Rental giant targets demolition

01 February 2017

United Rentals marketing specialist Michael Abbey with the Zero G arm at Demolition 2017

United Rentals marketing specialist Michael Abbey with the Zero G arm at Demolition 2017

The world’s largest rental company says it is looking to establish “a firmer foothold” in the demolition industry.

Multi-billion dollar US rental giant United Rentals attended the National Demolition Association (NDA) Convention and Expo in Las Vegas this week to showcase its offering to potential demolition clients.

In particular, this included the Zero G arm, manufactured by California-based Ekso Bionics, which is described as improving productivity on demolition job sites by up to 90%.

“We’ve always been in demolition to some extent,” said United Rentals marketing specialist Michael Abbey.

“But we are trying to get a firmer foothold so that when people think of demolition equipment they think of us.

“The whole feel of the industry has changed. People are travelling further to jobs, so they don’t want to be transferring equipment or worrying about fleets and logistics.”

Michael feels the time-specific nature of demolition lends itself ideally to the rental business model.

“You have to be done with the job when you say you are going to be done. It’s hard enough factoring in things like the weather. You don’t need equipment downtime on top of that.”

The Zero G arm, the main exhibit on United’s stand, was originally designed in 2008, but manufacturer Ekso Bionics did not become aware of its potential in demolition until recently.

Its earlier applications included moving cameras pitch or trackside at sporting events to supply pictures to broadcasters from close to the action. It was also used to help veterans and severely disabled people to learn to walk again.

Its big advantage in terms of productivity for demolition companies is that whereas traditional methods require two operators, one person can handle the Zero G arm on their own. United believes this will have a knock on effect in reduced insurance costs.

“The main application for the arm will be internal demolition jobs, but it can be used for just about anything,” added Michael Abbey.

Ekso said the product could be available to the European market in around a year’s time, while a further product launch is planned for the Conexpo show in the USA next month.

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