Sunward is developing its position in the European market
Sunward SWE18 mini excavator
Introducing innovative new mini excavators and opening a new European headquarters are key moves by Sunward that will raise the firm’s profile and boost its export operations. Chairman and founder of Sunward is He Qinghua and he outlined the firm’s strategy, explaining how this Chinese company has secured a strong foothold in Europe. “Compared to other Chinese companies, Sunward is not a big firm. But we were the first Chinese company to enter into Europe.”
The company builds a wide range of machines at its Chinese facilities in Changsha but is best known in Europe for its compact equipment. Qinghua said that Sunward has the biggest presence in the European mini excavator segment of any of the Chinese manufacturers with around 7,000 units now in use.
The build quality, performance and design standards of the firm’s mini excavators also matches the best of the European, Japanese, Korean or US brands. The firm is also an innovator and Qinghua added, “We develop our own patents for our machines.”
The firm is intent on boosting its presence in Europe and Qinghua said, “We have dealers in some countries but we don’t have partners in some regions so we have more work to do. I already have a plan in mind to develop our market share in Europe.”
Qinghua explained, “First of all we had to set up a base so we are setting up a spare parts, service and logistics centre in Belgium.” He continued, “In the past we had a spare parts centre but it was a joint venture and did not belong to Sunward.”
The firm bought its Belgian site in October 2014 and is now commencing operations at the location. Qinghua said, “In this facility we already have machines installed and parts in stock.”
An important feature of the new facility is the demonstration area, which Qinghua is keen to highlight. This will be used by the firm to allow customers to test new machines, as well as for other duties such as training purposes. Qinghua said, “This European facility will facilitate they supply of machines and parts to customers and shorten delivery times.”
He added, “We think we can also make some simple assembly work of parts.”
Qinghua said that the company is considering sourcing some parts in Belgium and in this respect, will for the short term at least be able to take advantage of the currently low value of the European currency against the Chinese currency in this respect.
If Sunward opts to carry out assembly work at its Belgian facility, Qinghua said that this would offer benefits to its customers. The company also plans to further develop its quality of service support.
Sunward is introducing a new 2.5tonne class zero tailswing mini excavator, the SWE25 UE. Power comes from a Yanmar diesel rated at 14kW, while the machine has a 0.8m3 bucket and delivers 208kN of digging force. A spokesperson for the firm said, “We will phase out the old one and replace with this model. Production is starting in the second half of this year. The trend in the European market is for zero tailswing machine and we developed this new type for Europe.”
The company also has a new electric mini excavator in the shape of its SWE18 UE. This 1.8tonne with power from a 380V three phase supply. The spokesperson said, “The electric motor drives the hydraulic pumps. The quality is good and the performance is good.”
The machine was specially developed for applications in tunnelling or in parking areas or in sites with a risk of gas, where diesel engines cannot be used. Meanwhile other new machines from Sunward are the SWE08 and SWE10B mini excavators, which weigh 800kg and 1tonne respectively and are aimed at the rental market.