Insights into a global equipment range: Dingli

Xu Shugen, the chairman of Dingli, shares his insights into the latest developments in the world of MEWPs.

Xu Shugen, chairman at Dingli. Xu Shugen, Chairman at Dingli. (Photo: Dingli)

Dingli has become a household name in the access industry thanks to its 20-year history and its global presence.

This journey has involved the company making long-term strategies, not least, it says, in its modular approach to manufacturing, with which has seen the company introduce common parts across 85% of its full range of equipment.

As Xu Shugen, the chairman of Dingli explains to AI, while compatible components is nothing new to the industry, Dingli developed its modular parts approach in the early days of the company, so that it complements all areas of ongoing design, manufacturing, transportation and maintenance.

How modular product design benefits equipment owners

Major components like engines and lithium batteries also fall under the Dingli modular system, meaning, for example, that one type of lithium battery power system is used across its equipment and meets global requirements.

Therefore, they can easily be replaced by end users under standard maintenance procedures.

“From the rental companies’ perspective, they can easily store components and of course after sales maintenance is easier, as once they know how to repair one machine they can repair most of the series,” says Xu.

As Xu adds, it also helps to optimise the production process, and is part of the reason why Dingli can produce a scissor lift every six to eight minutes and a boom lift every half hour on its automated lines.

“We do not have one department to produce one piece of equipment and then another department for a different model, that do not talk to each other, which makes it quite complicated to share components.”

Dingli Hybrid Range Extended boom lift series

Another example of how the modular concept comes into play, is with Dingli’s new Hybrid Range Extended boom lift series.

Dingli’s BT30SHRT from the Range Extended series (Image: Dingli)

The new Hybrid Modular Range, Extended Series adds a ‘mobile charger’, in the form of a small combustion engine, to its electric boom lifts, with maximum working heights of 22m to 34m, maximum load of 454kg and a 80V (420Ah) lithium battery pack.

The build-in universal range extender, with a full tank of diesel, ensures the machine can be used for up to 30 days on site when no charging facilities are available.

Dingli has chosen to offer its hybrid offering through a combustion engine which is used as a backup charger, or range extender, for the lithium battery.

Again, it can easily be installed by the end user to convert a boom lift to and from a hybrid. Xu adds, “It means major components can be changed very quickly, and easily in the field.”

The company started the R&D work for its rough terrain electric technology a number of years before it was introduced to the market.

“We thought ahead about battery and hybrid being introduced as a modular system, leaving room for new components of the future in the designs.

“It helped us to launch battery powered models at exactly the right time,” Xu continues.

Boom lifts for Europe and North America 

Dingli’s Range Extended hybrid series has been designed specifically for the European and North American markets due to there being a lack of charging infrastructure across those continents.

Xu says, “It is not like in the Chinese market, where before MEWPs start work the infrastructure for water supply and electric power is in place. In Europe there are few charging facilities, so they need a hybrid option.”

Xu adds, “We know that battery energy is the future, so this hybrid option helps with that process.”

The Range Extended combustion engine allows the lithium battery to be charged 10 times on a single full tank. Meaning the equipment can work for up to 30 days on site.

Dingli High 36-44m range Dingli’s High Metre boom series

Dingli has launched nine electric and hybrid models from 36m - 44m working height, in the new High Metre series, developed by Dingli’s Germany-based R&D centre, through its part-ownership arrangement with spider specialist Teupen.

All models are able to be transported in a standard container.

The models are available in electric, hybrid or diesel drive, and offer a maximum 454kg capacity in the basket. Further advantages include a parallel axle system and four steering modes. (Images: Dingli)

The new 36m-44m High Metre range from Dingli

In China the range extended series is not a necessity, says Xu, due to the fast growing charging capabilities across the country.

As a result, only 25% of the access equipment in China are still using diesel engines.

The only reason people still use diesel engines, Xu adds, is because, “Some users still think that diesel is more powerful than battery equipment.

“But it is getting more difficult to use diesel as no work sites allow it to be stored onsite.”

This means operators have to order fuel from service stations, which is then delivered to site.

In addition, adds Xu, the government is putting great emphasis on reducing emissions.

Under the government’s emission standards the cost of diesel will be increased, leading to the number of diesel units in the country dropping to 10% next year.

While the percentage of slab scissor lifts in China is still higher than in Europe and Northern America, this drop in diesel units is significant considering there are between 350,000 – 400,000 units working in the country. That number is growing by 60,000 to 80,000 units each year.

Market share

Dingli’s market share in China is an impressive 30% plus, says Xu. Nevertheless, competition in China among the OEMs is fierce, and falls in two groups.

Group one, explains Xu, incorporates those manufacturers, like Dingli, that focus on R&D and high-end equipment, as well as good after sales service.

Group two sees manufacturers copying others’ equipment and selling it at very low prices, while offering zero down payment.

“Somehow, this makes it look like they are winning in the market,” explains Xu, “but it is not good from a long-term perspective and to some degree, it destroys the market.”

Chinese access rental market

The rental sector in the country is equally as competitive.

“Again,” says Xu, “The competition is focused on price, which shows the rental market is not mature yet. Some companies do not consider the quality of equipment.”

Another notable difference is in China’s worksite environment, which is in stark contrast to Europe and North American, and China’s own developed onsite charging capabilities.

“Equipment that is used in Europe for five years; in China it is used for just one year. The construction sites are very rough and the equipment is used badly.”

In April Dingli launched a fully oil-free and electric series.The new direct electric drive series of six scissor lifts and vertical mast lifts has no hydraulic oil and offers working heights of 5m – 16m and maximum loads of 230kg – 450kg.

They use electric actuators for lifting, lowering and steering, instead of traditional hydraulic oil cylinders. (Image: Dingli).

Dingli oil-free series

In April Dingli launched a fully oil-free and electric series.

The new direct electric drive series of six scissor lifts and vertical mast lifts has no hydraulic oil and offers working heights of 5m – 16m and maximum loads of 230kg – 450kg.

They use electric actuators for lifting, lowering and steering, instead of traditional hydraulic oil cylinders. (Image: Dingli).

Ultimately, says Xu, the difference between an immature and mature rental market the ‘life cycle profit’ model, found in mature markets, which combines rental rates, residual value and total cost of ownership.

This compares to the current Chinese rental model, which is based primarily on the cost of new equipment – with the lowest price units winning out over all else.

Overseas business expansion 

Dingli’s support of the mature rental model is echoed by its state-of-the-art factory expansion programme, which is now in Phase Five, with ground broken on its new facility for 36m – 44m boom lifts in April of this year.

In addition, Dingli has researched setting up overseas, notably in the US or Mexico.

Xu comments, “There is a complex situation, and we need to decide what product series we would launch in certain markets. If we set up a factory, we would plan to run it for more than 10 years, so we need to be sure about it.”

How US tariffs are impacting Chinese equipment manufacturers

A challenge for Chinese manufacturers selling MEWPs in the US are the tariffs imposed last year by the US Government’s Department of Commerce on their equipment.

For Dingli, it sees an additional 43% added to its equipment sold into the country.

“We continue to export to the US but the tariff is not fair on us,” explains Xu, “Our prices are not that low, and quite similar to others in the country - we have not tried to compete with low prices in the US market.”

Dingli does not rule out further acquisitions and has a unique approach to them.

Rather than making full ‘financial’ acquisitions, it has chosen to invest in a companies’ technology and knowhow, rather then taking them over.

Xu says, “We have a completely different approach. The shares we take are not big and it is done properly. In the future we will consider further acquisitions and use the same concept.”

Dingli’s partial investment in recent years, in Magni, based in Italy, and Teupen, in Germany, serve this purpose. Teupen, for example, helped design the recently-launched large booms, over 36m working height.

Another talking point in the European industry is Bauma.

Most of the major MEWP OEMs from Europe and North America have decided not to attend the show, in Munich this October, while the major Chinese manufacturers will be there, including Dingli.

For Xu, attending the show is an obvious choice. “Recently, customers have asked us if we will be there and we have said yes, as it is an opportunity to meet them and promote our products.

“If other manufacturers do not attend, then that will be an opportunity for us too.”

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