Johnston aims for global targets with new launches

Now part of the Bucher Industries group, Johnston returned to CIWM Torbay 2005 with two products, setting the tone for significant developments across the street cleansing scene which are featured in this special LAWE Street Cleansing feature running from pages 22 to 29. Editor Alexander Catto reports.

The strategy for UK-based Johnston Sweepers is very much “business as usual” according to new Managing Director Coen van Rosmalen, who has served in various senior roles within Bucher Industries, the Swiss technology

giant which has recently confirmed the completion of the acquisition of the British sweeper manufacturer.

In the wake of the £20.5 million purchase of the European and Australian municipal vehicle activities of Johnston Sweepers from Ennstone plc, Bucher is integrating the company into Bucher Municipal, the second largest division of Bucher Industries. In Europe the two sales organisations will continue to operate independently by offering their product ranges separately.

Johnston companies in Canada and the US are not included in the acquisition and will operate independently.

All mandatory anti-trust clearances and the approval of the acquisition by Ennstone shareholders have been obtained the transaction has been completed. Bucher has also made a voluntary filing with the UK Office of Fair Trading and is awaiting the decision from the authorities but does not anticipate any problem there.

The current management of the Johnston companies will continue their present functions with the addition of 36-year old Mr van Rosmalen, who reports directly to Michael Häusermann, president of Bucher Municipal.

At an eve of CIWM Torbay 2005 briefing, the new Johnston MD commented: “I am pleased to confirm that the final arrangements for the acquisition have been completed. Johnston can look forward to a prosperous future as part of Bucher Industries – this ends any uncertainty that has existed since the sale of the Johnston Group and will bring many benefits to our customers”.

Bucher Municipal is an established maker of road sweepers, snow blowers, airport cleansing equipment and other municipal vehicles, with bases in its native Switzerland as well as Italy, Germany and Korea. Its purchase of Johnston underlines its leading position in the municipal vehicle industry.

Mr van Rosmalen emphasised that Johnston will continue to invest for the future and promote the Johnston brand name with an independent product range. In Europe, the Johnston and Bucher sales organisations will remain entirely separate and continue to offer their product ranges in parallel through independent distributors. In countries outside Europe, the product offering and distribution will be agreed territory-by-territory.

With this dual-based strategy he expects that the group “can become a world-wide market leader.”

With the acquisition of the Johnston business, Bucher Municipal has annual sales of approximately £205 million and approximately 1,600 employees. Its contribution to overall group sales will increase from 17% to 25%.

New products unveiled

Johnston Sweepers marked its return to the CIWM show with the launch of two brand new products on to the market.

In the mid-size range Johnston introduced CX400, which replaces the current 5000 Series model. The 7.5 tonne mid-sized sweeper has a curvy new-look cab with substantially more glass than it predecessor to give greater visibility during operation, as well as a whole host of design features and controls inside the cab, which have completely transformed the operation and interior comfort of the machine.

At the other end of the scale is the new JBVT800 multi task sweeper from Johnston Beam, the company’s Danish based arm, also being unveiled to the public for the first time at CIWM 2005. The 8m3 dual sweep machine features rear suction and a high pressure water system, allowing it to sweep and wash a surface all in one pass, which is ideally suited to the road maintenance market.

The CX400 sweeper has been designed to take the place of the current 5000 Series model and includes several brand new features, a number of which have been incorporated by Johnston engineers from customer feedback, in line with the company’s policy of continual product development.

The CX400 is stated to have the fastest transit speed of its class at 80 km/h, allowing it to travel quickly between work stations, and is capable of sweeping at up to 16 km/h. With a payload of up to 4.24 tonne this sweeper is also the narrowest of its type and has front facing brushes, allowing it to sweep 90o corners and in areas where access is very limited. Also amongst the features of the CX400 is that it comes with the option of two maximum tipping heights between 1.1 and 1.8 metres, which allows discharge into a standard skip.

Central to the interior redesign is a CANview display system, which relays information

on all of the machine’s automotive functions and service data on to an in-cab screen. Another new feature of the cab is a new palm-rest control panel which manages all the sweeping functions of the machine. The panel incorporates a large buttoned soft keypad, which has a positive feel and is easy to operate even with gloved hands, along with two joysticks for the prime control of the brushes. Wiper blade efficiency has also been transformed with the introduction of twin pantograph blades mounted at the bottom of the windscreen. Air conditioning, where specified, is now fully integrated, reducing the overall height of the machine, while the air distribution system for the heater and air conditioning inside the cab have been completely re-designed enabling warm air to be channelled to the feet whilst cool air is directed at the face.

Clive Offley, Johnston Sweepers’ Engineering Director, believes the new machine will prove highly popular with operators, whose feedback prompted many of the new design features.

The CX400 is to be manufactured at Johnston’s plant in Sittingbourne, Kent, and will go on sale in the autumn.

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