Published: 28/12, 2023
Montabert USA Brings Famed Demolition Attachment Quality to North America
Montabert USA General Manager Aaron Scarfia wastes no words when asked what distinguishes his company’s products.
“We’re not the cheapest,” he says confidently. “We are the best, and we will last the longest. We build quality products.”
It wouldn’t be difficult to find users who share Scarfia’s opinion. Since its founding in 1921, the French-based company has become widely known for its hydraulic hammers, demolition and drilling equipment—all of which are designed and manufactured for mining, aggregates, demolition, construction, and other applications. In the 1970s, Montabert products made their way to North America through a branding and distribution agreement with Tramac. Montabert subsequently took over US distribution and began marketing the products under its own name.
Deeping its roots in the North American market, Montabert USA was formally established in 2019, followed three years later by the acquisition of Tramac Canada, a move that also included acquisition of the latter’s line of crusher-mounted booms.
Scarfia says that market longevity has helped make the Montabert name synonymous with quality.
“For some prospective customers, we still have to explain why Montabert is the best,” he says. But for the most part, he adds, “it has not been difficult to shift customers to the Montabert name.”
Montabert’s pioneering fully variable hydraulic breaker technology has given the company a valuable edge as well, Scarfia adds. Found on the V32, V45, V55, and V65 models, the technology enables the breaker to moderate the frequency and impact force of the blows, based on the harness of the rock. Variable breakers drastically reduce blank firing and the effects of blank firing.
Other companies may offer some form of variability, Scarfia says, “but ours operate at up to 15 speeds or frequencies. No one can duplicate it.”
At Conexpo 2022, Montabert USA reintroduced the North American market to its line of silent demolition tools, including grapples, processors, fixed and rotating pulverizers, and scrap shears. Montabert USA is also the exclusive North American distributor of the Lehnhoff SQ-V fully automatic symmetric Quick Coupler system for 8t to 43t excavators.
While all Montabert equipment is manufactured in Saint-Priest, France, “home” for Montabert USA since 2019 has been its 50,000-sq-ft operations facility in Nashville, Ill., which houses product and parts warehousing, distribution, and shipping.
More than 40 dealers distribute the products from 192 locations across the US and Puerto Rico, providing a reach that also includes the Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Bermuda. The latest expansion of the network was announced in September 2023, with the addition of Linder Industrial Machinery, with multiple locations in the southeastern U.S.
While Montabert USA’s initiatives have enjoyed success, they have not come without challenges both shared and unique to the manufacturing of construction equipment. The war in Ukraine, for example, has limited access to the high-grade aviation-type steel Montabert uses to build its products.
“Post-COVID demand in the aviation industry had already put us at a disadvantage, as suppliers consider them higher-priority customers,” Scarfia explains. “After the steel plant was seized in Ukraine, every manufacturer in Europe was trying to find a quality steel supply.”
But while raw material shortages and higher energy costs have added new supply chain pressures, Scarfia says Montabert absorbed as much of the increases as possible to minimize the impact on our customers.
“It’s something that a lot of them have recognized and appreciate,” he adds.
Such loyalty is to be expected, given what customers invest in a premium Montabert variable breaker.
“Our customers may pay more up front, but as long as the breaker is properly maintained, it will last a lifetime,” Scarfia says. “We see 30-year-old products still at work in the market all the time.”
At the same time, he adds, it’s important to understand the concerns of cost-conscious contractors. If a customer needs a breaker for a three-year project, for example, Montabert offers affordable gas-fired models that will meet those needs, while also carrying the full Montabert warranty.
Montabert USA’s Rebuild Program provides another means for customers to access the company’s famed performance benefits. Scarfia says the company’s field representatives are continually on the watch for quality used breaker cores that it can buy back. Most are remanufactured and tested in the Nashville facility, which features an on-site 10-ton crane and a service pit with lift table. A separate remanufacturing operation in Elko, Nevada, opened in 2020, serves the company’s western North America customers.
“Customers can buy a remanufactured variable-speed breaker for a fraction of the cost of a new unit, and have the same extended warranty,” Scarfia says, adding that the Rebuild Program will eventually be expanded to include drifters and Silent Demolition products.
Breaking new ground
While Montabert products may last forever, at least figuratively, the company is well aware of the dynamics shaping the North American construction market, particularly the scarcity of experienced workers and heightened emphasis on sustainability and environmental protection. Scarfia believes the Lehnhoff Quick Coupler is an ideal way to address these concerns while complementing the many attributes of its other products. For example, the Quick Coupler versatility means contractors need send only a carrier and the needed attachments to a job, reducing and operator staffing needs.
“From an environmental standpoint, the Lehnhoff Coupler eliminates the risk of dumping hydraulic fluid on the ground every time you change an attachment,” Scarfia adds. “The attachment can be switched in one minute, versus an hour with a traditional coupling system, dealing with hydraulic hoses, etc. It’s ergonomic, safer, and more productive.”
Scarfia says the company continues to eye new additions to its demolition product portfolio. For example, a drum cutter currently in development will have the capability to cut rock, concrete, or hard ground.
But regardless of whatever products the company may develop and offer, Scarfia says Montabert USA is ready to give prospective customers a firsthand look at their capabilities, wherever they may be.
“We welcome opportunities to hold product demonstrations on a customer’s jobsite,” he says. “They just need to let us know their application and location, and we will send attachments and personnel for a no-cost demonstration.”
These and other efforts, Scarfia adds, are indicative of Montabert USA’s fundamental goal, “our commitment to providing the greatest level of customer focus in the industry, combining local expertise and support with globally recognized premium rock breaker and drill attachment products.”