Review: Rototilt tiltrotator

By: Chris McCullough

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  • Earthmovers & Excavators

Groundworks contractor Paul Davidson bought a Rototilt tiltrotator to improve the accuracy and efficiency of his business, reports Chris McCullough

The Rototilt R1 was a perfect fit for Davidson’s Hitachi Zaxis 33U excavator

As interest in tiltrotators grows, the number of brands available on the market is also increasing, leaving potential customers in somewhat of a dilemma over which one to choose.

Being quite a significant investment it certainly pays for contractors to do their research as to which tiltrotator suits their own business and that’s exactly what Northern Ireland contractor Paul Davidson did.

Based in Tobermore, County Londonderry, Paul runs PD Contracts that specialises in all types of groundworks, including kerbing, drainage and site preparation.

As is the nature of this business, operating in confined areas is commonplace and not always easy prompting Davidson to carry out some research into the use of tiltrotators.

"I run two small excavators in the business," says Davidson.


"One is a three-year-old Hitachi Zaxis 33U-5 that I purchased new, plus a 2012 Volvo EC27C model that I also bought new.

"Originally I was using a tilt bucket but it wasn’t always handy to operate so I thought a tiltrotator was exactly what I needed to both modernise my business and make it more efficient.

"From filling in gravel and soil around kerbing, and digging out drains in tight areas, I realised a tiltrotator would be a good asset to the business and started looking at the brands and models available," he says.

Davidson checked out a number of brands and finally settled on purchasing a Rototilt tiltrotator from distributor Cullion Plant Service.

"After taking a thorough look at all the tiltrotators available I decided to buy a Rototilt R1 model. After asking many questions to Cullion Plant Service about Rototilt I was sure the R1 was for me. I have to say this brand even looks better, in my opinion, than the others," he says.

Paul Davidson is currently working on a new church hall, which includes delicate excavation work around gravestones

Rototilt’s R1 tiltrotator has been designed for compact machines between 1.5 and 3.5 tonnes. It is based on the same concept as the larger models of the Rototilt R platform, with integrated swivel and greater flexibility with different control systems.

An important new feature of the Rototilt R1 is compatibility with the Innovative Control System (ICS), which has a wide range of smart functions. With the supplied in-cab display, operators can easily adjust settings and have a complete overview of the tiltrotator system.

Other features on the R1 machine include a cast rotor housing, which is both stronger and lighter than welded alternatives. Rototilt says the thickness of the casting is optimised according to the load on the various parts.

This machine also has a specially designed guard for the hydraulic motor, which is integrated with the cast rotor housing and protects it against impact and shocks from beneath.

PD Contracts owner Paul Davidson


Davidson took delivery of his Rototilt R1 at the beginning of August and it took him only two weeks to master its controls. The Rototilt R1 was fitted to his Hitachi digger.

"It’s working very well," says Davidson. "One of the jobs we have been involved in is a new church hall build just outside Desertmartin. As part of our remit we had to kerb and fence the new one-way system driveway, which included filling soil in around grave headstones.

"This needed to be very accurate work and the Rototilt proved to be very useful here indeed as I was able to negotiate around the headstones with ease and accuracy.

"I opted to have my Rototilt tiltrotator fitted direct to the arm of the Hitachi as it leaves the combination more stable as there is less weight on the front end. It also means I have better visibility when working," he says.

"No matter what job I am doing now, whether it is filling the dump truck or reaching into tight corners, the Rototilt does it with ease. I also decided to go for the gripper as an option and I am glad I did so.

"I use the gripper every single day to lift anything out of the way like pallets, posts or old kerbs. I’ve even managed to lift an apple and another time I grabbed a soft drink can without denting it!


"I choose the Rototilt R1 primarily because of its strong, well built design, and that size was a perfect fit for my Hitachi Zaxis 33U. It’s a superb powerful little excavator, which has worked around 5,000 hours for me since I bought it new.

"In the future I will probably change the Volvo excavator to a new Hitachi Zaxis 33U as well as it is a very good machine. The visibility and low cab noise together with the power it has makes this Hitachi the perfect model for my business."

Davidson’s Rototilt is also very versatile in his business as he can also attach a rock hammer and a number of other buckets, including a new riddle bucket.

"Even though the Rototilt is attached directly to the excavator I can still attach different buckets to it. I just bought a new riddle bucket, which is extremely useful, particularly at the church grading soil around the headstones.

"It took me around 200 hours to get used to the controls of the tiltrotator," he adds, "but now that I have mastered the controls I can do anything with it. I really don’t know how I operated without it all those years."

Norm Engineering Pty Ltd imports Rototilt tiltrotators and peripheral systems in Australia


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