Sandvik gathered about 200 customers and dealers in Philadelphia in mid-October to demonstrate its North American mining and construction equipment. The one-day event, attended by Rock Products, was repeated over two days with live demonstrations held at Eureka Stone's Rush Valley quarry, for which J.D Morrissey Materials is the parent company.
This is the fourth such event for Sandvik with the first three in England, Malaysia and China beginning in June 2009. And the reason for holding it, as well as introducing new equipment to the North America market this far out from ConeExpo-Con/Agg 2011, company officials say, is to have customers' undivided attention. This, of course, is not something to overlook in this economy.
"We're in for some tough times," said Jeff Heinemann, Sandvik's vice president of construction, region USA and Canada. "We need to spend more time with our customers."
The company reported sales of $5 billion in the U.S. construction and mining markets for 2009, so far, Heinemann says, the business is up from last year. That $5 billion represents about half of the company's overall sales.
The company has made some alterations to its approach to next year's ConExpo-Con/Agg 2011. To save money, they will be taking less equipment to display on the show floor. They also will shift the focus from selling machinery to selling their expertise in quarry operations, Heinemann says. This is a continuation of what Sandvik started several years ago with its Quarry Academy education sessions.
Looking at the market, Sandvik Vice President of Construction Equipment Duncan McGregor said he thinks the economy has hit bottom. The U.S. construction market remains a concern, but the mining industry has held up fairly well, he says. Overall, McGregor says his outlook for 2011 is positive and he expects small growth.
"The biggest challenge in any recession is demand," McGregor said. "It will come back; we're at the crest of the slump."
Heinemann said he sees the absence of a long-term transportation bill as the greatest hindrance to the industry's recovery. In this political landscape, no one wants to hear about tax increases, he says. Things are difficult in Washington, D.C., and maybe they will start to change over the next four years. Bank lending to customers is improving, he says. It is better than it was six to eight months ago. This, however, hasn't been a major concern to Sandvik since the company offers its own financing.
New to North America
Although the event did not see any new-product rollouts, Sandvik did introduce some breaking and crushing and screening equipment to the North American market that have been available in Europe. Among those were two secondary breakers from its Rammer line, a scalper screen and hybrid sizer and double-roll crusher.
The sizer/roll crusher, CR810/08-10, came into Sandvik's stable in March 2008 when it acquired the German manufacturer Aubema Crushing Technology. Although new to North America, the crusher has been operating for five years in a limestone quarry in France, said Stefan Karlsson, sales manager for mining crushers. And, he says, none of the parts have needed replacing in that time. He also says that the unit's capacity ratings are greater than that of comparably sized jaw and gyratory crushers. It can produce 1,000 metric tph and has a maximum feed size of 23.6 in.
Sandvik also introduced its QE440 track-mounted scalper to the North American market. The unit can process as much as 900 metric tons per hour. The company had its QI430 track-mounted impactor, which is the first new machine following the May 2007 acquisition of Extec Screens and Crushers and Fintec Crushing and Screening. The QI430 has a rated capacity of 385 short tons per hour.
Also new to North America are the BR4099, BR2577 and BR2155 breakers. All three units have the company's vibration-dampening tie rods, and the BR2577 and BR4099 have idle blow protection. The BR2577 has a maximum impact rate of 750 blows per minute, a carrier weight class of 25 to 31 tons and working weight of 3,478 pounds. The BR2155 delivers up to 780 blows per minute, has a carrier weight class of 18 to 29 tons and has a working weight of 2,690 pounds. The BR4099 has a carrier weight class of 27 to 60 tons.