Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

Boughton hooks up another record

Boughton Engineering, Britain’s longest established designer and manufacturer of hook loaders, skip loaders and close coupled trailers for the waste industry, returns to RWM having recently completed its busiest single month for throughput in its history.


For a company involved in engineering since 1897, that is no mean achievement – and underpinning this now consistent performance is the company’s ubiquitous and highly successful hook loader, with demand going from strength to strength. An example of Boughton’s hook loader is on display adjacent to the main entrance to the show.

Elsewhere in the show, Mercedes-Benz shows a special Econic low-entry, ‘direct vision’ safety truck, fitted with a Boughton Power-Reach PR18 skip loader.  The package has attracted major attention recently as a prominent part of the launch of CLOCS, the Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety campaign in London.  The vehicle features a range of cameras, proximity sensors and warning systems – as well as Boughton’s recently introduced Bluetooth enabled remote control skip loader operating pack.  Information about Boughton’s full range and capability is also provided on its technical enquiry stand 5Z100 in Hall 5.

Boughton was one of the earliest entrants in the hook loader market in the early ‘70s.  Forty odd years later, it is still the UK market’s hook loader of choice, with features which continue to deliver operator confidence … rugged strength, proven technology, simplicity and ease of maintenance, good service and genuine OE parts support – and strong residuals.

“These are the main reasons why the basic design has remained pretty much unchanged over time … and they are Boughton’s great strength”, says Steve Price, the company’s Group Sales and Marketing Director.  “Operators – from small, private two-vehicle fleets, through the larger own account firms, to the major hire fleets, all say the same thing … Leave it alone; don’t change it; it works; it doesn’t break and it will do the job for years with very little more than routine maintenance.”

Boughton’s sub-frame incorporates Z-profile folded main rails with fabricated cross members.  The front cross member provides the mount for the main rams and the rear accommodates the tipping hinge and the rollers.  Boughton has never compromised on its choice of materials, even if there is a slight weight penalty for doing so. It uses maximum yield 355 high tensile steel – designed to last in the hostile operating environment of the waste industry.

Boughton’s frame sits clear, flat and parallel above the vehicle chassis, secured by a series of heavy-duty engineered and bolted mountings. The company’s hook loader has body and equipment approvals for all mainstream OE chassis manufacturers and for most of their range of models.

Boughton’s stinger arm is a massively strong fabricated and welded design, incorporating a welded hook, which the company says contributes to its durability in service.  The hook itself also incorporates an automatic locking pin which operates on gravity – to capture and secure the lifting bar on the bin during operation. 

The whole operating system is also uncomplicated – simple air over hydraulic, with an easy to operate control box mounted in the cab.  The hydraulic system itself operates at 320 bar, typically driven by a gearbox or engine mounted power take-off, usually of the chassis manufacturer’s origin, supply and fit.

At the rear of the frame, Boughton’s hook loader is fitted with universal rollers, designed to accept all CHEM containers, plus ‘dinosaur’ bins and various others in use across the UK.  A  special feature which marks Boughton ahead of its competitors is the inclusion of container locks with ‘flippers’, which lock into the angle section of the container runner beam to prevent vertical or horizontal movement of the bin in transit.  This improves load security and safety – and significantly reduces noise and bin rattle at the same time.  Rear facing forks also feature – a standard CHEM requirement.  In addition, a sensor is included alongside the cross lock assembly, to protect the cross locks from potential damage.  This is linked to an indicator warning in the cab and prevents the stinger from being moved whilst the locks are still in position.

For additional safety during operation, Boughton fit ‘stab jack’ rear axle stabilisers, which are mounted outside the frame and act onto the rear suspension of the vehicle.  Some applications (for instance, in the scrap metal industry) prefer rear rollers – and these are available, but require integration during build to meet the requirements of Whole Vehicle Type Approval.

Boughton pioneered the technology of auto-sheeting with its Kwikcova design – and most of its hook loader units – and matched close coupled trailers, are supplied with an auto-sheeter installed.  A typical Kwikcova system will add around 300kg to the weight of the equipment, but it will enable compliant sheeting of containers without any need for the driver to climb onto the vehicle.  

The design and method for extending the operating arms of the sheeter outwards and beyond the overall width of the vehicle was developed and originally patented by Boughton as a solution to loading oversized bins and compliance with regulations in transit – and this principle is now widely emulated by others as a best practice solution.

Alongside Boughton’s hook loader success has been a significant increase in demand for its matched and highly specified close coupled trailers.  While vehicle operating costs continue to rise and journey patterns change and evolve, one of the main drivers for the growing popularity of CCTs is the likely longer running distances involved to deliver to specialist waste receiving and processing facilities across the country.  Then, optimising payloads and capacities over long distances makes very sound commercial sense.

The latest versions of the established premium tri-axle design retain Boughton’s stability enhancing diamond section drawbar, plus the addition of sideguards and other features required for compliance with Whole Vehicle Type Approval.

Two years after its introduction, Boughton’s Power-Reach skip loader has cemented its own niche in the market – both with private operators and the major hire fleets.  There are now two bed lengths available – the standard 3520mm or a 600mm longer version, to suit a 4500mm wheelbase chassis, the latter to accommodate oversize and special purpose skips and bins.

Virtually all PR18 units are factory fitted with Boughton’s patented Intacova integrated auto-sheeter system, which features operating arm protection in the retracted and loading position.