At the recently-ended bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, Smith Power, a South African importation and distribution company representing leading global brands, reiterated its pioneering position in the local compact equipment market by showcasing several of its new, internationally-renowned brands recently added to its ever-growing stable.
Apart from the usual launch of new products, major capital equipment exhibitions of bauma CONEXPO AFRICA nature have also evolved to be great platforms to learn of new trends in the capital equipment space. For Smith Power, the major talking point of its exhibit was the demonstration of its complete basket of compact equipment available for the South African construction market from a single supplier. Smith used the platform to reiterate that the future lies in compact gear, and dealing with a supplier that can address any problem statement optimally and service compact equipment needs across board is more critical than ever.
In line with its compact approach, Smith Power presented a host of new product lines from new international partners, including AUSA, Haulotte and Italian attachment manufacturer, Cangini. These were complemented by an updated range of its compact excavators from leading international manufacturer, Kubota.
While the compact equipment market in South Africa remains a very small segment of the continent’s overall construction equipment market, Smith Power is defiant that all indications are that it has to grow.
In South Africa, the mini-excavator market is still developing. This is in line with international trends, where almost 200 000 units are sold worldwide each year, asserting the compact excavator market as the single largest sector of the annual global 700 000-unit construction equipment market.
Although the trend towards compact equipment is still very much in its infancy locally compared with international markets, Robert Keir, Marketing Manager at Smith Power, is defiant that the future is compact, and there are clear signs that the market is on a sustainable growth path locally. “We are convinced that the compact equipment sector is a growing and interesting market locally. We have also seen several South African equipment suppliers going the compact route, with the recent launches of new compact ranges by several local suppliers being testimony to the growth potential signals of this market,” says Keir.
“There were a couple of highlights for us at bauma CONEXPO AFRICA,” says Keir. “We showed, for the first time, our newly-acquired range of AUSA rough terrain forklifts and telehandlers.”
Smith recently entered into a supply agreement with AUSA, a leading Spanish OEM that offers the most extensive range of dumpers, rough terrain forklifts, dumpers and telehandlers. The AUSA range fits well into Smith’s compact focus.
“With the arrival of the AUSA range, we will be able to offer the widest range of compact all terrain telescopic handlers in the market, with capacities from 1,4 t to 2,0 t. AUSA has a range of two models that are highly compact and have an advanced design for working in open spaces under very extreme conditions, as well as very narrow semi-enclosed spaces with difficult access. The versatility of the telescopic arm allows positioning at height but also to the front, which makes it the ideal equipment for handling materials on site,” says Keir.
Keir adds that AUSA forklifts are highly versatile machines capable of handling heavy loads and big volumes on rough and sloping terrain. This makes them suitable for outdoor construction and industrial applications. “AUSA offers the widest range of off-road and semi-industrial diesel models in the market from 2,5 t to 3,5 t,” he says.
Additionally, this year Smith will also introduce AUSA’s range of dumpers to the local market. Internationally, wheel dumpers are fast replacing smaller trucks on many construction sites, especially in difficult terrain conditions, and the trend will also soon find its way into the local market. With the AUSA range, Smith will be able to offer the most varied line-up of dumpers in the market.
“The AUSA dumper range includes a rigid chassis model at 1 500 kg of payload and articulated dumpers from 2 500 to 3 500 kg. There are 4WD, 2WD, mechanical, hydrostatic and torque converter transmissions available in combination with front height and swivel unloading hoppers. There are available optional of self-loading shovel and sweeper models,” says Keir.
Smith also used the show to unveil its Haulotte range of telehandlers. Keir says Haulotte manufactures and distributes a large range of telehandlers. “Haulotte offers three ranges – Compact, High Lift and Heavy Load,” he says, adding that the range has a special design focus on minimising operator fatigue through well-laid ergonomics.
The expanded and updated Kubota compact excavator range was also on show. Keir says the 30% year-on-year growth of the Kubota excavators since their initial launch in 2014 is testimony to the trend towards this solution in the local construction industry. “We have seen an increased stable demand of compact excavators and we have been able to double our sales every year since we launched the range,” says Keir.
To allow customers to further benefit from the versatility of its compact gear, Smith also used bauma CONEXPO AFRICA to showcase its newly-acquired range of attachments from Italian manufacturer, Cangini. “A key competitive edge for our range of telehandlers and mini-excavators is that they can be equipped with a range of accessories. With Cangini, we are able to offer a wide range of attachments, all the way from buckets, winches, brackets, quick hitches, to demolition crushers and screening buckets, grapples, wood grabs, mulchers, augers, rippers, broom sweepers and pallet forks,” says Keir
Judging by interactions with customers at the show, Keir says there is a positive sentiment all around. “The market is defiantly on an upswing, and there is a lot of positivity in the air. A true measure of the renewed business confidence is that we were able to conclude several deals during the show,” he says.
Looking ahead, Keir is positive that 2018 will be an exciting year for both equipment users and suppliers. “bauma CONEXPO AFRICA 2018 reflected a sense of renewed optimism and highlighted the opportunities in the industry, despite recent economic challenges,” he says.
As the continental economy shows signs of a great rebound, especially driven by an improving mining sector, Keir says Smith has plans to further expand its reach into Africa, where its strategy is based on its pioneering position in the compact equipment space. “Africa is the new frontier with its mineral wealth and exciting market development opportunities. There is opportunity to take calculated risks with high potential rewards. Therefore, we are very excited about our plans into Africa and are sure of success,” concludes Keir.