Towable digger, excavator and backhoe website. Features Fleming Micron, Powerfab, Mantis, Benford, Roughneck, Gopher, Smalley, Tow-hoe, Standard Muscleman, Termite, Mitchell Cotts, Mini Gigant, Baromix, Euromach, Bronco, JPB, Digger 50, homemade and other small diggers. Links to current manufacturers such as Groupe-FCM and suppliers of plans for the Ground Hawg Homebuilt Backhoe and CDP Excavator. Includes other plant and mechanical information, Digger Bucket Page, Plant Photo Gallery, Dumper Restoration Project and useful links for Digger Spares and Repairs. Extra information and pictures to add to the site always appreciated. Also includes a section dedicated to preserving information about Johnson Machinery Limited.
FCM is a current producer of towable diggers and joint owner Donald Dupont kindly provided the information and pictures for this page.
FCM built tractor backhoes for about 15 years. They also built other products including large industrial wood chippers. At that time the business was a small family concern run by a father and son team. Around 2001, the son decided to build a small excavator for ATV use because he had a lot of demand from ATV owners that wanted an excavator but did not want to purchase a tractor and a backhoe. He did not know anything about the history of towable backhoes. He thought he was the only inventor of them. So he decided to apply for a patent for his invention. After selling his unit for about 3-4 years, he decided to retire from the business. He was working two jobs, one at the university and one outside as a business owner with his father. He was looking for partners to develop and commercialise his invention. His machine had 2 main weak points: it had to stay attached to the towing vehicle to work and the position of the hydraulic stabiliser produced a lot of instability when digging.
The early FCM backhoe. The hydraulic legs are too far back to give the digger proper stability.
This is the more recent FCM digger which has 2 wheel drive.
Donald and his partner decided to start a new business starting with this early ATV towable backhoe. They are both mechanical engineers and bought the idea and started a new business without the original inventor in 2005. They researched on the net and found a couple of companies building similar units. Notably one in Quebec named CABRITA mainly selling to rental companies. They also found out that towable diggers were really popular in the 1980's and some models were imported into Canada from England at that time. Donald saw a model from England in Ottawa this summer which he found very interesting.
The new partners decided to modify the existing model and create a model without any traction. The unit could dig separately from the towing vehicle by adding a new set of wheels and we brought the stabiliser forward for more stability. The performance was greatly improved. A set of lights and suspension were also added to create an "on road" version that complied with Canadian transport regulations. A lot of these excavators were sold to rental businesses across the province.
The picture to the right shows the prototype machine.
Following the demand, the first version was modified adding a retractable 2WD traction on rear wheel (see photos). They also made a 4WD model, but this model is not towable. This model was developed for fencing contractors. The base model (towable backhoe without traction) was really performing well but a lot of demand came from the ATV user for a cheaper model.
Based on the model that was made in the 1980's, FCM decided to make a small "low cost" excavator. They have had a very good response on that unit from people looking for a reasonably priced machine. FCM are now looking at improving their 4WD model.
Low-cost FCM digger.
FCM have also made a very small "walk behind" towable excavator. This model is made for people working in very tight places.
The company are always working to improve and increase their line of products and are looking at the possibility of a 4WD model that is towable. The concerns are: how to unlock to traction on front wheel to tow the unit at high speed and what kind of tyre to choose from to get a good compromise between traction and rolling at high speed.
Thanks to Donald who provided the pictures and information for this page. If you own an FCM machine any extra pictures would be appreciated.