The Fayat Group has come a long way since it was first founded in 1957, developing contracting and construction machinery manufacturing businesses. Business growth has been good and the firm saw turnover of €4.6 billion across its operations in 2021 and growth to around €5.1 billion is anticipated for 2022. This turnover includes the group’s contracting operations, as well as manufacturing of the road machines.
President Jean-Claude Fayat commented, “It’s mainly from internal growth.” And he added that sales of road building equipment have seen healthy increases during the past 12 months.
In 2021, turnover for Fayat’s road machinery businesses reached €1.6 billion but he thinks this will grow to €1.8 billion for 2022 once the financial year is complete. Sales of machines have been strong around the world, with some markets proving particularly healthy, “…Europe and North America for sure.” He added that machine sales have been healthy in most other territories also, with the exception of China where performance has been sluggish.
Despite the strong machine sales, it is not plain sailing though and Fayat commented, “We are facing some supply issues. It’s not as bad as it was, but we’re still suffering.”
The supply issues relate to engines, electronics, hydraulics, “…everything.” According to Fayat. He said, “For us 2021 was a nice year, with good turnover and good bookings.” However, business has been more challenging for 2022 due to delays with component supplies affecting production and the global inflation problem. “We are facing issues with human resources,” he added. “For us 2022 has been a complex year with these issues, but we have big orders. That’s the paradox.”
Research and development has remained a priority across the construction machinery division. For 2022, the Fayat Group has introduced some notable construction machine innovations. There have been further developments for the Marini batching plant and Ermont continuous plants, improving mobility and sustainability. Meanwhile the BOMAG and Dynapac ranges of compactors and asphalt pavers have seen the introduction of several new electric models, with more to come. He said that demand is increasing from local authorities for the use of electric models in urban areas, despite the increased purchase cost. He said, “All our light equipment will be electric in five years.”
He said that other power solutions will be required for larger equipment and commented, “We need to stay flexible because it’s difficult to say what will happen.”
Meanwhile, digitalisation is a key trend for the construction industry, something that is being seen in the road machinery segment. Fayat commented, “There is a digital evolution for machines.” But he added, “We will not see autonomous machines in the next five years,” explaining that there remain too many hurdles in the way of the current autonomous machine prototypes for them to reach full working status.
“Remote control we think should happen more quickly,” adding that having machines platooning would be more likely. In this instance, a unit under the guidance of an operator could be followed closely by other units using autonomous settings. This would suit the operations of soil compactors on large sites for example. “It could be like this on some jobsites.” And he added that there is a need also, “It’s becoming harder and harder to find drivers for machines.”
Machine control technology is increasingly an important for construction machinery and he said that the company works with all key suppliers, leaving the choice of system to the customer.
Meanwhile, there is also innovation with regard to digitalisation in the asphalt plant models from Marini and Ermont. Fully digital technology has allowed increases in the use of RAP, while ensuring high quality mixes. The company’s virtual plant tour technology predated the COVID-19 pandemic but was further developed during the time, proving valuable to clients for understanding how the plants operate. Fayat said, “It’s a really good system.”