THE LIFE OF BRYAN
Liam Bryan also known as DiggerBry online is one of the latest faces to hit construction’s social media heights of late. A skilled operator whose tantalising tilt rotator videos have been referred to as ‘digger ASMR’, Liam shares videos of himself putting his Hitachi excavator equipped with Engcon to good use for construction firm ‘Alliance Groundworks & Civil Ltd’ based in the West Midlands, the centre of the UK.
Liam started life on site as a bricklayer but had bigger dreams to be behind the levers. “I used to be doing my job with one eye and watching the groundworkers and operators with the other, in awe. I knew I had the option to get onto a machine as my best mate’s uncle owned M&J Evans, the large Midlands-based contractor. But I wanted to give bricklaying my best shot first.” He eventually started driving machines at the age of 18, in the UK, before packing his bags and heading to Sydney, Australia. There, Liam worked on railways and roadworks jobs for 2 years.
“Now, I get lots of compliments about my operating skills – especially as I don’t have GPS and have the extra accuracy with my tilt rotator. I think this is because I always pushed myself and set challenges for myself. My aim was to be the best on site and believe me, I had some great competition and inspiration from old boys!”
THE SOCIAL MEDIA
When Liam decided to start a specific Instagram account to document his work journey, never did he imagine amassing over 90,000 followers in less than a year. “I used to travel a lot with my girlfriend, and we shared an account to post our photos. We had a few thousand followers and thought we were killing it! I thought people would be way more interested in my photos from backpacking in Bali than me sat in the seat of my excavator, but little did I know how big this was going to get…”
Liam’s first taste of his construction fame was his visit to PlantWorx show earlier in the year. “I could not get my head around people wanting to come and talk to me, recognising my face and wanting a photo. It was a new world for me and it really makes me feel like I have a responsibility to share the great things about this industry and bring others into it.”
This is reflected in his work with ‘GoConstruct’, the part of the CITB tasked with getting more young people into the trade. Liam has produced day-in-the-life videos which have been used to target potential candidates for a career in construction. “I love working with the organisations that want to make a difference. The team behind Conexpo show – the Association of Equipment Manufacturers – invited me onto their podcast to talk about my career here in the UK and back when I used to operate in Australia. That recognition and platform means a lot”.
The Hitachi dash-seven 13-tonne machine is Liam’s chosen chariot. “I have always been on a Hitachi and I have no complaints, but also no comparisons. In this latest model, I like the modern screen and the comfy cab. The seat is great to spend a shift in. It’s a spacious and comfortable environment with decent storage. As for the controls, they are smooth and controlled.”
Its Stage V engine allows for a 9% reduced fuel consumption compared to previous model, and does not require an SCR system, eliminating the need for ad blue. True to Liam’s words, Hitachi say that improved comfort in the cab is due to an integrated console, seat suspension, reduced noise and low vibration levels.
“It’s a pretty faultless machine. If I had to find something, the fan blows dust everywhere! But they know about this issue and I’m not the only one to notice it.”
“My tilt rotator is the game-changer. I can do certain jobs which I could never do before, getting the bucket into every little situation. The normal bucket the machine was supplied with didn’t hold much and wasn’t the best size, but the Engcon bucket is a much better shape and I can achieve a better load with the depth of it.
“I haven’t scratched the surface with attachments; I only have a bucket. It’d be such a blessing to get the full works as I genuinely think my platform could show off how versatile the tilt can be. I’m lacking in the add-on department though…I don’t even have the gripper on the back!”
The Engcon TC214 works with the S45 quick hitch. It’s running a DC2 proportional control system for infinitely variable control with remote support capability, track/wheel steering and boom slew. The electrical system can be adapted for 12 or 24 volts.