Bandit dealer meeting 2011 a huge success
Efficient Machinery, Equipment Updates, Hybrid Technology Outline Bandit 2011 Dealer Meeting
Equipment seminars, model updates and new machines were the headlining acts for a worldwide audience of dealers at the Bandit Industries 2011 Dealer Meeting, held August 23-26 at the company’s headquarters in Mid-Michigan. Bandit hosted 155 attendees from 19 countries, making it the largest dealer meeting in the company’s 28-year history. Among the announcements were new loader options for hand-fed chippers, new engine and feed system options for the company’s popular Model 1590XP, and new equipment previews that included a screen chipper with a top-load discharge chute, a compact stump grinder, additions to the Model 490-series drop-feed chipper, and a small disc chipper called the Model 75. Attendees also received an exclusive look at the latest compact forestry mower called the Model 3000, and everyone was extremely interested in Bandit’s all-new, patent-pending hybrid technology installed on a pair of prototype machines. Though still in the testing phase, the technology will ultimately set an entirely new standard of performance and efficiency for chippers and grinders.“Fuel efficiency is a very important issue for us, and it’s something we really focused on during this event,” said Bandit Industries Marketing Manager Kim Hasenbank. “We’re aware that our customers are struggling with high fuel prices, and we’re working hard to stay ahead of the curve on building efficient, long lasting machines. We’re pushing technology in this industry further than ever with our new hybrid designs, but we also wanted to show dealers how our existing machines already achieve industry-leading levels of efficiency.”
The crux of the event focused on the company’s existing line of equipment through hands-on seminars at Bandit’s outdoor demonstration site on Wednesday. With the increased popularity of drum chippers, attendees were shown firsthand the advantages of Bandit’s larger chipping drum, which allows material to be cut more with the grain of the wood for smoother operation and more consistent chipping. Using four knife pockets on the drum further enhances the cutting action while also reducing machine vibration, all of which add up to greater production and longevity while using less fuel. Another seminar focused on Bandit’s stump grinders, which have become extremely popular among land clearing and tree care professionals looking to offer complete takedown and removal services. Continual fine-tuning since the company’s first offerings nearly a decade ago have delivered a comprehensive line of machines able to meet the demands of any project. For the meeting, particular attention was given to the durability of the stump grinder components and effectiveness of Bandit’s hydrostatic drive systems.
Large equipment was also prevalent at the meeting, with a seminar featuring the capabilities of Bandit’s whole tree chippers and the many options available for them. Dealers were shown the aggressive feed systems on these machines along with their throwing power and consistent chip size, all of which combine to make Bandit’s whole tree chippers a favorite among logging and biomass professionals. The other large equipment station was devoted to the family of Beast horizontal grinders, where attendees had the rare opportunity to see two patented Beast cuttermills on display among the machines. Depending on the cuttermill tooth configuration, Beast grinders can process everything from waste wood to switchgrass to roofing shingles, producing mulch, wood chips, hot-mix asphalt supplement, or a 1/4-inch minus wood product called bio-sawdust that’s ideally suited for wood pellet production.
Track versions of Bandit’s whole tree chippers and Beast grinders have also been gaining in popularity, and were among some of the featured equipment at the event. These machines have filled vital roles in large land clearing operations, especially relating to oil exploration and utility infrastructure. These machines can be elusive to track down in the field, so for many in attendance it was their first opportunity to see these mobile track units in action.
Proper machine operation and maintenance was another event highlight. 23-year Bandit veteran and Reconditioning Department Manager Gary Dickman held a specific seminar dedicated to keeping Bandit equipment running at peak efficiency, covering topics such as knife and anvil adjustments, proper belt tension, lubrication points, daily maintenance practices, common chipper-related issues and how to prevent them, basic machine care and much more. Backed with a deeper, factory-level understanding of the equipment, dealers are better able to provide the follow-up customer service and support for which Bandit equipment is known.
Attendees were given a behind-the-scenes tour of Bandit’s manufacturing facilities on Thursday, providing dealers a special opportunity to not only see the production process but to speak directly with the people building the equipment they sell. The event transitioned back to the demo site for lunch and more than 20 live equipment demonstrations, giving attendees a unique opportunity to see everything from a 6-inch capacity hand-fed chipper to a 45-inch capacity Beast horizontal grinder processing wood. An evening dinner reception capped the business portion of the event, with Friday being reserved for leisure activities.
The new machines and prototype units remained the topic of discussion for many at the meeting. Of them, Bandit’s screen chipper received considerable attention at the demo site, partly due to its giraffe-like discharge chute designed to load open-top trailers but also for its impressive throwing power and precision chip size. The company’s forthcoming small stump grinder was also a coveted machine, showcasing hydrostatic technology usually reserved for much larger stumpers. Both machines were pre-production units, with availability expected some time next year.
The big news on the efficiency front was the unveiling of Bandit’s new hybrid technology, which captures and stores energy from machines that are running but not processing material. That energy can then be returned to the cutting head to supplement engine power, boosting overall processing power. The technology works with traditional gas or diesel engines, or in the case of the prototype Model 1680E horizontal grinder featured at the event, with an all-electric setup as well. In this application, the hybrid system can also be used to start the electric motor without drawing large amounts of power from the grid. A prototype Model 65 hand-fed chipper with a gasoline engine was also shown to dealers; with the hybrid system installed the processing power of the chipper was nearly doubled. Though still in the development phase, this groundbreaking new chipper/grinder technology is expected to be available in the near future.
“We want this to be, as always, a great time for sharing ideas and approaches,” said Bandit Industries President Jerry Morey on the dealer meeting. “Our business philosophy is to build the most productive and reliable equipment possible, then look after those who buy our products. Providing specialized training for our dealers is a key to making this business model work, and that’s why our dealer meeting is so important to us.”
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