The latest evolution in equipment safety tech
By Louise Carney20 April 2022
The UK construction industry is rapidly becoming one of the safest throughout the World. Whilst Personal Protective Equipment has been the norm for many a year, systems designed to keep plant and machinery working safely are high on the agenda with both main contractors, clients and hire companies alike.
Louise Carney talks to new CEA member company Xwatch Safety Solutions about how the XW series is revolutionising the safety market, with height control, slew control, and rated capacity indicator (RCI) systems.
One of the most recent entrants into this market, and already a UK market leader with their height and slew restriction system, are UK technologists Xwatch.
Started in early 2019 when a group of talented and experienced people came together from a variety of roles within the industry, the team has over 140 years of combined knowledge in the development and creation of safety and machine control products.
They set themselves a challenge to make the most advanced and easy to use product not just for the UK market but for a global industry.
In the short time the company has been trading they have enjoyed great success with this technology throughout the UK and have also secured dealers and large contracts throughout Europe, Australasia, North America, and Canada.
At the core of their success is the XW series of products.
What do XW series units do?
Designed to be installed in half the time of a traditional RCI system and most importantly, operator friendly, the XW systems feature fully adjustable proportional hydraulic controls, PLC controllers, Canbus based software and a very impressive operating speed - all carrying a five-year warranty.
What appears to set the XW series apart from other systems of this type, is its simplicity for the operator.
Any limit of slew, height or depth can be set with four button pushes on the in-cab screen. The operator can either enter a given position or set the limit by maneuvering the machine into place.
Users have commented that as the system is so easy to set up and use, it is more likely to be used more often.
The Hydraulic soft stop as the machine reaches its limit has also been hailed as a ‘game changer’ with less stress and wear being placed on both the machine and the operator.
The XW systems also combine state-of-the-art telematics data output which can be viewed remotely, allowing total users to know exactly what, where and when a machine is operating.
Xwatch report that no other safety system can offer this making it another unique offering.
XW systems for rental equipment
The Xwatch suite of safety solutions has attracted some of the largest names in the UK plant hire industry to now specify XW systems as standard when clients specify height and slew limitations.
Explore Plant, Flannery Plant Hire, Lynch Plant, M O’Brien, Plantforce, Blackwood Plant Hire and Synergy Hire rank as some of the largest customers in the UK, along with dealers such as Hitachi Construction Machinery UK and Molson Group now fitting the systems at their own facilities prior to machine delivery.
The full range of XW systems are all designed and manufactured in the UK using only the highest quality components sourced from leading technology manufacturers.
The systems have undergone the most rigorous of testing scenarios before being launched to ensure they meet and exceed any current legislation.
This is within both the construction industry and the rail industry, where Xwatch are the only Network Rail approved off track safety systems supplier to be able to work up to the edge of the sleepers - this in itself has been a major achievement.
Xwatch Director of Sales and Operations Dan Leaney commented on the latest development, he said, “I am really proud that Xwatch has achieved this level of acceptance and we are working with key infrastructure projects around the country.
“To be officially approved by Network Rail is a valuable endorsement, in particular to our technical engineers, who design reliable safety solutions for key sectors.
“We have further ‘big rail news’ in the coming weeks – so watch this space.”
Customised height and slew safety systems
While standard systems are the day-to-day work for the team, specialist applications are also catered for in-house.
“We are always being asked if we can do this, to this.” Dan explained, “We will always approach a situation with an open mind and have yet to be defeated even on the most complex of systems. We have an unrivalled wealth of technical knowledge within the company that is hard to match.”
Excavator safety systems make up the bulk of the company’s work, but their technological advances have also secured them deals to supply systems to some of the UK and Europe’s largest fleets of MEWPs, to ensure they stay within their safe working zones.
Site dumpers are another area companies are fitting the systems to, monitoring both travel speed and angles when tipping with systems already being used on HS2.
XW units have already been fitted, tested, and approved to work on some of the largest infrastructure projects currently ongoing in the UK, with many of the clients now specifying Xwatch as their approved supplier of safety systems.
Many of the hire companies mentioned previously have been adding to their Xwatch equipped fleets recently, in readiness for their ongoing commitments with projects such as HS2.
Similarly, owner operators are also looking at adding both standard and bespoke XW systems to their own machines to ensure their safety, and that of those around them, on site.
From the company’s humble beginnings, Xwatch now trade around the world and have sold their 1000th UK unit to Flannery Plant.
The development team are backed up by a full country wide network of installers who all have a vast knowledge of the industry ensuring each and every installation is fitted and working correctly as well as guiding the operator through the basic features of each system.
Whilst machine safety plays a major role in the company’s fortunes, they are not happy with sitting on their laurels. “We have several new systems coming to the market in the very near future.,” says Dan.
“We have been testing a number of game-changing products in both machine safety and telematics for the past few months to great success and acceptance. You can safely say that the Xwatch revolution has arrived.”
*This article was first published under the title ‘The Xwatch Revolution - a new evolution in safety’ in the March 2022 edition of the CEA’s Construction Worx publication.