Seeking equipment versatility and utilisation


A MultiOne compact wheel loader, for example, can be fitted with over 170 in-house attachments.

To remain competitive in today’s challenging economic environment, construction and mining contractors, as well as their rental counterparts, are looking beyond the basics. They are looking at how their fleets of excavators, skid steers, backhoe loaders and wheel loaders can squeeze more margins and volumes, and a strong attachment focus is gaining momentum. Attachments are the key to equipment versatility and utilisation.

Money is tight for everyone. Imagine what a single machine can do on its own? This is the selling point for several equipment suppliers in the local market. A MultiOne compact wheel loader, for example, can be fitted with over 170 in-house attachments. The same goes for OEMs such as Bobcat and Avant, who have, over the years developed a wide variety of accessories for their lines of compact gear. Meanwhile, manufacturers such as Augur Torque and Paladin Attachments offer a very broad line of accessories that can be used with most machines that take attachments.

While there are hundreds of attachments available for compact equipment, hydraulic breaker on excavator is the typical combination for heavy ranges. Of note is the growing competition among suppliers in this market segment. There are over 30 suppliers in South Africa alone vying for a share of the hydraulic breaker market. While several OEMs have their own offerings to sell together with their ranges of excavators and TLBs, plant hire companies have also adopted strong attachment rental programmes that have seen them doubling up as dealers of hydraulic hammers as well. Many of them have Asian offerings, especially from Korea and China.

Some dealers of heavy earthmoving gear have also, in some instances, taken in ranges of hydraulic hammers in their stables to increase their value offerings to their customers, while dedicated suppliers of hydraulic breakers, such as Montabert and Indeco, continue to do what they do best. There are also different ranges of work tools gaining popularity from vibrating rippers through to grapples. For suppliers, the more you can sell these upfront, the more you become a one-stop shop.

Enough said about suppliers. For rental companies, a strong attachment rental programme optimises equipment utilisation and versatility. To be financially sound, these businesses need strong utilisation of their gear. The more their gear is out on sites, the more they generate a strong return.

Attachments are the key if this is to be realised. For any type of job at hand for a different customer, there is likely an attachment for it. A single articulated loader can easily take a bucket, auger, rake, folk, stump grinder, grapple or even rippers. Due to this attachment galore, we have seen dozers and wheel loaders easily doubling up as graders, bearing in mind the scarcity of final level specialists in this regard.

Attachments are creating a multitude of capabilities out of a single carrier unit. With attachments, opportunity to do a lot more with less is broadened by the piece you put on the front of your machine. Local plant hire companies, as well as the relevant suppliers, have grasped that the ability to offer a wide range of solutions from one stable is a sustainable business model.

While a hammer on excavator is the typical combination sought after, forward thinking plant hire companies such as Riviera Hire are sending machines out with new combinations, such as that of a TLB with a hammer at the back and a crusher bucket in the front. So, if you are breaking, for example, a concrete floor, you can also crush it using the same machine. Bear in mind as well that an attachment can easily return 100% of its cost in a year, where a machine may only return 30%-50% during the same period. Dedicated machines have their time and place, but attachments are trending to be productive year-over-year.

Thina Bhebhe

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