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Balfour Beatty Power Networks to use 'McCormick muscle' for powerline installation and maintenance operations

Burgess supplies 30 New McCormick tractors to strengthen Balfour Beatty'sfleet of off-highway tractors for powerline maintenance, renewal and installation

Five McCormick MTX120 and MTX135 BetaPower six-cylinder tractors (115hp and 131hp) for towing, heavy winching and vehicle recovery

Twenty-five McCormick CX85 XtraShift four-cylinder tractors (84hp) with loaders and winches for component lifting and general handling duties

Balfour Beatty Power Networks Ltd, the UK's leading contractor for the installation, refurbishment and maintenance of the nation's overhead electricity power lines, has chosen a fleet of McCormick agricultural tractors to provide the muscle for winching, heavy on-site towing and component handling operations.

The tractors, built at McCormick's assembly plant in Doncaster, South Yorkshire - one of only two major tractor production centres in Britain . "We've previously bought tractors from the Doncaster factory and they've given us very good service," says Rob Sonnex, mechanical plant manager at Balfour Beatty Power Networks, Derby. "When it came to expanding our fleet in anticipation of a busy powerline renewals programme in 2005, McCormick was the obvious choice."

The 30 new tractors - all turned out in Balfour Beatty's blue corporate livery instead of the familiar McCormick red and silver - join eight McCormick MTX tractors purchased early last year. A key feature of these six-cylinder models is the cast chassis frame that gives the tractors enormous strength; on many tractors, the engine and transmission are used as the main stress bearing components. "We'll be using the two MTX135s for towing cable drum puller-tensioner units that can weigh up to 18.5 tonnes, while the three MTX120s will have 5 tonne capacity winches installed for straining the conductors," explains Mr Sonnex. "Tensioning operations can put huge loads on the tractors but judging by past experience, we know the McCormick MTX can cope."

Burgess will fit all five of the MTX tractors with hydraulic loaders for general handling duties while BBPN's own engineering workshops at Derby will install the winches. A front-end hydraulic loader and smaller 2 tonne winch will be fitted to each of the 84hp McCormick CX85 XtraShift tractors, which will be used to hoist components such as insulators and running out bocks into position on pylons. The tractors will also have rear-mounted lifting forks for carrying conductor reels on site. "With all powerlines running across farmland and other difficult terrain, we need appropriate vehicles to move and operate equipment on-site," notes Mr Sonnex. "The McCormick tractors will play a key role in the big powerline renewals programme that Balfour Beatty Power Networks has lined up this year."



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