With 800 employees and a 6500 sqm manufacturing facility, the Black Bruin dealer in Thailand since the beginning of 2020, HOF Hydraulic Solutions, is a major manufacturer of various types of hydraulic equipment and is based in Bangkok. HOF’s main product ranges are vane pumps and motors, directional control valves, filters, CETOP valves and various other hydraulic system requirements. The company was established over 60 years ago and is the only independent manufacturer in the country and the largest within the SEA region. HOF also exports its products all over the world.
Paul Flintoff has been a sales manager at HOF since September 2019. Yet his history with Black Bruin is much longer and is the main reason for its expansion into Thailand. In his previous position as Sales Manager for Linde Hydraulics UK, Paul made major progress in selling the Black Bruin range of motors. On arriving in Thailand, he quickly realised that there could be a promising market for Black Bruin motors and apprised Black Bruin of these prospects. “With our own product ranges combined with Black Bruin motors, we can offer a complete hydraulic system for certain applications. The opportunities in South East Asia for Black Bruin are huge and completely untapped. In many applications that Black Bruin products could be utilized and would be superior to existing products, nobody had even heard of them,” Paul explains.
So, Paul and HOF are determined to remedy the situation, by together offering these customers the complete package: pumps, motors, valves and everything else essential for the hydraulic system. Paul feels that Black Bruin motors offer some technical features translating into obvious and strong customer benefits. For example, the multi-speed Shift On The Go Function, meaning that Black Bruin motors can change speed during operation, leading to improved productivity: getting the job done faster. Some of the competitor’s products have restrictions with this feature.
“In wheel motors, where Black Bruin offers the BB, BBC and B200 series, our superiority in certain applications over the competition is clear,” Paul declares. “Using Black Bruin wheel motors as a direct drive motor for agricultural and off-highway machinery is a great opportunity. Conventionally the competition typically offers a very small piston motor in combination with a reduction or planetary drive. And that essentially means two interfaces and two pieces that can fail,” Paul pinpoints the Black Bruin advantage. “The acquisition cost of a Black Bruin solution may first seem bigger but when measured in TCO, we definitely outperform our rivals,” Paul underlines.
The radial piston-cam ring structure of Black Bruin motors and rotators is also more practical from a serviceability point of view. For example, the majority of internal parts are completely serviceable, which means that there is no need to wait for a service engineer to inspect the motor, take it apart and send it to some service centre or workshop and wait for it to come back. The Black Bruin motor can be serviced on site with the help of a spare part kit, and can potentially be up and running in hours instead of weeks of waiting. “Clearly less downtime for the customer,” Paul declares. “And we want to pick up with training programmes as well,” Paul describes his future plans.
Paul feels that Thailand holds some fascinating opportunities for Black Bruin motors. “For example, in the sugarcane industry, where Thailand is one of the world’s largest exporters, second only to Brazil. Yet the production and harvesting methods are completely different. While there are a few small OEMs in Thailand manufacturing bespoke harvesters suited to the unique nature of the industry in Thailand, the majority of harvesters in use here have been acquired from countries like Brazil and are then converted here to suit the Thai market.”
One of the main differences between the two countries is the size of the sugar fields. In Brazil, the sugar fields are much larger than in Thailand. In Brazil, the harvesters can be driving in one straight line for hours whereas in Thailand, the fields are much smaller, meaning more changing of direction. Also, in Thailand, the fields tend to be spread out, sometimes many kilometres from each other, meaning that the harvesters have to travel on the road between the fields. For this the conventional, track-based harvester is not optimal.
Operators in Thailand opt to purchase these tracked harvesters second hand from Brazil and then convert them for use in Thailand, almost completely changing everything about the hydraulic circuit and components. One of the main changes is converting them from a track drive system to a wheel drive system, which does not need to be transported using a low loader.
Before being presented with Black Bruin wheel motors as a potential direct drive solution, many of HOF’s customers opted for the conventional drive system approach as mentioned above, simply out of habit and a lack of knowledge of the alternative solutions available on the market. Nor did they know enough about features such as freewheeling and the serviceability of components plus the industry leading delivery times, which are also very favourable to the market.
Another industry full of potential which Paul is looking forward to serving is the recycling and shredding industry. “Several world market leaders in this field have huge manufacturing facilities here,” he points out. There are many other industries too, ranging from rubber production, steel, mining, marine and defence.
Paul does not have a lot spare time right now. The move from the UK to Thailand has been a vast life-changing opportunity. “It used to be playing snooker and attending motor sports events,” he recalls. Being British, this man who has decided to devote himself almost entirely to his work will nevertheless reveal his favourite football club: “The team that is currently the reigning champion”, he says, “Manchester City”.
Understanding that hydraulic system is essential for the operation of various types of machinery: agricultural, industrial, marine and mobile fields. We have been delivering high quality and reliable products for over 40 years with our client goals in mind. Power generation is an essential part of our growing economy today where quality driven hydraulics has become a central focus more than low-quality high margin products.
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