Canadian heavy equipment manufacturer RWF Bron is experiencing a prosperous year after the ambiguity of the last two years. However, supply chain disruptions have delayed their order deliveries by 36 weeks in some cases.
RWF Bron has manufactured heavy equipment from its home base in Canada for almost five decades now. A leader in the North American and Canadian market when it comes to fabricating heavy equipment for the agricultural, utility and land clearing industries, Bron is starting to see interest in its utility products from countries in the Middle East and Africa.
With the effects of the pandemic now safely receding, the number of orders Bron is receiving has increased. “This year is looking to be a good year,” says Bill Burnet, Sales Manager at the company. “Our deliveries for self-propelled machines are all fully booked until spring of 2023, our add-on plow attachments are all set for a 12-to-14-week delivery schedule from now. All our markets (agriculture, land clearing, utility) are busy right now. Our orders currently show that 47% are for the utility market, 33% are for the agricultural market and the remaining 20% are for the land clearing industry. All the industries we manufacture for, are in high demand.”
Supply chain disruptions
However, the same cannot be said for the supply of parts and components. That has not greatly improved, it may have slightly improved. “At present we are searching for alternative suppliers for items delayed by the pandemic,” adds Burnet. In some cases, alternative supply partners have been found but there are orders that are still delayed due to the global supply chain disruption. Sales have not really been affected; it is only the deliveries that have been delayed.
“Our customers are still placing orders with the understanding that deliveries will be substantially delayed,” continues Burnet. Currently, delays range from as low as four weeks to as high as 36 weeks. Bron has been informed by some suppliers that they won’t be back to normal until the middle of 2023. “This is a global problem right now, even our domestic suppliers are behind in deliveries,” says Burnet.
Fibre optic installations for 5G
With the global push for 5G phones and internet, Bron expects the next two to three years to be extremely good for this sector. The only dampener being the supply disruption. Of the 47% of orders for the utility market, 60% are for 5G fibre optics installations. Hence the machines most in demand for these installations are the Bron 175 tractor and the HSII add-on plow. A bulldozer with a Bron V100 attachment is also able to do this job. These machines are most in demand where there is no current infrastructure interfering with the installation.
Installation of 5G fibre optics projects is performed by contractors and are project specific based on the number of cables being installed, the region where they are being installed and the owner of the fibre network. If the installation is happening in the middle of a town or city, then Bron’s Directional Drill is used. “Bron’s equipment for these installations are being used currently in North and South America, Australia, Europe, Africa and Austria,” adds Burnet. “The BRON 175 is the most popular machine for this installation. However, many contractors are utilising their current bulldozer fleet and installing BRON V100’s or HSII plows on these machines. I would say that 62% of the equipment used would be add-on plows with 38% being BRON 175 Tractors.”
Solar and wind energy
The company is also noticing a revival of sustainable, environmentally sound, green energy projects. Installations for solar and wind energy projects require larger equipment. Most suited are the BRON 250 Tractor and the BRON 585 Tractor depending on the actual requirements of the activity. The Bron V250 and the HSII add-on plows are also appropriate. These machines are currently in use on projects globally. “From what we see, Canada, United States and Australia are where most of these requests come from,” continues Burnet.
The pre-owned and reconditioning programme
Owing to the supply chain disruptions, the market for preowned equipment is very strong. And Bron’s pre-owned equipment is very durable. There are 30-year-old machines still working and available on the market. Bron provides maintenance services to these machines depending on the requirement of the current owner of the machine. “Most of the pre-owned machines we look after, their owners have excellent service and maintenance packages with us. We have dedicated service personnel in both of our locations (Canada and North America). We also have travelling technicians in both locations. During downtimes we schedule visits with our customers to either visit their locations or for them to bring their machines to us to inspect and service. Our pre-owned machines are inspected and repaired prior to being sold. The type and scope of repair varies depending on what is required,” says Burnet.
Bron also offers a reconditioning programme for their agricultural machines. The department has its own dedicated sales and repair personnel. At present this service is only available in North America. “Our reconditioning programme consists of an in-depth machine inspection and oil samples. A detailed quotation for required repairs is provided and reviewed with the machine owner who signs off on what repairs they want completed. Repairs are completed, documented and warrantied. This programme allows the machine owner reliable machine production going forward,” concludes Burnet.