In advance of the upcoming World of Concrete show, RER interviewed a number of manufacturers of concrete equipment. RER’s Michael Roth spoke with CS Unitec’s Tom Carroll about new developments in concrete equipment technology, the challenges manufacturers face to keep up with demand, and long lead times for components.
RER: What kinds of changes, developments and trends have you seen in the past year in concrete equipment and what do you expect to see in the coming year?
Carroll: Development of wider ranges of saws and drills with dust extraction ports for collecting concrete dust. Development of special saws and drills with unique features for niche applications. Reduced weight and more power.
Talk about the World of Concrete and what it means for concrete manufacturers. A lot of our readers in the rental market have never attended that show. What are some of your thoughts about it?
WOC is the largest forum for the manufacturers and contractors to exchange ideas about the latest concrete tools, equipment and materials. It is a learning experience about new applications, new trends and new equipment to get the job done faster and/or safer. The contractors are there to find products that reduce labor costs, maximize efficiency and increase profit. Everyone comes away with new ideas. Manufacturers get first-hand feedback and knowledge about what is important to the customers. Rental dealers can discover new profit makers and be able to buy at show specials when offered.
New advances in technology are of course affecting all kinds of equipment. What kind of technological advances do you see in the equipment you manufacture and concrete equipment in general?
Dust collection tools, and more power with lighter weight.
Has 2011 been a strong year for you? What are your expectations for 2012?
2011 was a very strong year for us especially in the industrial manufacturing industries and the energy markets. Commercial construction and infrastructure projects have been coming back steadily in the last half of 2011. We are optimistic that commercial construction will continue to grow unless Europe goes into a deep recession or financial crisis.
As rental companies replenish their fleets and experience greater demand, are you seeing changes in the kinds of equipment they are looking for? Are they facing changing market needs?
We all face changing market needs. Today the changes come faster than ever. Rental dealers are challenged to have the special equipment to handle the concrete and masonry materials used today.
Are concrete manufacturers facing any significant supply issues – raw materials, components, etc.?
Deliveries of castings from foundries are very slow. Other components are also long delivery times. Companies are reluctant to hire and make long-term investments in these uncertain times.
What are the primary concerns you as a manufacturer are facing in going into 2012?The biggest challenge we have will be to keep up with the demand. We are stocking more tools and products to service our customers quickly. Our gravest concern is about the financial crisis in Europe. It has the potential to drag our economy down if they do not resolve it.