Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki
Type Ltd
Predecessor Rhynmey Engineering
Successor HYMAC RDI
Founded 1946
Founder(s) Peter Hamilton

London UK, United Kingdom

London WIJ 8DJ
Number of locations Rhynmey
Industry Manufacturing
Products Hydraulic machinery
Employees ?
Parent Powell Duffryn
(former IBH-Holding (1978-1983)



The Hymac Company established 1946, pioneer of the all hydraulic 360 excavator, located at the Rhynmey Engineering plant in Wales, manufacturing machinery, and assembling the Hy-Hoe Excavator from the Hydraulic Machinery Company of America. Hy-mac UK then went on to design and manufacture its own hydraulic excavators and became a world leader in manufacturing a wide range of Hydraulic construction machinery. 1972 Hymac took over Whitlock Bros., the backhoe loader manufacturer est in 1899. The Hymac all hydraulic tracked excavators, (a worlds first), and Hymac 370 wheeled backhoe loader range were the brand leaders. Hymac also designed and manufactured the Hymac Jupitor 1050 all hydraulic crane,first in the world.

The "Hymac" brand name has been used in several variations over the years (Lower case, all caps and hyphenated versions) in the companies own marketing material and the livery/ decals on the machines.

HY-MAC/HYMAC/Hymac being the most common variations.

HY-MAC was the US Registered Trade Mark of the Hydraulic Machinery Company America. The actual UK company HYMAC LIMITED dates back to 1946. The HY-MAC trade Mark was assigned to HYMAC LIMITED in 1972.


An Early Hymac excavator at the SED show

HY-MAC 580 EXCAVATOR,NO 1000.1962.

The companies history like many other UK manufacturing firms has been complicated by the ups and downs of the economy and construction industry. This has resulted in many take overs and mergers with the brand being the 'public' face of the company and various corporate entities having control and marketing a variety of machines as HY-MAC, HYMAC and Hymac . Some of these machines were designed and built by them and some manufactured under License from other firms and also some just badge engineering of machines built by others.

The beginning

An American built HYHOE machine


Hymac 480

A Hymac 480

Early HY-MAC manufacturers plate

Peter Hamilton Equipment Ltd started to import the American designed and built Hy-Hoe excavators in kit form. These were assembled at a factory in Rowesley Derbyshire. When HY-MAC America ceased manufacture in 1962 Hymac then took on the manufacturing rights, and Rymney Engineering stared manufacturing machines in South Wales, UK. The original Hy-Hoe design was not a 360 degree excavator but was limited to about 270 degrees as the slewing mechanism was chain driven.(see photo)

The development of the Hymac 580 tracked (Imperial) excavator and the revised mark II version the Hymac 580B, was recognized by a British Design Council Award in 1967.[1]

The Hymac 580B was replaced by the Hymac 580BT (Better Tracks) and eventually by the Hymac 580C.[when?] A more complete range of Imperial excavators was introduced including Hynac 880 and the Hynac 1280 which had capacities of 1 cu yd and 1.5 cu yd respectively.

To complement the tracked excavators a series of 4X4 wheeled equivalents were produced - the Hymac 610 being the 580 equivalent.

The whole range became Metric with capacities based on the cu metre - the range being Hymac 590, 890 and 1290.

Hymac also produced a range of access platforms, mainly Land Rover based and a range of wheeled and crawler cranes with capacities up to 75 tonnes.[2]

1972-1980 Era

PD/HYMAC serial umber plate.

A Hymac HM-580C

As part of the Powell Duffryn Group the Rhymney Engineering Company changed it's name to reflect the product name to Hy Mac.[citation (source) needed] Powell Duffryn were a mini engineering conglomerate at the time with interests from coal to transport and shipping. The company having a long history in coal and shipping, which still continues today. Powell Duffryn also owned other British Engineering firms such as Belliss and Morcom and Hamworthy Engineering, as well as the US-based Air Compressor Products Inc. and Eagle Compresors Inc., manufacturers of Industrial compressors.[3]

During the Powell Duffryn era, they built a 180 wheeled Backhoe Loader during the 1970s that had a heavy duty loader more like a loading shovel with arms made of solid steel 1½ thick rather than box beams.[clarification needed] Some versions having high-reach arms. These large machines had a flat deck cab, with good visibility from the raised position of the driver. This was based on the Whitlock 860 machine, Hymac having taken over Whitlock in 1972, a manufacturer of the Backhoe Loaders from 1952.[4]

They also built a lot of wheeled 360 machines for scrap handling, fitted with 5 tine grabs or scrap magnets, often with raised cabs. Till scrap yards started being forced to modernise (cleaned up) under environmental rules introduced in the last few years, you would mainly see a Hymac or Atlas machine, or an old 22 RB crane in most yards. Now modern Terex-built Fuchs and German Liebherr machines are predominant in the waste recycling industry. A few Caterpillar Inc. and Case material handlers are also about.

During the Powell Duffryn ownership era the company was the Demag distributor for the UK. An advert from that period claims 7,500 Hymac 580 machines sold.[5]

In the late 1980s a revised line of excavators with a new yellow colour scheme was launched. But too late to save them from the Japanese and other far eastern imports and their new (Japanese designed) line up.

They generally had Ford engines, but some were fitted with Perkins units and a few with Rolls Royce engines. The 360 excavators were available with a variety of track and boom / dipper combinations.

In 1978 Hymac & Priestman were involved in a court case about the use of the designation '580' on Priestman built machines.[6] The model 580 being Hymacs most popular model.



Hymac 251

The Hymac operation was sold to the German IBH Group in 1978, with IBH going bankrupt in 1983. The IBH group was a German investment company that owned numerous engineering firms. IBH also owned the German firm Hanomag. Hanomag was also linked with Massey Ferguson for a period, and built some of their construction plant models. Hanomag was partially taken over by Komatsu in 1989, with them becoming a 100% owned subsidiary of the Japanese firm in 2002. IBH also owned Terex after it was divested by General Motors, but after IBH's collapse it reverted to GM till it was sold off.

By the early 80's the Hymac excavator range consisted of four basic models; crawler Hymac 580D/DS, the crawler 450E/ELC and its wheeled versions [[Hymac W450E|W450E + W350D, the crawler Hymac 201LC and its wheeled version Hymac W201 which were introduced in 1983 these were designed jointly by Hymac & Hanomag, prior to the IBH collapse in 1983.[7]



In 1984 Hymac was bought from the receivers by Northern Engineering Industries (NEI).[8] Production of some Hymac models restarted near Wolverhampton. Then in 1987 the BM Group bought the company and renamed it Hymac Group Ltd. Then in 1988 ownership changed again after Gordon Brown (entrepreneur not British politician) (owner of Brown Anglo Scan Group) formed "Brown Engineering (Hymac) Ltd". They then to cut costs and offer more modern machines by selling badged Italian built machines from FAI Group. These were the Hymac W121 a 13 ton machine, Hymac 211 a 21 ton class model, and the Hymac 251 a 25 ton class machine.



Following the collapse of the Brown Group in 1991, Irish plant dealer John Kennedy then introduced some new models; the Hymac Synchron 1301 & Synchron 1501 in 1992 which featured Linde's Synchron load sensing hydraulic systems. But production of Hymac machines finally ceased in 1993.[citation (source) needed]

The very last machine ever built by Hymac was an model 181B 18t a sad end to yet another great British Engineering company. The Hymac name remains an iconic British Brand and many Hymac Machines remain in service around the world.[citation (source) needed]

The HYMAC Trade Mark IP property


The mark (s) HYMAC and HY-MAC are Registered trade marks.

Registered Details:

  • 1 Berkeley Street Mayfair London W1J 8DJ.


Part of the former Hymac factory complex at Rhymney in Wales

  • Rowesley, Derbyshire. - 1962 to 19 ?
  • Rhymney, South Wales - 1946 to 1983 ?
  • Walsall, West Midlands. - 1983 to 1993
  • Great Yeldham, Essex - former Whitlock factory

Model Range

Hymac 480 slew pinion and ram mounted valves

  • Hymac 201LC - 1980s designed with Hanomag
    • Hymac W201 - 1980 wheeled version of 201
  • Hymac 370 a wheeled Loader / Backhoe excavator. (based on the Whitlock designed machines)
    • Hymac 370C a wheel loader / Backhoe excavator on an Ford skid unit. Built late 70-early 80's
    • Hymac 370D (Prototype) New model under test when IBH ceased trading. Developed with Hanomag who carried on design & development to build the Hanomag HD60 backhoe loader.[9]
  • Hymac 380 a 7 ton class 360 excavator. fitted with a Ford 4-cylinder engine. (only 15 were made).
  • Hymac 450E - 1980
  • Hymac 450ELC - 1980 Long carriage version
    • Hymac W350D - 1980s Wheeled excavator
    • Hymac W450E - 1980s Wheeled excavator
  • Hymac 480 series tracked Excavator (only slewed 270 deg by a pair of rams and a chain drive round a pinion gear).
    • 480 Excavator - 1962-1966 312 of these were manufactured
    • 480 Tracked Crane - 196? (270deg slew) One of the surviving Examples is now owned by J.C. Balls & Sons and is exhibited in their collection of vintage machinery. It was part of the "Lighthouse Club" display at SED in 2009.[10]
  • Hymac 580 series - Tracked 360 Excavator, Built from 1964-87 in various versions (about 10,000 built)

HY-MAC 580C Materials handler with High cab.

    • 580 - 5/8 cu yd
    • 580B
    • 580BT
    • 580C
    • 580CS
    • 580CT
    • 580D - 1980
    • 580DS - 1980 - Scandinavian version
    • 580T Truck Chassis mounted 360 Excavator with bucker or Clamshell Grab. Fitted on a Bedford R 4x4 Chassis (others to Order)
    • 580 Logger (as 580T above) fitted with 2 tine log grab & T bar to Boom.
  • Hymac 590 series
    • 590C
    • 590CT
    • 596
  • Hymac 690
  • Hymac 800 series
    • 880
    • 880C
    • 890
    • 890CT
  • Hymac 1080 - 1966 fitted with a 165 hp Rolls Royce C4 TFL engine.
  • Hymac 1290 - 1970s 33ton (largest model built)
  • Hymac 1301 Synchron - 1993
  • Hymac 121 - 1990s New Hymac 360 Excavator line
  • Hymac 141C - 1990s New Hymac 360 Excavator line
Material Handlers
  • Hymac wheeled material handler
    • Hymac 410 wheeled material handler
    • Hymac 610 wheeled material handler
    • Hymac 595 wheeled material handler
Mobile cranes
  • Whitlock built a 7 Ton all hydraulic mobile crane with a 24 ft-78 ft jib between 1965 and 67. Twenty were built on the Dodge D309 (LAD cab) chassis. The 1965 List price was £6,985.[11]
  • Hymac Overlander 45 a 2-wd Rough terrain forklift (RTF).[12]
  • Hymac Mini Excavator - A Badge engineering job - very few sold. Some reports say 2 models were offered.
Other products

Brown/FAI Hymac range

The badge engineered range introduced in the 1980s.[14]

  • Hymac 121C - 12.7 ton, 089 cu yd, 78 hp
  • Hymac 141C - 14 ton, 1.0 cu yd, 78 hp
  • Hymac 181B - 19 ton, 1.3 cu yd, 104 hp
  • Hymac 211 - 21 ton, 1.4 cu yd, 108 hp
  • Hymac 251 - 25 ton, 1.7 cu yd, 128 hp
  • Hymac 301 - 33 ton, 2.6 cu yd, 210 hp
  • Hymac W121 Wheeled version 13 ton, 0.78 cuyd, 77 hp

Gallery of Images

Refurbished machines

A Refurbished Hymac 580D.

A number of company's have and some still do a service to refurbish these machines as a number of users like the simplicity of a machine without the complex electronics of modern machines, for use in occasional light use application or modified as tool carriers for drilling rig used for grouting mine workings or with extra wide tracks on peat extraction duties.

The Machinery Forums report sighting of a number still in use around the world. They were a popular machine in scrap yards along with Atlas, but as the industry modernizes and consolidates to a few bigger operators the old yards are closing and new 'recycling centres' are being equipped with modern Caterpillar, Fuchs, JCB, and Liebherr material handling machines with long reach booms, high lift cabs and rotator grabs in-place of the old magnet on a chain.

Recently several machines have been refurbished in the UK for continued commercial service in scrap yards and as piling hammer bases.[15]

Hymac Parts

Hymac Parts and Services LTD[16][17]

Other suppliers

  • Hydraulic Plant Services based Near East Grinstead West Sussex Supply a full Range of HY-MAC replacement parts.
  • Several other companies offer used and reconditioned parts.

Preserved machines

A tidy IBH era Hymac 580D offered for sale in the Auction at the Welland Steam and Country Rally July 2010

  • The collection of J.C. Balls & Sons has an unusual (unique ?) surviving Hymac 480 Crane (Photo above)
  • A one owner Hymac 380 is in preservation now in Scotland, after working for one firm for 40 years. Only a few hundred of these were built from the imported US manufactured kits.[18]
  • A few are with collector in Scandinavia were they were a popular machine.
  • A long reach model was featured in Classic Plant & Machinery Magazine last year.
  • Malcolm Plant UK have a reworked Hymac 580DC on show.
  • There are still a lot of original HY-MAC'S in use, and a number of fully rebuilt models. Two were recently featured (June 2012) in Classic Plant & Machinery Magazine after being rebuilt to continue working for there owner after many years service in a West Midlands scrap yard.

See also

Collector related pages


External links

Template:BM Group Template:NEI Group Template:Powell Duffryn Group