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Doosan: Global grower

Korean equipment giant Doosan has its sights set on challenging the leading global players after making a series of key acquisitions in recent years. Report by Dan Gilkes.

Construction equipment manufacturer Doosan Infracore may have only been in the business for six years, but the firm is already aiming for a top three position globally. The Korean giant, which purchased Daewoo’s
construction machinery business in 2005, went on to buy Bobcat in 2007 and then Moxy in 2008.

“The intention is to grow this business to achieve a number three or four on the world stage in terms of turnover,” explains chief executive Tony Helsham at last month’s launch of the firm’s Stage IIIB articulated dump trucks.

“Already Doosan has achieved number five. The chances of further acquisition in the next few years are very remote, so further growth will now be organic.”

Booming China

The claim is backed by rapidly growing sales in the booming Chinese market, where Doosan has already become a major player and where it has four manufacturing facilities. The firm is also reopening some of its mothballed Bobcat factories in North America, as the US market begins a steady climb back to health.

 

“Doosan has restructured. We’ve taken down fixed costs and we’re ready to take advantage of any upturn”

Tony Helsham, Doosan

 

“Doosan is restructured, we’ve taken down fixed costs and we’re ready to take advantage of any upturn if it comes,” said Helsham.

In such a bullish mood, Doosan says that the time is now right to drop the Moxy name from its articulated dump truck range. However, the Bobcat name is deemed too strong to discard, so the firm aims to split its product offering.

This means that Bobcat branding will apply to compact equipment below 8t, while the Doosan name will go on heavy machinery over 8t.

Leading the charge

Two of the firm’s articulated dump trucks - the DA30 and DA40 - are leading the Stage IIIB emissions charge.

These models offer carrying capacities of 30t and 40t tonnes respectively, and will be followed by 25t and 35t capacity models in early 2012.

As yet there are no plans to launch larger or smaller trucks, but the company would not rule out producing a 50t truck in the future, if there was market demand and the machine could be made to work effectively.

“You can’t make any money with smaller articulated dump trucks, but I have no doubt that there will be a viable 50t dumper on the market in the next few years,” says Helsham.

The articulated dump truck market worldwide peaked at 10,500 trucks in 2007, but dropped to just 3,400 in 2009. In the year to June 2011 the number exceeded 2,800 machines, fuelling hopes that the sector is starting to recover.

Making the most of growth

With investment in its Norwegian manufacturing site providing a capacity of around 450 trucks, Doosan is keen to make the most of this growth.

The trucks use Scania Stage IIIB engines, with selective catalytic reduction and AdBlue, rather than the more popular exhaust gas recirculation method of meeting emissions standards. Doosan claims that selective catalytic reduction is the most fuel efficient method of reducing emissions, and is less vulnerable to higher sulphur diesels.

The DA30 and the DA40 offer an 8% fuel saving compared to the firm’s previous machines, despite power rising by around 10% and a 28% increase in engine torque.

Doosan’s Stage IIIB line-up will also include a range of wheeled loaders and a revised line-up of crawler excavators.

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