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Kelly Earthmoving prove MB1200 to be the perfect tool for an extremely challenging job

At a large quarry in the Midlands, Kelly Earthmoving have used the best equipment and advanced civil engineering solutions to deliver some enabling works associated with the installation of a cable suspended conveyor that will span nearly 1km across the quarry.

Hydraulic breaker MB 1200 on Menzi Muck

In the right hands, the right equipment can move earth that is inaccessible to others


Kelly Earthmoving were brought on to the site due to their experience and specialist capability. The Irish company has a UK base in Preston and undertakes a variety of specialist work across the country. Whilst having Earthmoving in their name, the company headed up by Gerry Kelly offers a more specialised service to their long standing clients. 


Not only does Kelly Earthmoving move awkward earth but they also incorporate complex ground engineering into the package. From bank stabilisation, piling and de-vegetation work, the wide variety of services offered by the company, allied to the specialist equipment they run, puts them in a leading position for the technically demanding projects their clients entrust them with.

"We can move earth, but that’s a little boring to us. We move earth from places others can’t or won’t get to. We already undertake rock breaking and cutting for our existing clients. But this project has seen us extracting and breaking far more rock than we have ever done on a single job. It’s been a tough but enjoyable project to be involved in but also one that has been hard on the equipment."

Gerry Kelly, Kelly Earthmoving

The team created a 33 degree ‘slot’ through the upper quarry benches, where the team encountered the very hard rock that the quarry is famous for.

The project has seen the Kelly team on site for 12 months working on two separate sites. At the time of writing, the terminal anchor point for the suspended conveyor system had been excavated and construction of a large concrete foundation was underway. This left the small but highly experienced team working almost at the top of the quarry and adjacent to an existing haul road. The team had already created a working platform to allow the civil contractor to construct a piled wall which released the area required to construct the suspended conveyor's deflection tower. Once completed, the Kelly team were back on site to create a 33 degree ‘slot’ through the upper quarry benches to accommodate the conveyor's cable catenary profile.


From the upper platform, Kelly formed a slope down through the mudstone and rock to where a second working platform was broken out and levelled. At this point the team encountered the very hard rock that the quarry is famous for. 

"We had a number of options for the removal of the rock head. We looked at sawing sections out, but the rock was littered with enough fractures that allowed us the quicker option of using hydraulic breakers instead."

Gerry Kelly, Kelly Earthmoving
Whilst some of the exposed rock was easy to remove, the company found that the material below wasn’t and ended up breaking a number of hammers and countless chisels in the process.

"It was getting beyond a joke. Every couple of days we were breaking a chisel or sometimes more. Our usual hammers were struggling with the hard rock so we decided to look at investing in something more reliable and productive to complete the job. Coyle Equipment Services has been supporting us on this project from their new, purpose built depot in West Bromwich, so on the advice of William Coyle we used an Epiroc MB 1200 hammer as a replacement for one of our existing tools. And to be fair, we have been very impressed with the Epiroc breaker’s reliability and performance."

Gerry Kelly, Kelly Earthmoving
MB 1200 on Menzi Muck close up

Gerry explained that he and the team had been very impressed with the Epiroc breaker's reliability and performance

Carefully driving a path through the rock, the 12 tonne, 157hp Menzi Muck wields the Epiroc MB 1200 hammer with ease despite it being designed for the larger 15-26t carrier range. The Menzi is a massive powerpack, it will push out over 200 litres per minute with the Powerline pump, far more than the Epiroc breaker requires. Lift capacity even at its full 6m reach is over 4 tonnes making the Menzi an ideal hydraulic attachment carrier. Carrying a hefty 120mm diameter chisel, the MB 1200 delivers between 340 and 680 blows per minute which according to Gerry is more than capable of taking apart the rock they were now encountering. Fitted with Epiroc’s Autocontrol system, the hammer is able to detect pressure on the chisel. It also detects when the chisel breaks through the material to protect it from blank firing and causing potential damage to the percussion chamber. 

"We’ve been very impressed with the hammer. It’s more compact than the ones we have in the fleet, yet the performance is far better than anything we have used before. We’ve not had to change the chisel at all as the Epiroc original seems to be made of stern stuff. The men and machines have performed very well on the project. We don’t take on ordinary jobs, we always like a challenge!"

Gerry Kelly, Kelly Earthmoving

Application story and photos originally produced by Paul Argent and first published in Earthmovers Magazine May 2021

International MB hydraulic breakers Customer story Application story 2021 United Kingdom