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Commentary: April-2012

Following the Buzz

April 17, 2012  By  Andrew Macklin

Canada was a major point of discussion during the 2012 World of Asphalt and AGG1 in Charlotte, N.C.

Canada was a major point of discussion during the 2012 World of Asphalt and AGG1 in Charlotte, N.C. Every media event we attended made specific mention of Canada as one of the more active global markets that companies were targeting for future growth.

The discussion wasn’t just about trying to sell more equipment in Canada. Many other issues were discussed with us as we made our way through the Charlotte Convention Center.

Here’s what we saw, and what we heard, while meeting with industry leaders in Charlotte.

  • There are several American companies closely tracking the government’s discussions about tougher safety standards that could be introduced in Canada. With stricter regulations already in place in the United States, many companies are preparing to tackle the Canadian market as soon as new safety standards are put in place.
  • There was lots of talk about the possibility of mandatory certification for equipment operators in the aggregates and roadbuilding industries in Canada. Many of the larger companies are introducing machinery that is much simpler to operate, as well as more realistic equipment simulators. How those developments could affect the push for certification is an issue that many industry leaders will be watching.
  • Many companies introduced asphalt-recycling equipment at the show, companies that have some presence in the Canadian marketplace. Companies such as National Silicates and AzkoNobel are increasing the number of Canadian trials for their RAP additives. Could we see an industry push for greater use of RAP here in Canada?
  • BOMAG and Metso weren’t the only companies talking about the need for portable heavy-duty machinery in the Canadian marketplace. Many companies talked about the increasing demand from Canadian business owners for machinery that has increased mobility and greater user flexibility to meet the requirements of Canada’s unique climates and terrains.
  • The introduction of T4i emission standards isn’t the only factor driving the push towards greater fuel efficiency; it’s also the rising cost of fuel. With no sign that fuel costs will drop in the near future, more and more companies are looking to natural gas, electric and biomass for solutions. Metso’s introduction of a standard electric option on the Lokotrack is likely to only push the demand further forward.
  • The growth of the Canadian marketplace was a subject of great interest for almost everyone we spoke with. Many sales reps and company management officials pointed out their company’s growth in Canada, and recognized that there is opportunity for further growth.
  • Several companies introduced machinery that was T4i compliant at the show. How businesses will find cost-effective ways to meet the Tier 4 emission standards was a concern spoken to by several companies, both from Canada and the United States, as they walked the floor of the show.
  • The increased use of suppliers as consultants or productivity partners was a topic of discussion among both exhibitors and attendees. From Flexco’s conveyor system audits to WS Tyler’s vibration analysis services and customized modular screen selection services, it’s all about making better use of the gear you already have.

Do you have questions or concerns about the Canadian marketplace that you think should have been addressed at the show? Let us know what important issues or emerging technology we should be investigating in the pages of Aggregates & Roadbuilding.

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