FUTURE IN SIGHT: VANSITE POWERS UP WITH ISUZU POWER SOLUTIONS
Grant Gasnier, director of Vansite, saw a need in 2011 for vans for the mining boom and wanted to fulfil it. At the time, with only limited start-up capital, Grant built two van body prototypes to present at the Surat Basin Energy and Mining Expo in Toowoomba, Queensland. It was there that Paladin Energy saw the work and signed on with Vansite, making Paladin their very first client.
A far cry from the early days, Vansite now has over 50 vans for hire and has built over 220 custom vans, along with a team of 25 employees—and they are also looking at further growth in 2020. With their main office in Queensland, they are looking to expand to offices in New South Wales and Victoria.
Vansite sets themselves apart from other brands by providing self-contained products; custom building the van to meet customers’ needs; and customer support in both sales and aftersales servicing.
Always striving for bigger and better things for Vansite, Grant has a vision of continual van improvement, helping their customers reduce downtime and increase productivity.
“One of the main goals at Vansite is to continually improve the product and make it better—stronger, lighter, with more features, more technology,” Grant said.
In this vein, Vansite is currently developing a large double slide-out caravan perfect for use for open-pit mines. The caravan will be used as a break room and will be able to fit 20–30 workers in it. For that kind of size, Grant needed a generator that could produce enough power to sustain the van’s operations without any underground power connection. This was a problem Grant had to tackle by himself before he started using Isuzu Power Solutions’ (IPS) power units, as he would often encounter his other generators overloading and burning out.
“We had to quickly evolve our product to gain traction for being a strong, durable brand.
“And for that to happen, we had to have an engine that would help us build that brand reputation of reliability,” Grant explained.
That’s when Vansite turned their attention to IPS’s renowned off-highway engines, specifically the IPS 3CE1BGZGI engine. Looking to utilise the 3CE1 engine with its clean, straightforward design and the brand’s renowned reliability, Grant got in touch with John Jennings, sales manager at Zenith Engineering, a sole distributor of IPS products that specialises in tailored solutions for customers. What this means is that Zenith builds the IPS product to customer-requested specifications—all without the price tag that comes with having to modify imported, pre-made products.
For Vansite, Zenith’s approach and location made for the ideal partnership in creating a product specified for vans operating in areas with many safety requirements.
Grant said, “We started off with an initial meeting with Zenith about what we required—the power capacity, the weight we were trying to achieve and a few other things.
“Zenith took all that into account and returned with a proposal, utilising the IPS engine we wanted to incorporate into a generator.
“From there, they did up an initial prototype… We then identified a few changes that needed to be made so it would meet the mine site spec, deciphered the best way to mount it to the van, and took it for testing.”
To that, John added, “Testing it on site, we were able to address a few more things to do with the trying conditions the generator will operate in, as well as a few other things Vansite needed.”
Through this six-week process, Vansite and Zenith arrived at the final product: an IPS 14 kVA single-phase radiator-cooled generator for mobile application.
For Vansite, the Isuzu reliability is at the heart of the decision to run with IPS products.
Grant said, “Reliability is the crux of why you choose a generator; it’s almost like the heart of the machine.
“The IPS generator allowed us to improve our product beyond what we had, so it was a no-brainer, really.
“The van could be running multiple different appliances, and if someone wants to plug in a pie-warmer as well, they can.
“At the end of the day, we want a reliable, quality product that both looks right and is easy to service… and the IPS generator fits the bill.”
To make things even more user-friendly, Vansite decided to create a laser-cut switch panel for their generators. This would incorporate all the isolation switches and generator controls to eliminate the need to go outside the van to start the generator.
“Just about every client is coming over to it; they see that it’s better than their old generator option at the moment,” Grant shared.
Vansite’s dedication to their craft has landed them large contracts with companies such as BHP, Coates Hire and Glencore. Grant believes that this experience of creating quality products has made Vansite a better manufacturer. And Grant believes incorporating IPS products in their vans helps them hit that high level of perfection.
“Using Isuzu gives us a cutting edge in our product… It gives us a better product, which means we have more trust from customers in our fleet’s durability.
“And ultimately, this translates to more hires and sales for Vansite and our brand of vans.
“This also means that Vansite’s team gets to feed their families—at the end of the day, we’re only a small business, so everything counts.”