AI reports on a Spanish mast climber working in Japan's narrow streets
By Murray Pollok11 January 2011
Spanish construction equipment manufacturers have had to be quick about realigning themselves to exports since the crash in their domestic market - construction is 50% down in Spain and could fall further.
A good example is Saltec, the Zaragoza-based company that produces hoists, mast climbers and concrete mixers under the Torgar brand.
Mr Angel Ibanez, Saltec's sales manager, tells Access International that the company, having already readjusted its production capacity, has in the past two years shifted focus onto developing markets like North Africa, the Middle East and wider Asia.
Also Japan, although you wouldn't describe it as a developing market. That's where the company has found some real success is developing and selling a special mast climbing platforms for rental company Nihon Kasetsu.
The key to the new PW-6/12 units, which the company has been developing for over a year, is a width that is no greater than 0.7 m, meaning that the mast climbers can be used in very narrow streets or alleyways for refurbishment projects in cities like Tokyo.
Mr Ibanez says ten of the Torgar mini mast climbers have recently been supplied to Nihon Kasetsu, which is a renter of mast climbing work platforms, formwork and scaffolding, employing around 200 people.
The mast climber can be erected by hand - so small are the individual components - and is available in two versions: a single mast unit with 1000 kg capacity and 7 m platform length, and a 2.4 t capacity version on twin masts with a 24.6 m long platform.
Saltec has been delivering its standard, medium duty PW-18/35 models to the same Japanese customer for the past two years.
Mr Ibanez says that supplying to the Japanese market had been the company's most demanding challenge; "It took us more than one year to make all the required modifications on our machines to comply with the local regulations...As a small company we are really proud about it, especially because our distributor there is carrying out very interesting projects not only in the construction sector but also in industry."
Although Mr Ibanez remains rather downbeat about prospects for the Spanish market, he says Saltec is happy with the way it had boosted its export sales. The export drive continues, with the company exhibiting at the Bauma China exhibition in Shanghai at the end of November.