Chairman’s Commentary


Not all actuators on actuator tilts are born equal – choosing the right actuator tilt hitch can seriously improve machine performance but choosing the wrong one can equally seriously detract from the performance of your machine – and I mean seriously detract.

This is the one item of equipment you need to do your research on and spend the money to get the performance. That heavy, chunky, cheap actuator with low breakout performance could turn your machine into a rocking–horse nightmare.    

So let me share with you Calibre’s recent experiences with its actuator components. The first actuator tilts were developed in partnership between Helac in the US and Calibre (formally known as JB Attachments). These units were developed over a number of years to work specifically with excavators and refinements were made to maximize the reduction of the negative effects on manufacturers break out forces that comes with any tilting device.

To compete, other manufacturers introduced actuator tilts using general-purpose European actuators with wide industrial use and not specifically designed to go with excavators. Nor did the early ones – not to mention some recent entrants – fully work out the geometry required to minimize the impact on breakout force and performance. Thus emerged the “rocking – horse ‘ comments.

Getting this weight to strength ratio and geometry right in the field had taken Calibre – with feedback to Helac – a number of years to perfect. Over the years we tried the bolt on’s, the longer linkages and heavier couplers and one by one discarded them as we experienced outright failures and low performance.

As the demand for Calibre/Helac actuator Tilts took off in Australia and Europe, problems emerged with supply of actuators.  Helac was relatively small and the actuators are complicated and difficult to make – think sophisticated high performance gearboxes to get the picture. Large all-purpose European ones did not have the same issues, of course.

Three years ago, after looking at companies around the world – Calibre began working with another Australian based company – as an alternative supplier. With smart designers and the latest in sophisticated manufacturing equipment, it has been a great partnership for the Calibre Design team. This company has become a strong actuator supplier in the Calibre production system, we take all actuators we can get from both it and Helac and rate them equally in reliability and performance in our Calibre Helitilts.

Adding to this whole equation is the ongoing development in the Calibre actuators themselves. Whilst other actuator products are not going through any major enhancement – certainly not at any level that would bring them even close to the standard Calibre actuators  - a new generation of highly refined actuators are emerging from Calibre’s actuator suppliers, in conjunction with enhanced design features of the new Calibre Helitilts.  These enhanced Calibre Helitilts are just starting to become available now - but not yet in huge numbers due to actuator production capacity.

This is where some confusion has emerged in the market place about Calibre supply time frames. To get it straight - there is a plentiful supply of the new style Calibre Helitilts using the tried and tested traditional actuator range that we can produce in our standard 10 working day time frame. But if you want the new generation of actuators there may be delays - it being a supplier issue.

It took a number of years to build an actuator based tilt hitch that was not so heavy that it made the machine top heavy; that had the right power to output ratio for the machine size and that was strong enough to handle the strains without being over engineered.

We will never be the cheapest in the market place but we work hard to ensure we are the best – and at the moment we are.

Graham Smolenski.

Group Managing Director.



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