Kocurek: Raising Demolition to New Heights in U.S. Markets

Over the last 36 years, Kocurek Excavators LTD has quietly shaped the landscape of high reach technology by pioneering innovative features that are now staples today.

📅   Mon August 17, 2015 - National Edition
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Kocurek Telescoping high reach machines can see pin heights of up to 209 ft. (63.7 m) and tool weight capacities of up to 7,700 lbs. (3,492 kg).
Kocurek Telescoping high reach machines can see pin heights of up to 209 ft. (63.7 m) and tool weight capacities of up to 7,700 lbs. (3,492 kg).

In 1979, David Kocurek and his mother, Rita, began refurbishing small mini-excavators and hiring them out. Little did the two know that their company would become a highly recognized innovator throughout the global demolition industry. Over the last 36 years, Kocurek Excavators LTD has quietly shaped the landscape of high reach technology by pioneering innovative features that are now staples today, such as the modular joint and the telescoping boom. Now that they have partnered with Company Wrench of Carroll, Ohio, for distribution in the North American market, the team has a plan in place to continue to grow and innovate.

Brian Carroll, Kocurek’s general manager, explained that the company began in a rather small facility placed on a former farm on Poplar Lane, outside of Ipswich, England. Starting out by customizing backhoe booms and sticks, they found great success manufacturing custom long reach fronts. In 1994, the company moved out of Poplar Lane into a larger facility when it customized its first demolition front. It has moved three times since Poplar lane and is currently in a custom designed facility set up with a natural manufacturing flow, allowing it to maximize its production capabilities.

In 1996, on the way home from a trade show, David Kocurek realized a need to maximize utilization of their client’s machines by being able to quickly change between high reach and standard excavator equipment. They immediately began work engineering the first modular joint.

The principle of the modular joint is comprised of a basic hook system to pick up the required equipment and a power operated locking pin to secure the attachment to a stub boom prior to operation. Before this technology, it took up to 8 hours to assemble or disassemble a high reach for transportation due to having to install or disassemble the main boom pivot and boom cylinders. With a modular joint, a demolition crew can have the entire machine, with attachment, ready to work in 60 to 90 minutes while also offering the possibility of utilizing the machine in other phases of demolition by switching the high reach front to a standard sized boom tip and stick on site. Another benefit of the modular joint is the ability to split up the equipment to reduce transport weights on individual loads. The new Kocurek excavator customization gained major traction and two years later all major excavator manufacturers began to follow suit, offering this as an optional feature off the assembly line.

While telescoping booms are all the rage in Europe, they are a still somewhat a rare sight in the United States. Many North American operators tend to prefer working with the more familiar two-piece high reach set-up. Europe and the U.K. have fully committed to learning the three-piece configuration and enjoy the additional heights afforded by Telescoping fronts. Kocurek Telescoping high reach machines can see pin heights of up to 209 ft. (63.7 m) and tool weight capacities of up to 7,700 lbs. (3,492 kg). With 3-piece fronts more than 130 ft. (39.6 m) it would be impossible to safely lift the equipment and attachment from ground level into its working position without Kocurek’s telescoping technology, according to the company.

Since the start, more than 800 high reach machine conversions have taken place and about 75 have been of the telescopic variety.

Kocurek has wanted to enter the United States. The company had previously shipped equipment to the United States but never in bulk. Company Wrench, a well-known specialty equipment dealership that has made a name for itself customizing, selling and renting high reach and long reach machines, approached Kocurek in order to speed up its own high reach/long reach customization process. As a large Kobelco supplier with its own engineering team and onsite fabrication facility, Company Wrench proved to be the perfect partner to bring Kocurek’s products to market.

Currently, Company Wrench has added two-piece and three-piece high reach and long reach fronts to its Kobelco rental fleet. All models of Kocurek fronts will be available for sale in North America through Company Wrench. Its engineering and fabrication division, C.W. MachineWorx, will be offering full carrier customization services, including custom cab raising conversions, counterweight modification/fabrication, and machine front installation.