RER recently conducted a series of interviews with manufacturers of compaction equipment. Here RER’s Michael Roth spoke with Dave Stahlman, vice president of global marketing, Doosan Portable Power, about new technological developments and trends, Tier 4 and supply chain issues, and the recent World of Concrete show and The Rental Show.
RER: What are some of the new technological developments with your compaction products?
Stahlman: Doosan Portable Power is currently making design enhancements to the fuel tanks on the series of Doosan upright rammers as there are now mandates through the Environmental Protection Agency for use with smaller gasoline engines. This design change has been implemented to assure that all fuel tanks are made of steel or double-shell plastic to protect the environment from damage that could be caused by leaks and contamination.
What are some of the trends you see developing in compaction technology, now and in the future?
While larger compaction equipment manufacturers are utilizing sensors and continuing to incorporate the technology, it doesn’t quite apply to the light compaction equipment market at this time. That’s not to say that technology isn’t being considered or in development for light compaction equipment as advancements in these areas will be driven by the need to better serve the customer base.
What reaction did you get from customers at the World of Concrete and The Rental Show? What kind of buying did you see on the part of rental companies and end users? What kind of attitudes did you sense?
Our impression from talking with attendees at both tradeshows is an overall optimism for construction work through the next 24 months. World of Concrete 2012 was a good venue to showcase our products as they are integral in construction project work, whether concrete- or masonry-focused or otherwise.
At The Rental Show, we became aware that small rental companies are starting to consider expanding just beyond simply replacing their fleets to really growing their overall total fleet size. We’re seeing a slow and methodical approach by these business owners to their rental business, and controlled growth is a common theme.
Attitudes are positive in both the construction and rental markets. Sales of Doosan Portable Power products were strong at The Rental Show, making it a successful show for us, especially as it is a key market for our products. As a long-time exhibitor and member of ARA, we’ve supported the independent businesses of ARA members for the last 52 years and exhibited at The Rental Show for 49 consecutive years.
Are there any particular issues that are of concern to you at the moment as a manufacturer — cost of materials, cost of fuel, supply chain issues?
Obviously, all of these areas are of concern to us just as they are for other manufacturers and our concerns extend to these issues that can affect the cost to customers. Doosan Portable Power continues to strive to provide the best value and quality for our customers, based on the legacy of our reputation in offering air compressors, light towers and generators. We’re mindful of where our dollars are being invested in bringing new products and technologies to the marketplace and how we can continue to give customers the best products for their financial investment.
Definitely of concern are the inflationary pressures on raw materials and the capacity of our supply base. Currently, we’re seeing more expansion in the supply base to address capacity, but the expansion is probably at the slowest rate in the past four downturn cycles.
Do Tier 4 issues affect your product line? What are the challenges to keep up with Tier 4 standards and how is your company doing in this area? To what degree will the cost of equipment be affected?
It goes without saying that Tier 4i issues affect our overall product line and have made for some significant changes in Doosan portable air compressor and generator products, but Tier 4i has not affected the light compaction equipment. The challenges of Tier 4i compliance in our air compressors and generators presented opportunities to successfully design new models from the inside out with technology and capacity to address customer application needs without adding to the footprint of these units.
Doosan light compaction products have small gasoline engines with horsepower ranges from 2.8 to 9.7 hp. Our engine supplier provides Doosan with EPA and CARB-certified engines that meet lower emissions requirements while providing higher power.