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GPX 6000 - How Do Others Compete?


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Well said Steve, coming from one of the worlds experts. Your words weigh heavy and I agree 100%. But one thing they are for sure to blame: they made a lot of gold disapear from the grounds 😉

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Minelab have always been a step ahead in technology. That is a fact. Well in my book anyway. People  gripe about ergonomics, weight, shaft lengths, coil sizes & options of coils or there lack of.  At the end of the day their detectors are tops & leading the pack. Have done for a while. We have seen in recent times the demise of Whites & Tesoro. Others may possibly follow. But Minelab will still be there.

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In business you have to be constantly innovating, improving & evolving your product, your target market & your value proposition otherwise you are just a sitting duck waiting for the day costs exceed profit margin and your business becomes nonviable.

Perversely not having a strong  competitor is a danger to the Minelab we know and respect as a product innovator - the temptation will be for the Codan board to milk their current products  - cut costs ie reduce development staff from 30 to say 10 and increase dividends or plow profits into another business venture leading to a drying up of the release of new metal detecting products every 1 - 2 years. Lets hope they have seen what has happened to other manufacturers who have gone down this path. My bet is they have a certain percentage of profits they plow back into development to stimulate their growth cycle and with a healthy upward trending profit, new innovative product development will continue - this can only be good for their customers (us).

There is nothing like a strong competitor to keep you on your toes and focused on continued improvements - without that you have to be a very disciplined, sharply, focused company.

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Also Minelabs "Raison de'tre" is building a better detector. This has been their culture right from start up in the 1980's. There would be nothing better than working for a company that is at the leading edge in their field - i hope they are looking for the best and brightest people globally to help keep on innovating. Adelaide, South Australia is not a bad spot to come and work - we have been lucky with only 4 Covid deaths and currently no community transmissions -  i suppose only having 1.7 million people and a large state one and a half times the size of Texas helps. Also a bit culturally different from the rest of Australia being a free settler state (lots of Scots, Germans, Cornish, English in the 1800's) - please note that JP - no convicts here.🙂 So we do things a bit differently and fly under the radar a lot of the time.

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I feel that no one is going to catch Minelab ever, unless they find a completely different way of locating/identifying metal. Not only does Minelab have some of the best people in the industry, but they probably also hold many key patents. As time goes on, it becomes increasingly hard to circumvent those patents. I wonder how many engineers have had a great idea only to end up staring at one of Minelab's patents that blocks them implementing their idea? So how do companies compete? Price is number one. Throw in great advertising/spin and you have a way to compete.....for now. Selling the same old stuff and not having a great sales force = death. That's how I see it. As for the only real issue I have with Minelab? Their lack of durable coils. I have gone through quite a few 11" and 15x12" DD coils, so I switched to Detech. Same goes for their handles on the GPX. I finally got the aluminum one so they would stop splitting in the same spot. Their technology is stellar. Detecting would not be as much fun (or successful) without them. Now, if they would only implement a loaner program so I could try their GPX 6000, that would be sweet 😄

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First of all, you need to realize that ... that Physical laws - Detection man can not change ..
... However, physical laws can change or strongly bend the detection environment - and here there is a lot of room for improvement in detection technology.

 I think we don't have to discuss Minelab's big contribution to multifrequency and PI detection technology.....I think the GPX 6000 will be a strong player in PI detection.

I think Minelab is a manufacturer of Multi F and PI detectors, he still has some technologically strong aces on his hand .. and he can still place really strong cards on the detection table.

The team from minelab launched an excellent multifrequency detector Equinox with mult-iIQ technology - in the middle price category ... and set the market for detectors for sure ...

Now let's ask how many free technological aces lie in a deck of cards on the table ..- and how many detector manufacturers can use these aces really well .. ..

On the other hand, my opinion is that in this year 2021 it can launch a multifrequency detector ... several manufacturers of detectors .., 
..
So it turns out .... how different manufacturers will be successful with their multi f-technologies ...

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There is one ace in the hole for upstart companies. Patents only last 20 years in the US and cannot be renewed if I understand correctly. The 3500 and even the 4500 have to be expiring in some years. Heck, the GPZ patents gotta be 8-10 years old by now?

If Minelab has an Achilles heel, it's exactly where they took a shot at the rest of the market with the Equinox: Price.

Someone could probably make a pretty capable 4500-ish detector soon with modern updates for $750, and no patent worries. Put that in the Middle East and I be you move some units. Minelab has to ensure they are always far enough ahead of the 20 year curve that old designs can't compete with current designs. Which actually might be one reason why they decided to finally make a 5000 successor (aka the 6000) after all these years?

 

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Here's my musings on the players:  

In addition to the African and Middle Eastern prospecting market, Minelab is also supported by it's Military mine detector business that also drives technical innovation both from a capability standpoint, ruggedness, and perhaps manufacturability cost.  Codan, of course has its other areas including tactical radios.  Bottom line, they have a robust engineering infrastructure and income that sustains their ability to continue to innovate PI as well as IB for hobbyists.  I think it is VERY interesting that they have apparently decided they they don't have release a new IB hobbyist detector at the 3 year point following the introduction fo the Equinox.  They probably realize the market was saturated with Equinox and while the CTX is due for a facelift - it is not economically a "must have" nor advantageous for Minelab to release a higher end IB with Multi IQ as a CTX replacement.  In fact, timing may be everything here.  They probably have their follow on to the Equinox/CTX in development and it probably ready to launch early in 2022, in response to Nokta's next offering.  This will likely be a tactical launch as a way to take the wind out of a new Nokta MF release similar to the timing of the Equinox release within months following the AT Max release.  (And Vanquish releasing around the same time as Simplex - though I think Minelab had very little idea what Apex was going to be otherwise they would not have given Vanquish such an retro Ace vibe).

Garrett has their commercial security detector business but that really has nothing to do with field metal detecting or innovating.  For hobby detecting, they are merely driven by a competitor (Minelab and to a lesser extent, Nokta, FT is not innovating at all right now beyond the highly niche AQ Impulse and even that seems to be on shaky ground).  The Whites acquisition appears to be mainly defensive in nature (get the IP and trade secret stuff off the market).  Maybe it will help inform and refine their Multfrequency efforts but I am not expecting "Whites by Garrett" legacy detectors to be showing up at all.

I am looking forward to Nokta's next advanced release (hopefully, a MF variant of the Nokta that looks like a Simplex but behaves like an Apex or (preferably) an Equinox).  Frankly, obviously the ML total technology is superior to anything else out there, but I find Nokta's approach to providing useful bells and whistles and less processed AM and target audio is refreshing.  Kind of filling the vacuum left by the regression of FT.

I am also looking forward to where Garrett takes their Apex tech into their higher end offerings.  Also curious as to just what Garrett will do with the Whites IP, if anything.

Regarding XP - I have no idea where they are going, frankly.  They have not really innovated past the Deus platform and are falling behind, or at least losing the perception war to the likes of Equinox, because their core detection technology is starting to look very dated despite the wireless platform and its feather weight ergonomics.  People are still buying Deus and discovering its value in thick iron which is bringing some unhunt-able sites back to life and it is popular with older detectorists that have trouble swinging the more traditionally weighted detectors and might otherwise have to hang it up.  It also makes a great back woods backpacking detector. The Deus is still my number one detector, but that is really a function of the type of detecting I personally do - relic hunting in hot soil and lots of iron about.  If I was primarily a beach hunter, then the Deus would drop way down the list unless I was sticking to the dry sand.  Same for coin shooting - it would be Equinox as Equinox is the most versatile detector I own and it is not going anywhere.  The Tarsacci is emerging as an interesting relic hunting tool in hot dirt and I can see some significant advantages to it versus both Deus and Equinox in specific situations.  

Bottom line is that ML continues to be the leader in hobbyist detector innovation, with Nokta really trying, but being held back by ML's ability to throw a larger number of engineering and manufacturing resources at a problem than Nokta.  Nokta, however, is still listening more intently to its customer base - especially when it comes to the fact that serious hobbyists really value having a choice of accessory coils.

Anyway, those are my random thoughts.

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