strength IN NUMBERS
Harrison Hunkin stopped by Brisbane Mini Excavator Sales on a recent trip up north to check out their ag-specced Hercules wheel loader
The versatile Hercules wheel loaders are proving to be big sellers for Brisbane Mini Excavator Sales with 200 being sold in the past six years – and agriculture-spec models are leading the charge.
I dropped in to see the family-run company on a recent trip to Queensland and was surprised to hear that the main customers buying the Hercules machines are cattle, silage and hay farmers.
It seems the reason is simple: while they are manufactured in China, the Hercules loaders are built for Australian conditions under the guidance of BMES.
Sales executive Steven Ragenovich says they talk directly to the factory, cutting out the issues that arise when operating with a middle man.
“There’s a lot of hard work that’s gone into the loaders,” he says. “It’s our own air-conditioning, and we’ve made a lot of modifications to suit Australian conditions.
“From our own engineering backgrounds, we’ve told the Chinese how to design the air-conditioning, the hydraulics and the cooling.”
On my arrival at BMES HQ in Yatala, south-east Queensland, Ragenovich wastes no time in showing me the versatility of the Hercules loader.
He wrangles up an 8-tonne Hercules HC-800B with a log grab connected to it and lines up a few attachments around the loader to pose for the camera.
“So here we’ve got the hay spikes, the 4-in-1 bucket, the standard bucket and the forks, all which can be used with the HC-800B loader,” Ragenovich says enthusiastically, pointing out the array of attachments.
But that’s not it for the Hercules range, with rock buckets, stick rakes and an auger, just to name a few, also available as attachments. The changeover between attachments can be done within seconds.
In terms of standard features, the Hercules HC800B loader boasts a Cummins 97kW engine, an extra-large ROPS certified cabin, high-volume air-conditioner, electronic joystick control and a suspension seat.
Other features include an electronic transmission, an impressive 8000kg operating weight, a 1.5-2m3 bucket capacity, hydraulic quick hitch, auxiliary hydraulics, four-wheel disc brakes and a reversing camera.
Despite such specs, BMES believes the Hercules loader’s main selling point is its “quality drivetrain” and the warranty deal that comes with each machine.
“We offer genuine warranties, not bought warranties; they are our own warranties,” Ragenovich emphasises.
“Our loaders also have an export-quality drivetrain, not a Chinese-quality drivetrain,” he adds. “There’s a big difference and that’s our niche in the market.
“Also, all our machines are backed by GPS tracking. This way we know the hours the machine has done or other maintenance issue we know about.
“Customers love the idea because they can actually turn off that loader if it’s been stolen – and we can track it for warranty reasons as well.”
Ragenovich says BMES – which was established in 1993 and has a 20-plus workforce – prides itself on reliable service, and that shows in the company’s extensive back-up parts operation. There are three dedicated spare-part specialists for Hercules loaders alone, and BMES also runs complete hydraulic, electrical, and mechanical workshops.
“Everything is on the shelf part-wise, we don’t have issues and we sell far and wide,” Ragenovich says. “When the machines are sold, the pre-delivery process goes for a full week. It’s a really big process to get the machine out; we don’t just say, ‘Thanks very much – see you later.’”
BMES provides two types of Hercules-branded loaders: the Hercules loaders are agricultural loaders while the Hercules Ensign is the construction loader brand.
“We were mainly construction but now we deal in agriculture as well; we are always expanding our range,” Ragenovich says.
“I even had [agrifood business] Consolidated Pastoral Company in the other day. They have 16 properties across the top of Australia, 400,000 head of cattle and 5.5 million hectares and they just purchased a Hercules loader off us and are looking at buying more; so we are trying to get that rapport with our customers.”
So why should people buy a Hercules loader? Ragenovich believes it’s because of the extra work they’ve put into the machine.
“Our machines are of quality as we’ve paid the extra money,” he says. “Quality is what customers want above all other things, and the Hercules loader is a quality Chinese imported loader.
“There are many other labels and brands of all varying prices and quality, but we think we’ve got the best Chinese-built loader on the market for its price,” Ragenovich adds.
The Hercules loaders range in price from $32,000 for the 4-tonne loader and $160,000 for the 22-tonne model.
We’ve made a lot of modifications to suit Australian conditions
1. The Hercules HC-800B wheel
loader in the BMES yard
2. The ROPS cab is extra large 3. When the machines are sold, the pre-delivery process goes for a full week