Heavy-duty and earthmoving equipment supplier North European Equipment introduced German construction machines manufacturer and distributor Atlas Weyhausen’s AR 40 loaders onto the local market in June last year, but is yet to register sales of the loaders, North European Equipment MD Stefan Otto tells Engineering News.
He notes that North European Equipment is the official sub-Saharan distributor of Atlas Weyhausen equipment.
Otto explains that the AR 40 loaders can be used in the construction industry for several applications, such as sidewalk maintenance, and to move aside or load materials.
An AR 40 loader weighs 3 300 kg, with a 29.4 kW engine and shovel capacity of 0.5 m3.
“Although we have not yet sold a AR 40 loader, we have sold two of the larger AR 95 loaders in the past two years and we have also sold seven of our AW 1120 rollers,” states Otto.
The AR 95 weighs 7 900 kg, with a 74.9 kW engine and shovel capacity of 1.4 m3, and is used for materials removal and loading.
The AW 1120 is a 12 t smooth drum roller, with a 96 kW engine, a drum of
2 100 mm x 1 500 mm and a drum-shell thickness of 30 mm.
Further, Otto notes that the AW 1120 roller drum has minimal moving parts and uses simple, smart technology to provide vibration for its operations.
“This simplicity of the AW 1120 design enables it to operate for longer, with fewer maintenance requirements. The same philosophy is applied to our range of loaders, with simplicity the driving factor behind all our machines’ design and application, while making operator requirements and machine capabilities top priorities.
“Atlas Weyhausen’s equipment is designed with the operator in mind, making it is extremely easy to use and operate, allowing for optimal working time and operator comfort. The ethos of the Atlas Weyhausen engineers is to build the perfect machine, which is quite clear when considering the high standard of the range of machines produced,” Otto enthuses.
He points out that for the Atlas Weyhausen range of rollers, the joint connecting the front drum and rear drive are lined with Teflon, removing the need for constant greasing and lubrication.
Moreover, Otto notes that owing to Atlas Weyhausen’s machines being manufactured in Germany, they are subject to all European environmental legislation. Therefore, the machines are inherently designed to be environment friendly.
“Atlas Weyhausen is also at the forefront of green technology for construction equipment, as the company’s future equipment models will include a new start/stop system,” he emphasises.
According to Atlas Weyhausen, the company’s automatic start/stop system will reduce a vehicle’s diesel consumption by about 2 000 ℓ over the vehicle’s expected life span.
The automatic start/stop system will use the hydraulics in the pumps’ gears to load a pressure accumulator, which delivers the energy required to restart the engine.
“With more than 40 years of experience, Atlas Weyhausen has devoted millions of dollars to and undertaken many hours of research and development. For a smaller supplier in the industry, it is clear that Atlas Weyhausen is always ahead of the curve in terms of technological development,” Otto asserts.
Otto says that North European Equipment’s biggest challenge is introducing its range of machines to small and medium-sized enterprises in the construction and mining industry and establishing the brand.
“Since we are newcomers to the market, we are meeting these challenges daily and, judging by our current client base and the number of enquiries we are receiving, we are meeting these challenges successfully,” he states.
Further, he points out that the company’s loaders have to compete with established construction equipment such as tractor-loader-backhoes (TLBs).
“It is our opinion that TLBs are extremely impractical machines and, at this stage, it offers only a price-based benefit to a customer. However, in the long term, the local industry will have to consider using a compact wheel loader with a mini excavator to increase productivity and also lower South Africa’s reliance on cheap labour,” states Otto.
He notes that there is a lack of construction equipment manufacturers in South Africa and Africa.
Otto believes that the key to further creating manufacturing opportunities in South Africa and Africa will depend on more companies investing resources to establish local manufacturing operations.
“We have to let manufacturers develop the required confidence to invest in manufacturing plants in South Africa and we need to invest in the education of our youth and create economic policies that will provide them with the required chances to establish local manufacturing capabilities,” he states.
Otto adds that in February last year the company sold 12 t and 3 t Atlas Weyhausen AW 300 rollers to a company that is subcontracted to carry out construction work on State-owned power utility Eskom’s Medupi power station, in Lephalale, Limpopo.