Doing the ground work: The compactor market

PMV checks out the developments in the compactor market

ANALYSIS, PMV, Development

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PMV checks out the developments, big and small, in the compactor market as it sits down with some key players in the field

In the build up to summer the construction market saw a flurry of activity. Long-awaited contracts were announced, new projects appeared and older projects were revived. These were all positive signs that the industry may have a reason to feel better about itself.

Machinery manufacturers and distributors may be among the first to see the results of these announcements, with demand for equipment reportedly on the up.

As compactors are among the first machines on site, it may be reasonable to expect some growth in this segment of the market, but while early signs are positive, nothing is ever guaranteed.

To get a share of the market manufacturers and distributors still need to push boundaries of innovation in technology and service offerings, plus make sure those offerings are readily available.

With reliable options available across the segment, it’s up to manufacturers and distributors to distinguish themselves in the consumer’s eye. PMV speaks to three companies looking to do just that.

Growth opportunity
Asif Sayeed Khan, division manager for Genavco’s equipment business tells PMV about the Hamm 3411

PMV: Why are you promoting the Hamm 3411?
Asif Sayeed Khan: This is a soil compactor which, is mainly used by the civil contractors, not the road contractors.

We have a very strong presence in the road construction segment, but this [soil compactors] was a segment where we thought we needed to focus more. In roading we have a strong presence and a market share of up to 65% in some categories, but in soil compaction we were not matching this standard. So, that’s why we are running the promotion, to get more penetration into soil compaction.

Also there are a variety of owners in this segment: one-man bands, renting out the machine and operating it himself. We have not been aggressive in these segments in the past, we have not been close to them. These kind of promotion features: free insurance and registration, and a two-year warranty attract them.

PMV: Is demand increasing?
ASK: Yes, very much so. The soil compaction market size is the biggest, followed by asphalt. We do good numbers in asphalt and in soil we need to do more.

PMV What part does leasing and rental play?
ASK: We have recently expanded out rental and leasing operation by including more products in our fleet. In fact we will soon have a dedicated facility Al Quoz area; we’ve just finalised the site.

PMV: Is business good?
ASK: Yes, it’s very encouraging. We achieved 25% growth last year. This year we have been given a 40% growth target in the equipment division. I knew this would be a mountainous target, but this shows that our owners have confidence in our team and they are challenging us.

PMV: What do you do to support customers?
ASK: Our customers expect that in their hour of need we should be there, standing by them. So if there are any issues we should be there in one or two hours time; parts availability is also very high. We have dedicated guys trained in these machines and we offer training to our customers too, in our training facility.

PMV Where do you see growth coming from?
ASK: We cater to industrial and construction equipment; road construction equipment is our main contributor, followed by material handling equipment for logistics, a segment that is positive and active. The third one is JLG access platforms. They grew to their height during the Metro construction, but now that is picking up again. We have a growth projection of about 18% in JLG.

Hamm 3411 data
Operating weight with ROPS: 11090kg
Total length: 5695mm
Max. working width: 2140mm
Width: 2250mm
Turning radius, inside: 4005mm
Engine manufacturer: DEUTZ
Power rating: 98,0kw/133,3PS/2300RPM
Hydrostatic drive: front/rear Hydraulic motor/axle
Speed, working gear: 0-5,7/0-7,6/0-7,9 kph
Speed, transportation gear: 0-12,0 kph
Climbing ability: vibration on/off 46/51%
Vibration frequency: front, I/II 30/40Hz

Light compaction
Atlas Copco tells PMV about its compaction kit with a light touch

PMV: What are your main products in your compaction range? What are some of their preferred attributes from contractors?
Atlas Copco: Atlas Copco has a full range of compaction equipment, including rammers, plates and rollers; each designed to take our customers productivity to a whole new level. All of these have been developed with the renowned ‘Dynapac Technology’, refined to maximize the productivity of our customers.

Starting, maneuvering and transportation is made easy with clever engineering such as the rammer air breather system, smart water distribution system on the forward plates or the compact design of our rollers with hydraulic transmission.

Other benefits to our customers include long service intervals and very low cost of ownership, and class leading compaction efficiency and unrivalled ergonomics minimizes lower hand and arm vibrations (HAV).

PMV: Which areas of the construction industry are you seeing most activity?
Atlas Copco: For Atlas Copco the on-going large-scale infrastructure construction in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE are the markets which are currently our most active; and with the anticipated preparations for FIFA 2022 and Dubai Expo 2020 we see it further accelerating in the near future.

PMV: Are there any recent jobs or types of jobs where you’ve had to provide a special solution, whether in terms of the machine itself or through the support and training?
Atlas Copco: Atlas Copco light compaction equipment have been used extensively in several major construction projects in the whole region.

Some of the most high profile projects include a woman’s university in Saudi Arabia, extensive reconstruction work following the Jeddah flash floods, the international airport projects in Doha, Muscat, Abu Dhabi to name a few.

PMV: How well established is your service foot print in the Middle East, both in terms of manufacturer and distributor support? What are some of the most frequent issues you work to overcome?
Atlas Copco: The majority of this region is covered through a strategic network of distributors who work closely and with the full support of Atlas Copco, which has a regional headquarters in Dubai, UAE.

All our distributors work with a strong focus on aftermarket support to ensure the utmost customer satisfaction.

Each one of them has a well-established, well stocked warehouse and is equipped with trained and experienced service engineers who are available at short notice to take care of our customers. This is one of the strong motivating factors why our customers perceive us to be a ‘first in mind, first in choice’ supplier of compaction equipment in the region.

PMV: How important are the on-board electronics and machine control in terms of improving operator performance? What sort of efficiency improvements result from the point of view of the contractor?
Atlas Copco: The Light Compaction equipment being mainly ‘walk behind’ units handled by operators, there is a strong focus on ergonomics while designing these machines.

Most of our machines have been designed to develop very low ‘Hand and Arm Vibrations’ (HAV), in-fact the lowest HAV in the industry, which makes these machines much easier to handle and work with, which means that operators can work for longer periods within a shift, resulting in higher productivity. This also includes operator controls which have been designed to keep comfort in mind, minimizing fatigue.

The LG 400 reversible plate compactor is equipped with a ‘Compaction Indicator’ that will help the operator to determine the exact number of ‘passes’ required to compact a certain area, enabling them to save time, money, increasing productivity and avoiding over-compaction. In the near future, more models will be equipped with this handy electronic feature.

Key Attributes
Market-leading high impact force developing higher compaction efficiency
4-Stroke Honda petrol engines, with lower emissions and noise
Patented Dynapac Air Breathing system, for easier start-up
Lower Hand & Arm Vibrations than competition
New Carburetor with acceleration pump, for excellent acceleration performance
10 times bigger capacity air intake filter
Balanced construction

Roll on
Volvo Construction Equipment Road Machinery Director, Sales Region EMEA, Darren Fitch tells PMV about its soil compaction capabilities

PMV: What are your main products in your compaction range?
Darren Fitch: Volvo Construction Equipment’s most popular soil compactors for the Middle East market are the 11 and 13 tonne SD110 and SD130 models respectively, while in the asphalt range the DD100 and DD25 double drum compactors offer the level of performance and efficiency sought by contractors .

PMV: What are some of their preferred attributes from contractors?
DF: First and foremost contractors seek high compaction performance. That said; we are also seeing a trend towards improved efficiency, operator comfort and simplicity of operation.

PMV: Which areas of the construction industry are you seeing most activity?
DF: Certainly across the Middle East region we see a real demand for road construction – we are a full service provider offering the full line of equipment including on-highway trucks so contractors can turn to Volvo for all their needs.

PMV: How well established is your service footprint in the Middle East, both in terms of manufacturer and distributor support?
DF: Volvo CE is supremely well represented in the Middle East, working in 17 countries with 58 full service locations including workshops and parts centres. We are also supporting our dealers through Volvo Parts Distribution Centers both in Dubai and Istanbul – this rapid availability to parts offers insurance to customers that they will receive the aftermarket support they expect from Volvo.

PMV: What are some of the most frequent issues you work to overcome?
DF: Recent feedback from the Middle Eastern market shows a general lack of understanding that the Volvo CE road machinery line was developed through the acquisition of Ingersoll Rand road machinery in 2007 including the well-known ABG and Blaw Knox paving products.

Both enjoyed a rich heritage in the Middle East with loyal customer bases. As such, perhaps our most common issue is explaining to customers that Volvo CE road machinery is building on this respected base to develop products that retain the best features while further improving them in terms of quality, productivity, efficiency, safety and aftermarket support.

PMV: How important are the on-board electronics and machine control in terms of improving operator performance?
DF: I believe the Middle East market is perhaps a little conservative when it comes to sophisticated electronics on soil and asphalt compactors. I understand that contractors in the region prefer to have minimal electronics in their compaction equipment to simplify operation, but I also expect this to change in the future as the market needs develop.

Certainly we see a strong demand for compaction documentation and data management systems in Europe and I firmly believe this will also be the case in the Middle East in the future. Already in certain markets here the signs are that early seeds of interest are now sprouting their first shoots!

PMV: What sort of efficiency improvements result from the point of view of the contractor?
DF: The compaction control and documentation systems available today enable operators to quickly highlight, via an LCD display, which areas are correctly compacted and which need further compaction to meet the required density. In addition it is possible to add a GPS sensor so that the job site compaction data can be recorded.

This enables the operator to optimize the process by focusing on the areas of the mat that require compaction rather than making a fixed number of passes according to a method specification. Suffice to say, this enables the contractor to work more efficiently to get the job completed faster.

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