Hymac 480 crane

Hymac 480 Crane of J.C. Balls & Sons of Ambergate Derbyshire

Hymac excavator at GDSF 08

Early Hymac at work at the GDSF 2008

Hy mac 3

An Early HY-MAC at the SED show

The Hymac or HY-MAC Company was established to market the American designed Hy-Hoe excavator in the UK in 1960. The company has had various owners during its life due to recessions in the 70 and 80's before ceasing production in the early 1990s.

The Companies Name has been used in several variations over the years in its own marketing material and on the machines. Hymac, HY-MAC, HYMAC being the most common.


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 from the 1960s on. Some of these machines were designed and built by them and others were 'badge engineered' items, as is the case with a lot of Brands today like Massey Ferguson who are now a Brand and a subsidiary with some items built by other companies.

The beginning

The company was born out of Powell Duffryn in Wales (established 1946) and starts manufacturing in South Wales, UK.[citation (source) needed]

The original site of Rhymney Engineering was the old Rhymney Iron Works, During the second world war a small engineering factory was built to produce Bomb Doors for the Lancaster Bomber. Part of the original Iron works still stands there It was used as a machine shop. Rhymney Engineering made a lot of colliery equipment such as Tumblers. Coal Skips (30Ton lift) and complete top of the pit works and roadways., Rhymney Engineering also produced most of the equipment to build a Power Station in Hong Kong the contract was named China Light. They made the boilers, conveyors and in fact everything except the turbines. It was shipped to Cardiff Docks in kits by rail in open topped wagons. That was about 1960. I started to work at Rhymney Engineeering on the 1st June 1960. The first Hymac for sale was produce in 1961 and Number 11 Machine was displayed on a plinth at the entrance of the Works at the bottom of the Fabricating Shop. The idea of manufacturing the Hymac Machine was brought to Rhymney by the then Managing Director Mr G Taylor and Mr Des Young{ This information is wrong, it was Peter Hamilton that brought the HyHoe from America, and he then designed and manufactured the first 360 all hydraulic excavator as we knoe today, it is documented in the arkives at Oxford and the BBC made a documentery on the HY MAC in 1970.

The Hymac company was originally called Rhymney Engineering, an organisation that manufactured equipment for the coal mines and steel works. As the demand for mining equipment decreased, the orgaisation diversified into excavator and started to import the American designed and built Hy-Hoe excavators in kit form. When Hy-Hoe ceased manufacture in 1962 Hymac then took on the manufacturing rights, and stared manufacturing machines in South Wales, UK. The Hy-Hoe was NOT a 360 degree excavator but was limited to about 270 degrees as the slewing mechanism was chain driven.

The development of the Hymac 580 tracked (Imperial) excavator and the revised mark II version the 580B, was recognised by a Design Council award in 1967.

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

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

The whole range became Metric with capacities based on the cu metre - the range being 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.[1]

1972-1980 Era

Hy mac 5


As part of the Powell Duffryn Group Rhymney Engineering Company change it's name to reflect the Product name to Hy Mac. 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 owning 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.[2]

During the Powell Duffryn era they built a JCB 3C type Backhoe Loader during the 1970s that had a Heavy duty loader more like a loading shovel with arms made solid steel 1½ thick rather than box beams. Some versions having Hy reach arms. These Huge 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 the (one of several claimed inventors of the Backhoe Loader), in 1972.[3]

They also built a lot of wheeled 360 machines for scrap handling, fitted with 5 tine grabs or magnets, often with raised cabs. Till scrap yards started being cleaned up in the last few years, you would mainly see a Hymac or Atlas machine, or an old 22 RB crane in most yards. Now Terex built Fuchs and German Liebherr machines are Predominant.

During the Powell Duffryn ownership the company was the Demag distributor for the UK. An advert from that period claims 7,500 Hymac 580 machines sold.[4]

In the late 1980 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 the new JCB (Japanese designed) line up.

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

The Hymac operation was sold to the German IBH Group in about 1980.

In 1978 Hymac & Priestman were involved in a court case about the use of the designation '580' on priestman machines.[5] The model 580 being Hymacs most popular model.


The IBH group was a German investment company that owned numerous engineering firms. IBH also owned the German firm Hanomag, But they then went bust in 1983 , when the bank that backed them got into difficulties. Hanomag were 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 Euclid after it was divested by General Motors but after IBH's collapse it reverted to GM till it was sold off and became Terex.

By the early 80's the Hymac excavator range consisted of four basic models; crawler 580D/DS, the crawler 450E/ELC and its wheeled version W450E+W350D, the crawler 201LC and its wheeled version W201 which were introduced in 1983 these were designed jointly by Hymac & Hanomag, prior to the IBH collapse in 1983.[6]


In 1984 Hymac was bought from the receivers by Northern Engineering Industries (NEI).[7] 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 BM group) formed "Brown Engineering (Hymac) Ltd". They then to cut costs and offer more modern machines sold badged Italian built machines from FAI Group. These were the W121 a 13ton machine, 211 a 21ton class model, and the 251 a 25ton class machine.


Following the collapse of the Brown Group in 1991, Irish plant dealer John Kennedy then introduced new models; the Synchron 1301 & 1501 in 1992 which featured Linde's Synchron load sensing hydraulic systems. But production finally ceased in 1993.

The very last machine ever built by Hymac was an model 181B 18t a sad end to yet another great British Engineering company.[citation (source) needed]

The new Hymac

There have been many rumours that circulating Hymac will be making a come back but these are unfounded and Richard Gould who owns Hymac Parts & Service Ltd which is all that remains of the original Hymac company has plainly stated that there will be no further production of new machines. Hymac Parts & Services can however offer a rebuild program for old machines.

On checking with companies House, the old HY MAC companies, its directors, share holders, i can find no record of richard gould either as a director or share holder, other than hymac parts & services, which forms no part of the HY MAC original company, I also checked the Trade Marks Register {IPO} {WIPO}[oami}, and can find no HY MAC trade marks registerd to richard gould, HY MAC is registerd as a trade mark, in the name of, Anthony O'Gorman, as are the URL'S, .eu ect.

So it leads me to wonder why richard gould as made a statment about the hy mac brand.

Please do not publish false information on wikia, as any information can easily be varified from offical

bodies and arkives.


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

Model Range

Hymac 480 slew & ram valves - P8030343

Hymac 480 slew pinion and ram mounted valves

Hymac 370 - Short 005

Hymac 370

  • Hymac 201LC - 1980s designed with Hanomag
  • 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 went bust. Developed with Hanomag who carried on design & development to build the Hanomag HD60 backhoe loader.[8]
  • 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 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.[9]
  • Hymac 580 series - Tracked 360 Excavator, Built from 1964-87 in various versions (about 10,000 built)
    • 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
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.[10]

Brown/FAI Hymac range

The badge engineered range introduced in the 1980s.[13]

Refurbished machines

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 modernises 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.

Hymac Parts & Service

The product support department was sold to management buy out(MBO) by Richard Gould, as Hymac Parts and Service Ltd. They were based near by in Wolverhampton, but in 2000 moved to new premisses at Much Wenlock. New and used parts are still available, The new parts company holds 30,000 engineering drawings and will arrange manufacture of replacement parts if needed.[14][15]

Preserved machines

Hymac 580D IBH at Welland 2010 - IMG 8785

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 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.[16]
  • 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.

See also

Collector related pages


External links

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

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