While the fragmentation occurring in the mining and construction industries – where major contracts are being awarded to smaller empowered startups without major track records or even assets – is cause for concern, meaningful change is likely to emerge after the national election in May.
This is the view of excavating contractor Bobcat KwaZulu-Natal GM Brian Rachman. “Essentially, 2018 was a year of polar opposites, with both good and disappointing news the order of the day. On the whole, though, Bobcat remains optimistic about the future of this great country. We await the 2019 elections eagerly, after which we think that meaningful change will begin to emerge.”
Bobcat is poised to take advantage of any uptick in the economy post-election. “Here we have an opportunity to ensure we deal with the correct companies in this regard. What gives us a distinct advantage in the marketplace is both our access to funding and capability to assist in securing the necessary financing.”
Another key differentiator for Bobcat is the introduction of innovative new equipment designed specifically for arduous African operating conditions. This includes the Bobcat Earthforce S16 and S18 skidsteer loaders, which were developed in Prague, in the Czech Republic, and will be imported from China.
These latest skidsteer loaders have yet to be launched in South Africa. “They have excellent performance, with a compact body size and strong power performance for easy access to confined spaces and increased versatility,” Rachman notes.
The Bobcat Earthforce S16 and S18 skidsteer loaders feature overall lower costs, less maintenance and fewer electronics, in keeping with the brand identity of ‘One tough animal’ in terms of ruggedness and dependability. The rated operating capacity is 687 kg and the breakout force (arm/bucket) is 1 465 kg/ 1 937 kg.
Another potential new product launch is Bobcat’s second-generation backhoe loader, following on the success of its B730 model, which is making great inroads in the agricultural industry in particular. The service intervals on the B730 have been extended from every 250 h to 500 h, in addition to a substantial discount on parts and labour.
“We believe that, with the launch of the Earthforce machines, we will increase our market share and meet the need for lower-cost machines, without compromising on quality,” Rachman concludes.