by Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | February 27, 2014
Bob Bachman, president of Advanced Mobility Specialty Vehicles, was one of the founders of AK Specialty, a mobile trailer company that started in 1991 and was later sold to Oshkosh in 2006.
Following a short semi-retirement, Bob started Advanced Mobility to meet what he saw as a growing demand for refurbished and upgraded medical trailers. While Advanced Mobility has always had an international reach, Bachman said more than ever, there is an opportunity to export anywhere in the world: "We anticipate that going forward, it doesn't make sense to build only for the U.S. market or only for the export market -- there is so much crossover."
For the first time this year, the company is exhibiting at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR), coming up March 6-10 in Vienna, Austria.
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DOTmed News spoke with Bachman to talk about the medical mobile business.
DMN: Why did you decide to exhibit at ECR for the first time this year?
In 2013, we built the trailer that houses the Philips Igenia [1.5 T MRI] for Israel. That trailer has to be manufactured to meet all EU regulations, and going through that process we decided to use that as a platform to strengthen our relationship with Philips and use that EU certification as an opportunity for the European market.
DMN: You have a wide reach at Advanced Mobility. Tell us how the domestic and international markets fare.
Our business is both refurb, upgrades and new builds. The refurb and upgrade market is 100 percent domestic, but the new builds as a market has picked back up, and we've exported to Korea, Israel, and Canada. In total, we've done about 10 new unit builds in the last 18 months that have been exported.
DMN: What does this say overall about the medical mobile trailer business?
Having been through the boom years of 1999 until about 2005 producing 100 to 130 mobiles a year for the domestic market, we don't see those days happening again. But the reality is, when you look at other markets we're pursuing like Brazil and Latin America, we have the ability and opportunity to produce here in the U.S. efficiently and then export anywhere in the world. We anticipate going forward, it doesn't make sense to build only for the U.S. market or only for the export market -- there is so much crossover. Plus, the manufacturing companies we work with -- GE, Philips, Toshiba, Siemens -- they are all global companies and there are not a lot of companies focused on this mobile medical business anywhere. So we have to be nimble and produce anywhere in the world. And when you play the U.S. exchange rate against others in world, there is a real advantage to build here and ship somewhere else. In our opinion, mobiles aren't going anywhere.