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Concrete paving market developments

First publishedin World Highways
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The Miller Formless facility in Illinois has taken on more personnel to meet demand
Key developments are being seen in the concrete paving and slipforming market - Mike Woof writes

Key changes are taking place in the concrete paving and slipforming sector, with two of the well-known names in the market recently having changed hands. Both Miller Formless and Power Curbers/Power Pavers have recently been acquired from the families that set up these firms. In both instances the owners of the companies decided to retire and opted to sell these specialised businesses to suitable parties.

Scott Smith is now chief executive officer at Miller Formless and explained that he and his father had plenty of experience with these slipformers from their time in the contracting sector. Smith explained that his family had been looking for a construction business to invest in when they met with the founder of Miller Formless, Charlie Miller, who they knew well. He said, “We spoke with Charlie and we decided it’d be a good fit for us, being civil engineers.”

Since the change, Miller Formless has made a key deal through its partnership with another concrete paver maker, Guntert & Zimmerman. Smith said, “We met with Guntert at bauma in 2016 and we started talking about selling and marketing together."

Although the two firms both make slipformers, there is no overlap in terms of machine size, so the joint partnership is of benefit to both. The two companies entered an alliance in late 2016 and Smith said, “The benefits have been numerous so far. Guntert has been developing dealerships worldwide and we’ve been in discussions on co-selling through this dealer network. We’ve been successful in getting more machines overseas.”

Smith said that Miller Formless units have been supplied to countries including Australia, France, India and Singapore, a major departure for the company as it has traditionally focussed predominantly on the US market. In some territories Guntert has also set up manufacturing partnerships and Miller Formless is looking to capitalise on these existing agreements also.

Following the change in ownership, Miller Formless has also been able to benefit from improving market conditions for construction machines in the US in particular. Sales have been strong so far and the firm’s order book is full at present, with the new personnel having been taken on at the factory to help boost production. Smith said, “There was a lot of pent-up demand.”

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The first Power Curbers 7700 models are now being supplied to customers
On a similar note, the privately owned Power Curbers and Power Pavers business also recently changed hands for an undisclosed sum. Power Curbers was established by the Messinger family and was sold by its owner Dyke Messinger to the Cornwell family, also based in North Carolina. Messinger is remaining in charge of the company for the present, but is planning on retiring in due course. The deal included the manufacturing sites for Power Curbers and Power Pavers, as well as the rebuild facility, Southern Equipment Services.

Power Curbers too is benefiting from strong sales at present, with a full order book and the factory operating at maximum output. Stephen Bullock is sales director for Power Curbers. He said that the company is in as good a position as it has been for some years, “We’ve had a good year with Power Pavers building as much as we can. On the Power Curbers side we’ve seen a nice recovery. We’ve got good steady sales for Power Curbers and for the international market as well. We’ve a nice blend of Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.”

Since the firm launched its new models for Power Curbers and Power Pavers earlier this year, demand has also been healthy. Bullock said that the firm had a very good response from potential customers at the CONEXPO exhibition. He said that for the new Power Pavers SF-2404 model, “We have three of these machines in operation that are working well and more on the way.” He added that the first Power Curbers 7700 models have also been built for customers.

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