From an impressive collection of 33 demolition excavators ranging from 1.4 t to its remarkable 102 t high-reach excavator, Jet Demolition has a truly extensive equipment fleet. “All our excavators are able to carry various demolition tools such as hydraulic hammers, shears, crushers, grapples, hacking tools, rippers, and buckets,” explains Bradley Slooten, Equipment Asset Manager at Jet Demolition.
In addition to excavators, the fleet includes telescopic handlers, skidsteer loaders with various attachments, front-end loaders, tool master loaders, rigid dump trucks, and articulated dump trucks, providing the right equipment for any demolition project.
A standout feature is that Jet Demolition owns all its equipment. “We invest heavily in our fleet, and always have direct access to whichever item of equipment we require, without being dependent on external providers,” says Slooten.
Traditionally, core equipment was replaced at the 6 000-hour mark, but advancements in technology and higher-quality consumables have extended machine retention. The plan now is to trade in equipment at the 10 000-hour mark, showcasing Jet Demolition’s commitment to efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
When it comes to a typical demolition project, Jet Demolition deploys demolition excavators of different sizes based on the scope, spacing, and project duration. Slooten highlights the essential attachments used. It ranges from excavators equipped with a hydraulic hammer for concrete demolition to a hydraulic shear to demolish steel structures. A mechanical grapple loads scrap steel while buckets convey rubble generated by demolition activities. Telescopic handlers feature forks and grapple buckets.
While Jet Demolition owns the majority of its fleet, it does contract equipment in certain situations, most often to support local communities and emerging suppliers. Rubble removal, ablution hire, and lighting plants are examples. “Our commitment to fostering local relationships is an integral part of our approach,” says Slooten.
Jet Demolition’s ability to develop its own equipment sets it apart in the industry. “For larger industrial projects, we use boom extensions and hacking tools to safely demolish structures that are out of reach for conventional excavators,” he adds. Hydraulic shears weighing about 10 t are used to process and demolish heavy steel members, avoiding conventional hot-work methods. Furthermore, hydraulically driven magnet attachments load scrap steel efficiently. “Our adaptability allows us to tackle unique challenges and optimise our demolition processes,” says Slooten.
When it comes to sourcing equipment, Jet Demolition procures excavators from OEMs based in South Africa. Specialised demolition tools and attachments are sourced directly from international manufacturers. “We have access to top-quality machinery and attachments at all times,” says Slooten.
Flexibility and customisation are key factors in Jet Demolition’s approach. “We are often faced with jobs that may require an unconventional approach to demolition,” highlights Slooten. For such projects, its internal engineering department and operations team collaborate to develop customised attachments or equipment. Once the design is complete, the attachments are fabricated in-house with the assistance of the boiler shop. “Our in-house capability allows us to tailor equipment to meet specific project requirements,” says Slooten.
The fleet includes some remarkable and highly specialised pieces of equipment. There is a Hitachi high-reach machine that can work 34 m above ground level, equipped with three quick-release booms to cater for different heights. Jet Demolition also has the largest Epiroc hydraulic hammer available, capable of effortlessly tackling the most monolithic concrete structures. Additionally, the fleet includes a 12 t hydraulic demolition shear to sever large steel sections.
Maintenance plays a vital role in equipment efficiency and safety. Jet Demolition recently introduced an Oil Quick system for its machines. It is a fully hydraulically powered automated quick coupler allowing machine attachments to be changed in seconds. The system enhances versatility and reduces standing time on-site, optimising efficiency. In terms of safety, it eliminates the need for personnel to assist to change attachments.
Jet Demolition has also embraced remote-controlled machines for high-risk jobs. It has 6 t, 20 t, and 80 t excavators equipped with remote-control systems. “We can completely eliminate the risk of having an operator in the machine. It is instead operated from a safe distance as if the operator is still right in the cab,” says Slooten. Such technology is particularly useful for situations where the risk to operators is high, as when dealing with sinkholes or compromised structures.
Skilled operators are crucial to Jet Demolition’s success, which prioritise internal growth and development of its personnel. Operators start by operating smaller machines with basic attachments and receive guidance from experienced operators and senior site managers. Through coaching, guidance, and hands-on experience, they progress to larger machines and more demanding sites, ensuring a highly skilled workforce.
Jet Demolition’s dedication to equipment excellence extends to its fully independent workshop and boiler shop. With a team of 15 personnel, the workshop handles all maintenance and repairs. Field mechanics are skilled to work on excavators and machinery on-site as well as specialised tools and attachments. This comprehensive approach means equipment remains in optimal condition and minimises downtime.
“We mainly focus on preventative maintenance, but our field mechanics are fully equipped to deal with any unforeseen breakdowns we may experience, without delay. Our specialised fleet, commitment to innovation, and focus on safety and efficiency have established us as an industry leader in demolition,” concludes Slooten.