26 September 2022

Xwatch innovation woos K&W Mechanical


K&W Mechanical
 has spent decades building its strong reputation as fast, reliable engineers specialising in mobile plant and cranes.   

The company, based in Bloxwich in the West Midlands, was founded in 1977 by current Director, Simon Wheat’s, father, the company were then mechanical engineers working exclusively on mobile cranes. Simon and his brother Martin bought the company in 2012, and the business has since gone from strength to strength with a team of eight staff members, including five full-time engineers.   

Simon was first aware of the Xwatch product when it was still in the design stages in September 2018.  Xwatch Sales and Operations Director, Dan Leaney and Simon had known each other for many years through Dan and Simon’s involvement in a competitor’s brand.   

Simon was invited to the Xwatch HQ in Cwmbran for the pre-launch and was taken through the system by Xwatch hardware engineer Ben parker, this was the very first system that was installed on a demo machine being trialled, where Simon provided his input and suggestions.  The XW1, a simple height limiter, was born and was released to the market in its finished form in 2019.   

K&W mechanical installed their first XW1 system in June 2019 to a Fuchs MHL310 material handler, which has an elevating cab. Since that date Simon and his team have installed over 450 systems with another 25 systems on order, making the firm the biggest of the Xwatch distributors.  

Simon explained that the most popular system is the XW4 which is a slew, height and proportional control system, however, those wanting to futureproof their machines are ordering the XW5 which now accounts for more than half of the incoming orders.   

Simon commented, “New regulations on Network Rail require track lock and full envelope control. We like to guide our customers toward the best long-term solution for them.   

We have an eclectic mix of customers which include OEMs and single plant operators. We are fortunate to have a good rapport with the OEMs.  We have also created a strong social media following which is becoming the go-to medium for promotion and exposure.   

The Xwatch systems are just one of the products we are able to supply, I like to think of us as a one-stop shop for all your construction needs. We also supply and fit Engcon tiltrotators, 360 camera system from the FTC Group, VEI Weighing Systems, Wire-Watchers overhead powerline detection system, IDig 2D Excavator Grade Control System.”   

“We like to offer a full-service package” added Simon.  “If you’re taking a machine apart once you may as well fit all the systems you need at one time. This makes it very cost-effective and we can offer competitive labour quotes – it makes perfect sense!”

Talking about the Xwatch suite of products, Simon said, “From my experience over the years is that the Xwatch is very good and we have minimal problems.  It’s ok to install and operators and companies like the ease of use of the system  The longer warranty on the product is also a USP and most often servicing and repairs are down to damage, not failure which again speaks volumes.”  

Dan Leaney Sales and Operations Director, Xwatch said, “ K&W Mechanical have established themselves a true ‘one-stop shop’ for all your retrofit systems. It’s incredible that Simon and his team have sold and fitted 450 Xwatch systems in the three years we have been established.  We are delighted we are able to meet the safety requirements for K&W Mechanical and also meet their customer needs in providing reliable and user-friendly safety systems. We look forward to continuing our relationship and mutually growing our businesses!”   

Simon continued, “We do quite a lot of work with Molson Green we recently installed Xwatch systems on several projects for Sennebogen, which included a gantry crane. The Xwatch product is incredibly versatile and can be adapted to work with most types of construction equipment.  

Another interesting install was for four flail machines for drainage – the Spearhead SPV 3 W machines have a four-wheeled body and a rotating cab, which takes some very innovative installation!”   

Simon concluded, “As a company, we are always searching for new and innovative systems we are a forward-thinking company and have a dynamic team of engineers who are all very passionate about what they do – staff retention is very important to us – so we like to look after our team members and keep them interested – which is why we are always looking for new challenges!  We currently have other projects in the pipeline so watch this space!”