Bell celebrates the E-series evolution
"At Bell we don't get to rely on our brand name. Our products need to perform and what we see with our E-series trucks are world class machines capable of taking on any of the competitors anywhere in the world," said Bell Equipment Group Chief Executive, Gary Bell, at the South African launch of the company's E-series Large Trucks in September.
The launch, which also marked the completion of the E-series range, took place at the company's Jet Park offices in Johannesburg where the informal alfresco setting presented a good opportunity for customers and suppliers to walk around the trucks and engage with sales and engineering staff.
According to Gary the E-series range is packed with 35 years of experience in Articulated Dump Truck (ADT) design and manufacturing, combined with a research and development investment of R800 million over seven years. "We chose to go with an evolutionary type of process with the E-series to bring durable, reliable products to the market. As a benchmark, the development and testing of this range was about 10 times what was spent on our D-series."
While the D-series has a proven reputation for good performance, low lifetime operating cost and reliability, he explained that the time had come for Bell to make advancements in terms of performance and improved capacity as well as deal with emissions requirements, particularly for the company's northern hemisphere markets. "We've been able to move our durability and reliability up a couple of notches and our three years of experience with our E-series small trucks has shown that the reliability factor that's been built into the trucks has taken us a good way forward from the D-series.
"We've also taken the opportunity to load more intelligence into the vehicles. The systems and information we can offer you today is more sophisticated than in the past and paves the way for more autonomous control in the future. There are also subtle things, like some of the safety features that are way above what the rest of the market has at this time. A number of other value added electronic features additionally make a big difference in terms of operating costs and reliability going forward."
Gary added that limited production of the B60E is underway with the first shipments to the United States having already left. "With our 60-tonner we've broken the mould with how things should be done with an artic truck. I know many of our customers who have been testing and running the B60 are very pleased with its ability to run in all weather conditions as well as the fuel consumption and cost per tonne of these vehicles. The concept of the B60 is something that we think we can scale so watch this space, there's likely to be further development in the years ahead."
In thanking the customers for attending the launch, he said: "We've put the very best into the completed E-series range and I congratulate our Engineering team on a job well done. Not that the job is over because it's ongoing and we need to keep moving to stay relevant in the global business. I know that Team Bell is going to be working really hard and we hope to continue to deserve your support and business in the years ahead."
The event also served as a swansong for Bell Equipment Sales Africa (BESA) Managing Director, Bokkie Coertze, who retires in December after 30 years of service, and a platform to introduce the company's incoming MD, Menzi Dumisa.
Gary thanked Bokkie for his years of service for his willingness to remain involved in the business in a non-executive chairman role. "Bokkie has a huge knowledge base and relationships out there and we'd like to very much use his knowledge going forward."
To Menzi he added: "You've got a tremendous task on your hands but we're absolutely sure that you're capable and that you're the right person to take this business forward. Thank you for taking up the challenge and we're certainly looking forward to exciting times."
Menzi Dumisa (BESSA Financial Director and incoming BESSA MD), Bokkie Coertze (BESSA Managing Director), Gary Bell (Bell Group Chief Executive) and Leon Goosen (Bell Chief Operations Officer) in front of the new B60E at the launch.