Stepping out from Bobcat’s shadow, Doosan isolates its heavy equipment brand with plans to break top 5 in North America
Doosan bought Bobcat in 2007, an interesting merger of Korea’s top heavy equipment manufacturer, and America’s well-known compact machine experts. And while the two are still part of the same umbrella company, Doosan, which operates under the name Doosan Infracore North America, is forging a new and separate business for itself with a new headquarters in Suwanee, Georgia, new management and marketing, and a revitalized strategy for the heavy side of things.
“We decided to isolate or separate the heavy business from Bobcat starting January 1, 2018,” says Heejoon (Edward) Song, CEO of the new company. “After seven years of growing our business under Bobcat, we now believe we can do some things differently. Under the brand and platform we’ve built, we believe we can do more.” Doosan will now report directly to Korea, says Song, and has dedicated almost 100 people to focusing solely on expanding the heavy business.
Goal: top five
Behind the new initiative is Doosan’s desire to become one of the top five brands in North America in the next few years. When it purchased Bobcat, the company was 16th in global revenues but moved up to 9th in just four years. Last year it hit 6th. But in Europe, Doosan has six percent market share and in North America, just a little under three percent.
To boost those numbers, Doosan will “improve the capabilities of our existing channel,” says Song. This will include new dealer and support programs, more training programs in Suwanee and more integration of its telematics program, Doosan Connect.
Song says having its own separate organization will allow Doosan to communicate better and faster with Korea. “Our people in Suwanee and Atlanta have a direct line to go to when they need support to take care of our customers.”
Part of that communication is making sure Korea hears the voice of the customer. For Doosan, that’s a customer who works in heavy-highway, civil engineering and quarry applications, as opposed to Bobcat customers, who are more likely to be working in landscaping, utility and smaller sitework applications.
When Doosan bought Bobcat in 2007, the dealerships were completely separate. Since then approximately 30 have signed up to sell both brands. That will continue to be the case for these dealers, but the primary goal is to grow the Doosan-only network in the United States and Canada. The company is looking hard at expanding into markets it doesn’t now serve including Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.
In 2010 the combined companies had about 128 dealer locations, but it has been working to evolve and expand those business, says Todd Roecker, director of dealer management and marketing. That meant culling some dealers or locations from the herd. But the company has also added 117 new locations since then too, so the combined companies now have 86 dealers and 153 locations.
While nobody’s ruling out Bobcat-only dealers from taking on Doosan products, many Bobcat dealers don’t have the facilities to handle the larger Doosan equipment. Also, the customer bases for the two brands are substantially different, which poses some marketing challenges.
New plants, new machines
Parts availability is always a concern for contractors, and Doosan is in the process of developing a new, second parts depot at an as-yet undisclosed location. “By having two locations we should be able to reduce shipping costs by air by 70 percent and deliver 67 percent of our parts in less than two days,” says Song.
Doosan is also studying the possibility of building an assembly plant or customization center in North America, Song says. This would reduce the wait time for customers who want something other than the standard machine. Currently, these requests are handled in Korea and the customized products shipped by sea to the states. Doosan will complete the assessment and planning for the assembly plant/customization center by the end of this year.
And while there are no firm commitments yet, the new Doosan Infracore North America is looking to expand its machine lineup. Song mentioned the possibility of some new excavators including a 16-ton excavator and 34-ton and bigger excavators as well as larger wheel loaders and articulated trucks.
Source:: Equipment world
Tesla’s electric Semi
Zero tailpipe emissions aside, one of the attractions to electric powertrains is a perceived reduced maintenance cost. The expectation is that electric trucks will require less maintenance since they feature fewer moving parts and require less fluid changes.
The question of what type of impact this will have on diesel mechanics is probably best illustrated by a video we wrote about last year posted to YouTube by a mechanic who, after seeing Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveil the company’s electric Semi, predicted the battery-powered truck would likely put he and other mechanics “out of a job in the next 10 to 15 years.”
Clarity on just how much savings an electric truck can provide isn’t quite clear since there are so few of them on the road in a commercial setting. An inability to sell the maintenance benefits with hard data will likely slow adoption until those figures begin to firm up, says Chris Nordh, director of advanced vehicle technology for Ryder System, Inc. Ryder leases and rents a fleet of Class 5 electric vans manufactured by Chinese-backed startup Chanje. Chanje’s Class 5 electric van weighs over a ton more than the largest Ford Transit model, while offering only about an additional 38 cubic feet of cargo space.
“I don’t think that it’s going to be the availability of the product and the technology. I think that’s coming along fairly quickly,” Nordh says of slow-growth adoption. “I think it’s going to be the proving out of the maintenance costs. There’s a lot of predictions being made about the reduction of costs but nobody has the data yet.”
And even though costs will likely be reduced by a measurable degree, electric commercial trucks will still require repair and it will be a sophisticated process.
“Maintenance on the electric vehicle is still very important,” Nordh says. “It becomes a higher skilled labor but a lower number of hours needed to maintain the vehicle. When there is something that goes wrong with an electric vehicle, you have a very significant diagnosing exercise and you have to have really experienced technicians in order to do those diagnostics.”
Regardless of how often you have to service an electric vehicle, parts have to be available on demand and not every corner parts store has electric components sitting on the shelf.
“They’re not going to have inverters. They’re not going to have spare batteries when those fail,” Nordh says.
Upon inking its sales and service agreement with Chanje last year, Nordh says Ryder imported “several container loads of spare parts” for the vans, “and we now have those sitting in our distribution centers. We have overnight capabilities for all the parts that could be needed for those vehicles,” he says.
Maintenance savings are only bankable if you’re not blowing through your tire budget with electric torque. Elon Musk himself describes the performance of his electric Semi tractor in 0-to-60 times and lauds its racecar-like handling.
However, Nordh says torque will be software limited in almost all commercial applications, saving tire wear.
“The idea that a commercial vehicle needs to be able to overtake vehicles from 0-60 is really a consumer concept,” he says. “The commercial vehicles we’re dealing with have been tuned down to such a degree that it becomes a very capable vehicle from an acceleration perspective, but not something that is going to increase the wear of the tires. We see an equivalent amount of tire wear in the commercial sector.”
Torque availability can be dialed up through software tuning but Nordh says the emphasis to-date has been on extending range rather than boosting output.
“If you then allow them to drive like a sports car, you’re going to reduce that range capability, which is not the goal,” he says.
While long-haul carriers may not necessarily have to make a business case for electric trucks in the near term, Nordh says it’s crucial to start looking into the technology and understanding how viable it is across all applications.
Uncontrollable and unpredictable outside factors like the future cost of diesel can make this process tricky.
“In the Class 5 [and above] market, just the commercial space in general in North America, requires the financial equation to make sense in order to make sense for adoption to accelerate,” Nordh says.
Nordh suggests looking at historic diesel costs and a given truck’s MPG performance, and then consider the additional costs of the electric infrastructure – like the charger itself and the cost of electricity.
“And then it’s looking at how many kilowatt hours am I going to need to purchase,” Nordh says. “In my opinion, based on the speed of which battery packs are becoming cheaper, and the speed at which diesel fuel and diesel vehicles continue to become more expensive, it’s just a question of ‘when’ as opposed to ‘if.”
Source:: Equipment world
Estwing Indestructible handle.
It’s been a long time since Cool Hand Luke had to sledgehammer rocks on a highway crew, but heavy hammers are still useful and necessary tools in any shop or construction site. And while sledgehammers may seem like just a brute tool, you’d be well advised, for safety purposes and to prevent long-term ergonomic damage, to choose the right handle, weight and head material for each specific application.
Estwing has just the ticket with with a new line of sledgehammers offering a choice of handle and head types.
The handle on the Indestructible line is made of spring steel bar and vulcanized rubber that absorbs impact and vibration. Head sizes range from 2.5-pounds to 20-pounds and handles range from 12-inches to 36-inches. The Indestructibles also offer a hard face, soft face, copper, brass and machinists’ heads plus a tire bead breaker and club.
Hard faced heads are typically used in destructive applications. Soft face hammers are more suited to striking metal objects without the risk of metal pieces breaking off and endangering the worker. Copper and brass faced hammer heads and machinists’ heads can be used to shape metal without damaging it.
The Fiberglass handle models are double injected for increased strength, durability and overstrike protection. Induction hardened heads include a hard face and soft face models. Weights go from 2.5- to 20-pounds and handles from 16- to 36 inches.
For the combination of stiffness and shock absorption only wood provides, the Hickory handle lineup also offers hard and soft face models plus brass, copper and machinists’ versions. These also run from 2.5- to 20-pounds with 16- to 36-inch handles.
Source:: Equipment world
Altorfer Holdings has acquired Patten Industries, the Caterpillar dealer in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.
The acquisition expands the Caterpillar service territory managed by the Altorfer family, a Cat dealer now operating and managing in eastern Iowa, northeast Missouri and central Illinois.
“I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to welcome the dedicated employees of Patten Industries into the Altorfer family, says Altorfer Holdings president Derek Altorfer. “Together we will build upon the traditions of both companies in addition to providing a level of customer service unmatched by anyone else.”
The companies bring a combined 147 years of experience serving Caterpillar customers.
“We look forward to serving customers in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana and pledge to bring ownership and operational efficiencies to help enhance their success” says Bruce Altorfer, chairman of Altorfer.
Headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Altorfer has served the construction, agriculture, landscaping and trades, manufacturing, material handling, rental, mining, governmental, trucking and power generation industries.
Altorfer Machinery Company was founded on February 4th, 1957 by the late Edward J. Altorfer. He had previously worked in the family washing machine business, called Altorfer Brothers Company, in East Peoria, Illinois.
Edward Altorfer’s good friend, Buck Swords, owned Peoria Tractor and Equipment Company – the Caterpillar dealer in Peoria – and introduced him to Cat. In the beginning, Altorfer Machinery Company had stores in Cedar Rapids and Davenport, Iowa and Hannibal, Missouri and employed about 100 people.
Source:: Equipment world
Need an “ahhh” moment? The YouTube video below was taken by D3 Imagery’s Dustin Dilworth, a well-known photographer who has captured many wonderful photos and videos in Michigan, MLive reports. This time-lapse video showcases the Mackinac Bridge as the mesmerizing Northern Lights dance overhead.
Source:: Equipment world
“Data tracked by the Energy Information Administration and AAA indicate U.S. fuel prices could reach levels not seen since 2014; a price spike that is largely a reflection of higher oil prices,” the AASHTO Journal reports.
Regular gasoline is predicted to average $2.74 per gallon during what the Energy Information Administration it calls the “summer season” – April through September – which would be the highest average “summer price” for gasoline in four years, AASHTO reports.
That’s also 26 cents per gallon higher compared to the average price for gasoline during the summer of 2017, according to EIA’s data.
Overall gasoline expenditures in 2018 are expected to be about $2,300 per household – nearly $200 more compared to 2017. U.S. regular gasoline prices will average out to $2.64 per gallon for the year, officials say.
To read the full AASHTO Journal report on fuel prices hitting a four-year high, click here.
Source:: Equipment world