LiuGong makes significant headway into SA’s quarrying sector

LiuGong has, in the past few years, established itself as a major force in the mainstream mining industry in South Africa. The tough nature of the Chinese-made product, complemented by strong backup support from Burgers Equipment & Spares, has been central to the brand’s strong penetration into mining.
June 9, 2021
By Munesu Shoko
LiuGong’s recent successes in the mainstream mining industry are being replicated in the South African quarrying industry
LiuGong’s recent successes in the mainstream mining industry are being replicated in the South African quarrying industry

The brand’s success was initially in coal. To provide context, having bought its first LiuGong machine some ten years ago, one of the largest contractors working in the coal industry in South Africa is currently running over 100 machines in its fleet.

A LiuGong 950E excavator working in a quarry
A LiuGong 950E excavator working in a quarry

The brand’s success has in recent years been extended into other commodities such as chrome. The delivery of 11 wheeled loaders to a contract mining joint venture operating in chrome last year was a major breakthrough in the hard rock mining space. The contractor has taken delivery of more wheeled loaders this year; a gesture Burger believes to be a seal of approval for the LiuGong offering, given the tough nature of chrome handling.

These successes have been replicated in the South African quarrying industry, where several LiuGong excavators and wheeled loaders are hard at work on some major construction material suppliers’ sites.

In a significant breakthrough for LiuGong, Burgers Equipment & Suppliers recently delivered two 35tonne LiuGong 936E excavators and two CLG856H wheeled loaders to one of the biggest quarrying groups in South Africa.

The relationship started some three years ago when the quarrying group first bought a 35tonne LiuGong 936E excavator, which has already clocked more than 4,000 hours, and counting. “The sale of the 35tonne excavator was a foot in the door for us,” says Burger. “At the start of last year, they enquired about our wheeled loaders. We sent a demo unit to their site, but then COVID-19 struck, and like anyone else, they had to put any procurement plans on hold.”

A LiuGong wheeled loader engaged in quarry stockpiling work
A LiuGong wheeled loader engaged in quarry stockpiling work

With the 936E continuing to prove itself on this site, complemented by Burgers Equipment & Spares’ excellent support, a deal for more machines was eventually reached last month. “We delivered two 936E excavators and two CLG856H wheeled loaders. That’s a big breakthrough for us as a dealer, and for the LiuGong brand at large,” says Burger. He notes that this quarrying group has been running a certain premium brand for decades. The recent request for quotations is an indication that the LiuGong brand has passed the test, and Burgers Equipment & Spares will eventually grow its fleet at this major quarry.

“Apart from the product, aftersales support has been a key growth pillar for us. As a small company, we are able to provide dedicated and tailored service to the customer, which has been a big appeal to this particular company,” adds Burger.

Elsewhere, Burgers Equipment & Spares has established itself as the preferred supplier to a major international construction materials group. The company has already delivered 15 LiuGong machines to several quarries and cement plants belonging to this major construction materials group. “We are currently running demo units of our 835H wheeled loader at this company’s ready-mix plants. We are confident that we will further bolster our installed base for this major international company,” says Burgers.  

In Mpumalanga, South Africa, Burgers Equipment & Spares has been running six LiuGong CLG856H wheeled loaders at one of the quarry sites in the province. One of the machines working here has clocked more than 20,000 hours and counting.   

Build quality of the machine might convince the customer to buy their first unit, but it’s uptime, support and total cost of ownership that keep them coming back for more. Having confidence in a machine’s backup and support, says Burger, is a vital part of every customer’s purchasing decision.

A LiuGong 970E excavator with a bucket full of rock material during a quarrying application
A LiuGong 970E excavator with a bucket full of rock material during a quarrying application

Backup support has been a major cornerstone of LiuGong’s continued success in the quarrying sector. For the past ten years as a LiuGong dealer in South Africa, Burgers Equipment & Spares has invested significantly in its support infrastructure, people and parts stockholding.

To provide context, the company has just opened a new facility in Douglas, Northern Cape province, to better support a growing pool of customers in the mining and quarrying sector. That brings to four the number of branches in South Africa, with plans underway to further grow the footprint.

The support from the principal, LiuGong South Africa, which is just a stone’s throw away from the Burgers office, has also been instrumental in the growth of LiuGong in South Africa. LiuGong South Africa stocks a large inventory of machines and parts, which helps the dealer with quick turnaround times.

According to Burger, the company has also adopted a Continuous Improvement approach to improve its offering to the customer. “With this approach, we seek to improve every process in our company by focusing on reducing waste and enhancing the activities that generate the most value for our customers,” says Burger.

In line with this approach, Burgers Equipment & Spares has recently introduced a rental service. Companies within all industries, says Burger, need every competitive edge they can get. As everyone pours over their balance sheets and all aspects of the business to find advantages, many customers have found solace in rental rather than outright purchase due to their operating circumstances.

In today’s economic climate, adds Burger, several capital equipment owners are looking for ways to cut costs. The popularity of equipment rentals has shot up, he says, and not far behind is the growth of remanufacturing or refurbishment. With that in mind, Burgers Equipment & Spares has just introduced an equipment repair and rebuild facility at its Kempton Park headquarters. This will help customers prolong the lifecycles of their LiuGong equipment.

“Our equipment rebuild service gives LiuGong machines a second or even third life, which helps customers maximise their capital investments. It also boosts the residual value of the brand in the local market,” says Burger.

Tiaan Burger, MD of Burgers Equipment & Spares, the LiuGong dealer in South Africa
Tiaan Burger, MD of Burgers Equipment & Spares, the LiuGong dealer in South Africa

The 35 and 50tonne excavator ranges, as well as the CLG856H wheeled loader, have generated a lot of interest in the quarrying industry. The CLG856H LiuGong wheeled loader, a 17tonne machine with a 5tonne lifting capacity, comes standard with a 3m³ bucket. The machine is equipped with a ROPS & FOPS compliant cab, Cummins engine, Rexroth hydraulics, ZF transmission and ZF limited-slip differentials.

With a 35 tonne operating weight, the 936E is powered by a Cummins 6C-8.3 engine with a rated net power of 174kW (236hp) @ 1,900rpm. It complies with EU Stage II emission standards ideal for non-regulated markets such as South Africa.  

Burger says a key competitive edge of the LiuGong offering is that it is better priced than premium brands. He says the manufacturer’s excavators and wheeled loaders boast a range of tried and tested components that make them attractive options in arduous operating conditions like those found in the local mining and quarrying industries.

“The powertrain of the machines, for example, comprises Cummins engines, Kawasaki pumps and a ZF drivetrain. These are tried and tested components in the global equipment industry and are not foreign to many of our local customers. These are components they understand and trust and are well equipped to service them,” concludes Burger.

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