A KEANE EYE: Was ACE the place?

As such, it was probably a disappointment, as it did not provide a clear answer for many people. Some felt that attendance was very uneven and down on expectations, at times, during the three-day show. Others felt that the quality of attendees was good, and the show was of great benefit for them, with some attendees coming to the show specifically to see a particular piece of equipment they’d heard about in early publicity. Take for instance, the Laser Grader, a compact articulated six-wheel-drive articulated grader that Tom Yossifidis had on show to promote its arrival in his contracting business. There were people who went to the show looking to buy the Laser Grader, so much so that Yossifidis believes that he will soon have the required three orders to allow him to become a distributor. Also on show was the Compact Grader and while it did not get quite the same attention, and is not a head-to-head competitor for the Laser Grader, there is some overlap. Perhaps its biggest problem in acceptance is that it does not look as much like a grader as the Laser Grader. The Compact Grader is based on a tractor, can be supplied laser-ready (most have) and because it is based on a mass-produced product, it is very competitive on price. On a head-to-head basis, the Compact Grader has more horsepower, is competitive on turning circle when based on a New Holland tractor with Super Steer and has a wider blade and blade sideshift. But the Laser Grader has a narrower footprint and the operator has a better view of the blade. Perhaps the biggest question potential buyers ask is whether a short-wheelbase machine can truly level ground when graders have traditionally been long-wheelbase machines. Angelo Bergamin has operated these machines on jobs that have tight tolerance specifications, and claims that with laser control the grader has met or exceeded these requirements. Keane Eye guesses the good news is that the market now has two strong competitors in the ultra-compact grader market, and it is a matter for prospective buyers to see which machine best meets their requirements. That’s a much better alternative than having nothing in this segment, as was the case for many years. Perhaps the overall feeling of the show was that it was a little flat. However, there were a few things to take notice of. The launch of a new excavator series is generally big news, and Hyundai had its first Dash 9 excavators on show at ACE. Hyundai has become a significant player in the excavator market by offering a very competitive and well-finished product at a value price. That could well be the mix that appeals to the market in the current times. The Australian market seems sufficiently discerning that it is not fooled for long by a low price that offers poor value. There was news of a different kind on another stand offering Korean product. Doosan came in from the cold and was shown in with good numbers on the Clark Equipment stand. It looks clear that Clark is applying the same energy to Doosan and Terex paving products as it did to Bobcat compact equipment, and there was plenty to see on their stand. Although the Komatsu D51 dozer is not a total newcomer to Australia, seeing it in the flesh – with Topcon laser system – at ACE reinforces what a refreshingly new approach Komatsu has brought to compact dozer design. That will be explored further in a future Keane Eye.

Send this to a friend