Market leading sweeper manufacturer makes major investment in the future

UK manufacturer, Johnston Engineering, which lays claim to be the largest supplier of street cleansing equipment world-wide, has enjoyed a busy year, unveiling a string of initiatives to maintain its prized position as market leader. The latest shots in the Johnston locker include the acquisition of the Madvac range of pedestrian operated sweepers, a new financial package for customers, plus investment in robotics and after sales support

Johnston has been investing heavily to maintain its leading position in world markets

Johnston has been investing heavily to maintain its leading position in world markets

The new finance package which Johnston Engineering Ltd announced in September, involves the sweeper manufacturer joining forces with asset finance house Vehicle Finance (CVF), a wholly owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a global financial institution. This joint initiative offering finance for Johnston products has been designed around the needs of Johnston customers, with the aim of making acquiring and running the company's equipment easier than ever before.

According to Grant Whittall, Johnston General Sales Manager, "Our customers' needs are extremely varied from one organisation to the next. We have worked very closely with CVF to ensure that the packages on offer have the necessary flexibility built in, so that finanace agreements can be tailored to suit the end user." Mr Whittall emphassied that customers are not tied to the Johnston Finance Package, but are free to opt for finance from other sources. Johnston's aim is to increase customers' options.

The services which are available through the UK network of Johnston Regional Sales Managers are primarily Plant Purchase, which allows the customer to hire the sweeper for an agreed period of time, with a fixed monthly payment profile that will be designed by the Johnston Finance Package Team to ensure that they aid the customer's cash flow budgeting, and Finance Lease, an "on" balance sheet product where the customer receives all the operational benefits of the vehicle but not ultimate ownership.

Investing in robots
On the manufacturing front Johnston has invested in a robotic welding facility. An ABB SC4 electronic welding robot has recently been installed and programmed and is operating in three separate booths at the Dorking headquarters of the Sweeper Group. The high specification machine has a seam sensor, which ensures accurate and consistent welding, despite any possible variation in the size of the seams, Johnston reports.

The company has also invested in new equipment and staff to improve its comprehensive Customer Support Department. An advanced parts carousel has been installed in Dorking. resulting in more efficient and accurate parts selection and despatch. The number of Mobile Support Engineers is being increased by one third, all driving a new fleet of well equipped Mercedes vans, the company says.

Other recent investment has resulted in a larger workshop in Dorking, which has been doubled in size and capacity.

Marketing Manager, Steve Douglas, confirmed that these latest developments reflected the level of activity within Johnston Engineering Ltd. "We have invested heavily in our business to deliver products that exceed our customers' requirements, and to support those products with a second to none customer support facility," he said.

The company has also added its own website, with over 250 pages, covering the worldwide product range of the group, which has six companies on three continents.

The website address is: www.johnstonsweepers.com

New orders
Quattro Plant, based in Stratford, East London, has become the first plant hire operator in the UK to invest in the Johnston Madvac. This recent sale adds to the orders for this machine from municipal customers since Johnston took over Canadian manufacturer Madvac in June.

The pedestrian operated PS300 sweepers will complement Quattro Plant's existing fleet of chassis mounted tankers and sweepers - including a high specification 625 Johnston Jetvac - and will allow the company access to new sectors of the cleansing market, according to Managing Director John Murphy.

"We identified the pedestrian operated sector as being a major growth area within the industry some time ago. The addition of Johnston Madvac machines to our fleet will broaden our scope as a service provider, and they will ensure that we offer a more comprehensive package to Quattro's customers", Mr Murphy said.

Quattro opted for Johnston Madvac after being impressed with the PS300's unique ability to quickly pick up larger bulky objects and lengths of rope as well as the more traditional debris of cans and general litter. The machine is designed for heavier duty work around industrial estates and large factory sites, as well as precincts and municipal applications.

The latest Johnston Compact sweepers have been delivered to Northern Ireland. Belfast City has purchased another five of the 1.8m3, 4 tonne GVW machines to complement its existing fleet, which currently comprises over 40 Johnston sweepers.

The Compacts will be concentrated on hard to access areas in and around Belfast City centre such as car parks, walkways and pedestrian precincts. The front mounted brushes have a large reach, so street furniture, parked cars and other obstacles are stated to pose no problems.

Johnston also reports that its flagship vacuum sweeper model, the 600 Series, broke all previous years' sales records in 1999.

A feature of the machine is its auxiliary engine system, which, the manufacturer says, allows lower engine speeds, resulting in total emissions levels comfortably within EC regulations, less component wear and tear and increased power availability for sweeping systems. It is also stated that slower engine speeds significantly reduce noise emissions, enabling the 600 to be used in municipal as well as heavy duty environments and making operating conditions much more comfortable.

Johnston adds that he auxiliary engine system is suited to many chassis specifications. This is particularly useful with automatic gearbox chassis, which are complex and difficult to adapt to single engine machines.



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