Equipment supplier to spread its wings outside South Africa

15th March 2019 By: Mamaili Mamaila - Journalist

Equipment supplier to spread its wings outside South Africa

SITES ON AFRICA Vermeer aims to penetrate the renewable-energy market in Africa

Industrial equipment supplier Vermeer will attend The Solar Show Africa 2019 which is combined with the 2019 Power and Electricity World Africa (PEWA) conference at the Sandton Convention Centre on March 26 and 27, 2019.

It is the first time that the company will participate in the conference, during which it will showcase some of its products, mainly through video presentations. The company has been providing agricultural and industrial equipment for more than 50 years, says Vemeer MD Frank Beerthuis.

Vermeer is concerned about the current state of power and electricity in South Africa, but the company is looking forward to the new range of renewable-energy projects that government is planning to launch in the foreseeable future.

However, Vermeer is spreading its wings outside of South Africa. “We are going abroad, as we simply cannot just rely on the South African market, owing to the economy not being very strong currently. We will definitely try to find opportunities in countries like Kenya and Nigeria,” adds Beerthuis.

New Product Lines

Vermeer will distribute three product lines suitable for use in renewable-energy construction. The first are utility trenches and the larger pipeline trenches which, according to Beerthuis, are a more efficient and cheaper way of getting power cables in the ground, rather than using excavators.

“Our equipment is capable of going through rock – whereas an excavator cannot – and excavating trenches for the installation of power cables or any other utilities.”

The company will also showcase its solar pile drivers. These machines can pound or to hammer poles in the ground to erect solar farms. “Our prospective clients will be contractors working on solar farms: whether there is an interest from them to either procure or hire some of our machines,” says Beerthuis.

Vermeer will also exhibit its forestry chippers, which are centred around land clearing and production biofuels.

The trenches largely assist with the connection of wind farms and solar farms to the grid, while the other two product lines help with the fuel supply chain.

“We hope to meet the industry and to find contractors who are working in the solar and energy industry, and have an interest in one of our products. Our client base is mainly contractors and subcontractors to several industries – one of them being the renewable energy industry,” Beerthuis points out.

New Products

Vermeer launched the new RTX1250i2 ride-on tractor. This tractor boasts intelligent controls and interchangeable attachments to help maximize productivity for utility installation work. Based on the prior RTX1250 ride-on tractor design, the RTX1250i2 ride-on tractor features the latest in technology to make it more convenient to operate, be more efficient on the jobsite and reduce the amount of time it takes to swap out i2 attachments.

“The new RTX1250i2 ride-on tractor is an evolution in productive utility installation equipment,” says product manager Ed Savage.

“It features cutting-edge advances in intelligent controls to help contractors do more with one machine while improving job performance. The intelligent features help the operator maintain optimal efficiency.”

The controls on the Vermeer RTX1250i2 deliver several productivity advantages, including Productivity Zone, Auto Plunge, TrenchSenseTM electronic control system, and EcoIdleTM engine control system.

The Productivity Zone intelligent feature identifies the ideal operating range and ground speed for the rear attachment being used to optimize machine production. Built with a flip of a switch, the Auto Plunge technology monitors engine rpm and reduces the rate of plunge automatically for a trencher or rock-wheel attachment so that the rpm does not drop too far.

The on-board TrenchSenseTM electronic control system helps prevent engine stall when working in challenging ground conditions. It actively monitors engine rpm while trenching and it will automatically pause the tractor’s forward creep if engine rpm drops or the trencher chain stops.

The unit’s EcoIdleTM engine control system can help reduce fuel consumption by automatically lowering the engine’s speed to an idle if the tractor has not been active for 30 seconds. From tires to tracks, trenchers to plows and backfill blades to reel carriers, Vermeer has made it more convenient to customize and reconfigure the RTX1250i2 with intelligent i2 attachments that can be switched out in as little as 60 minutes. The self-identifying i2 attachments communicate with the tractor and the machine's controls are then adjusted according to the operational needs of the attachment.

Other features include the optional self-leveling auto tilt to help maintain a vertical trench by adjusting the reartractor axle. The Vermeer RTX1250i2 is also Vermeer Fleet-ready, which allows the contractor to monitor the machine’s engine operating hours, idle hours, fuel usage, fault codes and location, as well as geo-fencing capabilities.

The RTX1250i2 also comes with an optional remote control for convenient maintenance and trailer loading/unloading.

Equipped with a 127 hp (95 kW) Deutz diesel engine, the RTX1250i2 ride-on tractor offers efficient power for high load installs in difficult ground conditions and provides a quieter ride than similar -sized tractors. An isolated platform that reduces vibration, conveniently placed controls and optional climate-controlled cab help keep the operator comfortable and productive all day.

A steel track version will also be available later this year.