Safety tech is key part of UK rental firm’s €50m fleet investment

UK-based rental company Thomas Plant Hire (TPH) has revealed that it is planning to invest around £50 million (€56 million) in new plant and machinery during the coming year.

A thomas Plant Hire excavator in action Thomas Plant Hire has already fitted 65 of its excavators with systems from Xwatch. (Photo: XWatch)

The company, which is based in Holywell in Wales and operates an equipment fleet of over 3,000 machines, provides rental services to customers across the country - including tier one contractors for major projects.

Its 2023 investment will include new construction equipment ranging from 1.5 to 50 tonnes, and a significant portion of it will be spent on machine technologies.

While the company’s OnGrade Machine Control division - which offers training, sales and hire for GPS machine control systems - already uses systems from Leica, Topcon and Trimble, TPH said will also to invest in additional safety technologies from Xwatch.

The company currently has 65 Xwatch machine control systems installed on its excavators - 13 of which were installed by Gareth James, the owner of GJ Plant & Auto Electrics and Xwatch’s sister company Fitzgerald Plant Services, in the past two weeks alone.

As part of its investment plan, TPH said that it will add “lots more” over the coming year to help future-proof its fleet.

Ian McMillan, Head of business development at the Thomas Group, said, “We chose the Xwatch systems as they have Network Rail approval, which is a very valuable endorsement for the products and allows us to operate on Network Rail projects.”

The XW5 system control panel from Xwatch The XW5 system from Xwatch (Photo: XWatch)

McMillan added, “When working with tier one contractors they mandate that an engineer is on-site within a maximum of four hours of an issue, with Gareth, Fitzgerald Plant Services and the Xwatch, support team this service is guaranteed, although we have next to no issues with the Xwatch systems.”

According to McMillan, Xwatch systems are among TPH’s preferred safety technologies as they are “simple for the operator to navigator” and because “Network Rail and National Highway’s approval is a big driver for using the brand”.  

This latest round of spending will build on the company’s 2022 fleet investment, which saw it spend around £50 million (€56 million) on equipment and technology.


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Ollie Hodges Publisher Tel: +44 (0)1892 786253 E-mail: [email protected]
Lewis Tyler
Lewis Tyler Editor Tel: 44 (0)1892 786285 E-mail: [email protected]