NEW BERLIN, Wis. - ABB has announced that its new Automation Products Rolling Road Show units are now on the road showcasing the company’s automation solutions. The 45-foot-long, single-chassis vehicles were built out from scratch, starting in early 2009, and went into use the last week of June.

“It’s a herculean effort on the part of professionals from a host of sources,” according to Mike Brown, who is the director of Commercial Marketing for ABB Low Voltage Drives, and the lead on coordinating the teams of personnel who contributed to the completion of the new vehicles. EEI Global, a third-party builder of mobile units based in Michigan, worked as the general contractor to keep the schedule on track, with subcontractors from various businesses throughout the Midwest handling details and build-outs of demos and components. Subcontractors included Innovasys, a systems integrator near EEI, who coordinated the interoperability between the equipment and communications demo. “We enjoyed the challenge,” said Dave Bunce, principal of the company, located in Sterling Heights, Mich.

The Rolling Road Show units, which feature expandable sides that double the exhibit and usable space when the vehicles are set up, require a 50- by 40-feet footprint for space. “This definitely has upped the ante significantly for spatial considerations, and where our sales team members are choosing to make tour stops throughout the sales districts,” said Tricia Meye, the tradeshow coordinator for Low Voltage Drives who gathered the ABB equipment used throughout the interior of the units. Set-up and tear-down of the shows, plus travel time from venue to venue, means each vehicle can visit one ABB prospect or customer site each day, she noted.

Called “expandables” to distinguish the two new mobile exhibits from the two “trailers” that Low Voltage Products continues to use, the fleet now has four units. “These rolling units illustrate the way ABB is going to customers and prospects - taking our value propositions and products right into the parking lots of our targets and customers. In a fiercely competitive market and economy, this tactic makes practical, and economic, sense,” Brown noted. The four units, during the remainder of the year, will be used “to interact with 15,000 to 17,000 prospects and existing customers,” he said.

The new expandables feature a wide range of product and service solutions from the Drives, Low Voltage & Products, and Low Voltage Motors Local Business Units. Working demos include: an ultra-low harmonic drive/fan demo; dyne demo; communication demo; motor control center demo, and switchgear demo. These work alongside a number of static displays that profile the array of ABB’s automation solutions.

The new units are equipped with solutions that ABB offers to both the industrial and HVAC markets. That expands significantly the reach and appeal of the new units, Brown said, because “ABB also enjoys a deep reach into the U.S. HVAC market.” Stops at distribution and customer locations are coordinated through district managers, Meye said, “and that gives each LBU a chance to solicit a stop - and bring key prospects to the locations where these units make a visit.” The tour stops within each district are mapped out weeks ahead, she said, to make it possible for the drivers dedicated to each unit to plan their travel and set-up times.

The mobile units have proven to be a powerful sales tool, according to Brown. “Many end users are under pressure to justify spending for travel and time away from their business,” he said, “and these units give them a way to be familiar with the newest technology at their disposal.” The fleet does not replace ABB’s participation in regional and national tradeshows, he said. “They do give us the way to be more strategic, and to choose our tradeshows to complement these rolling shows; we can concentrate on tradeshows that reach prospects in vertical markets we target to grow in.”

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Publication date:07/20/2009