excavator brand, Karl says he spent a significant amount of time researching before finally going ahead with the Hidromek purchase.

"For me, I was impressed with the robust build quality, how they (Hidromeks) are spec’d, the different look from other brands, and the package that was being supplied," he says. "I also spent time looking at how they perform on YouTube and what we would be getting into by purchasing a Hidromek, before making the decision to give it a go."

Assisting in the decision-making process was the expertise and skill of Magnum Equipment territory manager Phil Means, who helped set up the HMK 145 LCSR H4 to Karl’s specific requirements.

"It certainly helps having an ex-mechanic selling you a machine, as Phil knows his product and there’s no pressure — just a thorough explanation on why a particular machine would be suited for the work being carried out. He’s invested 100%," says Karl.

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing, as Karl’s machine somehow ended up in Australia, no thanks to supply chain issues affecting many equipment importers these days.

"I felt sorry for the guys at Magnum, but they were outstanding and lent us a Hidromek excavator until our machine turned up. It’s service like that which makes you appreciate a good supplier," says Karl.

Out on site

With the arrival of the excavator, Karl says it took about a week to become accustomed to the different machine and he’s concluded that for his business, it’s better that it’s used by one person as opposed to a number of different operators.

"We have a number of operators from juniors right up to senior skilled staff, who often need to move across a variety of machines in any one day.

The new Hidromek is something different from what the team is used to, so we made the decision to keep it with one operator at this stage, so there’s someone who really knows the brand well and all of its handling idiosyncrasies," says Karl.

Set up with a purpose

Rear-view camera comes as standard

As mentioned earlier, the Hidromek HMK 145 LCSR H4 was supplied with bolt-on pads, a blade, Robur-built, and DynaMax tilt coupler for maximum left-right excavation versatility.

Additionally, front screen guarding has been fitted to the standard ROPS/FOPS cab, along with protection for the four exterior work lights that sit directly above the operator.

Seven worklights adorn the machine

Dark winter mornings and late-night jobs will be made all the better with good illumination with these and the other three lights positioned around the machine.

On the inside of the cab, the operator should be very happy with a fully air-conditioned workspace, air-suspension seat, and sounds from the quality four-speaker sound system.

Not to forget the rear-view camera and seven-inch monitor to keep across the health of the hydraulic and the 98hp Isuzu turbo-charged diesel-fed power supply systems.

"We’ve had the hydraulics adjusted a bit to allow us to slew and track at the same time, which enables the operator to easily blade out material without the reduction of work capabilities," says Karl.

The hydraulic system itself consists of Kawasaki double variable displacement axial piston pumps that provide 2 x 129 litres per minute to the business end of the machine.

Twin piping also adds to the versatility of the machine and although standard on the Hidromek range, is not that common with other excavator brands.

"From what I’ve seen, it’s a great machine, but not perfect — no machine is," says Karl. "I’m very happy with what we’ve got though and would purchase another Hidromek for sure. I’ve got my eye on a 45-tonner, if we get a certain job."

But that’s a whole other story. If a 45-tonne Hidromek ends up on the asset list, we could be back to see how Karl, Debbie, and the KD Contracting team are going a whole lot sooner than we think.

The HMK145 LCSR H4 has a maximum dump height of 6690mm when sitting at ground level

Hidromek HMK145 LCSR H4 specifications

Operating weight 16,000kg
Isuzu AJ 4JJ1X
Max torque
Emission system Tier 3
Main pump
2 x variable displacement piston pumps
Main pump oil flow
2 x 129L/min
Max travel speed High 5.7km/h
Low 3.4km/h
Bucket digging force
96 kN
Arm digging force
69 kN
Max digging reach (std arm)
8210 mm
Max dig depth
5360 mm
Max dump height
6690 mm
Min swing radius
1990 mm

For more information, visit

Find new and used heavy machinery for sale in NZ

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook