By Murray Pollok17 March 2008
The US economy may be in uncertain shape, but the attraction of the Rental Show for suppliers to the rental industry seems unabated, at least at the time of writing in early November.
ARA tells IRN that there are “no signs at all that the economy is having on impact on the show thus far. Demand for booth space was extremely high – the heavy construction area sold out in April and the light construction/general tool area sold out in mid-May. Early registration for attendees is going well also.”
At the upcoming 2008 event in Las Vegas – the three-day trade show is held on 12-14 February, although the entire event kicks off on Saturday 9 February – the show owner and organizer, the American Rental Association (ARA), is exploiting the additional space now available at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and says that it will have even more space than in Atlanta earlier this year, although the number of exhibitors will fall from around 700 in Atlanta to nearer 650 in Las Vegas.
However, it remains to be seen just how busy the event will be with equipment buyers. Even if the big US rental companies say that the residential market represents a small proportion of their revenues, there is evidence that rental investment will slow down in 2008. Caterpillar recently reported a 12% drop in machine sales in the US for its third quarter of the year, and said that its dealers had been slowing investment in their rental fleets.
What can be said in advance of the show is that the bigger manufacturers will be there in force along with hundreds of smaller suppliers to the rental sector. This year also sees almost 60 new exhibitors attend for the first time, including several aerial platform suppliers.
These include Teupen America, the US representative of German ‘Spider' or ‘Atrium lift' type aerial platforms, as well as UK-based Pop Up Products Ltd, which makes a small, push-around scissor lift that has proved popular with rental companies in the UK and elsewhere. The Las Vegas show will be Pop Up's launch into the US.
If both Pop Up and Teupen America operate in the ‘niche' end of the aerials market, even more niche is another Rental Show first-timer, New Jersey-based Airtrax Corp, which is going to show a selection of its special ‘omni-directional' industrial products, which includes both scissor lifts and industrial forklifts. These have a special wheel design that allows the user to direct the machine very precisely in any direction.
Other new exhibitors include finance specialist De Lage Landen Financial Services and Equipment Finance Partners; online auction specialist IronPlanet, temperature control company TEMP-AIR; and compact industrial crane manufacturer Valla Cranes.
Evidence of increased Chinese involvement in the US market will be provided by Segma Power Products, the Florida-based distributor for Chinese generator set, compressor and pressure washer manufacturer Suzhou Jinding Machinery Manufacturing.
Of course it will be the big names that will attract much of the attention of visitors, companies like Terex, Volvo, JLG, Multiquip, Vermeer, Ditch Witch and many others. All are likely to have new machines in show – Genie, for example, will have the new lighting tower and 350 kVA generator set that were launched at the recent ICUEE show (see report this issue).
Wacker, meanwhile, will make a big splash with lots of new compact construction equipment. It will show a variety of machines that it is now selling following its acquisition in 2005 of Weidemann and, more significantly, of Neuson Kramer. Possibly on show will be five excavators and three dumpers from Neuson, three or four Wacker wheeled loaders (ex-Weidemann machines) and several yet to be determined Kramer wheeled loaders.
As always at ARA there is a fantastic array of seminars, workshops and other events designed to cover the entire spectrum of rental, from heavy construction equipment to party and events. See these pages for some of the highlights, and visit www.therentalshow.com for details.
Finally, KHL Group, publisher of International Rental News (IRN), again exhibits at the show. Come along to the stand and pick up our latest issue, as well as copies of our sister magazines Access International and American Lift & Handlers (ALH). You can find us on stand 5548 – we look forward to seeing you there.