While wild flower meadows, hedgerow management and wildlife conservation quickly spring to mind, Dan Peters, owner of the Ashford and Crawley franchises of hydraulic hoses and fluid power solutions supplier, Pirtek, is keen to help farmers reduce their environmental impact by preventing the likelihood of oil spills, contamination and waste.

To prevent unnecessary oils spills and leaks during routine maintenance, the national Pirtek franchise has developed a range of plugs which will allow operators to service hydraulic equipment in a safer, cleaner and environmentally friendly way.

“The new Pirtek Service Plugs have been designed to effectively lock off the oil flow,” said Dan Peters. “They come in two pack sizes so no matter what machines you are working on you can eliminate leaks, which will help to reduce the costs of spill management, fluid replacement and system contaminations.”

When it comes to fluid replacement, to reduce the amount of plastic oil containers being sent to landfill, Pirtek has gone into partnership with Fuelbox, the company who developed a revolutionary bag-in-box fuelling system, to offer its customers hydraulic oil boxes.

Using 90% less plastic packaging than Pirtek’s traditional oil containers, the weatherproofed cardboard boxes contain 20 litres of oil in a membrane bag and come with a flexi-hose for easy pouring. Once used the box can simply be recycled, leading to 86% less waste going to landfill.

To protect the environment from oil spraying out of small holes which can sometimes appear in worn hoses, Pirtek has upgraded the entire PFM range in the last 12 months to an anti-abrasive rubber compound which will increase in the longevity of hoses and reduce the likelihood of damage caused by friction.

“We have also introduced a protective hose sleeve so that if a small hole does appear, the oil will be contained in the sleeve instead of spraying across the farm yard or into a field of crops,” said Dan.

On-the-spot response

Aside from looking after the planet, under the ISO 14001 regulations, when oil leaks or spills are unavoidable it is crucial that farmers have the right contamination protection to hand.

“Like first aid kits, spill kits are probably not at the forefront of most farmers’ minds, but it’s crucial to have one to hand when there’s an emergency situation and you need to be able to act fast,” said Dan.

“Ideally anyone who operates hydraulic vehicles should carry an emergency spill kit. Too often people forget to replenish them, but hoses can blow at any time and if you are out in the field you can’t afford to wait for someone else to turn up; you will need to clean everything up and protect the crop from contamination as soon as possible.”
For emergency on-the-spot response to spillages, Pirtek offers a 20 litre, one-time use spill kit which is small enough to fit in a cab for easy access and is equipped with everything needed to ensure that a spill is contained, cleaned up and cleared away into a disposal bag.

“Anyone who fails to clear up a spill could face being fined by the Environment Agency,” said Dan. “Our rapid response, emergency spill kits are really good quality, triple ply, double weight oil absorbent pads which will effectively soak up an accidental oil spillage. They are also produced by a British manufacturer to keep it all local.”

An exclusive technology

At Pirtek, it is not just about protecting the environment from the harmful effects of hydraulic oils, but workers too.

Hydraulic injection injuries occur when an injection of fluid penetrates the skin. This usually occurs on the non-dominant hand of a worker operating or inspecting pressurised hydraulic equipment. If untreated these injuries can result in amputation or in severe cases, death.

In response to this occupational hazard, Pirtek has designed a fluid injection resistant glove using an exclusive technology which, during rigorous laboratory testing at the Health & Safety Executive laboratory, has proven to be resistant for pressures up to 700 Bar (10,150 PSI) and from apertures ranging in size from 0.05mm to 0.3mm, when using standard hydraulic oil.

“The Fluid Power Glove is the only glove available on the market that offers protection against hydraulic injection injury as standard,” said Dan. “When you consider the consequences of hydraulic injection injury, these gloves are a no-brainer and should be an essential item for anyone working around hydraulic machinery.”

When working with hydraulic equipment there is an ever-present danger that oil and other liquids will be forcefully injected directly into the skin. Even if you are working around a system which is switched off you need to be protected because all hydraulic systems store pressure.

Sharing resources

Having built the Ashford branch on reliability, Dan took on Pirtek Crawley in November 2017 and is determined to further strengthen the level of service on offer.

“It is all about looking after customers and doing what we say we’re going to do,” said Dan. “There is no smoke and mirrors with us; a customer will place a call, they will be given an accurate and honest time of arrival and then we will fix the machine, first time with our fully trained engineers. We are just trying to do the best job we can, better than anyone else.”

With Crawley now part of the mix, Dan and his team of 18 are able to ensure that customers across Kent, Surrey and Sussex have access to hydraulic hoses and fluid transfer solutions 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Sharing resources between the two sites has improved the availability of stock and with the delivery of two new service vans, taking the total fleet to 16, the team are able to respond to emergency call outs and routine maintenance appointments more efficiently than ever.