Supplier warns of false savings

“In today’s market, a lot of people are going to try to get that last couple of dollars out of their tyres, and push them beyond their usable life span,” said Glen Wolfenden, business development manager for New South Wales-based industrial tyre supplier Bearcat Tyres. “It could raise issues where they might be putting themselves into a predicament that they don’t want to be in.“Then inevitably, what happens is you get other parts starting to get damaged as well. With guys running their tyres and tracks past their [recommended] usability, they put strain on other parts of the machine, so you’ve got parts like axles and gearboxes starting to strain.”Wolfenden said that in the current economic climate many construction contractors would either hold onto their equipment for longer or use their secondary equipment, which would be good news for tyre and track suppliers.“When times are good, [contractors will] go out and buy new equipment when they need to do a job,” he said. “Whereas when things start to slow up or get a bit tougher, they’ll bring out their older pieces of equipment or they’ll continue to use their equipment for longer.“For us, it’s not too bad, because you get more turnover of parts. When times are good, and their machine gets to 2000 hours and starts to give them trouble, they’ll sell it or put it out in the yard and use a new machine.“To give you an idea, we’ve got a skid steer tyre which we sell, and a customer who trades his skid steer in every two years,” Wolfenden said. “His skid steer does around 2500 hours every two years, and he trades the skid steer in with the original tyres [that were bought from Bearcat when the skid steer was new].“What you’ll see now is that he might hold onto that machine for a four-year period and he’ll probably buy another set of tyres from us in the meantime and trade the machine in later.“It’s the same for rubber tracks for excavators. A life cycle on a rubber track can be between four and six years. When times are good, a lot of guys will go and update their excavator every four years, so you get a lot of second-hand machines sitting in yards and a lot of new machines going out the door,” Wolfenden said. “If you take the perspective of the construction industry slowing down, a lot more second-hand machines will be bought and used, so we’ll sell more rubber tracks over the next year based on people continuing to use older machines.”

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