Steelwrist Australia’s Darryn Wilson talks through his long history with titlrotators, and why the business is set for a big future.
Steelwrist, based in Sweden, is a global manufacturer of tiltrotators, quick couplers, and work tools for excavators. The company’s goal is ‘to be the best in the world to develop, manufacture and sell equipment that increases efficiency of excavators’, and it prides itself on actively trying to get feedback and suggestions for improvements from customers, suppliers and employees.
In Australia Steelwrist is based in Luscombe, Queensland, and is headed up by Managing Director Australia & New Zealand, Darryn Wilson.
Darryn’s journey to the head of the Australian arm of the fast-growing attachment powerhouse makes for a great story.
“I was with Doherty Couplers & Attachments as the operation manager,” recalls the enormously experienced Queenslander. “Doherty was the dealer for Steelwrist, and when Dohertys was acquired by Kinshofer we had to drop the contract with Steelwrist.
“It was at that point myself and Stefan Stockhaus – the CEO at Steelwrist – got talking about what we needed to do in the Australian market.
“We decided I’d set up Steelwrist Australia as the dealer.”
Darryn, as managing director, set up Steelwrist Australia in 2018 and began growing the business and in 2021, Steelwrist Sweden acquired Steelwrist Australia, and Darryn stayed on as managing director.
It sounds like a tumultuous few years, but Darryn remembers the focus being unchanged through the period.
“We’d been an Engcon dealer with Dohertys, and then we moved into Steelwrist,” he says. “The focus with both Engcon and Steelwrist was always the tiltrotators and that has not really changed, for me anyway.”
Darryn’s affinity with his product is obvious when he speaks of the evolution of the incredibly versatile attachment.
“Tiltrotators started in Sweden,” he explains, “with a company that is now called Rototilt. At the moment the major manufacturers are all in Sweden.
“Steelwrist started with Stefan Stockhaus and Marcus Nilsson back in 2005. From there, it’s grown to the stage where Steelwrist is now the fastest growing tiltrotator manufacturer in the world. We have representation in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, the US, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and Australia. Plus, we have a rest-of-world team that sells into regions where we do not have local representation.
“So we’ve got a pretty good global coverage.”
Steelwrist also has a Factory Fit program which allows Volvo, JCB and Yanmar machines to arrive in dealer yards already fitted with Steelwrist equipment.
“The evolution of quick couplers in the Australian and New Zealand markets can be summarised in the following stages; standard quick couplers to tilt couplers and now tiltrotators,” Darryn explains. “Looking at the progression, we are now at the stage where I would say that majority of machines are sold with a tilt coupler instead of a standard quick coupler. So the industry has adopted that change and the next phase I believe will be the tiltrotator, similar to evolution in the European and US markets. They’re the next big thing.
“The advantage of a tiltrotator is obviously that it increases efficiency. You don’t have to move the machine around as much, so you save on fuel and track wear, you can do things a lot quicker, and it makes the machine a lot more versatile.”
A bright future
Year-on-year sales of excavators are increasing, and Darryn thinks the increased popularity is entirely understandable.
“Excavators are a lot more versatile,” he beams.
“You just have to look at any road construction site and count how many excavators are being utilised. They are quickly becoming the machine of choice because they are versatile, and that’s where the tiltrotator brings it into another realm altogether.
“The one consistent comment we get from our customers is that ‘I can do so much more with a tiltrotator’ and we love to hear that.”
Darryn is clearly excited about the direction of the construction world, and especially for Steelwrist’s future prospects.
“The whole industry is going through a bit of a change at the moment,” he points out. “Previously we had to install complete control systems to interface with the machine for the tiltrotator.
“A lot of manufacturers now are offering the option of including a tiltrotator control built in, so the machine is ready to have a tiltrotator fitted without any aftermarket installation required, which is a clear indication of the uptake of the product at the OEM level.
“There was a new machine control system introduced in Bauma last year called MiC-4.0. It will allow any tiltrotator to be connected and controlled from the original machine setup. There’s no installation needed from us. All we do is we supply the tiltrotator. It plugs into the original OEM plug, and then the OEM control system controls everything.
“The list of MiC-4.0 members is growing and already includes some major excavator manufactures, and I understand it’s being integrated slowly into other manufacturers in Europe as well. It’s all very exciting.”
The other innovation which has Darryn sitting forward in his chair is the Open-S Alliance, an initiative started by Steelwrist, but which now has been embraced by Kinshofer, Rototilt, SMP, ROTAR, KH-Maskin, Agri Manutention, and Volvo.
“We all manufacture our automatic oil couplers and attachments to a certain standard so anybody who purchases a coupler from an Open-S Alliance member can rest assured that their attachments will fit and work correctly,” he says.
“The beauty of that is the consumer isn’t locked into buying their attachments from the supplier they bought their automatic oil quick coupler from. It’s typical of the Steelwrist mentality with our products. We believe in keeping it all consumer-focused, and less manufacturer-focused.
“So that’s where the future is.”
For more information on Steelwrist in Australia, log on to: www.steelwrist.com/en-au/