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Babcock’s newly appointed General Manager SDLG, Grant Sheppard, says 2014 will herald a new era for the SDLG brand in southern Africa, with a significant investment poised to gear up all activities associated with this value added range of wheel loaders, graders and vibratory rollers.

The Babcock International Group has been the exclusive distributor of SDLG construction machinery in Southern Africa since early 2012 and the uptake of these machines across the region has exceeded expectations.

“SDLG equipment is recognised worldwide as a high quality, value added product and in Southern Africa it’s backed by a FTSE 100 listed UK company and a comprehensive network of local support centres. SDLG is characterised by its simplicity, cost effectiveness and fit-for-purpose design, making these machines ideal for light applications in the re-handling, construction, quarrying, agricultural and aggregate industries. They offer extended trouble-free operation and are maintenance friendly, since the electronics are not exceedingly sophisticated.

“We have a broad mandate that no machine will stand unnecessarily and we’re able to offer 100% parts supply to ensure the customer gets mobile again in the shortest possible time. The strength of any brand is built on customer satisfaction and in our case this translates as uptime.”

Sheppard adds that SDLG service enhancement plans include increasing sales and service personnel across the region. The strategy is to ensure that each Babcock/SDLG centre is fully geared to service the expanding range of equipment being sold nationwide, from the Cape to Zambia.  This includes a comprehensive stockholding of spare parts.

Recent introductions

In addition to the popular LG918, LG938, LG958 and LG978 wheel loaders, recent introductions to the SDLG range include a 16 ton LG9190 grader and a 12 ton RS7120 hydrostatic compact roller.  In conjunction with the new grader, the hydrostatic compact roller is ideal for municipal activities and general roadwork.

The LG9190 grader, launched at Bauma Africa 2013, is currently being field tested at a number of customers to establish comparative performance against existing equipment. SDLG machines are either fitted with fuel efficient Cummins or Deutz diesel engines and feature quiet, ergonomically designed cabs that are air conditioned as standard and ROPS/FOPS certified, ensuring the SDLG range meets with internationally accepted safety standards.

“There are more than 100 units — mostly wheel loaders — already at work across Southern Africa and we intend to double this during 2014,” Sheppard says. “With the planned addition of new personnel, enhanced service capabilities and new SDLG models, we will be well positioned to penetrate every corner of our target market. Customers in this market segment are rapidly recognising that the SDLG range comprises well-supported, well-priced products and it’s attracting particular attention where the requirement is for value versus premium brands.”

One of Babcock’s prime reference installations is the inclusion of SDLG wheel loaders at South African Bulk Terminal’s (SABT) soya, fluorspar and maize facilities, where they have been deployed to unload grains and materials from the holds of incoming ships.  SABT chose Babcock to supply the SDLG wheel loaders among stiff competition, based on their superlative performance in a comparative test run. The SDLG units were able to work in the ships hold without showing any sign of overheating, at the same time achieving higher productivity with lower fuel consumption than competitor machines. This productivity level is important, as penalties apply if the hold is not unloaded within a specific time frame.