Hill Engineering’s TEFRA Tilt a big hit with GBSS


GBSS Civils and Plant Hire was established in 2009, although had been trading as GB Site Services since 1999 as a groundwork and civil engineering contractor.

The company to this day remains a family business, with owner and managing director George Burns at the helm, alongside 85 employees. GBSS specialise as a subcontractor on civil engineering projects covering most areas of Scotland, with clients including blue chip contractors such as Morrison Construction, Malcolm Group, Graham Construction, Laing O’Rourke and many more.

GBSS has 54 hydraulic hitches in its fleet fitted to a wide range of excavators including, Hitachi, Komatsu, Case and JCB.  Of the 54 hitches – the vast majority are TEFRA quick couplers which are designed and manufactured by Northern Ireland based Hill Engineering. The company estimated that it has invested almost £100k in Hill products since 2009.

GBSS’s most recent purchase is a new JCB JS160W wheeled excavator fitted with a new TEFRA Tilt, supplied by JCB dealer, Scot JCB.  This is the first TEFRA Tilt for GBSS and was bought specifically for its versatility on ground works projects.  The machine is currently working south of Inverness on a Scottish Power project – a wind turbine substation for the power network.

Tom Taylor plant manager, at GBSS was instrumental in choosing the Tefra Tilt – it was a joint decision between Tom and GBSS managing director George Burns.  Tom said, “We both rate Hill’s TEFRA quick hitch quite highly – it’s a very good hitch.  We had never gone down the road of a tilt hitch – on the rubber ducks we normally always use a hitch and bucket.  After a joint discussion, we thought we would give the tilt a try and see how it performs as it was quite new to us.”



Tom added, “Scott JCB suggested we tried the tilt so we went from there.  The tilt is very good – we have had no issues at all and it’s manufactured to a very high standard.  It’s done over 500 hours on this machine (JCB JS160W wheeled excavator) and we have never even had to look at it.  All the Hill quick hitches are very reliable and we have minimal downtime with them.  At the moment, we only have one TEFRA Tilt but if the opportunity and the application were right we would purchase another Tefra Tilt.

We have had spot on after service with Hill – we have only had to call them out once since 2009 – the products are that reliable.”

Tom concluded, “We are looking to increase the fleet with another 12 machines this year and we will be specifying all Hill TEFRA hitches.  It depends on what machines we buy, whether they will be wheeled excavators or tracked excavators, where they are going, the application and the demand at the time.  But if there was an opportunity to get another tilt and it was needed, we would not think twice about getting another TEFRA Tilt.


George Burns managing director GBSS said, “We decided on the Hill TEFRA Tilt as with competitors hitches there are too many parts and on the hydraulic tilting buckets there are too many rams which fail whereas the TEFRA Tilt has an actuating motor arrangement and no wearing parts – so practically maintenance free.  It also has a heavier motor on it.  We have stuck by Hill for the last nine-years and we will continue to use Hill, going forward there’s no reason why this should change and we would order a TEFRA tilt again if the application demanded it.

Robert Buchanan has been a machine operator with GBSS for the last year and has been using the JCB JS160W wheeled excavator machine fitted with the Hill Engineering TEFRA Tilt system for two months. Robert said, “This was the first time I had used the tilt – previously I had only used a traditional hitch and bucket. I really am impressed with the TEFRA Tilt – it’s a cracking bit of gear. I can work with better angles with this attachment and it’s a real time-saver and you can get the job done far more quickly.”


Robert added, “It’s able to pick up standard buckets with ease and is very reliable.  I would definitely recommend the TEFRA Tilt to other operators.”

Scot JCB’s commercial manager Ian Forrest said, “In the time we have worked with GBSS we have supplied the company with a number of Hill Engineering TEFRA hitches.  The company recently purchased a new JCB JS160W wheeled excavator and because of the working application of the machine we supplied GBSS with its first TEFRA Tilt.  Reports from the company suggest that they are very happy with the new tilt.  Our customers specify the attachments to support their JCB machine purchases and we fulfil the order with the attachment of their choice.


We find Hill Engineering a pleasure to deal with and will continue to supply GBSS with the TEFRA product with their future machine purchases at their request.”


Ross Fairweather, Scotland’s area sales manager for Hill, said “It’s great to see our product so well received by GBSS. It is a huge benefit to any operator and greatly improves efficiency on site. We are dedicated to ensuring our customers get the best quality products and after sales service.

The Hill Engineering tilt system allows operators greater flexibility in the way they use their machines and turns each and every attachment into one that can be used at up to 90 degrees each side. Hill engineering have used the award winning TEFRA system as the core of the product and introduced the reliable tilt motor from HKS of Germany to achieve the 180-degree tilt function.