Shotcreting equipment specialist Jacon strengthens offering following Maas Group takeover
Jacon Equipment, the Australian-owned specialist supplier of underground shotcreting and related equipment, has received a new lease of life in the past two years since it became a fully owned subsidiary of Maas Group.
Maas Group, a diversified supplier of construction materials, equipment and services, floated on the Australian Stock Exchange in December 2020.
The group’s offerings include regional quarries throughout NSW and in Queensland, crushing and screening services, civil contracting, plant hire – across civil construction and infrastructure, as well as underground mining and tunnelling, electrical infrastructure and property development.
And now Jacon is backed by Maas Group’s strong financial resources, management expertise, and deep engagement in the infrastructure and construction industries.
According to Jacon Product Manager Michael Rutten, becoming part of MAAS Group represented a major step forward in the brand’s ability to service and support customers.
“With the size and financial backing of Maas Group, we can offer customers the peace of mind of knowing that we have the resources and capability to meet all our customers’ supply, parts, service and support needs,” he said.
“For example, we now stock a full complement of spares, our parts availability is right up where it needs to be, and we are able to support all our machines out in the field as an OEM should.
“As well as that, Jacon now has significantly more funding for R&D, with a whole line of new products in development – and which we’ll be announcing in the near future.
“That means we can continue to develop innovative products and solutions for underground mining, tunnelling infrastructure and construction,” said Rutten.
For many years, Jacon’s products have been designed and developed in Australia, with engineering and manufacturing carried out in Vietnam. The company has recently opened a new state-of-the-art 21,000 square metre design and manufacturing facility in Ho Chi Minh City.
“Following our purchase by Maas Group, we have also increased the number of engineers and technicians in our Ho Chi Minh City factory, giving us the ability to not only put more resources into the development of our product, but also to increase our holdings of stock machines, as well as parts and components,” he said.
And with Australia’s reputation as a global centre of excellence and innovation in mining, being seen as an Australian owned and managed company has always been seen as a positive – something that the acquisition by Maas Group will maintain, Rutten said.
“MAAS Group is recognised as a strong and diversified company, with excellent growth opportunities in Australian and global market sectors – that has been reinforced by our float in late 2020.”
The bulk of Jacon’s customers are mining contractors operating in Australia, including some of the biggest contractors in the business, as well as smaller mine operators and contractors. Jacon rigs are also in operation at some of the largest underground hard rock mining projects in the world.
Rutten said that, in addition to supplying innovative products that offer features not available with other brands, a key competitive advantage for Jacon is its ability to offer much shorter lead times for new equipment orders.
“Our philosophy is to be ‘component-ready’, so we can build and deliver new machines as quickly as possible,” he said.
“And since we’ve been a part of Maas Group, that philosophy has been enhanced so that we have the right components ready for our core products, including throughout the lockdowns associated with the COVID pandemic.”
Another result of MAAS Group’s ownership of Jacon has been to move towards a more streamlined and standardised product offering.
“In the past, Jacon has had a reputation that every single machine out in the field is different,” Rutten said. “That’s come about because of the way we’ve traditionally worked with customers, designing and building machines to suit their specific needs.
“Now with this more standardised approach, combined with improved engineering and design, we can continue to meet each customer’s unique site operating requirements, but with a higher commonality of parts across machines – which also helps keep operating costs down – and improves order turnaround for new machines.”
Another product differentiator of Jacon products has been their lower operating costs, compared with other suppliers.
“Two of our core products, our Maxijet shotcrete rigs, and our Transmix machines, have a reputation in the industry as being very low-operating-cost products,” said Rutten.
Reasons for this included:
- A high percentage of parts and components designed in-house, allowing the company to keep parts prices down
- A philosophy of not “over-complicating” the product line
- A commitment to ensuring all Jacon products are easy to maintain and repair.
“Our shotcrete machines are all rigid chassis, rather than articulated, so they are simpler and less complex, they have fewer ‘pinch points’ which can be a safety hazard, and they can move around mine sites more easily.”
As an emerging player in the underground shotcreting equipment supply market, Jacon has always been able to maintain short lines of communication between customers and its management.
“That’s always allowed us to have a streamlined decision-making process, which enables us to be flexible and dynamic in how we respond to customer feedback and requests,” he said.
“And now as a part of Maas Group, we’re able to continue with simple lines of communication between our people in the field, our factory and engineering people, and senior management, while now having this very significant financial backing and security.
“That means that while we are continuing to compete in the OEM market, we are able to combine the best of strong financial backing, with a focused and dedicated management team.”
So what were the factors in Maas Group deciding to purchase Jacon Equipment?
Wes Maas, CEO of Maas Group Holdings, said the acquisition of Jacon added another arm to the group’s vertical integration.
“Jacon is a world recognised brand, we understand the business, we can add value, and we can scale the business,” he said.
“In addition, Jacon gives us some scale and stability for a manufacturing facility in Vietnam.
“Using this as our backbone, we can pursue growth and opportunities for toll manufacturing and look to add additional product lines.”
He said Maas Group also runs a significant fleet of Jacon machines in its hire fleet.
“So owning the brand and the manufacturing gives us a competitive advantage over others in this space.”
The two organisations already had a long-term relationship, through Maas Group’s ownership of a number of pieces of Jacon equipment for its underground services hire fleet.
“Both companies are a good fit for each other,” said Maas. “Plus there are some excellent opportunities for us to significantly expand these operations.”
For example, Maas Group owns 23 quarries throughout Australia, and there is design and manufacturing capability within Jacon’s Vietnam factory to build crushers and other types of quarrying and processing equipment.
The company is exploring additional synergies with another company of Maas Group, JLE Mining & Tunnelling.
JLE is a dedicated electrical division specialising in electrical services and supplies for the underground mining, tunnelling, civil construction and rail industries across Australia.
“Jacon’s Vietnam factory has excellent capability engineering and manufacturing quality products for the mining and construction industry,” said Maas.
“With this long-standing relationship between the two companies, Maas could see real opportunities in the Jacon brand, in building it up to achieve its full potential.
“We’ve also seen considerable benefits since Jacon has become a part of Maas, including cross-communication among the various business units, so we’re all able to leverage the relationship very effectively.
“Maasbought the company because it was successful and highly regarded – and because it could see opportunities to make Jacon even more successful.
“We’re now at the point where we want to take a more prominent position in the global underground mining and construction marketplace – and we have some exciting new products and innovations coming out in the next 12 months,” Maas said.
“Following the acquisition of Jacon, we completed a major review, and identified 118 items that we can improve in the Jacon business. As of mid-September 2021, we are about halfway through that improvement program
“At Jacon, we are improving every day and once we get this improvement program complete, that will allow us to go to the next phase,” he said.
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