Finning supports installation of Europe’s largest water wheel 

Plant hire firm Buckland Newton Hire (BNH) has expanded its Cat® excavator fleet from Finning UK & Ireland to install what is thought to be Europe’s largest electric producing waterwheel at their Dorset headquarters.

A longstanding Finning customer, BNH, first invested in Cat machines 30 years ago when it was established, offering self-drive hire diggers, dumpers, excavators, and telehandlers. Having installed hydro schemes for some customers, the company sought planning permission for their own water wheel to power their business and houses. 

Once approved the firm purchased two new Cat 302.7 mini excavators and took a Cat 320 2D medium excavator on trial, as they look to expand their hire fleet into the larger machine sector and to complete the necessary groundworks and landscaping.

Reuben Bentham, Territory Account Manager at Finning, said he has been working closely with Buckland Newton Hire for just over two years.

He said: “Buckland Newton Hire, having a fleet of more than 80 machines now has a reputation for staying ahead of the curve and ordering new Cat models early, and they run more than 40 small to medium Cat excavators with the largest being a 15 tonne which they’ve purchased over the last five years.

“When we heard about their water wheel project, we provided the latest 20 tonne Cat 320 2D on demo for them to use – as it’s a huge piece of engineering. The wheel is over eight metres in diameter which meant it needed substantial groundworks to be able to install it and they’re also landscaping the whole surrounding area with paths for viewing and safety.” 

Manager and Director Brad Perrett, said he believed once completed the waterwheel will be the largest in Europe, capable of a flow of 150 litres per second which will power 20 commercial units, five houses and some stable blocks located at their family farm. 

He said: “The waterwheel has been an interesting project to work on as we carry out all sorts of renewable energy schemes for clients but not for ourselves, and it has all been done with our own Cat machines and operators. 

“Our location really lent itself to this kind of hydro scheme and it has meant raising one of our lakes here by nine metres, but we’re almost complete now and I believe it will be the biggest electrically generating water wheel in Europe once it’s running.

“We’ve used Cat machines from Finning to carry out the work as we’ve always run them from the 80s because they’re good machines and we trust them and know them inside out. Finning has always offered us good customer service, and although we do a lot of our own servicing, Finning is great at supplying any parts we need and providing any diagrams to our mechanics.

“Caterpillar reliability and resale value, together with the after-service repairs and support Finning provides through the warranty give us complete peace of mind and make them ideal for our business.”

Reuben added: “It’s really great to see the Cat product dominate their fleet and I look forward to working with Brad in the future in whatever direction their business takes.”