Bengt Karlström bought one of his first engcon tiltrotators in 1991. 20 years on, it still works perfectly. When asked when he will take it out of service, Bengt replies:
“Well, I don’t know. I mean, it’s such a b***dy bastard…”
engcon was founded in 1990. In the initial few years, the company conducted intensive product development with a modest income. Meanwhile, in Ramsele in north-western Ångermanland, E Karlströms AB was running a business as a cable installer.
Laying cables near roads used to be a notoriously difficult job. Ploughing and excavating on road slopes was a challenge in itself requiring specially designed buckets. Even the company’s in-house-designed pre-plough – a plough with a bucket on the back – only helped to a certain extent.
“We quickly realised the benefits of the tiltrotator, but the first ones we tried weren’t quite strong enough for us. I discussed the problem with Stig Engström and Håkan Wiik at engcon and they promised me a ‘real b***dy bastard’ that wouldn’t disappoint,” laughs Bengt.
And he got what he was promised. It was one of engcon’s first ever tiltrotators, and it still works perfectly today.
“Last spring I sold the excavator it was attached to, so it’s having a rest at the moment. But I could hitch it up again and use it any time.”
There’s no mistaking Bengt’s satisfaction with the old tiltrotator. It’s worked for tens of thousands of hours without any problems.
“And it’s taken some rough treatment. It’s worked hard on stony and tough ground.”
In 2006, the tiltrotator was overhauled and fitted with a hydraulic quick hitch.
“Some of the parts were very worn, so we replaced them,” Bengt remembers.
We don’t know what tiltrotator it is, since there’s no indication of the model.
“But it’s equivalent to at least an EC30. It’s really strong and sturdy.”
E Karlströms AB has bought many tiltrotators over the years – “Without a tiltrotator there’d be no point going out to work,” claims Bengt – and the tiltrotators have proved as reliable and durable as Bengt himself, who is now 73.
“I’ve been working since I was a boy and have never had time for hobbies. So I keep on going, as long as there’s work,” he says.
But at the back of his mind he knows he’ll have to stop one day. And when he does, he might put the old engcon tilrotator to rest too.
“If I stop working for good, I’ll probably take the tiltrotator with me. We’ve been companions for so long,” he laughs.
Bengt Karlström, E Karlströms AB
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