Bell Equipment advances contract manufacturing initiative

3rd April 2024 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

Bell Equipment advances contract manufacturing initiative

Bell Equipment Model 200 Grader

Heavy equipment manufacturer Bell Equipment has been growing its business organically by investing in the development and enhancement of products, increasing market share in key regions, such as the Middle East, and growing the Bell Heavy Industries (BHI) contract manufacturing business.

Bell Equipment CEO Ashley Bell tells Engineering News that the company has initiated discussions with potential customers to help stimulate the South African manufacturing sector through contract manufacturing.

Bell envisions providing contract manufacturing services to the construction, energy, mining and transport sectors.

He adds that the BHI initiative is still in its early stages, with systems and processes being put in place to deal with third-party clientele, but Bell is confident it will gain further traction over the remainder of the year.

Responding to whether the company’s existing manufacturing facilities will need to be expanded to accommodate for contract manufacturing, as well as new products that Bell Equipment will be manufacturing from 2025, Bell says the legacy plant it has in Richards Bay has the capability to accommodate the additional manufacturing, particularly as the company pursues a greater level of articulated dump truck (ADT) manufacturing at its German factory.

The company is also adequately staffed with manufacturing experts that can take on third-party manufacturing projects.

Bell Equipment aims to manufacture its northern hemisphere-bound ADTs closer to suppliers and markets, which leaves room in the South African facility for other types of manufacturing.

Among the new products that Bell Equipment will be manufacturing from 2025 are a Bell Motor Grader and a Timber Processing Head.

The Motor Grader has been in development for four years and will take its place alongside the reputable Bell Equipment ADT line in the local and global market. Bell says extensive testing on the machine has ensured it has the durability and reliability that are expected from Bell Equipment.

The Bell Motor Grader marks a significant step forward in the company’s strategy to grow its own range of manufactured products for the global construction and mining industries, particularly as many graders in the market have been found to be insufficient and prone to failure.

The grader has been designed with varying emission regulations in international markets in mind, as well as different types of operator controls. It is engineered to operate in the most challenging and harsh environmental conditions and includes a range of features to help improve productivity, maintain costs and deliver work efficiently.

In turn, the Timber Processing Head will complement the company’s range of equipment on offer for the forestry and agriculture industries.

Bell says this product is distinguished owing to its catering for mechanised harvesting operations, compared with traditional manual harvesting type systems.

The Bell Equipment Timber Processing Head will be the first of its kind to be designed and manufactured in South Africa.

To further improve its offering to the timber and agriculture industries, Bell Equipment has been appointing a number of independent dealers for its forestry and agriculture business across South Africa, in addition to its own-managed branches and mining- and construction-focused independent dealers.

Moreover, Bell Equipment is also undertaking research and development on different technologies for cleaner propulsion, including alternative fuel.

Bell explains that many companies are going through a learning process on what would be the most suitable alternatives for construction equipment, particularly large machines.

Some of the options the company is looking into are hydrogen and battery electric-powered drivetrains for machines, but no commercial solutions are in development yet.