A Day-two report from Intermat, by John Latta:
Case is suffering from the effects of market woes the same way the other OEMs are but that doesn`t mean the company isn`t eyeing the future. At Intermat this morning company president Jim McCullough and global products manager Bill Sidell said the company`s R & D personnel were at work on innovations for future generations of machines. The three most prominent research programs McCullough cited involve valveless hydraulics, a brake energy recovery system and a hybrid electric transmission system now in the works for excavators.
McCullough`s key points in an informal press conference this morning included:
+Case is building a four million dollar 56 hectare facility in Europe to mirror it`s Tomahawk facility in America, a single product demonstration site for customers in Europe and its environs.
+ “You do what you`ve got to do to get from one side of this to the other;”
+ “In the future the former Eastern European bloc and the Middle East will be very important markets for us.”
+ Case is “trying to manage inventory, working with not much more than a three month supply.”
+ Case figures the market for equipment in the construction industry as a whole is now down fifty percent from a year ago. Case is fortunate to have healthy sales in the agriculture sector helping out.
+There are signs of the market coming back in China and Brazil.
+ Case is tinkering with computer models and numbers to see if there is a place for gasoline engines in equipment in the future, driven by possible cost savings; But, said McCullough, if it were to happen it is almost certainly going to be in skid steers in the consumer market, perhaps for landscapers. Contractors prefer diesel and small diesels are increasingly reliable;
+ “I think the stimulus packages seem to be having some positive impacts,” said McCullough; But, he said, he had concerns long range with debt repayment and inflation as uncertainties
+ It is possible in the future a hybrid EGR/SCR machine may be developed by an OEM. “Necessity is the mother of invention.”