Business profile: Cobra Attachments

By: Editor, Photography by: Editor

Cobra Attachments will soon celebrate five years in the industry and the Ed went to find out more about the Southland-based business

Cruze Dickens is a guy with a passion for the products he sells and in his particular case, it’s excavator and forestry attachments.

Setting up in his home region of Southland, around five years ago, the ex-digger operator-turned-engineer found, what many would say, is his calling in life. These days, it’s highly likely he wouldn’t disagree with that, although, five years now seems a long way from 2015, when the first container load of attachments arrived on his doorstep.

Owner Cruze and his partner Liana in their Invercargill-based warehouse
Owner Cruze and his partner Liana in their Invercargill-based warehouse

"It took us a couple of years to build things up, and in 2017, we set up the Invercargill base," says Cruze.

The base he talks about is the 1500m2 warehouse and engineering facility, which provides custom engineering, CNC plasma profile cutting, milling, and lathe capabilities.

800-plus attachments

Since the establishment of a dedicated base, it’s been a heady ride for Cruze and one I’ve quietly observed, as the selection of Cobra-supplied products have built up over the intervening years to today where he tells me the business has some 800-plus attachments are in stock at any one time.

"We can outfit pretty much any excavator from one tonne up to 35 tonnes right off the shelf," Cruze says.

"Actually, we can fit out up to 100-tonne machines and we get that ex-factory from our suppliers," he says.

50/50 split

Being based in the lower South Island does not hinder business and like many Southland companies, they deal with customers nationwide.

"Recently, we did a tally-up of where we send attachments and we have an almost perfect 50/50 split between the North and South Islands," says Cruze.

Rotating demolition/sorting grapple
Rotating demolition/sorting grapple

For Cobra, all orders are handled directly from Invercargill, with Cruze saying their strengths being their focus on excavator and forestry attachments along with fast despatch and knowledge of the industry.

"We like to keep to our core business and leave things such as attachments for tractors and farm equipment to the rural equipment suppliers."

Growing with customers

As the business has moved with developments in the attachment industry, Cruze says a lot of customers want to ensure they stay up with the latest innovations, which led Cobra Attachments into a distributorship deal with large Italian manufacturer Cangini, or Cangini Benne Srl, as they are officially known.

Cangini, for those who don’t know, were established in the late 1980s and have built up a significant arsenal of well-designed attachments, which are sold through some 900 dealers worldwide.

They certainly are not small players and for Cobra to secure the distribution rights for the brand is something that should help propel the business forward into the next decade.

"We’re really looking forward to where this distributorship will take us and I’m looking forward to make more announcements as our business grows," says Cruze.

Driving those poles

Partnering with the Italian manufacturer gives Cobra access to a multitude of attachments, such as mulchers, rotating grabs, pole drivers, and, of course, tilt-buckets and standard buckets.

Of special interest to Cruze is the Cangini pole driver, which any contractor will quickly recognise as being something of a game changer, especially when it comes to back strains from lifting poles and something those who run safety-conscious businesses will surely be taking a closer look at.

Innovative pole driver with grab
Innovative pole driver with grab

In this instance, a hydraulic plate compactor attachment has been cleverly adapted with a set of grabs that the operator uses to pick up and place the poles. From there, the plate compactor is placed on top and the pole is driven into the ground.

A housing on the bottom of the plate prevents the compactor from slipping off the pole and allows the operator to carry out adjustments as the pole is driven into the ground.

"I’m really excited about this attachment, as not only will it prevent injuries but it should also speed up the work output for users," says Cruze.

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