Dressta extends Aussie reach through Onetrak
The Dressta family of dozers and other earthmovers, which are direct descendants of the ever-popular International Harvester machines, will now be distributed throughout all of Australia except Queensland by Melbourne-based Onetrak.
"We’ve got some new stock that’s just arrived from the factory so we’re letting the marketplace know that the gear’s here and that there’s a dealer looking after the product now that has five branches spread across the country," Onetrak managing director David Hazell told Earthmovers & Excavators magazine at a recent launch.
The company's outlets are: Brighton in Tasmania, Dandenong in Victoria, Tumut in New South Wales, Mount Gambier in South Australia and Bunbury in Western Australia. The Queensland Dressta distributorship is held by Terrequipe.
Onetrak is bringing in Dressta’s crawler dozers, landfill application equipment and pipelayers.
Hazell says Dressta isn’t new to the Australian market — in fact, it’s got a heritage of about 60 years — but "it really hasn’t been since back in the late ’80s that Dressta, or International Harvester as it was called, has had anywhere near the national dealer support that OneTrak is able to offer the product".
"Dressta obviously see it as an opportunity to spread the distribution footprint in Australia significantly," he says. "We certainly see it as an opportunity to market and support a pedigree product in Dressta that’s probably been well under-represented in the Australian market for two decades.
"It’s going to take a little time to get the brand back out there and to get some confidence back in the marketplace. Although it’s been recognised as one of the best dozers on the market it’s never really had a strong after-sales support. That’s the challenge for us, but it’s also a big opportunity."
Hazell says Onetrak imports the machines direct from the factory in Stalowa Wola, Poland, and will market them with co-operation from Dressta and look after the sales, service, parts and warranties. Onetrak will also support the legacy International Harvester and Dresser dozer brands.
The MD says Onetrak decided to partner with Dressta as it had two major franchises — Hyundai and Tigercat — with no dozers in their lineups.
"So there was a gap in our product offering to the civil construction, forestry and extractive industries, which are our key markets, and we thought that Dressta would complement what we do," Hazell says.
"Now we can walk into a quarry and can offer them everything from a rockbreaker to a loader to a dozer; we can come to a forestry customer and offer them everything from feller-bunchers to log-skidders to harvesters to the dozer they use to put the road in.
"So it just completes our product offering."
To clear up any confusion over how International Harvesters morphed into the Dressta brand, we turned to Poland-based Liugong Dressta Machinery Poland global after-sales service support director Jason Izzard.
"Most people recognise the product in Australia as an International Harvester," Izzard says. "Then it became Dresser — International Harvester was consumed by the Dresser corporation (after being hard-hit in the early ’80s by mismanagement and a 172-day-long United Auto Workers trade union), which then became Komatsu Dresser."
In the meantime, Izzard says, towards the end of the International Harvester days, in the late ’70s, International Harvester had moved some of its manufacturing to a company called Huta Stalowa Wola to support the mining markets of Russia, Poland and the former Soviet Union.
"Komatsu kept up the joint venture until it dissolved in 1995," he says. "HSW continued the Dresser product line but merged the Dresser name with Huta Stalowa Wola to become Dressta.
Chinese construction machinery manufacturer Guangxi LiuGong Machinery acquired Dressta from HSW in 2012 and, two years later, formed Liugong Dressta Machinery Poland, The products from that factory are still marketed as Dressta.
Despite the takeover by a Chinese company, Izzard says, Dressta products are still manufactured in Poland: "The only thing that has changed is the name. It still maintains the same high quality and performance that people associate with that product."
Izzard says that Dressta "lost its way a little bit" while being managed by HSW, a Polish state–owned enterprise. After the Liugong takeover, however, the Chinese company has been working out how to turn the brand’s fortunes around by looking at how to improve quality issues and product marketing, and listening to customer feedback.
"An awful lot of investment has gone into R&D," he says, "and we’re seeing the first fruits of this with the development of the hydrostatic transmission bulldozers such as the new TD-9 model.
"Now Liugong has put a new team in the factory — myself being one of them — to make sure that what we learn makes it onto the product, and we’re already starting to have some success even after a few months.
"People are more confident in the product and we’ve swept away some of the old ways of thinking."
The Dressta dozer range
Dozers are Dressta’s hero products, and the range covers all bases from compact to mid-sized and large, Izzard explains.
"The compact sized bulldozers are those from the TD7 to the TD10," he says. "They’re typically 74 horsepower (55kW) though to 100 horsepower (74.6kW) and are small, standard-configuration dozers for finishing around industrial units, during construction, landscaping — that sort of thing."
Izzard says the machines are conventional-drive with power-shift and clutch and brake steering, "so it’s quite dated technology".
The company is, however, developing the hydrostatic-transmission TD-9RHST for the US, European and Australian markets, he adds. The three new compact models will be available here in mid-to-late-2016.
"Our next range is the mid-sized crawler dozers," Izzard says. "They are the 160-horsepower (120kW) TD-14M — later to be replaced by the TD-14R Tier 4 Final — the TD-15, which is 190 horsepower (142kW), and then the 240-horsepower (179kW) TD-20."
The TD-20, he says, was the first design from International Harvester that was modular.
"You can take any one of the components — such as transmission, engine, torque converter and track frames — off the machine and put an identical one back on," he says. "It makes repairs and remote-area support a whole lot easier."
One of the features that operators particularly like about the Dressta mid-range dozers, Izzard says, is their power steering, which they were the first machines to have.
"What this means is, instead of having a clutch brake we actually have a two-speed function on each track," he explains. "So if you want to take a gradual turn you can slow one track down independent of the other. What that does is allow the operator to apply power to both tracks and turn and push at the same time."
Turning to the large-size dozers, Izzard says there are two models in the range — the 330-horsepower (246kW) TD-25 and the 515-horsepower (384kW) TD-40E. While these machines can be used in applications such as road-building, they predominantly go into the mining industry.
"The TD-40E is a 67-tonne operating-weight machine and is one of the few large-size crawler dozers you can buy," he says. "The others are made by Komatsu and Caterpillar."
David Hazell says Dressta dozers are among the best on the market and, "if International Harvester hadn’t gotten into the industrial relations troubles they had back in the ’70s one would think they’d be every bit as big as Caterpillar in today’s market".
"If you compare our TD-20M to the D7 we’ve got more horsepower, more tractive effort, more ground clearance … pound for pound it’s arguably a better dozer, but it’s just been under-represented for such a long time.
"A lot of people don’t even realise where that machine is today. The guys that do — the niche markets we have — are so loyal to it for that reason. They’d never change.
"They do sell themselves if you can get people past the brand barrier," Hazell adds.
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