two companies physically close to
each other (less than 15 miles apart),
but they seem to be moving down
remarkably similar paths of growth as
they make moves to diversify.
The two have some shared history in that in the late 1990s Generac
sold its portable products group to
a private equity company, which in
turn sold it to Briggs & Stratton. Once
the noncompete ran out, Generac re-entered the portable gen-set market,
putting the two companies in competition on that front.
Briggs & Stratton also has a line of
home standby gen-sets, a market that
is at the heart of Generac. Thus another place to do battle. Further, Briggs’
popular Vanguard engine line can
trace its genealogy back to Generac.
Upping the ante, Generac bought
Tower Light, an Italian manufacturer
of light towers, in August of 2013 in a
deal done in part to expand Generac’s
global position, but also to expand the
light tower line that came along with
its purchase of Magnum in 2011.
So Generac has clearly gone all-in
on light towers. Now with its acquisition
of Allmand, so has Briggs & Stratton.
Along with that, a lesser-known
part of the Allmand Brothers product
line includes engine-powered heaters. Voilá, Generac buys MAC and its
line of engine-powered heaters. And
so it goes.
And then there’s engines. The parallel path theory splits when it comes
to engines, but both companies made
significant news in that arena as well.
As reported in October, Briggs &
Stratton introduced the company’s
first air-cooled, EFI engine, an 810 cc
Vanguard model with outputs of 24,
26 and 28 hp at 3600 rpm. Like its
carbureted predecessor, the 810 EFI
is a 90° V-twin.
Steve Lavender, senior director of
engineering for the Briggs & Stratton
Engine Group said, “We’ve been re-
vamping our engineering as we’ve
moved forward because until now all
of our engineers have been mechani-
cal. Now we’ve got electronic capabil-
ity being added to our products and
that will only continue to grow.”
Likewise, Generac is on the move
engine-wise. As reported in Diesel
Progress North American last month,
Generac has been manufacturing —
and now has standardized on — its
own 9.0 L natural gas engine across
all its 100 to 150 kW gaseous-fueled
industrial configured gen-sets. The
9.0 L joins Generac’s 12. 9 and 21. 9 L
models on one end of its engine range,
along with its own 2. 4, 5. 4 and 6. 8 L
liquid-cooled natural gas engines.
And apparently there is also more to
come from the engine side of Generac.
“I can tell you that 21. 9 will not be the
biggest engine we will build,” said Rich
Thompson, Generac marketing manager. “So, yes you will see more Generac
Engines And Equipment: Briggs & Stratton and Generac have made news in both engines and machines over the last 12 months.
Briggs launched the 810 EFI, upper right, its first air-cooled, electronic-fuel-injected V-twin, while Generac has begun manufacturing
its own 9.0 L spark-ignited engine, upper left, to be used in its generator sets. On the machine side, the acquisitions of Allmand Bros.
and MAC gave each company a position in the engine-powered heater market, which gets each a spot in oil and gas.
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