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    Lebombo Vlakte Vervoer upsizes to Matriarch’s new ULTeco 6

    17 October 2018
    When the Matriarch ULTeco 5 Slew Loader first hit the wide-open sugar cane lands of the Komatipoort irrigation farms it was a revelation.
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    Vanall’s Plant Hire impressed with its Kamaz 6x6 fleet

    08 October 2018
    An invitation to visit the Bell Equipment stand at the 2018 bauma CONEXPO Africa exhibition so impressed the owner of a Witbank-based plant hire company by what he saw of the new range of Kamaz rigid tipper trucks, that he now owns four of these trucks, with more to come.
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    Afrimat invests in Bell ADTs and Kobelcos at Marble Hall

    26 September 2018
    A nationally known supplier of industrial and construction materials has decided that the path to lower production costs starts by deploying its own fleet of yellow machines in favour of that of a mining contractor. In doing so, it has turned to an original equipment supplier whose products make up most of its yellow machine fleet.
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    Tap into Bell Equipment’s aftermarket solutions

    18 September 2018
    Bell Equipment understands that business is about more than just supplying strong, reliable machines and that strong reliable support is an equally, if not more, important consideration for decision-makers. To this end, Bell has an all-inclusive range of aftermarket products and services to enrich the Bell ownership experience so that customers get the most out of their machine throughout the different stages of its lifetime.
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    Double-quick delivery of fleet expansion keeps Stefanutti Stocks on track

    14 September 2018
    It has often been said that being in the right place at the right time is an important factor for success but the added requirement of doing something about it, is needed to ensure that success.
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    Bell delivers growth on back of global demand

    10 September 2018
    Richards Bay, 30 August 2018 – JSE-listed Bell Equipment, a proudly South African company with over 60 years of experience in the manufacture, distribution and support of materials handling equipment, today released results for the interim period ended 30 June 2018. The group reported revenue of R3,7 billion, a six percent increase on the prior period (June 2017: R3,5 billion).
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    Kobelco and Waratah prove ‘quick and reliable’ in Swaziland thinnings operation

    29 August 2018
    Trees in a pulp rotation compete for light, moisture and nutrients. If the trees become older their growth slows and they become susceptible to insects, diseases and mortality sets in.
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    Tandem Finlay set-up lowers production costs for Nelesco 318

    22 August 2018
    In alluvial diamond mining, as with any other mining or quarrying operation, the lower cost per tonnes of pay dirt produced would find favour with those whose purse is affected.
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    E. Corr Plant Hire enables winter month excavation with fleet addition of 2 Bell B20Es

    07 August 2018
    Dedicated and diverse construction services operation, E. Corr Plant Hire, has extended seasonal capabilities for its client base by bringing two new Bell Equipment B20Es to its fleet.
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    New Waratah 215E Head passes SiyaQhubeka study with flying colours

    20 July 2018
    SiyaQhubeka has conducted an independent evaluation of Waratah’s new H215E Harvesting Head to compare productivity and quality with the company’s current equipment and methods in line with Mondi Forest’s objective of achieving a single pass for its harvesting operations to follow the standard set by the Brazilian forestry industry.
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    Agreement paves the way for emerging road contractors

    17 July 2018
    Richards Bay, 11 July 2018: A joint undertaking by SANRAL and construction machinery supplier, Bell Equipment, will accelerate the transformation of the construction industry and open doors for black-owned and managed CIDB graded contractors.
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    Hawk Plant’s Investment continues with purchase of four new Bell machines

    04 July 2018
    Hawk Plant Hire, part of the Hawk Group of Companies which combine to offer a world-class portfolio of construction solutions, has announced the purchase of a further four Bell Equipment B20Es.
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    Paleostone count the benefits of the Dual Power Spaleck Screen

    25 June 2018
    In small to medium scale mining, and especially in alluvial diamond mining, tight margins mean owners must sharpen their pencils and eliminate potentially wasteful procedures.
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    Ben Bennett continues to place faith in Bell with new L2606E

    19 June 2018
    In a move that reflects its confidence in Bell Equipment’s machine quality and competency, steel rolling mill and limestone quarry operation, Ben Bennett Jr., has announced its most recent acquisition of a new L2606E Loader that was secured to replace an existing machine.
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    Bell Equipment to showcase largest range of ADTs on the market at Hillhead 2018

    12 June 2018
    Bell Equipment will be showcasing the largest range of Articulated Dump Trucks on the market at this year’s Hillhead 2018.
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    AFS Earthmoving chooses Bell Equipment’s B30E for the sixth time

    01 June 2018
    AFS, a leading specialist in earthmoving works and aggregates supply, has once again demonstrated its confidence in Bell Equipment by further investing in a new B30E Articulated Dump Truck (ADT).
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    Bell donates towards Amangwe Village creche initiatives

    23 May 2018
    Bell Equipment, a proud founder member of Amangwe Village, which was started in 2002, has followed up last year’s donation of a new Nissan MP 300 double cab bakkie with a substantial donation towards the organisation’s Early Childhood Development initiatives.
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    John Deere and Bell donate scale models to Nelson Mandela University

    11 May 2018
    The Nelson Mandela University forestry students have received forest equipment scale models from John Deere and Bell Equipment, the local dealer of the full range of John Deere equipment. The models were donated for use as training tools to help in teaching and learning of various equipment in forestry. The John Deere scale models comprise of a tracked harvester, forwarder, tracked feller buncher, grapple skidder, track based loader and grader. Bell Equipment donated laser cut wood models of a Bell Logger and Tractor.
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    Bell anticipates strongest upswing in global machinery demand since 2010/2011

    08 May 2018
    Articulated dump truck specialist, Bell Equipment, expects growth in most major markets during 2018 with global construction and mining machinery markets expected to increase by ten to fifteen percent, according to Bell Group Chief Executive, Gary Bell.
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    Bell B30E 4x4 at Guggenberger

    08 May 2018
    A Bell B30E 4x4 has been working in production, material handling and overburden removal at the Guggenberger gravel plant in Mintraching, Germany since the end of October 2017 where it replaced a long-serving Bell 25-ton truck. The decision to choose the 4x4 two axle truck concept was taken due to its specific advantages.
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    Successful Intermat 2018 for Bell Equipment

    02 May 2018
    “We are hugely satisfied with Intermat 2018,” comment Gary Bell and Leon Goosen, the outgoing and incoming Group Chief Executive Officers of the global ADT specialist, Bell Equipment. The Parisian show was the last global event before the official handover of the company’s CEO position to Leon Goosen and Gary Bell’s appointment as non-executive chairman of the board of the Bell Group, both scheduled for 1 June 2018. “Our aim was to demonstrate our commitment to the global ADT market and we succeeded with in-depth interactions with customers and partners throughout the show,” adds Leon Goosen.
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    NAMPO debut for Bell Equipment’s latest partner products

    18 April 2018
    Bell Equipment will have an assortment of new machines for forestry and agriculture on display at NAMPO following partnership agreements with Japanese excavator specialist, Kobelco, in June 2017 and Russian heavy-duty tipper truck manufacturer and 15-times Dakar Rally winner, Kamaz, in December.
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    Bell Equipment UK’s new Scottish Sales Manager is “coming home”!

    10 April 2018
    Bell Equipment UK, an international leader in the design and manufacturer of ADTs and wheeled loaders, has today announced the appointment of its new Scottish sales manager, Russell Conn. Russell will be joining Bell Equipment UK from Bell South Africa, where he has worked for the past 25 years.
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    Bell Equipment at Intermat 2018

    28 March 2018
    ADT specialist, Bell Equipment is growing the four wheel drive concept with the Bell B30E 4x4, which will be displayed at Intermat 2018. Suited to small to medium-sized quarries with integrated aggregate production facilities, this truck offers customers distinct advantages over more traditional haulage solutions. The Bell stand (Hall 6A, 104) will also feature the Bell B40E earthmover, a popular model in the company’s extensive 6x6 range.
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    Maximum features on Bell Equipment's new mini-excavators

    20 March 2018
    Bell Equipment is broadening its partnership with Japanese excavator specialist, Kobelco Construction Machinery Co. Ltd (Kobelco), with the introduction of three compact mini excavator models ranging from 5,5t to 13,5t to complement the six standard machines that were launched in June 2017.
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    Bell Kamaz provides a win-win for customers and economy

    19 March 2018
    The benefit of Bell Equipment's partnership with Russian-based tipper truck specialist, Kamaz, goes beyond providing the company's southern Africa customers with a premium tipper truck range backed by leading local support. It has also created an opportunity for Bell to strengthen its commitment to the local manufacturing sector and promote economic growth.
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    Bell 'cautiously optimistic' about mining and construction sectors

    16 March 2018
    While 2017 was an unprecedented year for the southern African heavy equipment industry, which experienced a year-on-year market increase of about 15% across all product sectors, the current year has started much slower than anticipated reports Marketing Director of Bell Equipment Sales South Africa, Mark Hughes.
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    Sweet deals on Off-Crop Kits 15% Discount

    26 February 2018
    With 2018 promising to deliver a bumper crop following years of drought, it's time to make sure your harvesting equipment is ready to perform. Bell Equipment has Off-Crop Kits for all our Tractors, Tri-Wheelers and Trailers and, until 30 April 2018, we're offering a 15% discount on all kits!With 2018 promising to deliver a bumper crop following years of drought, it's time to make sure your harvesting equipment is ready to perform. Bell Equipment has Off-Crop Kits for all our Tractors, Tri-Wheelers and Trailers and, until 30 April 2018, we're offering a 15% discount on all kits!
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    Zungu wins 2017 Bell Welder of the Year

    26 February 2018
    Results of the popular and closely contested 2017 Bell Equipment Welder of the Year competition were announced at the Richards Bay factory's Welcome Back ceremony where Sphamandla Zungu was presented the winner's trophy and Zenzele Gumede and Clement Nene took second and third place respectively. When presenting the awards, Bell Equipment Welding Engineering Manager, Henk de Villiers, said: "2017 saw the launch of a several exciting new products. With this came evolutions in the weld joint designs and the need for our welders to continuously evolve to keep up with the ever-increasing demands on their skills." Prerequisites to enter the competition are the ability to stick to standard times and to have a good track record with no absenteeism, coaching or disciplinary records during the course of the year. Contestants are then judged on the quality of their work according to set criteria. Henk thanked all the participants saying that the 2017 competition saw an increase in entries, "which is gratifying considering the qualifications just to enter and speaks volumes about the work ethic of the contestants". He also expressed appreciation to the judges for taking the time to assess the high standard of entries and determine the final outcome, as well as to Sagren Naicker, Bhim Sewpershad and Mike Renshaw for facilitating the competition, and Afrox for sponsoring the prizes and attended the prize giving. Commenting on the awards, Afrox's Senior Segment Sales Manager: Transport Sector, Paul Jackson, said: "It was an honour and very gratifying to experience the pride with which the top welders received their awards. I believe that Bell has a winning formula for developing in-house skills along with building pride and work ethic within the workforce. Afrox is proud to be involved in this initiative and looks forward to a continued mutually beneficial relationship with Bell."
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    Bell to welcome new products and partners at BCA 2018

    26 February 2018
    Southern Africa's largest construction equipment manufacturer, Bell Equipment - a loyal supporter of bauma Conexpo Africa - will mark the 2018 event by showcasing its new range of Kobelco Excavators and introducing the Dakar Rally winning KAMAZ range of heavy duty tipper trucks at its 2 300m² stand. "We expect both these new partners and product ranges to generate a considerable amount of interest as they bring quality and competitive machine solutions to our local market, and all backed by the most extensive support network in southern Africa," says Sales and Marketing Director of Bell Equipment Sales South Africa (BESSA), Mark Hughes. "The Kobelco range of excavators, from 5,5t to 85t, was added to the Bell stable in mid-2017 and has been extremely well accepted by the Bell customer base. Japanese-based Kobelco is widely recognised as a global excavator specialist and through this partnership we are able to offer competitively priced and perfectly matched loading tools for our range of Articulated Dump Trucks in the construction, quarrying, mining and forestry industries." Additionally, the introduction of the KAMAZ trucks at the end of 2017 has given Bell a presence in the southern Africa tipper truck market for the first time, to further expand the company's one-stop-shop offering to customers in the region. Established in 1969, KAMAZ manufactures out of Naberezhnye Chelny in Russia and today accounts for half the trucks sold in that country, as well as being represented in 80 countries around the world. Although new to southern Africa, KAMAZ is synonymous with providing purpose designed trucks to the harshest applications, and this has been borne out by the company's consistently strong performance in the challenging Dakar Rally. The first phase of the KAMAZ introduction consists of four models, which are available in left hand or right hand drive configurations. The models include two 6x4 trucks with payloads of 15 and 20 tonnes, a 6x6 truck with a payload of 19,5 tonnes and an 8x4 truck with a payload of 25,5 tonnes. Alongside the Kobelco and KAMAZ products, Bell will also exhibit an extensive range of its own manufactured products, including Articulated Dump Trucks and Tractor Loader Backhoes, as well as displaying machines from its long standing partners Deere, Bomag and Finlay. Commenting on the value of trade shows, and bauma Conexpo Africa in particular, Bell Equipment Group Marketing Director, Stephen Jones said: "There is absolutely no doubt that trade shows can be extremely beneficial to both the users and providers of plant. With bauma Conexpo Africa providing the platform for this interaction it is imperative that those who can make it work come out and support it. For users of equipment the southern African market is very competitive with good equipment choices significantly affecting the chance of success. With a large number of brands competing there is value for users of equipment to be able to visit one location and be able to closely interact with manufacturers and distributors to help guide those critical buying decisions. "bauma Conexpo Africa has a particularly strong appeal to Bell because of our African heritage and our approach to provide a one-stop shop for quality equipment solutions in the region. There is also a lack of well supported platforms in the industry and our commitment is to work alongside bauma Conexpo Africa to make the show a success and, most importantly, add significant value to the users of equipment across the region." In closing, Hughes adds: "As a full range supplier with the largest network in southern Africa, we look forward to interacting with existing and prospective Bell customers, partners and other visitors to the show and extend an open invitation to visit us at stand ES230, Johannesburg Exhibition Centre during 13 to 16 March 2018."
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    Quarry expansion leads to Bell B30E for Skene, with original D-series still in play

    26 February 2018
    Skene Group Construction Services Ltd, a leading independent operator within the construction supply sector, has drawn on seven years of success using a Bell Equipment B30D, and has further invested in an evolved B30E ADT. The new-breed machine was brought into the fleet within one of Skene’s quarry sites in September, working alongside the company’s existing B30D, which continues to deliver. Skene Group, a company based in Fife which originated in 1968, is a major supplier to the construction industry, manufacturing and supplying concrete blocks, ready-mix concrete and aggregates throughout Scotland and beyond. The company’s own plant and equipment are utilised within its two quarries and Contract Division, carrying out civil engineering works within both private and commercial sectors. The company’s quarries have expanded in recent years to meet with growing commercial and domestic demand, leading Skene’s taskforce of hardworking ADTs, excavators and wheel loaders to perform considerable working hours involving stripping, primary and secondary crushing, and tipping. “The machines we choose for working within the quarries are certainly put through their paces,” says Skene’s Joint Managing Director, Darren Forrester. “We use the ADTs daily, primarily to perform overburden tasks to access rock, but also to shift and retrieve material from the quarries’ main faces for subsequent processing at our static plants. “The use of capable ADTs has been essential in achieving these tasks effectively, and we’ve tried and tested the benefits of various makes and models over the years. We bought our first Bell ADT seven years ago, and have been truly impressed with the machine’s reliability and performance, right to the present day.” That machine is still ‘very much up and running’ and has an impressive 7,000 hours under its belt. Its robust performance has been a key contributor in forming Darren’s decision to invest in another Bell. However, during the time Skene’s B30D has been grafting in the quarry, the leading ADT manufacturer has been further developing the capabilities future machines, and has presented a new and improved line of vehicles to the market – the E-series. Development of the E-series took the course of five years, and led machines to be stringently tested within some of the harshest mine sites in the world. With increased suspension travel and an A-frame adaptation to give operators a more independent ride, E-series vehicles have already proved a ‘driver success’. The series offers 6x6-technology to provide class leading power and weight-ratios together with advanced engine and drivetrain characteristics, while the improvements made to the onboard diagnostics enable the interface to be more detailed, but also user friendly. “From experience, we can see why Bell Equipment's D-series platform was so well regarded by the industry throughout its lifetime, so by carrying its successful platform through to the smaller trucks in the new E-series range and by changing the front suspension to an A-frame layout, there’s a formula in place for another winning succession of machines. “In short, we’ve been really impressed with the new B30E ADT. It’s a cracking machine that we’ve used every day since delivery, without a hitch. “The machine type has, like our own relationship with Bell Equipment, evolved over the years, and grown from strength to strength.” Darren makes reference to his company’s relationship with Bell’s Area Sales Manager, Sandy Fairweather, the sales team member who has been a first point of contact for Skene since the purchase of his firm’s initial ADT was negotiated: “In our experience, when you buy with Bell, you get access to a full customer care package, not only from an aftersales team, but from the people you started the sales process with. We like that, because it makes you feel as though, as a customer, you’ve remained valued and are continued to be looked after. “We know that should a need ever arise, we can contact Sandy directly, and he will get any issues sorted personally, and we like to think that reflects our own business ethos well. “As a company, we’re proud of the strong position we’ve created for ourselves within the national construction industry, and have always strived to find ways to continually commit to moving our business forward, and facilitating success for our clients, locally and nationally. “This latest investment in an evolved machine and its potential to deliver, chimes perfectly with that valued Skene approach.”
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    Third generation of Leisegangs stay loyal to Bell

    24 October 2017
    The Leisegangs are one of Zululand's pioneering families having arrived as Norwegian missionaries during the late 1800s. Their subsequent involvement in farming and construction activities in the area has seen them associated with Bell Equipment through three generations, and the relationship continues to grow and thrive. The relationship started after the Second World War when brothers, Ralph and Nolly Leisegang, returned home and started farming in the Empangeni area. Ralph was a great friend of Bell founder, Irvine Bell, and sold him Khulu Properties, which became the original Bell workshop. The brothers were also among the company's first customers when the Bell Tri-Wheeler Cane Loader was invented and Nolly's son, Paul, still has one of his father's "terribly old" Cane Loaders and says "it still works every day". Today the relationship continues through Paul's son, Brenton Leisegang, and his company Belrex 372. For the past five years Brenton has been investing in a fleet of machines that he uses for both his own construction contracts and for plant hire. His Bell fleet currently includes three 315SK 4x4 Tractor Loader Backhoes, having acquired the first unit in October 2014 and adding a new machine to the fleet in 2015 and 2016. In 2017 Brenton diversified the fleet with a Bomag BW120 AD-5 Tandem Roller in January and followed this up in July with a new Kobelco SK210LC Excavator - the first Kobelco to be sold by Bell in KwaZulu-Natal following the distribution agreement signed in June, and the second sold in the Southern African region. Brenton's experience with Bell machines dates back about 25 years when, after leaving school, he joined his father on the family's sugarcane farm they owned outside Empangeni, towards the fertile Nkwaleni Valley, where they made use of Bell Tractors and Cane Loaders for the harvesting operation. They were also involved in construction and made use of a Bell Excavator, Scrapers and Articulated Dump Trucks building dams in Gingindlovu and Babanango, and on various road works contracts. Opportunities in Mozambique saw Brenton relocate in 1998 to Matola, outside Maputo, where a substantial Bell fleet was used on roads and earthworks contracts. In addition he made use of Bell forestry equipment on timber contracts in the Pembe province in the north of Mozambique. In 2012, when Brenton's children were school-going age, he and his wife, Tracy, decided to relocate back to South Africa. They established themselves at Zinkwazi on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, from where they are ideally located to service northwards to Richards Bay as well as south and inland to Pietermaritzburg. Explaining his loyalty to the Bell brand, Brenton says: "We've stayed with Bell because of our Zululand connection and their great product range, but more importantly because of the good service that we receive from our Bell Sales Representative, Blake Phillips, and the rest of the Bell Umhlali team. If I call them on a Friday afternoon needing assistance and tell them that it can wait until Monday, they will come out on the Friday afternoon. "And when we were in Mozambique we made use of the Bell Maputo and Bell Beira branches and they would fly parts around the country for us all the time. That's the kind of service you want." Bell Equipment's wide footprint and strong service ethic also came into play recently when his Kobelco Excavator needed new cutting teeth while working in the Empangeni area and Bell Empangeni "bent over backwards" taking replacements from a new machine to minimise downtime. Brenton says he's not had any problems with his Bell fleet and has been particularly happy with the performance of his Kobelco Excavator. "I've previously had a Bell Kato Excavator, which was an excellent machine, so buying the Kobelco made sense because they are similar machines." For the past three months the Kobelco Excavator has been on hire to farms in the Gingindlovu and Amatikulu area and has worked its way northwards to Empangeni where it has been working in farm quarries, assisting with land preparation, and installing drainage in macadamia plantations that are being developed in the area. Belrex 372's Excavator Operator, Spookie Jardine, speaks highly of the machine, specifically the operator comfort level of the cab and the smooth, responsive controls, not to mention the air conditioned cab. He operates predominantly in 'S mode' - for normal operations and delivers lower fuel consumption - which he finds is more than adequate for the productivity customer's require. To ensure maximum uptime Brenton's fleet is fully serviced by Bell Equipment. "Not only do I get great service from Bell, but when the time comes to replace a machine, it will have a better trade-in value from having a full service history with Bell. Just as Brenton has enjoyed sound service from Bell Equipment, so too is he acutely aware of the need to provide a quality to service to his customers. For this reason he believes in investing in new and reliable machines for his fleet. "Customers don't want to rent an old, tired machine that isn't as productive and has endless downtime. They've got a job that they need done, and time is money," he says. "For me it's about building relationships and earning a good name by making sure that I have reliable equipment and can give customers exactly what they want. I'm working for the future and building this business for my children, so that hopefully they can take over the business one day and continue building relationships with the future generations of today's customers." Until that day Brenton is content to roll up his sleeves and grow the business himself, and has set his sights on a Bell Grader as his next piece of kit. Brenton Leisegang (right) of Belrex 372 discusses the extraction of material from a farm quarry in the Empangeni area with Operator, Spookie Jardine, and farmer, Brett Hume.
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    Bell Germany officially opens its world class facility

    03 October 2017
    Bell Equipment Germany's new headquarters at Alsfeld, Germany was officially opened at the end of August with three special events - an opening ceremony, an open day for customers and suppliers as well as an intimate staff event to celebrate the completion of the mammoth relocation exercise. This significant investment signals the company's continuity and commitment to its customers in the Northern Hemisphere as well as their staff in Alsfeld, and encompasses the German and Central European sales and distribution departments along with Bell Equipment's international parts hub, the European Logistics Centre (ELC). The property has a built up area triple the size of the previous facility and comprising of modern sales and administration offices, workshop facilities and the ELC warehouse, which provides state-of-the-art commissioning and handling solutions. Strengthening the European foothold The opening ceremony was attended by 150 guests from neighbouring European countries and other global regions serviced by the new logistics centre, so they could better understand the strategic importance and the long-term perspectives of the new facility. Bell Germany Managing Director, Andreas Heinrich, explained that the new facility has been designed with further development in mind based on future demand. He thanked local partners and authorities, the various builders led by general contractor Goldbeck Ost, and especially emphasised the contribution of his highly motivated Bell Alsfeld staff during the relocation phase, which was successfully carried out while maintaining full operations. The Bell board also took the opportunity to meet in Germany before the opening ceremony affording Chairman of Bell Equipment Ltd, John Barton, and Chief Executive, Gary Bell, the opportunity to outline the company's perspectives on the European and North American markets and for the German-based activities. "We’re here to stay," was the clear message by Gary Bell who said that company has cemented its position as a world leading ADT supplier, with its new models and ongoing technical innovation. He added that 2017 looks set to be the best year in terms of ADT production and sales since the beginning of the decade largely due to contributions by activities in the European, North American and Asian markets. This has been further aided by the company's global strategy to implement assembly and parts facilities close to customers and suppliers. Over the next five years Bell Equipment plans to invest significantly more in its European operations and support with programmes covering an increase in European ADT production capacity in Eisenach and transferring the manufacture of certain core components from its Southern Hemisphere facility in Richards Bay, South Africa. Worldwide network John Barton said the new facility represents another milestone in the long tradition of the family-owned company and strongly reflects the Bell philosophy of providing 'Strong Reliable Support' to regional customers and markets by investing as close as possible to where they operate. In this regard the new European Logistics Centre plays a critical role in supplying parts to all regional logistics warehouses throughout Europe and other Northern Hemisphere markets. This is achieved through close cooperation with the company's factories and other logistics centres. With a significant investment in stock and an average availability of 95%, the ELC is positioned to support all Bell ADT models that have been sold in the region. Extended offer The Alsfeld complex has also been installed with a Bell ReMan Centre. This is the second such European facility and like the first unit, opened in 2009 at Bell UK in Burton-upon-Trent, specially trained mechatronic technicians repair and rebuild original Bell components, including axles, transfer cases, hydraulic components as well as transmissions and engines. Basing this facility at the ELC improves both the reaction and lead times as well as allowing for the rebuilt items to be stored and available for worldwide needs. At the beginning of May Bell Germany moved to its new location in Alsfeld, which offers modern administration and logistic facilities with large development opportunities. Modern commissioning and handling solutions in Bell Equipment’s European Logistics Centre accelerate parts supply to worldwide customers. Around 150 international guests from South Africa, Europe and other Bell regions globally attended the opening ceremony. MD of Bell Germany, Andreas Heinrich, provides information about the new location and its main tasks. Even closer to worldwide customers: John Barton, Chairman of Bell Equipment Ltd., characterised the new ELC as a "milestone" for the company. "We’re here to stay": Chief Executive, Gary Bell, announced important investments into the company's European production and logistics infrastructure. Representatives of the general contractor, Goldbeck Ost, presented the symbolic key (from left): Christian Weiß (Sales Engineer, Goldbeck Ost), Norbert Albrecht (Project Manager, Goldbeck Ost), Tobias Sachse (Site Manager, Goldbeck Ost), Andreas Heinrich (MD, Bell Germany), John Barton (Chairman, Bell Equipment), Gary Bell (Chief Executive) and Andreas Kiermeier (Branch Manager Thuringia, Goldbeck Ost). The 150 customers and suppliers who attended the open house day were impressed by the organisation and processes in the new Bell European Logistics Centre. The new ReMan Centre provides comprehensive testing procedures for repaired and rebuilt components. At the staff event, that officially closed the official opening celebrations of the Alsfeld complex, long serving members (from left): Tobias Appel, Bärbel Bajahr and Andreas Stolarksy were thanked for 10 years of service by Gary Bell and Bell Germany management represented by Steffen Zitter, ELC Manager (fifth from left), Sebastian Bleuel, Head of Accounts (second from right) and Andreas Heinrich, Managing Director (right). They also honoured Lena Dahlmann and Philipp Wahn for having successfully completed training at Bell Germany. Lena received training in the field of logistics and customs while Philipp was trained as a warehouse logistics specialist.
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    Bell brings KAMAZ Trucks into Southern Africa

    26 September 2017
    Southern Africa's largest homegrown material handling equipment supplier, Bell Equipment, has announced it is entering the Southern African tipper truck market through a partnership with KAMAZ, a Russian-based industry leader in this market segment globally. Although new to the region, KAMAZ is synonymous with providing purpose designed trucks to the harshest applications, and this has been borne out by the company's consistent strong performance in the challenging Dakar Rally. Bell Equipment's Group Marketing Director, Stephen Jones, says: "After a long period of investigation we are now ready to take this milestone step and enter the tipper truck market. By expanding our one-stop-shop offering to our southern African customers we are able to satisfy more of their needs and further our goal of being partners rather than suppliers. "Finding the right partner has been key because there have been a lot of new entrants trying to penetrate this hotly contested market. We identified KAMAZ as our preferred partner some time ago due to the demonstrated performance and product attribute fit, which we had experienced through mutual customers and applications where Bell trucks are working in Russia. Further confidence was gained from other Bell partners, with a stake in KAMAZ held by Daimler AG, which also has a stake in Mercedes Benz, the engine supplier for the range of Bell Articulated Dump Trucks. " Established in 1969, KAMAZ manufactures out of Naberezhnye Chelny in Russia and today accounts for half the trucks sold in that country, as well as being represented in 80 countries across the world. "KAMAZ shares our values and focuses on understanding applications and customer expectations, and designs products that speak to these," continues Jones. "As a 14 time winner of the Dakar, the world's toughest off-road endurance race, customers can rest assured that KAMAZ trucks are tough and reliable. This ties in with our Bell ethos of providing strong reliable machines." According to Bell Equipment Product Marketing Manager, Brad Castle, the first phase of the KAMAZ introduction will consist of four models, which will be available as left hand or right hand drive vehicles. The models will include two 6x4 trucks with payloads of 15 and 20 tonnes, a 6x6 truck with a payload of 19,5 tonnes and a 8x4 truck with a payload of 25,5 tonnes. Across the range, well matched engines and drivetrains bolster performance and the ability to deliver results while stronger fabricated structures promote durability. The trucks also feature air-suspended seats and cabs to create industry-leading comfort that drives productivity, safety and ensures driver satisfaction. "During testing the KAMAZ trucks have presented a strong value proposition. We've been testing the trucks across numerous customer sites, where they have been extremely well received and have tackled local conditions with ease, delivering great productivity and lower fuel burn. Coupled with lower operating costs, customers can expect a favourable Rands per kilometre per tonne of material moved," adds Castle. In response, Director General of KAMAZ Foreign Trade Company, Rafail Gafeev, says: "KAMAZ FTC is very pleased to be teaming up with a heavy equipment company such as Bell Equipment who has its origin and roots firmly entrenched in southern Africa. We believe that this partnership will bring great value to both companies. "The KAMAZ products have been tried and tested in the most challenging environments resulting in uncompromising products that are uncomplicated and tough. We believe that the KAMAZ product philosophy coupled with Bell Equipment's extensive distribution network of over 50 branches and dealers, world class aftermarket service and technical support is a clear recipe for success to meet the southern African customers' needs. We look forward to growing our footprint by investing in the region through Bell Equipment's product localisation and distribution strategies." Jones concludes: "To ensure a smooth introduction the initial KAMAZ trucks will be shipped RORO (roll on roll off) while the Richards Bay factory gears up for CKD (complete knockdown) assembly. Increasing the local value add of the trucks is in line with our commitment to increase our investment in South Africa and create meaningful employment opportunities. Most importantly we are confident that this partnership will once again better position us to help our customers to succeed by providing strong reliable machines and strong reliable support to the region." Director General of KAMAZ Foreign Trade Company, Raphael Gafeev, presents Bell Equipment Chief Executive, Gary Bell, with the certificate to officially commemorate the appointment of Bell Equipment as the Southern African distributor of KAMAZ trucks.
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    J and B Timbers expands its mechanisation with Matriarch Skogger

    21 September 2017
    A firm belief in the value of long-term relationships is proving its worth for a Swaziland-based timber harvesting contractor. What makes the story intriguing is the fact that even though the contractor believes in job creation by using manual labour, selective use of innovative mechanisation is streamlining his operations, leading to steady growth in a competitive market. Barend Steenkamp, the fifth generation of Steenkamps in Swaziland, along with his father Jan, owns J & B Timbers. The family has for many years farmed in the Sicunusa area in the west of the country. They were some of the last farmers to close their dairy production and Barend, who has a tertiary qualification in agriculture, saw a gap in 2010 in the contract timber harvesting field. “We started out on a small-scale felling 300 tonnes per month using one chainsaw and an agricultural tractor-trailer combination with all handling and loading done using manual labour from the Rocks area near our farm,” Barend says. “This was done for the Montigny timber group who later bought out all of Sappi’s forests in Swaziland.” Over the next five years J & B Timbers's operations showed steady growth and by 2015 the labour force had grown to 65 people. All felling, cross-cutting and loading was still being done by hand and at that time, Barend decided it was time to start mechanising. “We found a used Bell 125 Logger on the open market and in our ignorance, had it repaired using freelance mechanics who installed pirate parts, which soon caused the machine to break down during critical production times,” he says. “We then contacted Charlie Boucher at Bell Equipment in Swaziland and despite it being close to Christmas of that year, we were warmly received as new customers of Bell Equipment and more importantly, had our Bell Logger repaired and back in production quickly. This was the start of a long-term relationship that has benefited us greatly.” In March 2016 J & B Timbers bought its first new Bell 220A Teleboom Logger. “That machine made such a difference to our production as with two Bell Loggers we could now use one machine infield and another stacking timber at the roadside depot where it would also load timber onto trucks,” Barend adds. “Soon after this, our clients Montigny, who are also keen on job creation, doubled our monthly production from 2 500 tonnes to 5 000 tonnes as they saw in us the potential to grow and create more jobs.” In the same year and some six months later, J & B Timbers took delivery of another new Bell 220A Teleboom Logger but replaced the Teleboom with a Crankboom, which has a higher reach and can be used to load timber onto larger trailers. “We had been using the Matriarch 420 Timber Grab on our Bell Loggers and when our clients, Montigny, put out a contract in January 2017 to harvest pine thinnings, we were naturally interested although we now faced a new challenge of extracting bigger timber,” Barend explains. “Charlie Boucher arranged for us to meet Ashley Bell, Matriarch Equipment’s Marketing Manager, and Derek Howe, Bell Equipment’s General Manager: Forestry, Sugar and Agricultural Sales, to look at the Matriarch FASTfell and Skogger timber machines as possible solutions to our proposed thinnings harvesting.” A trip to see the Matriarch machines at work in forests in Tsitsikamma paid dividends and Barend decided that buying the Matriarch Skogger was the best way forward. “Our challenge was to get the felled timber to roadside and the Skogger, which fulfills a dual role of extracting the timber coupled with the ability to then stack it as well, seemed the obvious choice,” he explains. “A big advantage of the Skogger is that we believe it will work equally well in thinnings as well as clear fell operations where it will haul gum in longer lengths, such as that which is destined for transmission poles.” J & B Timbers's operators have taken to the Matriarch Skogger with ease. Barend ascribes this to the ease of handling in the machine’s design and with so many features he enthuses about. “First of all you have a low-revving engine and this in turn translates to fuel burn of around 7,2 litres an hour, which means lower cost per tonnes of timber handled; a big plus. You then don’t have to pre-bunch the timber as the Skogger does that automatically with its delicate grab. That same grab has a built-in scale to prevent overloading and it further features a re-grab effect of which the frequency can be set, which means the timber is held firmly during the extraction and stacking processes. A floating boom also retards the grabbing action.” Other features of the Matriarch Skogger include low temperatures on the hydraulic oil which leads to longer component life, no wheel slip due to the presence of differentials and a transfer box and self-straightening of the articulated turn feature once a change of direction has been completed. Barend believes that the weight-to-power ratio is perfect and this should lead to longer tyre life. “We would not be at this point without the backing, advice and support we’ve enjoyed from Charlie and Nicolien Boucher at Bell Equipment in Swaziland,” Barend says. “We believe we’ve done our part by planning our cash flows and not growing too quickly. We’ve confidently entered into a maintenance agreement with Bell Swaziland and rely totally on the company’s expertise.” Barend’s wife, Carmia, appreciates the challenges of the contract timber harvesting industry but her real passion lies with farming sheep. “From our first meeting, under the pressure that the festive season brings as everyone tries to get away, Charlie and Nicolien have always been eager to assist us,” she says. “We believe we can reward their commitment to our business by keeping our account with Bell Equipment paid up.” From humble beginnings, J & B Timbers has grown its contact timber harvesting operations in a planned and systematic way and while mechanisation has brought benefits, Barend believes that their support of their local community in creating jobs is key. The company’s current labour force of 370 people fell and extract 9 000 tonnes of timber a month but equipment such as the Matriarch Skogger, is certainly speeding things up. Barend quotes a client who said of the Matriarch Skogger: “This machine is going to cause a revolution in the forestry industry” and we have reason to agree. Team Leader of Bell Equipment Swaziland, Charlie Boucher, with Carmia and Barend Steenkamp of J & B Timbers.
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    Bell and Matriarch strengthen ties in agriculture and forestry

    20 September 2017
    Bell Equipment and Matriarch Equipment have announced the signing of a formal distribution agreement, which sees Bell taking on the distribution and support of the complete, locally manufactured Matriarch range of agriculture and forestry equipment. Bell Equipment Product Marketing Manager, Tim Beningfield, says that the agreement will strengthen the existing partnership and creates a win-win scenario for both companies and their customers. "Matriarch is owned and managed by the grandsons of Bell founder, Irvine Bell, so the ability to innovate and develop according to customer's needs is entrenched in the genes. However, Matriarch's real value lies in its dedicated focus on agriculture and forestry, and its responsiveness to bring to fruition niche, low volume solutions for these industries in a relatively short period of time. "With our strong heritage in agriculture and forestry, we are always looking at opportunities to diversify our product offering. With the range of Matriarch products we will be able to better provide a tailor made full line solution to our customers. In return we bring to the partnership a respected and quality distribution and after-sales support network that will provide Matriarch with access to more regions and a larger market." Bell and Matriarch first collaborated and began marketing and distributing the Matriarch UltECO Slew Loaders in 2014 as a solution to sugarcane farmers wanting to pursue a controlled traffic approach to cane loading and haulage. Matriarch's Ashley Bell says this partnership with Bell has proven to be beneficial, with a number of Matriarch UltECO units sold into South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Swaziland. This has paved the way to extend the agreement between the companies. "In terms of the new agreement, Bell will continue to distribute the UltECO models along with our Matriarch Skogger timber extraction and loading machine and the FASTfell felling and bunching machine. We will also continue to develop new products which, following an assessment of each of these by Bell, would potentially be included in the agreement," explains Ashley. "Matriarch has always been very customer focused and although Bell will provide after-sales support, we will still keep contact with our customers to ensure that we are constantly developing to meet their needs." According to Tim, the Matriarch forestry line enables Bell to offer customers solutions that meet their needs for different levels of mechanisation and machine complexity. "The Matriarch range is well suited to southern African timber conditions and contractors with lower production targets and higher cost sensitivities. This means that they will find favour with a number of smaller contractors while high production, larger operations will still make use of Bell Equipment's complementary range of purpose-built forestry equipment. "Bell, through leveraging our industry leading support network, will ensure that everything is in place to provide these Matriarch machines the same level of service that we provide to all the products in our range. We're confident that this agreement will continue our legacy of providing 'strong reliable machines, strong reliable support' to our agriculture and forestry customers," he ends.
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    Winnie's Logging Services mechanises with Matriarch machines

    11 September 2017
    Some of the earliest gold discoveries in South Africa were made in the hills surrounding Barberton in Mpumalanga. This brought about an industrial revolution of its own in the mild climate of the Lowveld. Now Barberton’s gold has all but been depleted, to be replaced by a new and more sustainable resource namely timber. Up in the pine forests of the Montrose area above Barberton, a more subtle and quieter revolution is taking place in the manner and ownership of the once male-dominated industry of timber harvesting and extraction. Winnie Ndlovu grew up in the forests surrounding the Sappi Ngodwana Paper Mill near Nelspruit. Her father, Frank, worked for the company as a forester and when she was a teenager Winnie accompanied him to work in the forests during her school holidays. “When I expressed an interest to study forestry after matric, I was told in no uncertain terms that it was not a place for women,” Winnie says. “So instead, I studied agriculture and with my diploma in hand, I joined TSB Sugar for two years to complete my practical training modules.” Another year’s work with a furniture manufacturer preceded Winnie not being able to resist going to work for then timber contract harvester Gavin Simms. “I worked for Gavin in the administrative department and learnt firsthand about the importance of keeping accurate machine and man-hour records plus all the essential regulatory paperwork that ensures a business runs smoothly,” she says. “Gavin seemed comfortable to let me work on my own and I appreciated learning so much about the timber contracting business in this way.” After Winnie had spent seven years with his company, Gavin Simms was in the throes of exiting the contract harvesting business, choosing instead to hire out forest harvesting equipment under the banner of Sable Hire while also mentoring young and upcoming entrepreneurs to start up their own harvesting outfits. “In 2015 Gavin approached me and asked whether I had ever considered starting my own contract timber harvesting company,” Winnie explains. “It had long been a dream of mine but without access to finance and such resources, I was doubtful that I could do it successfully.” “Fortunately at that time, paper and pulp company Sappi’s Forestry division was putting out tenders for timber harvesting contracts and I was able to negotiate a contract to supply the company with 85 000 tons of pine and eucalyptus a year, for five years. Now that we had a goal, and a somewhat daunting one at that, I had to get started in earnest and Winnie’s Logging Services was founded.” Winnie started off conservatively, employing 24 people. One of those was Violet Motubatse, who is still the Production Manager for Winnie’s Logging Services. “Violet and I have been friends since we both worked for Gavin and she has lots of experience in timber harvesting and extraction,” Winnie adds. “We started off with 11 chainsaws, felling timber manually, and the first machine we hired in was a Bell 225A Logger from Gavin’s Sable Hire, which we used for stacking timber at roadside. All other operations were done manually and we soon realised that to make a dent in our massive annual target of 85 000 tons we would have to mechanise to some extent.” Fortunately help was at hand as besides the valuable mentorship role that Gavin Simms was providing in terms of contracting and technical matters, his company Sable Hire was well equipped to assist Winnie with forestry equipment at competitive rates. “Gavin has been so much more than a mentor to us as a young company, helping us to obtain favourable financial terms from banks with which we could buy our vehicles to transport our staff and light utility vehicles for both Violet and I,” Winnie says. “His vast knowledge, built up over of many years in the forest of how to work efficiently and safely, is the stuff that no one could get from books alone.” “And to add to this backup, Gavin has the experience of what forestry harvesting and equipment will work best for us. He owns the first Matriarch Skogger and has just bought a second machine, which we have the privilege of hiring from him. Working in unison with the Matriarch Skogger is the Matriarch FASTfell timber felling machine which has speeded up our production to levels we’d never have believed possible.” Winnie is adamant that despite the years spent working in the industry it’s working in the timber compartments where experience and knowledge is gained to further her company. She and her harvesting teams are eager learners and value input from experienced specialists in the field. A recent visit by Derek Howe, Bell Equipment’s General Manager: Forestry, Sugar and Agricultural Sales, who will be responsible for much of the sales of Matriarch equipment, and Ashley Bell, Matriarch Equipment Marketing Manager, was eagerly awaited. “Derek with all his experience is a wonderful teacher and he taught us in the pine compartment how to really approach clear felling efficiently,” Winnie continues. “He showed the Matriarch FASTfell operator how to cut a swathe into the compartment with directional felling, so clearing a way that allows the Matriarch Skogger to bunch timber and extract it quickly, stacking it at roadside from where it can be processed further.” Working in tandem, the two Matriarch machines are playing a big role in Winnie’s Logging Services currently achieving around 320 tons per day although Winnie and Violet are confident that as their operators improve, this figure will increase. Working efficiently yet maintaining safety standards is a priority for the whole team. Sable Hire’s Matriarch equipment is hired out on dry rates and Winnie has been impressed by the low fuel consumption that the equipment returns. The Matriarch FASTfell machine purrs its way through 5 to 7 litres of diesel an hour with the Matriarch Skogger only slightly more at between 6 and 9 litres. “The big decision for me now is whether I can afford my own equipment and machines from Matriarch are definitely top of the list,” Winnie says with a broad smile. “The equipment is so competitively priced and as we’re assured of excellent technical back-up through Bell Equipment’s wide footprint, the first thought is that I certainly want both the Matriarch FASTfell and Skogger. Time will tell though and for now, we’re relying on Sable Hire and their favourable rates.” (From left): Winnie Ndlovu, Gavin Simms and Violet Motubatse. Matriarch Equipment's Ashley Bell (left) with Winnie Ndlovu and Bell Equipment's Derek Howe.
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    Bell results rally on the strength of improved trading conditions

    01 September 2017
    The interim results of South Africa's largest homegrown heavy equipment manufacturer, Bell Equipment, indicate that the company has enjoyed more positive trading conditions from most of its global markets in comparison to the same period last year. Revenue increased by 11% to R3,4 billion (2016: R3,1bn), Net Profit After Tax was up by 86% to R119,6 million (2016: R64,3m) and Headline Earnings Per Share rose 78% to 119c (2016: 67c). Commenting on global markets, Bell Equipment Chief Executive, Gary Bell, said the mining and commodity markets in South Africa, Australia and Russia have a positive growth outlook, with a slow recovery evident. The UK and USA remain key markets with relatively stable sales given the significant political changes and resultant uncertainty over the period, while the European market has continued to show steady growth, which has benefited the Bell operations in France and Germany, in particular. Bell also reported that the stronger Rand in the first half of 2017 affected turnover and margin in both domestic and export sales, and increased costs from essential product upgrades proved difficult to pass on to the market due to significant competitive pressure. "These two factors have affected profitability and are a key focus for management," he said. At the same time, the company has kept expenses well in check and rung in numerous changes that are geared to better position the company going forward. "The E-series range of trucks, and in particular the new concept B60E and B20E LGP units, continue to garner positive reviews from users around the globe and will in time add additional throughput for our business," said Bell. "The investment into our new European Logistics Centre has been completed and the facility is now fully operational. Significant improvements in customer service levels and a reduction in operational costs are beginning to flow through. Aftermarket sales and support to our existing customers remains a critical element of the business and resources are being channelled to ensure that we are best equipped to deliver on this important aspect of our business. "In the South African distribution business a successful BBBEE transaction has been completed which will ensure our participation in all sectors of the economy. An important distribution agreement with Kobelco from Japan has been concluded, extending our offering of excavators with a broader and more competitive range of machines. Second half sales should begin to reflect this additional volume. Further opportunities for complementing product lines have been identified and programmes are in place to bring these to market and drive our growth plans for Africa and our Northern Hemisphere markets." Our traditional mining markets north of the Zambezi continue to underperform as a result of both internal political issues and poor commodity demand, and restructuring and right-sizing continues in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Going forward Bell said the company will continue to invest in both additional products and in distribution opportunities across the globe. "The assessment of current distribution channels as well as the appointment of focused dealers in non-represented countries are priorities." The group has completed a formal search process and in June announced its succession plans for a new CEO, with the appointment of Leon Goosen, the current COO, as the CEO designate. The plans allow for an extended handover, ensuring continuity for the business, and a date for the final appointment to the CEO position will be decided in due course. In closing Bell said that Tiisetso Tsukudu has announced his retirement as an independent non-executive director from the Bell board after 13 years of service and the company would like to take this opportunity to thank him for both his dedication and significant input over the years.
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    Bell commits to greater investment in its people

    15 August 2017
    Bell Equipment Chief Executive, Gary Bell has made a commitment to increase the company's investment in the development of its employees so that the company can continue to grow and compete internationally. Bell was speaking at a graduation ceremony at the Bell Equipment Training Centre on Friday, 11 August where he congratulated 20 employees who have completed an Operations Management Development Programme under the auspices of the Production Management Institute of South Africa (PMI), as well as four who have completed a Fundamental Management Programme (FMP) through the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership. The company's Executive Manager: Manufacturing, Clive Hodgson was the guest speaker and explained the background to the PMI Operations Management Development Programme, which Bell introduced in 2008. "Around that time Bell experienced rapid growth of production volumes but was finding it difficult to bring in supervisors and managers from outside of the company," he said. "As the only South African manufacturer with this level of complexity, we found that many people we brought in struggled because they lacked an understanding of the Bell culture, our products and the unique way that we do things in our production and stores." At the same time the company realised that it had a strong group of employees on the shop floor with the required technical abilities and product experience yet had lacked the opportunity to pursue tertiary studies, which excluded them from applying for supervisor and managerial positions. The PMI development programme was born to enable Bell to grow its own timber and several groups have now attended the course and progressed in their careers. The PMI course runs for a year with lectures every Saturday, which has its challenges. "Many Supervisors would be coming off a third shift and walk straight into their class, or they would finish their lectures in the afternoon and go onto their overtime shift on the weekend. So it wasn't easy but the results have been incredible. The lowest mark that was achieved in the class was 64%. I also sat through many of the final presentations in terms of cost reduction and there were some great ideas," said Hodgson. For similar reasons Bell also put four Trainee Supervisors through the UNISA FMP. Hodgson said that this was quite challenging because "they were expected to work as Supervisors, work on shifts and study by themselves. There were no lectures. They had one contact session where they met with lecturers in Pretoria and got advice". In spite of this they also achieved outstanding results and all four went on to be appointed as fully-fledged Supervisors and are proving to be very successful. In congratulating the students, Shalen Mohanlall, PMI Academic Manager for KwaZulu-Natal, said: "It was a long programme and I know many of you went through a lot of difficulty working, studying part-time, managing your family lives and your social lives. It was a really difficult process but you guys came through with flying colours. Every single one of the facilitators had only the best things to say about this class. It was the best class that we’ve had in the last few years in terms of your results and in terms of your work ethic. Well done!" Thanduxolo Taboshe, a Supplier Quality Engineer based in the Bell Supplier Quality Team in Richards Bay, was announced the Top Student with the highest average in the class, as well as the highest average for the programme in KwaZulu-Natal. For his efforts he received a bursary from PMI to the value of R35 000. He will go on to the NQF6 Diploma in Operations Management and will attend PMI's public classes in Durban. In closing, Gary Bell thanked PMI for its assistance in putting the Bell candidates through the programme, as well as the graduates for giving up their time to further their studies. He added that Bell would add to Thanduxolo's bursary by covering the other costs related to the programme and said: "In time we look forward to seeing you back up here with your next qualification." PMI Academic Manager KZN, Shalen Mohanlall (left) and Bell Equipment Chief Executive, Gary Bell (right) congratulate the Top Student, Thanduxolo Taboshe on achieving the highest average in the class. At the graduation ceremony were (back left): Shalen Mohanlall (PMI Academic Manager KZN), Suraj Hurilall (Technical Rework), Eric Papiah (Matprep Main), Shilen Singh (Axle Assembly), Ernest Mthembu (Matprep TPP), Vinesh Naidoo (Heavy Machining), Antonio Webster (Quality - Test Track Inspection), Ashley Peter (Group SOP), Thulani Mngomezulu (Logistics Stores), Kemlall Dayaram (Machine Shop), Pooven Naidoo (Thin Plate Component Fabrication), Reginald Abraham (Machine Shop), Dumisani Shezi (Small Chassis Fabrication), Zama Sibisi (Thin Plate Component Fabrication), Cornelius Sauerman (Matprep Main), Nkosinathi Mngomezulu (Logistics Stores), Shoayb Amod (Logistics Stores), Saggies Mhlongo (Matprep TPP), Gary Bell (CEO); (front left): Riaan de Klerk (Technical Apprentices), Ivan Latshoomanan (Bin Fabrication), Nompumelelo Mbonambi (Axle Fabrication), Pinky Mlambo (Logistics Stores), Thanduxolo Taboshe (SHEQ Supplier Development), Mashell Peeriyah (Logistics Stores), Nokulunga Nxumalo (Cylinders and Pins).
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    Bell Fleetm@tic® - letting technology work for you

    13 August 2017
    Not too long ago the thought of being able to manage one's heavy equipment fleet remotely by computer would have seemed far-fetched. Yet today this technology is so readily available and beneficial that managing a fleet successfully without it should be unthinkable. This is according to Bell Equipment's Fleetm@tic® Product Manager, Philip Nel, who says that modern day telematics has taken fleet management to another level by offering accurate and in-depth data that would previously have been too time consuming and laborious to gather and assimilate. Bell Equipment was the first original equipment manufacturer to develop its own proprietary fleet management system, having introduced Fleetm@tic® for its range of Articulated Dump Trucks about 12 years ago, and remains a leader in the industry. "With our standard onboard weighing we saw an opportunity for this technology and had the confidence that this is the way that the market would eventually move. With growing competitiveness in the market it is important for customers to have accurate production data so that they can get the fastest return on their capital investment and optimise their operation," says Philip. Today the company has thousands of machines on Fleetm@tic®, with some operating in far-flung locations such as Greenland and Iceland as well as on a small remote island off the south east coast of Australia. Fleetm@tic® makes use of dual communication using cell phone networks where available, which provides a cost effective and reliable means of transmitting of higher volumes of data. In areas where there is no cell phone network coverage, Bell benefits from pole-to-pole satellite coverage to deliver critical communications. The company's design philosophy of continuous evolution has seen the system advance over this time to improve its user-friendliness and include real-time monitoring. Fleetm@tic® can work with any modern browser and is compatible with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Most recently the system has been extended to cover a customer's whole Bell fleet. Since different customers have different needs, Bell Fleetm@tic® is available in three packages: The Basic package is available on all Bell-supplied machines and provides customers with machine hours worked per shift, average fuel burn and a fault code report. The Classic package is standard on all new ADTs for two years from date of delivery and provides production data including idle times and average payloads. Premium offers real-time tracking of equipment and detailed operational information for each individual laden and unladen cycle. Another useful aspect of Fleetm@tic® is that it can be built into a customer's upfront finance package. Bell also supports data export for customers who run fleets of equipment supplied by different OEMs so that they can access their data using whatever software they prefer. Apart from the obvious uses to track productivity and fuel consumption, Fleetm@tic® can be used to identify areas for driver improvement, which positively impacts on production. When used efficiently Fleetm@tic® can assist with scheduling maintenance and services, enabling Bell to order parts in advance and understand what is happening with a machine's health. The security benefit of Fleetm@tic® was highlighted in November 2016, when a customer called the Bell Fleetm@tic® office to report a machine stolen in the King William's Town area. "The Fleetm@tic® engineers communicated directly with the machine to obtain its location and this information was passed on to the police. The engineers also sent the machine a disable message to prevent it from starting. The police tracked down the machine and recovered it for the customer," recalls Philip. Andrew O'Brien, Assistant Maintenance Manager of FWM-Fujairah Workshop Machinery Plant Division, part of Saif Bin Darwish Civil Engineering Contractors based in the United Arab Emirates, has seen firsthand the benefits of Fleetm@tic®. The company has five Bell B50D ADTs and a B40D and has been using the fleet management system for about two years. "We've been able to take our Fleetm@tic® data and chart it to see trends more easily. It gives us an understanding and detailed insight into production data like never before. We can identify shortfalls in our production output and implement changes where necessary, for example, if we are under payload capacity we can pick it up and take steps to improve. We can also set benchmarks and targets for a variety of areas like tonnage outputs, cycle times, laden and unladen idle times. Using geofencing has allowed us to identify bottlenecks in our operation, pinpoint locations that are slower and investigate our tipping points and see why we can't get in and out faster. "We can gather performance data on individual operators, remotely gather vital health and production data as well as identify and prevent possible future failures using data such as overloads, speeding and harsh braking. Recently we had a truck with excessive tyre wear and when we looked at our data we saw that the truck had more overloading events that had led to the problem, and we were able to identify how to improve tyre life. "We've checked the Bell onboard weighing system against our weigh bridges and have found it to be very accurate. Fleetm@tic® is a real benefit. By being able to gather this data we're able to change attitudes and perceptions. We use it to track so many things and it can be a measuring tool to see what improvements and savings have been achieved," he adds. Philip encourages customers to make contact and arrange a demonstration so that they can see the results for themselves. "Embracing this technology and incorporating it into your daily life will reap cost saving rewards. We understand that not everyone shares our enthusiasm for technology but we have tools to support you through the transformation," he says.
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    Bell and Lonagro team up in Mozambique and Malawi

    01 August 2017
    Bell Equipment, as part of its group strategy to grow its independent dealer network in select markets, has announced that Lonagro Mozambique has been appointed as its exclusive dealer in Mozambique and Malawi. Explaining the rationale behind the company's strategy and Longaro's appointment, Bell Equipment's Group Marketing Director, Stephen Jones, said: "Working through independent dealers has proven to be a model that allows us to provide better coverage and support to our customers in markets where areas are vast, and machine populations are low. In the equipment industry, infrastructure and investment are required to provide support that is essential to users of this equipment. In our experience, synergies develop quickly with dealers that have complementary products that can help support the necessary infrastructure and better weather market cycles." Lonagro is a division of Lonrho Group, which holds John Deere Agriculture dealerships in a number of African countries. It has quickly made a name for itself in the highly contested agriculture equipment market by displaying a willingness to invest and take a long-term view of the countries in which it operates as well as its equipment users and future opportunities. "We assessed a number of different business models as well as other potential dealers as part of a business improvement project launched early in the year," continues Jones. "From the outset it became clear that a closer relationship with Lonagro would provide benefits for Bell, Lonagro and, most importantly, our Bell customers. Synergies are clear with regards to management structures, scarce skills, logistics, facilities, and understanding customers. This gives Bell confidence that Lonagro, as a top performing John Deere dealer with a dynamic and motivated team, is well positioned to support our existing customers and grow the footprint of our machines in the region." Lonagro is equally excited about the opportunity provided by being able to supply and support the extensive range of Bell products into the territory. "While the market remains difficult we are confident in the future of the countries. Long term agriculture, mineral resource and infrastructure opportunities are vast, and with our Bell alliance we can now supply a significant range of products that will be used in these industries. This will allow Lonagro to continue to invest and position itself as the clear equipment provider of choice,” comments Reinhardt van Zyl, Managing Director of Lonagro.
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    Mawsons and Pipeline Plant Hire take the first E-series ADTs 'Down Under'

    31 July 2017
    Since the introduction of the new E-series Articulated Dump Trucks (ADTs), the first Bell B30E units to call the Australian market home were Victoria’s EB Mawson & Sons and Queensland’s Pipeline Plant Hire - both experiencing first-hand the true advantages of the new ADTs in various worksite applications. Demand for trucks that are safer, more fuel efficient and haul higher payloads continues to drive product advancement and evolutionary design in Bell Equipment’s E-series trucks. Incorporating safety features such as Hill Hold and vertical tip angle safety monitoring, the new trucks are also equipped with onboard load weighing and keyless start as standard. When it comes to greater safety and productivity, the E-series has an automatic Inter-axle Differential Lock (IDL) giving the vehicle full Automatic Traction Control. Darren Colville, EB Mawson & Sons’ Lake Boga Quarry Manager said: “Safety is our number one priority. The Bell truck delivers above and beyond when it comes to safety features, with everything from reverse camera and mirror package to onboard inclinometer and weighing system. “The onboard weighing scale is a standout, particularly as we operate in a hard rock quarry. The three accelerometers and external load lights improve load accuracy and prevent overloading. This helps us maximise productivity and reduce our maintenance costs such as tyre and driveline wear. The truck provides rapid engine response and dependable cold-start performance, faster haul cycles and improved fuel efficiency - creating a truck that moves more material at a lower cost-per-tonne for maximum productivity and profitability. “At Lake Boga, we prefer to operate articulated trucks due to bench width requirements. These trucks allow us to extract more from the quarry. Bell’s new design makes it easy for our operators when manoeuvring in and out of the pit. They enjoy the comfortable cabin and smooth ride.” Craig Carson, Pipeline Plant Hire’s General Manager said: “We are constantly looking to introduce innovative technology into our industry. “From a safety perspective, the Hill Start Assist and Auto Park Application are a real advantage. Our operators are impressed with the visibility achieved via the advanced camera technology and mirror package, alongside cabin comfort, improved steering and manoeuvrability. “Our three units have been working in Queensland’s Biloela-Gladstone region as part of the major Santos GLNG Project*, hauling material such as topsoil used for restoration and remediation purposes along the pipeline route.” The new Bell models represent an evolution in ADT technology and functionality building upon the company's strong heritage as a world-class ADT specialist.
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    Polished Bell backup impresses Gentra 22

    28 July 2017
    A heavy-duty mobile screen that produces enough material during daylight hours to keep pans going around the clock should be reason enough for any alluvial diamond miner to make the investment in such a machine. This is exactly what Pieter Erasmus, owner of alluvial diamond mining company Gentra 22 has done and he has no regrets. Thabazimbi-born Pieter Erasmus qualified as a boilermaker in Lephalale, the former Ellisras, and first worked for Xstrata Alloys at one of the company’s chrome mines near Rustenburg. He then moved on to occupational safety before the lure of the alluvial diamond mining industry became too strong and he joined the well-known Schalk Steyn Diamonds as a sub-contractor. “I was fortunate to have had Schalk Steyn as a mentor of note and with his encouragement, I started mining on my own at this site we call Jasper Mine, which lies about 65km south of Douglas,” he says. “We have two active pits, one about 400m from our plant and the other around 1,3km away.” Mining on Jasper Mine is done as stipulated by the company’s environmental management plan with topsoil and overburden stockpiled for use in later rehabilitation of the area. The overburden, which varies between 1 and 4 metres, is stripped using a 75-ton excavator and the gravels below get ripped using a bulldozer before a 46-tonne excavator loads the material into a Finlay 893 Heavy Duty Screen. Gravels vary in thicknesses of between 3 and 5 metres. “We raised the sides of the Finlay 893 Screen to increase the capacity of the feed hopper from 10 to 15 cubic metres,” Pieter explains. “Oversized and medium material is screened out immediately to be used as the base of our ongoing rehabilitation, which then avoids double handling. We load our gravels into dump trucks which deliver to the stockpile that feeds our four 16-foot pans.” “The decision to buy the Finlay 893 Heavy Duty Screen was a relatively easy one as I’d experienced firsthand what the machine could do while working with Schalk,” Pieter explains. “It is the only machine of its type that lasts and offers sustained service as the centerpiece of our operation, despite the extreme temperatures and environmental conditions we experience here.” Dust is a constant hazard in these arid parts of the Northern Cape Province as water is scarce and rainfall sporadic. Air filters have to be cleaned at the start of each shift, which works well as a form of preventative maintenance. Schalk Steyn had bought this particular machine new from Bell Equipment’s Customer Service Centre in Kimberley and Pieter considers himself fortunate to have been able to take over the machine. “We are constantly amazed that the Finlay 893 Heavy Duty Screens spews out gravel at an amazing rate of 750 tonnes per hour and that at a relatively miserly fuel burn of 12 to 14 litres an hour makes us happy miners. The most important thing though is that this machine produces enough gravel during daylight hours that we can keep the pans going throughout the night without having to actively mine at night, a policy that adds to our operational safety scorecard as we reduce risk.” Given Pieter’s background in occupational safety, it is a subject that is taken seriously on Jasper Mine. All Gentra 22’s plant and vehicles, including the Finlay 893 Screen, are fitted with PDS proximity devices that warn operators and drivers of pedestrians and other vehicles in a given radius. “Any piece of plant or earthmoving equipment is only as good as the technical backup one can rely on from original equipment manufacturers and by the very nature of the mining we do, we realise that equipment will break down at times,” Pieter adds. “We service our Finlay 893 Screen diligently every 250 hours and when we have a problem we can confidently rely on Bell Equipment and its Customer Service Centre in Kimberley to solve it quickly, which minimises our downtime.” “With this type of backup fresh in our minds we’re seriously thinking of replacing our aging dump truck fleet with Bell B50E Articulated Dump Trucks which we feel will be well suited to our 75-ton excavators and so bring down our production costs, which is paramount to any successful mining operation.”
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    Bell Lubricants - the lifeblood of your machine

    27 July 2017
    Bell Equipment's products are not only limited to its extensive range of earthmoving machinery. As part of the company's commitment to live its mantra, 'Strong Reliable Machines, Strong Reliable Support', the company also has an extensive range of oils, fluids and greases - collectively known and branded as Bell Lubricants - that are specially formulated to enhance machine life and performance. Bell Equipment Product Manager, Twan Bell, said: "Bell Lubricants is an initiative by Bell Equipment to provide added value to our customers through our comprehensive programme of after sales products and services. As a multi-brand application, the range is not limited to Bell machines and it is supported by the provision of key technical assistance and advice." For example, using Bell recommended oils ensures efficient performance and optimum protection of your machine's engine. However, the company advises that maximum benefit is derived by using low sulphur fuels because the sulphur in diesel forms sulphuric acid that plays a major role in increasing engine wear. "Using low sulphur diesel forms less sulphuric acid when combusted, which leads to lower engine wear rates, reduced harmful exhaust emissions, improved combustion properties and longer engine life. Sulphur in diesel leads to the formation of sulphate particulates. In the engine oil, these cause depletion of additives and reduced oil life," explains Twan. She continues: "All the products within the range are OEM approved and have been developed and approved for yellow metal and commercial trucking." As a premium brand offering 'Advanced Liquid Protection', Bell Lubricants have been specifically blended to suit the specific characteristics of components as well as the harsh applications that the machines are subject to. Superior performance is assured by the fit-for-purpose design that promotes the protection of engines, axles, transmissions and all components. Bell Lubricants, like Bell genuine parts, are conveniently distributed to and sold by Bell Equipment's 23 Customer Service Centres situated throughout South Africa, which are well stocked and can deliver overnight, to make service and maintenance of machines a whole lot easier. Choosing the right oil for your machine is made easy with the product data sheets, which are available on the Bell websit
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    Kelston Sparkes brings tally of Bell B50Es to 10

    27 June 2017
    With its firm focus on supplying customers with the most capable plant machinery, recognised earthmoving contractor Kelston Sparkes Group has announced its recent fleet enhancement of four additional Bell Equipment B50D Articulated Dump Trucks (ADTs), bringing the total number of this model to ten. Established in Bristol in 1952, Kelston Sparkes has grown to operate one of the largest fleets of ADTs in the UK, and has continually strived to increase the capabilities of its fleet, with the addition of larger excavators, crushers, screens, bulldozers and rollers. The company now operates a taskforce of over 200 plant and earthmoving vehicles, as part of its ever evolving and expanding fleet. In 2016, the firm decided to bring a model of ADT on board with a greater load volume, to further meet the needs of its clients. It invested in four Bell B50Ds, which were originally tasked with quarry-based load and haul. These machines demonstrated their versatility and coped well with the long-haul work, proving themselves to have the capacity and fuel efficiency Kelston Sparkes’ clients were looking for, as Director, Rob Stark explains: “We required articulated dump trucks for their versatility, but we also needed a much larger load capacity than the current 40-ton dump trucks we operate, due to the long-haul distances coupled with the knowledge that our customers are very fuel focused. We found that Bell’s B50D model could meet both those requirements, delivering a 2:1 heaped capacity of 28 m3, and a rated payload of 45 400 kg; figures that could provide a real pay-off for the customer. “We initially invested in four machines, each with a Mercedes Benz turbocharged and intercooled engine, a feature that really makes a difference in terms of fuel efficiency. The machines have proved to be reliable and have performed well, both in the quarry and at our contracting sites.” Rob goes on to explain how his positive experience with the B50Ds then led him to invest in an additional two models towards the end of 2016, and now, a further four vehicles in 2017. “The B50Ds have been useful machines, with an ideal specification for customers who need a hard-working ADT that offers that extra capacity, without hitting hard on the fuel consumption. “Furthermore, the B50Ds are great to drive, with our operators reporting that they enjoy the user experience; a factor we feel is extremely important.” Rob refers to his company’s commitment to actively promote positive working practices and supporting staff with training. Keen to develop the skill sets and expertise of younger generations of machine operatives, the company launched its own training school back in 2002, a venture which has since grown from strength-to-strength. “We’ve always been acutely aware of the ramifications skill shortages within the construction industry create. Through a desire to nurture construction industry capabilities for the future, an ethos has evolved within our firm where importance is placed on training for younger team members. “Our training school launched over 15 years ago, and since then has successfully worked to attract younger drivers to the construction industry, giving them the abilities and confidence they need to achieve a successful career in plant machine operations. We’ve helped enable operatives to achieve Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) qualifications, and extend their reach by teaching them how to achieve the best performance from a wide range of earthmoving machines.” By bringing the total of Bell B50Ds within Kelston Sparkes’ fleet to 10, and training operatives to use the equipment to its best advantage, Rob believes his clients are better equipped with more machines available to meet demand and perform to capacity. “Our reputation has been built on a long-standing ability to provide the best and most appropriate range of equipment to clients, alongside the services of skilled, highly-capable operatives, now and into the future. “We feel that expanding our fleet with these latest Bell B50Ds furthers the services we can provide our clients and we’ve every confidence that the new models will succeed in delivering the results they need.”
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    Bell delivers new vehicle to Amangwe Village

    23 June 2017
    Bell Equipment, a proud founder member of Amangwe Village, which was started in 2002, continues to support the non-profit organisation and has donated a new Nissan MP 300 double cab bakkie to help staff provide assistance to the local community. There was great excitement at Amangwe Village on Monday when the vehicle was officially handed over by Bell Equipment Group Director of Human Resources, Johan Van Wyngaardt and Commercial Projects Manager, Bongani Dlamini, who is part of the company's Corporate Social Investment and Social Economic Development team. Manager of Amangwe Village, Erna Steynberg explained that the vehicle will "add real value" to their community outreach efforts and will be used by the home-based care co-ordinator, who oversees 26 home-based caregivers and their 300 patients. It will also be used to visit the 190 women empowerment groups that have been established, to visit vulnerable children and their families in the community, to attend Children’s Court Enquiries for the placement of children in foster care, and to collect donations of food and clothing from donors. "Amangwe Village provides an important role in assisting our surrounding communities and we are pleased to have been able to provide this vehicle and thereby continue our support of this great organisation, which gets to the grassroots to address real needs and uplift lives," said Johan. The vehicle has been brightly branded with the Amangwe Village logo and animated pictures depicting the community development work that they do.
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    Bell implements CEO succession plans

    21 June 2017
    Bell Equipment's board of directors has announced the appointment of the company's Chief Operational Officer and executive director, Leon Goosen, as Chief Executive Officer designate to succeed Gary Bell upon his planned retirement.
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