The 50tonne class 950 is one of the new series of LiuGong excavators, along with the 30tonne, 930, 14tonne 914 and 10tonne 910
The acquisition of the HSW firm making the Dressta bulldozers has been strategically important for LiuGong. This facility is its first factory in Europe and has brought with it a very well-proven product line. The factory has benefited from a number of changes and David Beatenbough, vice president of LiuGong research and development said, “What we’ve found is that every machine tool is old but the maintenance has been tremendous. We’ve only had to replace one or two machine tools. So for this year we’ve been looking at the factory and making small repairs and carrying out necessary maintenance.”
New remote control overhead cranes have replaced the older overhead craneage, which will also improve manufacturing at the plant, as part of a reorganisation within the facility. “It was not set up in a logical fashion and we’ve done a lot to improve that.”
This reorganisation at the Polish site showed it had more potential from its existing buildings and Beatenbough said, “We started excavator and wheeled loader production in May 2012. As we reorganised we freed up enough space for moderate lines. As production goes up we’ll have to add to that but for a couple of years we’ve got enough capacity until demand rises.”
He said that the excavators being built in Poland include 922, 925, 930 and 936 at present.
So far LiuGong has targeted Scandinavia and Eastern Europe as territories where it will focus sales of the LiuGong excavators and wheeled loaders. Beatenbough said that with regard to Scandinavia, despite this being a particularly tough market, the key was finding good dealers keen to sell the product.
David Beatenbough spoke exclusively with the Daily News editorial team
A strong dealer network has also been established in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia and Turkey and the company sees good sales potential during 2013, particularly in Turkey where the construction sector is buoyant.
Competition is tough in Europe’s larger and more established markets such as France, Germany and the UK but the Dressta name may prove extremely useful. “Dozers have small sales there but Dressta is a respected name in those areas.”
The dozers are important to LiuGong and the strength of the Dressta name and the product will be valuable.
The company is investing in this line-up and Beatenbough said, “Two weeks before bauma China we began work for a new bulldozer platform. We’ll revamp the range on a common platform; it’ll be a different technology level.”
However, the quality and originality of the Dressta designs will be retained. These machines have evolved along different lines to those from Caterpillar and Komatsu, and over a long time. Beatenbough said, “The independent DNA of the design is something we plan to keep. The design is still as good as it was in the old IH days.”
Meanwhile in China LiuGong is working on a new production facility. “We’re equipping the factory right now and commissioning will be in the first quarter of 2013,” he said. “We don’t have enough capacity at the existing factory and we’ll start by putting the machines for export into our new factory”
The company will also invest in further developing the rigid truck range, which it builds in China as part of a joint venture. At the moment the range is limited and these machines are only sold in China but Beatenbough said this line-up will be further developed and commented, “I want to sell it around the world.”