By Lindsay Gale19 November 2008
Sandvik is in the process of introducing a new generation of medium sized hydraulic breakers. The first, the BR 2155, was launched at this year's ConExpo and a second, the BR 2577, is due to hit the market very soon. Lindsay Gale reports on the new breaker and the new approach adopted by the company
With some manufacturers forecasting doom and gloom for the attachment business, it is refreshing to hear from one of the major players in the breaker sector that while we are certain to see a downturn, in their opinion it will not be as severe as some fear. Sandvik marketing director Teemu Teelahti told D&Ri that at the time of talking, Sandvik was predicting a downturn of 15% for its sales in the coming year. However, he went on to say the given the volatility of market conditions, this estimate is subject to change.
Irrespective of this, Sandvik has adopted a new approach to the design and development of its new breaker products. In the words of general manager Sandvik hammer products R.S Raghaven; "We definitely have to react to current market conditions, but it will not be a knee-jerk reaction. We are planning for a recovery by 2011, if not 2010 and our basic strategy is to expended into emerging markets, where the impact of the current financial difficulties are likely to be less."
"This is of course nothing new as a strategy. We therefore plan to develop flexibility in product design so that our products will suit both the emerging markets and a fully loaded model for the current developed ones. We see a definite trend or shift towards the emerging markets in terms of market share and next year we predict that emerging markets will account for 47% of all breakers sold world-wide," said Mr Raghaven"
According to Mr Raghaven, this approach is epitomised by the two most recent models of breaker the company has launched, the BR 2155 launched at ConExpo early this year, and the BR 2577, which be available by the end of this year. Sandvik sees the breaker market as being separated to three classes of customer. The first, admittedly a small segment, is made up of one-time buyers where price is the primary concern. At the other extreme are customers where high performance and quality are the primary drivers, and this is the segment where Sandvik has been historically primarily positioned In between, there is a segment where price and performance are of equal concern..
Mr Raghaven said: "Our strategy is to offer a product from the premium line to the higher end of this third category. The options available on the new breakers allow them to overlap these two customer segments."
The new BR breaker line will replace the company's successful E Series breaker line launched 15 years ago. These were not available with options but were available as different variants, e.g. silenced and non-silence. New manufacturing methods and materials are now available to Sandvik, providing the possibility of having lighter hammers than equivalent E Series models but with the same or greater power. There is also a need for new features being exhibited by customers.
"The idea is to give customers the options so that they can tailor one hammer for a range of applications by fitting or removing specific options from the overall package as required," said Mr Raghaven.
The main attention during the design of the new breakers was aimed at providing long service life, less noise (both new models are offered as sound suppressed as standard), ease of maintenance and user friendliness. The BR2155 replaces all variants of the E63 through E66 models, while the BR2577 will replace the E Series breaker designed for 23-28 tonne carriers.
So what else has Sandvik got planned for the near future? Next year will see further BR Series breaker launches, with a new version of the 3088, the BRXX88, being launched in the first quarter of 2009, since the current model does not fit into the new design philosophy. In addition, the Intermat trade show will see a new BRXX99, again with a range of options, which will replace the current G99 breaker, possibly along with a new backhoe loader breaker model.
But there will be more. Mr Raghaven told D&Ri that: "there are many, many more products planned for the demolition and recycling sector - not just breakers, but also other demolition attachments.
We are revisiting our core competence, the breakers, but will look at other products as well. And while we are looking to develop our presence in the emerging countries, we will not forget our established markets in the developed countries. I can say that the other models scheduled for the future will all incorporate this new flexible Sandvik design concept."