Bell Equipment appoints Ashley Bell as new CEO

Bell Equipment’s new CEO, Ashley Bell.

Bell Equipment has appointed Ashley Jon Bell (41), grandson of the company's founder Irvine Bell, as the new Group Chief Executive Officer effective from 1 January 2024.

This follows the resignation in July of the outgoing Group CEO, Leon Goosen, who leaves the company after 16 years of service, five and a half spent as Group CEO.

Ashley is well acquainted with the company having served as a non-executive director on the Board since 2015 and has provided valuable input as a member of the Board’s Risk and Sustainability and Social, Ethics, and Transformation committees.

A qualified commercial helicopter pilot, Ashley holds a degree in business management and has previously worked for Bell Equipment after graduating in 2007 assisting with product marketing management of the Bell Articulated Dump Truck and Backhoe Loader ranges. Since then, he has jointly established and managed several successful businesses in various industries.

He co-founded Matriarch Equipment with his brother, Justin Bell in 2009. The company focused on developing innovative equipment - including the Matriarch Fastfell and Skogger - for a wide spectrum of industries and enjoyed notable success in agriculture and forestry due to its ‘customer-centric’ approach and quick turnaround of niche solutions. Bell acquired Matriarch in 2019 as part of its strategy to revitalise its presence in the agriculture and forestry industries and Matriarch products now fall under the Bell brand.

Ashley Bell introduces the Matriarch Skogger to foresters at a Focus on Forestry field day in 2017. It was developed under the Matriarch banner by Ashley and his brother Justin Bell, and is now manufactured and distributed by Bell Equipment.

Gary Bell, non-executive chairman of Bell Equipment, congratulated Ashley on his appointment. “Ashley joins a sizeable team representing the third generation of the Bell family actively engaged in the business and it’s heartening to see the next generation stepping up to play an integral role in the future of the company. Having worked closely with Ashley for several years he has all the personality traits and credentials we need, is well aligned with the Board’s strategy, and is a good fit to lead our experienced management team. I have every confidence that he will build on our family legacy with dedication and a passion for the business. On behalf of the rest of the Board, we congratulate Ashley on his appointment and look forward to working with him in his new role and contributing significantly to our continued success and growth."

Ashley Bell said: “I am fortunate to have grown up in an environment where Bell Equipment has been a central theme, and I am both honoured and excited to step up as Group CEO. I look forward to working with the entire Bell team, supported by our customers and suppliers, to ensure we execute our group strategy and make a positive impact for all stakeholders. I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Board for the trust and confidence they have shown in me taking on this role.”

Bell, AFGRI, Husqvarna equipment round-up

The Dipperfox stump crusher in action.

A mid-range spare parts option from Bell with 1 000 hour warranty; a 61 stump/hour Dipperfox stump crusher from AFGRI Equipment; and specialised, super protective new chainsaw trousers from Husqvarna, proudly made in SA …

Bell introduces mid-range BETA Parts
Bell Equipment has launched Bell Equipment Trusted Alternative (BETA) Parts to give its customers a convenient and competitive alternative, endorsed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), for their older Bell machines or when faced with budget constraints.

Bell Equipment Director of Aftermarket and Logistics, Aldo Mayer, explains: “BETA Parts has been designed to bridge the gap between new Bell Parts, being our premium quality parts designed to OEM specifications and used in production, and Bell ReMan, which are major components that have been remanufactured to meet OEM specification. New Bell Parts and Bell ReMan carry a one-year/unlimited hours warranty while BETA Parts has a six-month/1000-hour warranty.”

At the other end of the scale, Bell Used Parts are also available but do not carry a warranty.

BETA Parts was piloted with starter motors and alternators that were offered to a sample group of customers. They responded positively to the opportunity to be able to buy cheaper parts from Bell, and BETA Parts has now been officially launched and will be expanded to other parts and rolled out throughout South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, followed by the rest of the global dealer network.

“It’s all about giving our customers choices and being able to fully support their needs throughout their Bell ownership experience,” says Aldo.

“BETA Parts is the next best alternative to our premium new Bell Parts, our ‘alpha’ or leading parts brand, and we’re confident that our customers will benefit from being able to buy more cost-effective parts from Bell, especially since they are approved by Bell and carry less risk than other cheaper parts due to their Bell warranty cover.

“Choosing BETA Parts simplifies the purchasing process, offering a one-stop-shop experience that eliminates the need for customers to search and compare prices from multiple suppliers in their quest for savings."

Dipperfox stump crusher logs 61 stumps/hour
The AFGRI focus this month is on the Dipperfox SC600 stump crusher mounted on a Wacker Neuson RT75 excavator. It’s an efficient combination that foresters can use to eliminate stumps in a compartment that needs to be cleared and re-planted. Removing old stumps makes it easier for subsequent mechanised operations to function efficiently, and also improves compartment access for fire-fighting units in case of a wildfire.

The original equipment manufacturers rate the Dipperfox at 60 stumps per hour. The AFGRI team that recently tested the Dipperfox mounted on the Wacker Neuson RT75 in a Eucalyptus compartment, achieved 61 stumps in an hour.

This equipment is supplied and supported by AFGRI Equipment, which has recently established a new branch in Tzaneen servicing the forestry industry. Premium forestry equipment supplied and supported by AFGRI includes John Deere, Waratah heads and ProMac three-wheel loaders.

Wacker Neuson ET75 specs.
• 4 cylinder Yanmar diesel engine developing 35.9 kW
• Variable displacement hydraulic pump delivering 144 litre per minute
• Operating weight 6 800 – 7 300 kg (depending on final configuration)
Dipperfox SC600 stump crusher specs.
• Cutting diameter 600mm
• Hydraulic flow requirements 65 – 150 litres per minute
• Weight 285 kg
Carrier requirements:-
• Excavator size: 6 – 14 tons; Excavator engine power: 35 – 83 kW
• Backhoe loader size: 6 – 8.5 tons; Backhoe loader engine power: 50 – 80 kW
• Skid steer loader size: 2 – 6 tons; Skid steer loader engine power: 40 – 80 kW
• Compact tracked loader size: 2 – 6 tons; Compact tracked loader engine power: 40 – 80 kW

Husqvarna opts for SA-made Chainsaw Trousers for maximum protection
The Husqvarna South Africa team has introduced specialised safety pants for chainsaw operators that provide all round protection from chainsaw-related hazards. The trousers, which are made in South Africa to international standards, are also water resistant, flame retardant and acid repellent.

Studies reveal that just under half of all chainsaw-related injuries target the legs. This is why Husqvarna SA has introduced the chainsaw trousers as an essential addition to their arsenal of protective gear.
Pieter Smuts, Husqvarna South Africa's Managing Director says that the chainsaw pants were a ‘passion project’ for him, and they purposely chose to use local manufacturers. “South Africans are talented, resourceful, innovative and our new chainsaw pants epitomise our faith in the synergy between innovation and local ingenuity," he said.

The Husqvarna chainsaw pants are designed to achieve a perfect balance between providing protection and comfort. Certified Class 1 – 20M/S, they face chainsaw speeds of up to 20 meters per second. Meeting the ISO 11393-2 international standard, Husqvarna Chainsaw Pants assures an unmatched safeguard, catering to both homeowners and professionals in forestry, arboriculture, farming, and the realms of green space management. Tailored sizing, ranging from waist size 77 to 132, weaves a tapestry of custom fit, fusing flexibility and comfort into a seamless union.

Husqvarna Chainsaw Pants are available through certified Husqvarna dealers or can be purchased directly from the official Husqvarna eCommerce site.

MTO upgrades with new F-series Loggers

Bell 225F Logger sorting and stacking processed timber for MTO in the Mpumalanga Lowveld.

An upward growth spurt being experienced by a leading South African timber growing company, MTO, has seen it turn to a preferred supplier of timber handling equipment to replace its fleet of older machines.

The MTO Group, which originated as a state-owned subsidiary of Safcol, was fully privatized in 2005 and has grown and diversified since then. MTO stands for ‘Mountain to Ocean’ and it’s a very apt name since its forests, especially those in the picturesque Tsitsikamma area of the Eastern Cape, are often found in a narrow belt between the mountains and the ocean.

MTO operates in the Western and Eastern Cape and, since 2015, in the Mpumalanga Lowveld as well. It is here near White River that we find Dirk van Heerden, MTO Group’s Maintenance Manager in the Lowveld, and the person tasked with acquiring and maintaining the company’s forestry handling equipment.

Dirk hails from Sabie where both his father and grandfather worked in forestry, so he is really a ‘chip off the old block’.

“Here in the Mpumalanga area we grow mostly Eucalyptus species and we produce a variety of round log products into external value-adding facilities,” he says. “Some of the value-added products include pulp, board timber, sawn lumber, biomass, poles, mining timber, veneer, shutter-plywood, and shelving.”

A visit to MTO’s Eucalyptus plantations near White River shows bustling clear-fell operations in progress with yellow Bell Loggers very much in evidence, extracting the felled timber and stacking it at the roadside for processing.

“We’ve been using Bell 225 A-series Loggers for as long as I can remember and in September 2021, we started the process to replace some older models with the newer machines,” Dirk says. “We researched the market thoroughly as there are a few players out there, but we’re happy to say that our choice once again fell on Bell Equipment’s new F-series Logger. We’re also grateful to Bell Equipment’s Sales Representative, Daniel van Huyssteen, who as a forester, understands our business and the challenges we face.”

Daniel van Huyssteen (left) Bell Sales Representative with Dirk van Heerden, Maintenance Manager MTO Group Lowveld.

According to Dirk, their plan is to retain a Logger for 10 000 to 12 000 hours before replacing it. Nevertheless some of the older models in their fleet had clocked in excess of 18 000 hours. “These Bell Loggers run to those high hours because they are easy to maintain and to rebuild if necessary. Bell also still stocks essential parts for the A-series such as hour meters and fuel pumps, and the company should be commended for showing such faith in an older design that they acknowledge its longevity.”

MTO took delivery of three new Bell 225F Loggers in March 2022 and two more similar machines were delivered in June the same year in the Lowveld area.

“As you’ve seen, we’re using three of these new Bell 225F Loggers infield with two others in our treatment and stock yard where they handle, stack, and load untreated and treated timber poles and other timber products.

“These new Bell 225F Loggers with the Yanmar engines are so much lighter on fuel than the older A-series models,” says Dirk. “We’re saving on average about 25% on our fuel burn with the new F-series Loggers, which amounts to a lot of money at the end of a financial year. What surprises us is that we’re seeing this frugal fuel burn despite the Bell Loggers handling full tree lengths of up to 28 metres at times.”

According to Dirk, the operators took to the new Bell 225F Loggers immediately and commented on how responsive the controls are. The company has implemented strict daily pre-start checks and all operators know that preventative maintenance is key in successfully maintaining equipment to ensure longevity. Every Thursday is wash day for the Bell Loggers, and lubrication is done regularly.

Asked about maintenance and the level of service that MTO gets from Bell Equipment in nearby Nelspruit, Dirk says the following: “We had a few teething problems with the new machines as one can have, but Bell Equipment is a mere phone call away and these niggles were fixed quickly and quietly with no questions asked.

“Looking to the future, upward-moving production targets see our company increasing harvesting capacity, which will increase our need to utilise three-wheel loggers going forward. We’re busy evaluating the amount of new equipment we would need for our expansion in 2023 and will be engaging with Bell Equipment to see if they can supply to our needs,” concluded Dirk.

Eswatini contractor relies on Bell Loggers and a Skogger

The Matriarch Skogger extracts full tree lengths to the roadside depot where they are processed.

A cash loan from a friend enabled Cedusizi Dlamini to start his own forestry harvesting business, which he has built up gradually through hard work and by acquiring the right equipment with the right backup to boost his productivity.

“The day I left school in 2007 I joined my brother, Thulani Khumalo, who worked as a supervisor for a forestry company here in Eswatini, in the forest working as a general labourer,” Cedusizi remembers. “This taught me a lot and I learnt about hard work before embarking on tertiary study in electrical engineering a year later.”

Cedusizi qualified as an electrical and electronics engineer from the Eswatini College of Technology in 2012.

In his first permanent job after graduating he worked as an office clerk for six months before his employer realised that, given his previous experience in forestry, Cedusizi was being under-utilised. He was then appointed operations manager for the company’s silviculture division where he stayed for three years.

“While serving this company I learnt a lot about hard work, managing money and importantly, what makes a forestry business successful,” said Cedusizi.

“After those three valuable years, I joined a silviculture contractor for a year at Usutu Forests,” Cedusizi continues. “It was around this time that I put into place plans to create my own company. Stephan Olivier, the Project Manager for Peak Timbers Limited at that time, gave me that opportunity when he tasked me to salvage all timber left over from a devastating fire that swept through the Piggs Peak area in 2016.”

Cedusizi Dlamini (left), owner of Top Technics, with Charlie Boucher, CSC Manager of Bell Equipment Swaziland.

But employing 15 forest workers made demands on Cedusizi’s cash flow that he didn’t have the resources to meet, and he was soon faced with a financial crisis. Then the brother of a good friend looked at his business plan, cash flow predictions and general enthusiasm and decided after much discussion to loan him the money he needed for start-up. However the loan had to be paid back within 12 months, which was the duration of his first probationary contract, which was a tough ask.

“I managed to pay back that loan over 12 months in 2018 and then had the benefit of a positive credit score with the bank, which would stand me in good stead going forward,” said Cedusizi. “By 2019, I started the process to buy my first new Bell 225F Logger from Bell Equipment in Eswatini, which turned out to be the first machine of the new Bell F-series logger range in the Piggs Peak area.

“I chose a Bell Logger because that is the only logger you see offering sustained service in our forests all over Eswatini. They just never seem to have an end and there are some very old machines around as well, which says a lot for the brand.”

In 2020, he bought a Bell 225A Logger on the pre-owned market that had worked for 8 000 hours, feeling confident that should that machine need a further overhaul, it would be possible due to its sturdy design that made this feasible. This machine was followed six months later by another new Bell 225F Logger.

After the burnt timber salvaging contract was completed, Top Technics secured a proper harvesting contract working in Eucalyptus when new owners took control of the timber plantations in that area. Having a longer contract in place made it possible for Cedusizi to plan properly for capital expenditure.
During 2021 Cedusizi expanded his fleet of timber handling machines when he bought a third new Bell 225F Logger and a Matriarch Skogger from Bell Equipmant, after securing a contract that demanded increased production.

Bell logger doing the hard work for Cedusizi Dlamini’s harvesting business in Eswatini.

“We generally harvest and extract during daylight hours only,” Cedusizi explains. “We have six chainsaw teams felling the Eucalyptus trees and the Matriarch Skogger then extracts these full tree lengths to a roadside depot. Here a Bell Logger will be used to arrange these full tree lengths that are cross-cut to a variety of lengths, depending on the order and these vary from 2,4 metres to 14 metres. The Bell Logger then sorts and stacks the cut timber according to their lengths.”

Cedusizi is full of praise for the difference the Matriarch Skogger has made to his operations. “I’m grateful to Charlie Boucher of Bell Equipment in Matsapha for the valuable advice he gave me around the benefits of owning a Matriarch Skogger, especially from a safety point of view, a subject we take seriously,” he adds. “Processing at roadside, where there is enough space to work safely, is now possible because of the Skogger’s ability to extract the full tree lengths.”

Cedusizi is considering adding a winch to the front of the Matriarch Skogger for use in the steeper compartments that they encounter in the Piggs Peak area.

Although his fuel credit limits stipulate a maximum daily fuel consumption, neither the Bell 225F Loggers at 7 litres/hour nor the Matriarch Skogger at 7,5 litres/hour exceed this limit.

“It’s reassuring to know that one can rely on Bell Equipment, which is not far away, for technical backup and servicing with a good parts holding,” Cedusizi says. “With the level of service that we get from Bell Equipment, I feel as if the mechanics, Russell Myburg and Christos Ginn, have been allocated to us exclusively.”

The next piece of equipment Cedusizi plans to buy will be a 13-ton Excavator with a harvesting head and he is taking a keen interest in the Kobelco SK135SR Excavator as a carrier. He also currently runs a used skidder and a 35-ton rigid timber truck which is used for transporting timber to mills and end users.

Bell on the move with JCB, haulage tractors

Bell Equipment has updated their haulage tractors, withdrawn from the John Deere dealership and acquired the JCB dealership.

After four years of development and testing the new Bell Series V Haulage Tractor has rolled off the production line.

“This latest version of an old stalwart is our best ever,” commented Bell’s Product Marketing Manager for Forestry and Sugar, Ettienne Terblanche.

The Bell haulage tractors have been around for 45 years. The designers have acted on customer feedback to build on the original by updating the drivetrain to deliver best performance and productivity benefits, and ultimately lowest cost per tonne.  

The new series comprises four models, the 1406A, 1406AF, 1736A and 1736A, all designated according to engine power and whether the machine is a 2WD (A) or 4WD (AF) configuration. Together they provide solutions for a wide range of operating requirements.

“Across the range we’ve reintroduced the well proven John Deere 6,8l engine, to deliver more grunt than our outgoing series. Farmers love the John Deere engine and we’re confident that this latest turbocharged, common rail diesel powerplant and a superior cooling package will meet and exceed customer expectations. Feedback we’ve received on our prototype units that have operated in South Africa and several neighbouring countries all indicate that the fuel economy of our Series V Tractor is the most economical in its class,” said Ettienne.

The engine is available in two power ranges,140HP (104kW) and 173HP (129kW) and achieves the Tier 3 emissions certification without the need for a complex exhaust gas recirculation system.

“The engine and transmission work so well together,” says Ettienne. “The transmission is electronically controlled and features the latest hardware and software to deliver exceptional comfort and fuel efficiency. The minimal torque interruption in the transmission allows the tractor to pull away smoothly and without loss of inertia through the gears even when towing a full ‘cane train’. In addition, we have introduced Bell Traction Control as a standard feature on the 4x4 configuration. These tractors normally run in 4x2 but when the system identifies wheelspin in poor underfoot conditions it automatically switches to 4x4. The operator can also manually select 4x4 on the dashboard.

“We’ve upgraded the braking system to increase stopping power by about 15% over the previous series,” explains Ettienne.

The cab has been redesigned with increased space for the trainer seat, a comfortable flat floor and a standard HVAC system. The internal panels are custom moulded with ABS thermoplastic to enhance the luxurious feel of the cab. For improved reliability, standalone switches have been incorporated into a single, sealed switch module (SSM), which includes transmission control on the 1736A and AF.

“The fabricated steel chassis, heavy duty rear axle and hitch positioning ahead of the axle centre line - for improved steering and traction when trailers are fully loaded - have all been retained along with key safety features, such as the ROPS/FOPS certified cab and pneumatic trailer braking,” continues Ettienne.

The bonnet opens upwards to 70 degrees to provide excellent access for servicing, maintenance and daily checks. 
 
“The Bell Haulage Tractor has been around for 45 years and has been trusted by thousands of owners to carry out the toughest haulage work. With our Series V we have been inspired by what our customers want, and we are proud to carry on this proud pedigree while offering our customers improvements over our previous generations,” he concludes.

JCB dealership
Meanwhile Bell Equipment has been appointed as a JCB dealer in South Africa, and no longer represents John Deere.

JCB provides Bell with diversity and strength in the local market, according to Bell Equipment Marketing and Alliance Partner Manager, Stephen McNeill.

“JCB is a strong, well respected brand in South Africa. They have been selling machines into the market for over 40 years and have an extremely high machine population in the country. JCB and Bell share many similarities and values, and our partnership has clear benefits for both companies. In terms of our own benefits, we see potential for increasing machine sales volumes in some of our key product lines.

“Due to challenges in the market, we are seeing a gradual move away from premium European built machines and JCB provides us with solutions to satisfy both requirements, as well as opportunities to ‘compare and share’ in different areas such as dealer management.”

Bell is selling a wide range of JCB products including backhoe loaders, wheel loaders, excavators and rollers.

JCB also provides Bell with an opportunity to sell telescopic handlers and skid steer loaders for the first time.

While Bell is no longer a dealer for John Deere forestry equipment and will soon handover distribution rights for Bomag machines, Bell will continue its partnerships with Japanese excavator manufacturer, Kobelco, and mobile crushing and screening specialist, Finlay.

McNeill explains: “It has been agreed by all parties that the JCB and Kobelco Excavators will be sold alongside one another in the South African market. The larger Kobelco excavators are important to our ADT business as they give us ideally matched machines for our large ADTs in mining and quarrying applications, and they’ve been well accepted in the forestry and construction industries. We believe that there is a place for both ranges; it enables us to offer the widest range on the market and give our customers the best choice.”

Commenting on the implementation of the JCB arrangement, he concludes: “Our goal was to make the move to the JCB product line as smooth and seamless as possible for customers. Although the introduction has had its teething issues, I believe this has largely been achieved. A great deal of resources and effort has gone into ensuring adequate parts inventory and machine stock holding as well as making sure our sales and support staff are full trained and versed to handle the new product range.”

Mining engineer makes a go of timber contracting

How does a qualified mining engineer who rose to the level of a general manager change tack and get into timber harvesting? In the case of Mandla Nxumalo, the answer is almost by accident. However making a success of it was no accident. This requires a focus on hard work, the ability to listen and learn from expert advice, and choosing the right equipment supplier.

Mandla is a qualified mining engineer and, having studied on a scholarship from the largest diamond mining company in the world, was on the up and up. But then something changed and he switched from mining operations to consulting, advising emerging miners and contractors about the discipline of mining and how to make a success of it.

“We often found that although young entrepreneurs had obtained mining licenses, they knew nothing of the discipline, pitfalls and ultimate goals of mining and so did not make it,” Mandla says. “I set out to change that perception through a mining consulting business I had created called Makarapa.”

An entrepreneur at heart, Mandla decided to spread his risk in case of possible tough times in the mining industry and bought three used trucks to haul timber in the Sudwala area in Mpumalanga. He loaded the timber trucks using a Bell 225A Logger that he had bought new. This was followed by a brief foray into timber short hauling which helped him to get his foot in the door of the forestry industry - and more importantly - to meet the right people.

“Soon after I was approached by a large pulp and paper company to ask whether I’d be interested in supplying short-haul services to a timber harvesting initiative they had created for emerging contractors, delivering small volumes,” Mandla says. “This was called Timber Logging Solutions and our close contact with them led us to being offered a stump-to-depot contract even though I knew very little about actual timber harvesting.”

Mandla explains that this happened with the knowledge and the blessing of the forestry company. In July 2018 he bought Timber Logging Solutions to run as his own business.

“We had no timber harvesting equipment to start up with, however we were fortunate enough to be able to rent equipment which enabled us to get started and get the timber moving,” said Mandla.

“We soon learnt the hard way that renting equipment negatively impacts one’s bottom line and when I approached the client about a longer term contract to justify financing timber harvesting equipment, the company responded very quickly with a five-year contract for which I will be eternally grateful,” he says.

“I had adopted Elvis Shabangu of Kanyi Ilanga Trading as my mentor and when I asked him who to approach for timber harvesting equipment, his answer was unequivocal in pointing me to Bell Equipment and the company’s knowledgeable Forestry and Agriculture Manager, Charles Inggs, in Nelspruit. With my limited experience … I decided to stick with the tried and tested and support Bell Equipment, and I have not been disappointed.”

As it happened, Bell Equipment was able to offer Mandla and his company Timber Logging Solutions a deal on a Bell 225A Logger with very favourable terms. A further initiative from the South African Government through its Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) saw him add an excavator converted into a shovel-yarder along with a light delivery truck and a Bell 225F Logger into the mix.

“Armed with this generous five-year contract, I was able to acquire some serious kit and with favourable terms as well,” he says. “Two other banks came to the party and I added another shovel-yarder, one more Bell 225F Logger and a John Deere 640L Cable Skidder. Added to this I bought two used Bell 225A Loggers bringing my total Bell Logger fleet to six.”

Mandla is adamant that when he researched a big-ticket item such as a John Deere 640L Skidder, his mind was swayed by the fact that Bell Equipment backed this machine and he could rely on trained personnel to handle the maintenance and repairs. His experience in mining had taught him that mechanical equipment requires proper support to ensure maximum up-time.

“It’s been a steep learning curve for me and my staff numbering 71 loyal people, but we’re happily hitting our production targets,” he says. “We started off producing 2 200 tonnes of timber a month, which has now grown to 5 800 tonnes with a reserve stockholding of 1 700 tonnes, and this we could not have done without reliable mechanical equipment.”

Mandla’s management experience comes to the fore as he explains that everyone in his company, himself included, is undergoing skills development all the time. Human resources issues are dealt with promptly and they have managed to meet production targets with limited overtime which points to efficient use of man hours and good mechanical availability.

“Our Bell Loggers are running between 18 and 20 hours a day and having the one-year, unlimited hours warranty on the new Bell F-series Logger is a real blessing,” he adds. “Our F-series Loggers are covered by a maintenance plan up to 2 000 hours and we’re capitalising on this by working them hard in the first year.”

“Having both the A- and F-series Loggers we can tell you that the new Yanmar engines definitely show an improvement in fuel consumption, which has impacted favourably on our operational costs.”

Timber Logging Solutions’ John Deere 640L Cable Skidder is operating for seven hours a day as nighttime skidding is not allowed.

“As a young company our clients mentor us. Safety in the compartment and on loading zones is taken very seriously, something that I’m used to and happy with given my background in mining,” said Mandla.

“On the servicing side I’m happy to report that everyone at Bell Equipment in Nelspruit is accessible and my maintenance manager and I have built a special relationship with the workshop foreman, Louwtjie Erasmus. Bell Equipment’s response times and parts availability are excellent, and should a certain part not be available, it generally arrives the following day. We get the impression that Bell Equipment understands our business and appreciates that downtime favours no one.”

Related article: Bell launches pre-owned equipment website

Bell launches pre-owned equipment website

Bell pre-owned equipment can now be shopped online thanks to the launch of a dedicated global website, pre-owned.bellequipment.com, which is also accessible from the company’s website.

Doug Morris, Bell Equipment’s Managing Director: Europe, Middle East and Africa, who has overseen the project, said: “Previously our efforts were localised, and we wanted to create an online solution to promote our pre-owned equipment globally. The website gives Bell operations, and dealers should they wish, access to a fully integrated platform to advertise their pre-owned Bell machines. This means that customers around the world can shop all the pre-owned equipment we have available from one user-friendly and convenient website.

“We are thrilled with the result because it gives the group flexibility that did not exist before. For example, Bell UK can now sell its stock in South Africa or through our entire dealer network, and vice versa. The platform gives us the ability to easily manage an integrated internal stock system, upload to our website as well as publish to an external service provider to advertise internationally.”

In keeping with the global theme of the website, customers can select their preferred currency and choose to have information displayed in either English, German, Russian, French or Spanish.

The website is easy to navigate and groups machinery according to industry, namely: mining and construction, forestry, agriculture, roads and rehabilitation, crushing and screening, and application equipment.

For each piece of kit there are several photographs and detailed information including the brand, year of manufacture, hours worked, the machine location and the selling price and contact details of the organisation selling the machine. This information can be used to refine a search. In addition, customers can generate an enquiry directly from the website.