Equipment and Machinery

Motor Grader Manufacturers Get Aligned ...

Caterpillar Motor Grader

Motor Grader manufacturers are banking on their product lines, couple of which was introduced in the market very recently along with plans to launch newer offerings to cater to the requirement of the government's ambitious plans to construct 30 kms of road per day in the next two years. P.P.Basistha takes a look.

Case Motor Grader

There is a heightened business confidence among motor grader manufacturers in view of the government's renewed focus to kickstart stalled road projects along with awarding new ones. The proposed projects are well likely to provide business opportunities to the manufacturers. Contractors looking to participate in the new projects will require equipment that will deliver higher uptime as the government is focused towards avoiding time and cost overruns to the highest possible extent.

Abhijeet Gupta Case
Motor grader manufacturers are getting positioned to meet the emerging demand requirements through existing and newer planned solutions offerings that will deliver higher equipment uptime for faster surface preparation and finally quality finished roads. Along with getting prepared to make available the advanced solutions, grader manufacturers are also emphasizing on requisite product support for higher equipment availability. According to Mr. Abhijit Gupta, MD, Case New Holland India, "With the focus of new government for swift execution of infra & road projects and increase inflow of funds to the pre-announced projects, positive sentiment is seen. We expect that the annual budget will give further impetus for faster execution of all types of infrastructure projects, especially in the road sector. For new graders, we estimate a 30% growth to about 400 units for the full year 2015." According to industry estimates market size of graders for 2013 was about 220 units and 300 units in 2014.

Mr. Gupta mentions, "Taking cognizance of the emerging business opportunities, we launched the Case 845B and Case 865 B Motor Grader in the Indian market in last fiscal. With an array of globally popular and leading features, the response from the Indian customers has been encouraging."

Mr. Gupta explains, "Case's graders feature an FPT Industrial 6.7-liter engine with triple horsepower ranges on the 865B model and dual horsepower on the 845B to match the power requirements of various applications and deliver optimum fuel efficiency. The graders are offered with an automatic ZF Transmission. The machines have a multi curvature moldboard which reduces the resistance coming on the engine and hence the fuel consumption. An exclusive multi-radii, patented design of involute moldboard lets the Case B series grader move more material with less horsepower and less fuel than competitive models. The moldboard can be made 90 degree vertical, thereby enabling the usage of machine for shaping embankments / canal cutting applications."

He adds, "For better control Case graders are equipped with a forward-mounted articulation joint and rear-mounted spacious cab, giving operators a clear visibility."

The focus of timely completion of projects is requiring graders that provides higher equipment uptime and product reliability. Quicker operation is the major consideration for contractors involved in time bound highway projects. Economical cost of operation is another major determinant behind purchase of the machines.

Nischal Mehrotra
Liugong India is looking to cater the upcoming road construction requirements with its existing CLG 414 graders. According to Mr. Nischal Mehrotra, Director Sales & Servi- ces, Liugong India, "Our graders deliver lower cost of ownership and maintenance. Liugong graders are equipped with Cummins engines, Meritor tandem, ZF transmission (optional) and host of attachments for higher productivity and performance."

Liugong manufactures CLG 414 motor graders at its Pithampur plant near Indore. Expanding its portfolio further, the Chinese equipment conglomerate, is planning to launch heavy duty CLG 4215 motor graders during the third quarter of 2015-16. Mr. Mehrotra says, "Initially we will be importing the graders from China. Engines and steel structures will be sourced from India. We will increase the ratio of localization, once the equipment will prove itself."

Liugong Motor Grader

Broad Offerings

There are expectations of highway sector getting an allocation of Rs.45,000 crores. Larger allocation will result in execution of heterogeneous road projects in nature. Caterpillar like other manufacturers will look to take on the demand spurred by the colossal investments through its range of motor grader offerings.

Caterpillar Motor Grader

Ramesh Tipirneni
According to Mr. Ramesh Tipirneni, Country Manager, Caterpillar India, "Caterpillar offers a complete range of motor graders to carry out applications from small road construction and site development through to larger expressway construction up to demanding mining haul road construction and maintenance works. The Cat motor graders are designed keeping in mind to lower maintenance and ownership costs to assist owners to benefit from higher productivity and profit potential. Filter replacement schedules are optimized to extend service intervals. All daily operator maintenance checks and filter replacement positions are located on the one side of the machine centrally located to assist personnel to complete service requirements quickly and efficiently." The motor graders offered by Cat comprise 120k2, 140k2, 14m, 16m, and 24m. The net engine power is between 145-533 hp. Operating weights comprise between 12,998 kg to 65,480 kg. Mouldboard length is between 12ft to 24ft.

According to Mr. Tipirneni, "Caterpillar has a number of grade control technologies available for customers to select, depending on the level of job infrastructure and completion requirements. Our Motor Graders can be factory fitted with an AccuGrade Ready option (ARO) which is the foundation for the addition of other machine control and guidance technologies. ARO includes the integration of all the wiring harness, switches and brackets required for fitting of blade controls technology." Caterpillar's Grade Control portfolio includes; 2D Cross Slope, 2D Sonic, 2D Laser, 3D GNSS: Global Navigation Satellite Systems, 3D UTS: Universal Total Station."

These solutions assist customers in improving profitability essentially through more efficient use of machines, resulting in saving time, improving job-site safety, better managing project costs, and providing precise job specification deliverables."

Service Orientation

The new road projects are likely to create demand of increased units of motor graders. However, demand will be characterized by intense competition as there lies sizeable idle fleet in the market. Contractors will opt for optimum utilization of the fleet, followed by decision of newer equipment acquisitions. Taking note, companies are looking to leverage service offerings to strengthen product presence to build up brand presence among existing customers, looking to acquire more number of units as well as to potential newer customers.

According to Mr. Gupta, "At Case we have a very strongly focused sales, service and parts network along with powerful and fuel efficient machines. For distribution reach, we have enhanced our touch-points with the customers by having entire India covered through more dealers with higher number of outlets. This ensures a standardized brand visibility for Case India and an opportunity for us to engage with our customers closer to their homes and work sites. We have an extensive network of over 65 dealers and 250 touch points. In addition to these, there are 20 Case marketing offices covering all regions. All dealer outlets have fast moving spares available along with availability of service engineers to avoid downtime of machines working at sites. There are training programs both classrooms as well as virtual throughout the year for keeping our team up to date." He adds, "Along with a more reliable product, we have further enhanced our service levels through establishment of call centers with toll free numbers and a focused customer relation management initiative."

Case Motor Grader 865B

Liugong India will look to increase its unit sales of graders and supporting service through its regional offices in 4 zones along with its 18 dealer across India. Mr. Mehrotra says, "Our centralized warehouse for spares will continue to ensure timely delivery of parts to customers and dealers. As part of product support, Liugong conducts training program for dealers and key customers for effective operation & maintenance of equipment. These are well supported by our key supplier partners. In pre-launch stages the customers are taken into confidence and well supported for the new products so that the unique learning can be addressed for mutual benefits and regular customers will be benefited for the performance and reliability of products and services."

Mr. Mehrotra mentiones, "For better returns on investment, we can offer extended warranties and annual maintenance contracts so that contractors can commit the quality output from the resources engaged." To strengthen its support presence, Liugong India is studying remanufacturing opportunities in India. "For hand on experience, on selective basis along with our vendors, we have been examining the options and statutory requirements of remanufacturing prior to undertaking the initiatives on full scale."

Mr. Tipirneni says, "To increase sales and strengthen support, we are continuously ramping up our services and distribution network across India. This will resultantly improve our capability to supply high quality service parts and highly skilled service engineers close to our customers. We have 8 territorial dealerships across India owned by GMMCO and Tractors India Private Limited. With 150 plus dealer outlets and still growing, these include branch offices, area offices, retail outlets, workshops and site support."

Advanced products for delivering higher uptime hold key for timely completion of road projects like any other infrastructure projects. However, appropriate product support is crucial to prevent equipment down time for machineries involved in road projects. This is precisely when there is ever increasing pressure on work margins, even extended payment schedules coupled with requirements of quality projects.

NBMCW March 2015

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Construction Equipment: Demand Getting ...

Construction Equipment Forecast

Contractors have started showing renewed interest towards new equipment acquisitions after closely judging requirements. P.P.Basistha takes a stock of the emerging demand pattern.

The new government's resolve to fast track infrastructure development has begun rekindling contractors' interest for acquisition of new plants and machineries. Receding status of the order books, tardy release of payments, rising interest rates for project execution and equipment acquisition made contractors shelve decisions for acquisition of new units for good number of recent years. However, banking on the resolve of the government to pull out the infrastructure out of slumber, contractors are now quite keen towards buying new units. Nonetheless, the big rider is that the decision to procure new units will be firmly indexed by absolute correlation with the ongoing job requirements or the new projects they bag, at least in the mid-term.

Slower project announcements and extended payment cycles, resultantly depleted to a major extent the contractors' reserves. This was followed by serious debt restructuring, disinvestment of equity, and outright distressed sale of assets by construction firms and project developers to generate cash for remaining in business. With the hard cash, contractors could manage to earn, the strategy is now towards resource optimization by selective acquisition of equipment only to meet the needed requirements as of now. This is in strong contrast with the situation prior to 2010, when equipment bank of the contractors swelled, as projects in plethora ensured their off take and resale.

Cat424B Backhoe Loader

Contractors are now waiting for the comfort period to appear for their reserves kitty to be stronger allowing them for enhanced purchases. This will be only possible with job volumes getting increased and bidding receding, allowing contractors to earn decent margins. According to the estimates of the equipment buyers, the span is likely to get extended till the end of the year that is when demand will attain traction.

According to Mr. A.P.S. Chadha, Senior Director, C&C Constructions Ltd, "we are closely monitoring the cycle of payments in road projects by the concessionaire and the project developers, following which we will take a call on further acquisition of equipment. As of now, we are adequately placed with our equipment fleet to meet our ongoing project requirements." C&C which has got maximum exposure in road construction projects is presently executing three BoT projects and five Asian Development Bank funded projects in Bihar. It is also executing a major World Bank funded road project in Himachal Pradesh.

While newer equipment acquisition may not be an outright decision road construction major C&C is willing to take, however, it is not agreeing to sit on its old inventory for a prolonged period either. Working towards resource optimization, C&C is also not willing to incur additional expenses towards maintaining the older inventories if they are beyond economic repairs. "We are quite firm towards retention of the equipment if only they are within the ambit of economical repairs and can deliver the desired quality output," notes Mr. Chaddha. C&C has an equipment bank close to Rs.400 crores. The company recently participated in a major trade enquiry for acquisition of new asphalt batching plants.

Tata Prima Construction Equipment

Sitting on older fleet that is costlier to operate is also not under consideration by Gujarat based construction major, Dinesh Chandra Agarwal Infracon. The company has recently completed construction of major flyover project at Dabri mode in New Delhi, close to airport. According to Mr. Jagdish Agarwal, ED, Dinesh Infracon, "We are going for major acquisition of asphalt hot mix plant, compactors, pavers, pneumatic tire rollers, concrete batching plants, and transit mixers." Though, not disclosed whether the fresh buys are in replacement of the older fleet, Mr. Agarwal mentioned, "We fully ensure that the equipment get optimally utilized and we are able to comfortably meet our bank payment obligations." As a reason he pointed out, "At present, we are looking to participate in government owned /funded projects where payment part is relatively comfortable as compared to the private concessionaire."

However, agreeing to the fact that, payment cycles are extended in government projects but altogether not delayed for an indefinite period Mr. Agarwal mentioned, "Taking note of the same, we are looking for refurbishment of the equipment, in major cases through fitment of remanufactured parts to have the desired output from the machinery." Dinesh Chandra Infracon has a fleet of over 200 equipment at its disposal. The company is executing major road connectivity projects of NHAI in West Bengal involving Kharagpur-Kolaghat project, road projects in Balasore, Odisha, and major flyover project in Surat.

Major acquisition of road equipment is also planned by South Indian construction firm, Sushee Infra which has recently acquired a brand new 124 tonne per hour asphalt batching plant and couple of Volvo FMX tipper trucks. According to Mr. T. Reddy, Senior Manager Purchase, Sushee Infra, "We are looking forward towards procurement of tandem rollers, soil compactors, pavers and pneumatic tire rollers. The fresh set of equipment is being acquired in place of the recently scrapped machineries. We are also looking to take equipment on hire for mining and irrigation projects." Sushee has got exposure in construction of roads, irrigation projects and tunneling. The company is working on Trans Arunachal Pradesh road project that will connect larger parts of Assam in North East.

Getting diversified from its earlier mainstay business of piling, known by its erstwhile name, Simplex Piles, the Kolkata based company is diversifying its equipment portfolio to get branded with its new name, Simplex Infrastructure. According to Mr. Manash Ghosh, Chief Manager, Purchase, Simplex Infrastructure, "To meet the construction requirements of new diversified areas, precisely in real estate construction projects, we are acquiring flat top and hammer head tower cranes within the capacity range of 6-10 tons, along with other supporting equipment for real estate construction, involving mast climbers concrete boom pumps. However, the newer equipment are only procured based on specific project requirements, which we may not be able to meet from our equipment bank worth over Rs.1000 crores."

Liugong Wheel Loader

Focus on Optimization

While companies are looking forward for fresh acquisitions based on project requirements, however, a major part of the focus is towards optimization of usage to neutralize the extended payment cycles.

Gammon India is utilizing sizeable segments of its old equipment. Those have worked at numerous sites. This ranges from backhoe loaders, transit mixers, and excavators to piling rigs. The company has deployed sizeable segments of its equipment for time bound, major cable stayed Signature Bridge work in Delhi. An AK 380 Gottwald, 4 axle, 350 tons and an AK 150 Gottwald (1973 built), 100 tons mobile truck mounted lattice boom cranes are erecting precast concrete sections. The AK150 has earlier worked at Delhi Metro's second phase project and other sites as well.

Two 100 tons and one 20 tons, rail mounted gantry cranes from Anupam Industries are working at the approaches for lifting of precast concrete sections. Gammon is also using a fully reconditioned, 18 ton Tata, crawler crane.

Mr. Shubhendu Bose, DGM (Projects) Gammon India says, "For most of our projects including the Signature Bridge, we are looking to buy equipment only to meet specific project site requirements. We have recently placed order for a new rail mounted, gantry crane with 40 meters span and 60 tons lifting capacity to industrial crane manufacturer, Electromech Industries. The crane will be lifting 30 tons precast concrete sections for the approaches connecting the main bridge on the river which cannot be accessed by the heavy crawler crane."

Lifting Equipments
GR Infra Projects Limited has recently acquired 14-15 used machines from Somdatt Builders. The equipment will be used by the company for some of its site in India as well as projects in Africa and Mauritius. According to Mr. R.L. Kashyap, VP, Procurement, GR Infra Projects, "With banks and financial institutions reducing their exposure to finance infrastructure projects and equipment coupled with cash contraction from the concessionaire, we are looking for optimum utilization of our present fleet, making purchases based on specific site and job requirements. We have our own dedicated mechanical wing that undertakes constant engineering audits of the equipment, so as to evaluate their ability to perform. That is how we have been able to reduce downtime of the equipment. We do not keep the machines idle but keep on shifting them between various sites." GR Infra Projects is executing NHAI projects in Rajasthan and is also involved in construction of runway for Jodhpur airport. The company possess a fleet equipment of close to Rs.450 crores.

Equipment will be retained by piling construction major D. Thakkar Constructions. According to Mr. Vishal Thakkar, Director, "We are focusing more towards in-house turnkey piling jobs, so as to ensure utilization of our cost intensive rigs commercially viable. The strategy has enabled us to hedge idling of 30% of our piling rigs at present." Thakkar Construction is the piling contractor for Jaipur Metro project. The firm has also sizeable jobs under Delhi Metro Railway. It is also involved in piling job of coal jetty for Vizag Port.

Emerging Business

Construction Equipment

The emerging trend of optimum equipment utilization thereby restricting fresh purchases only to be taken for specific site and contract requirements may keep volumes demand subdued for OEMs. However, it is opening up new business vistas, although characterized by tough business challenges, much at par with developed markets. The challenge is understanding the ever emerging complex job requirements of the contractors in the country across the equipment verticals and thereby developing products and reorientation of products and services support accordingly. This may not be feasible with mere equipment offering, but by critical knowledge expertise of the OEMs calling for closer engagement with the customers. This is because contractors or yesteryears equipment owners are increasingly looking for backward integration by developing expertise to neutralize business risks from the ever getting cyclic Indian construction sector. Much notable instance being cranes and material handling and piling or even earthwork. Engagement with contractors is increasingly becoming vital as business structure of contractors in India has continued to become complex over the recent years, right from the project awarding stage that may get stretched due to delayed land acquisition, delay in laying of access points to the job site or arbitration. Additionally, during project execution, complexities in execution may require the contractor bring in added mechanization for faster completion of the job. Further, requirement to meet desired specification of the concessionaire may also need added mechanization, thereby requiring higher cash flow again than that of the estimated amount. These are rapidly emerging typical situations in India, which usually surpasses the levels of committed cash required for the projects. Though it may seem at first glance, the more job volume, the more business profitability, however, the looming rider remains. The more number of jobs, the more requirements of cash supply. Further, the more complexity greater the requirement of finance availability. Requisite product placement backed by necessary support based on customer engagement can help to minimize the cash requirement needed for mechanization. With contractors increasingly looking for optimum utilization of the plant and machineries, cost effective Reman and refurbishment is also key.

NBMCW February 2015

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Excavators: OEMs Look for Longer Busine...

JCB Excavator

Amidst the excavators' compressed market size, manufacturers are getting prepared for the longer business cycles. The future preparation is in the backdrop of recent positive business enquiries being generated, which is likely to attain momentum in the mid-term. P.P. Basistha takes a look.

According to excavator manufacturers, they got a number of enquiries in the last eight months. However, the enquiries are yet to be converted into actual orders. They foresee segments of the orders getting materialized owing to the fresh positive business sentiments of the construction sector fraternity. The sentiments, excavator manufacturers have, are most likely to create business confidence, making the plant and machinery owners go in for fresh investments. With voices from the construction industry being raised before the RBI cuts down borrowing rates on indications of lowered/ stable inflationary scenario, the projection assessment could seem to be true.

There are of course some business improvements reported by the construction industry which are also the likely cause of the enquiries being generated for the OEMs. HCC has bagged a major order of Rs.635 crore for transportation and hydel power segments. The first part of the contract is worth Rs.454.89 crores from the Ministry of Road and Highways under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme of the North Eastern Region. Toll road developer, IRB, registered a 14% growth in net profit at Rs.122 crore as compared to Rs.102 crore previous year. The company declared its order book at Rs.11,600 crore of which Rs.9,650 crore are to be executed in next three to four years. There are works of deep excavation involved, segment of which has been commenced by LNG Petronet, for its third phase mega terminal capacity expansion at Dahej.

However, full-scale demand from the ongoing works along with the ones recently bagged by the contractors is unlikely to attain momentum before 2015, that is when the actual site deployment of the equipment acquired through fresh acquisitions and disposition of segments of existing equipment will take place. Enquiries by NBM&CW have recently revealed (see report on equipment forecast) that sizeable segments of contractors are replenishing their older fleet, beyond economic repairs. However, focus also remains high towards optimization of existing equipment. This is an encouraging trend, yet highly complicated characterized by intense competition with manufacturers resorting to aggressive price discounting.

Sharwan Agnihotri
Mr. Sharwan Agnihotri, Head- Marketing & Key Accounts, Hyundai Construction Equipment India Pvt. Ltd. points out, "Low demand of Excavators in domestic market is forcing manufacturers to optimize operational efficiency by lowering capacity utilization of plants. This low demand and excess available capacity has infused intense price war among manufacturers bringing the margins down to the plateau levels." Not difficult to decipher, sales figures of excavators from January to October 2014 have been at 7,600 units as compared to 9,000 units in 2013 and 12000 units in 2012 during the same period. With positive enquiries being generated, amidst the character of the market remaining tight, excavator industry is expected to close 2014 by selling 9000 units.

Hyundai will improve sales & strengthen service back up for its Excavators mainly by scaling up operations and offering customized products for new applications. "We will increase coverage of sales & product support through our existing 27 dealers having 130+ customer touch points. Our overall thrust will be to sell more than 1600 units in domestic market in this calendar year

Hyundai MaGiQ

We have customized our products to cater to the growing demand from Marble, Granite and stone Quarry application by launching R220LC-7MaGiQ and R390LC-9 excavator. Both these excavators are equipped with heavy duty undercarriage, stronger bucket & reinforced structure. "We will be offering customized products for various application segments to bring profitable growth for the organization" comments Mr. Agnihotri. He further added, the new generation 9 series machines are tested for 10% higher productivity over earlier series of Excavators. These machines are equipped with value added features such as "Hi-mate" machine tracking tool through which machine location, performance update, daily operation history, real time alarm information, theft prevention, fuel efficiency management and fleet monitoring system can be tracked.

In their plan growth plan, Hyundai is appointing new dealers at strategic locations to promote sales & improve touch points for customers. They have also identified efficient spare parts distribution and skill development activities for operators and customers as the key differentiators at the market place. In line with this philosophy, the company is involved in technical training for operators, maintenance engineers and the customers. These training sessions are conducted on site and at its training centre at Pune. For efficient spare parts supply to the customers, the company has a mother warehouse in Pune and regional warehouses in Kolkata, Hyderabad and Delhi. Hyundai derives around 40% of its Equipment sale business from the repeat customers which validates the key philosophy of the organization – "Partnering Profitable Growth".

Hyundai India manufactures 8 ton to 50 ton class tracked excavators in its Pune facility. Globally, Hyundai Heavy Industries manufactures Excavators between 8 ton to 120 ton class.

A M Muralidharan
Volvo CE has been looking to expand business in the complex business environment directing machines intended for desired applications, notably through marketing higher capacity excavators. According to Mr. A.M. Muralidharan, President, Volvo CE, India, "We have been focusing on above 20 tons class segments. Targeting the overburdened quarry and mining segments, we have also been looking to promote our 48 tons and 70 tons class excavators. The higher capacity excavators are able to provide 5-7 percent higher productivity as compared to other manufacturers' offerings in the similar class. Besides, the machines score better on fuel efficiency and lesser total operating costs."

He says, "We have been targeting specific projects to promote the higher class machines. With a combined application of 8x4 and 10x4 Volvo tippers, users of the higher capacity excavators have been able to achieve lesser total operating costs."

Volvo Excavators

While Volvo CE has been focusing towards higher capacity excavators, it has remained keen to promote below 30 tons class capacity machines as sixty percent demand of the market share is occupied by similar category. According to Mr. Muralidharan, "Large segment of the buyers of the below 30 tons class units are first time buyers. To access the potential segment, we have increased our dealership network to 18 from 15 to expand our reach. Support to the dealers is being rendered through our training programme to increase the manpower competence and other systems support," says Mr. Muralidharan.

To avoid brand substitution by making product support affordable for customers, Volvo CE has expanded its 'Reman', remanufacturing support to cylinders and engine components apart from hydraulic pumps as earlier. Mr.Muralidharan mentions, "We have extended support to more models of our excavators across different capacities and class through Reman." Volvo CE also provides support for its products through 'CareTrack'. GPS and the mobile phone network, or data via satellite are coordinated in CareTrack. Volvo CE also has customer support agreements. The Swedish equipment manufacturing major has an active population of 5,000 excavators across the class in India.

Amit Gossain
Brand strengthening is being looked by JCB through its new JS 120 excavators. According to Mr. Amit Gossain, EVP, Sales & Marketing, and Business Development JCB India; "We have recently introduced the upgraded JS120 which is powered by JCB's ecoMAX engine for enhanced fuel efficiency and productivity. JS 120 comes with air conditioning for ensuring operators comfort in harsh Indian summer. It is fitted with remote monitoring system "livelink" which monitors the health parameters of the machine and keeps the owner informed on the status of the machine. Through livelink, the owner can track the location and usage details of the machine. The system also provides proactive reminders for maintenance so that it can be serviced at recommended intervals." He adds, "JS120 has been designed around its end-user for excellent operator environment; the upgraded cab which is 25% bigger and integrated air-conditioning enhances operator comfort.

Mr. Gossain mentions, "we are well positioned to meet the wide demand applications of Indian construction sector through our product offerings of excavators between 3T operating weight (JS30) to 36T operating weight (JS 360LC) to serve the plant hirers, earthmoving and quarrying customers."

JCB Ecomaxx Engines

Optimization of product support is being focused by JCB to deliver higher equipment uptime to its excavator owners, through its Ecomaxx Engines. Mr. Gossain explains, "fitting our excavators with JCB's Ecomaxx engines we have ensured that our customers gets the excavators along with the engines serviced with JCB dealers. To provide higher equipment uptime, we have carried improvisation in the engines by upgrading the air filtration system to make it robust and fail-safe to improve life of the engine."

The engines are available in the range of 76 hp to 150 hp. It features naturally aspirated, turbocharged or common rail versions depending on the type of applications. Mr. Gossain points out, "the engines are pressurized by a high pressure rotary pump and have an oil change period and engine filter change period of 500 hrs each reducing maintenance cost." JCB has 600 dealership outlets to provide product support. The company has warehouses at Pune, Chennai, Ballabgarh and Kolkata for parts support.

Caterpillar India will be looking to expand its excavator business banking on its new 320D Series 2 hydraulic excavator. According to Caterpillar India officials, "our new 320D Series 2 excavator is designed and manufactured with the customer in mind. With a robust engine that works with low pressure fuel system with an electric governor, 320D2 is suited for fuel in emerging markets. This system is less susceptible to inferior fuel. This 7.01 liters engine system also contains an electric fuel priming pump circuit and is automatically activated to improve serviceability and reduce downtime. With Eco-Mode® power setting, with this new engine system, Cat® 320D Series 2 is capable of reducing the fuel consumption up to 15% in heavy duty application."

Caterpillar Excavator

Officials elaborate, "320 D Series-2 comes with engineering improvisations. This includes, Cat® C7.1 engine used in the excavators that meets U.S. EPA Tier 2, EU Stage II and China non-road machine emission stage 2 regulations. A new filtration system uses a primary fuel filter / water separator and a secondary fuel filter to ensure clean fuel throughout the system. The field-proven C7.1 engine is designed for ease of service and can work efficiently at altitudes up to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet). Compared to its predecessor, the new engine uses approximately 3 to 5 percent less fuel, depending on work mode. An automatic engine-speed control lowers engine rpm during no-load or light-load conditions to minimize fuel consumption." 320D Series 2 is manufactured at Caterpillar India's new facility in Thiruvallur in Chennai.

To ensure availability of products, Caterpillar's Financial Products Division and Tata Capital Financial Services Limited has, recently entered into a tie up to offer customers finance options for purchasing Cat equipment at all their dealership stores. Caterpillar offers services like rent to purchase, trading of existing machines, and short term rentals.

Caterpillar is looking forward on its customer support agreements (CSA) with the support of its dealers Gmmco and Tractors India Private Limited to strengthen its brand among existing customers for future sales. Officials say, "effectively executed CSA's have proven to be one of the best methods to lower customers' total owning and operating cost resulting towards improvement of customer loyalty."

They mention, "we are continuously ramping up our services and distribution network across India through our two existing dealers for being in close proximity of our customers and also to minimize lead times for ensuring availability of parts and service engineers."

S Manjunath
Business footprint expansion is also looked by Doosan. "Backed by our 28 dealers, we will increase our sales and customer support coverage," says Mr. S Manjunath, National sales Manager, Doosan Infracore India. He mentions, "We will refrain from aggressive business promotion of our excavators in India through price discounting rather making huge loss to the company, our emphasis is to earn decent margins on our products for long-term sustenance in the market place to provide quality service to our customers availability." We enjoy the status of rendering support at the shortest time to service the equipment on customer call, as compared to our competitors. Our shortest response time coupled with well crafted support packages has ensured high availability of our 3000 active excavator units working at construction, road, blue metal quarry, Granite, Irrigation and mining sites.

He continues, "One of our recent initiatives towards product support has been setting up Doosan's exclusive fleet depot at Dhanbad in Eastern India along with Udaipur and apart from Chennai. The fleet depots have been set up to serve our large population of equipment working in the regions."

Doosan Heavy Excavator

Doosan targets to complete 2014 by selling 350 units as compared to 470 excavators units it sold in 2012. It will broaden market base for the excavators through targeting newer applications through total product packages. "We have best in class mobile bucket crushers. Our drilling attachments and hydraulic breakers are much suitable for granite and other quarrying applications. The attachments integrate well with the excavators. They are being promoted with the excavators as a valued selling proposition. The broader initiative is to position ourselves as a total solution provider through a single window. We are also looking to promote 30-36-50 tons class units in an increased way to granite & Mining sector," mentions Mr. Manjunath. Looking at firm demand fundamentals, Doosan will explore the option of assembling its excavators at Sricity near Chennai or Bengaluru. Doosan's Bengaluru facility presently assembles compressors and light tower units.

Fundamentals Driving Preparedness

The ongoing business expansions of the excavators' manufacturers through network expansion and introduction of product line is essentially being driven on the firm demand fundaments of the market, although cyclic in nature. This can be said to be true examining the immediate past demand trends, when after seeing a significant decline in 2009, the demand for excavators witnessed an extraordinary growth with market touching the level of almost 15,000 units in 2011. However, the present projections have fallen short. According to the early industry estimates, demand for excavators in 2013 was projected to be around 12,000 units. Demand projections of 14,000 units were assessed in 2014. Taking into consideration the intense cyclic nature of the industry buoyed by the volatile trend of the construction sector, manufacturers will be required to take a well calibrated approach towards expansion. This will be vital for ensuring sales and also maintaining focus on customer support, ensuring brand recall in the long run.

NBMCW December 2014

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Mining in remote locations – how equi...

Bhushan Washed Iron Ore
Bhushan washed iron ore is loaded into trucks from M2500

Every mining project has its own challenges, hence equipment manufacturers have big responsibility to deliver such materials processing systems that are fit for the purpose at the remote locations. In this paper Peter Craven, Head of Marketing, CDE Global outlines how equipment manufacturers can meet the demands of the mining industry in the years ahead.

Our experience in the delivery of mining projects across the world in recent years has revealed a number of challenges for us and other equipment manufacturers if we are to continue to provide processing systems that are fit for the purpose.

A major challenge for equipment manufacturers in the years ahead will be to provide materials processing systems that are able to be efficiently deployed in increasingly remote locations. There will also be a requirement to process increasingly difficult materials that have been overlooked until now. As our demand for steel, aluminium, copper and silica sands and other industrial minerals continues to increase, mining companies are constantly looking for new and improved processing technologies that will allow them to process lower grade ores and industrial sands and produce final products suitable for use in downstream processes.

Another development we have witnessed is an increased focus on staged investment as a means of delivery for new mining projects – designing your plant in such a way as to allow for production to begin in the shortest possible timeframe while planning for further plant and process development. To use the age old adage ‘the customer is always right', if mining companies are looking for equipment that can be more efficiently deployed, that can process increasingly difficult materials and that is suitable for staged investment then it is the responsibility of equipment manufacturers to meet these requirements.

In looking at how we can do this, I will look at a number of issues which can be categorised under these headings:
  1. Built with the application in mind
  2. Modularity
  3. Intelligent Process Integration
  4. A phased approach to design & delivery
  5. System adaptability
  6. Mobility – without compromise
  7. A turnkey approach

1 - Built with the application in mind

Every project presents its own unique challenges. When we look at the raw material there are several factors which will influence the selection of the appropriate processing system. The quality of the ore is the first issue to consider. In addition to this, we need to analyse the level of contamination within the material that needs to be removed. This could be sticky plastic clay that requires a logwasher to provide the necessary attrition. In the case of iron ore processing, we will also have to consider the levels of silica and alumina contamination which if not removed will lead to inefficiencies in downstream steel production processes. The presence of all of these materials necessitates that every project is considered as a stand-alone system and designed, specified and constructed individually with a full understanding of the requirements of the project.

If we take this to its logical conclusion the response from equipment manufacturers to this scenario should be to produce tailored processing systems for every individual project in order to maximise process efficiency. This represents a major shift from the typical business model for equipment manufacturers – which is to produce a limited range of standard machines that can be applied across a wide range of applications. Using standard machines presents a problem, and requires end users of the equipment to accept that they will have to compromise on performance if they do not intend to run the equipment within the designed operating parameters.

While the vast majority of equipment manufacturers will tell you that tailoring each individual project is not possible – the reality is that it is entirely possible. Our experience in the mining sector has shown that there are a number of individual considerations that need to be made in order to maximise the efficiency of the final processing system.

The selection of the appropriate screening media is very important – polyurethane is almost always the best match for mining projects but not all polyurethane is equal. Due consideration must be given to the abrasiveness & specific gravity of the material to ensure that the most suitable product is specified.

The choice of lining for any hydrocyclones also requires individual consideration – rubber lining may well be suitable on some materials but others will demand ceramic linings when dealing with highly abrasive mineral ores.

Consideration should also be given to the requirement for additional wear liners at specific points in the system. Easily replaceable wear liners at the feed point will have a positive impact on plant availability by minimising the time required for maintenance.

The appropriate conveyor belt specification will also require individual treatment based on the nature of the material to be processed. Enhanced top cover thickness will enhance wear resistance, maximise plant productivity and reduce costs of operation through a reduction in the spare parts requirement. Staying with conveyors, the inclusion of belt cleaning systems such as tungsten tipped scraper blades will also offer enhanced wear resistance.

The specification of appropriate pumps is also critical in an effort to ensure they will stand up to the rigour of the material to be processed.

2 – Modularity

A rise in the popularity of modular processing systems on mining projects has been evident over the last few years. One of the major motivations for a move in this direction from our own perspective was a focus on Transfer Point Technology – ensuring the efficient transition of material from one stage of processing to another. The direct result of this approach is to maximise material retention within the circuit and avoid bottlenecks within the system where the discharge point from one processing phase is not optimised for seamless delivery to the next stage.

There are numerous advantages to this approach – greater process efficiency and reduced installation and commissioning time being the most obvious. All of this works together to ensure you are able to start extracting value from your material as quickly as possible.

In most, if not all mining projects, there will be a requirement to integrate third party equipment within the processing system so it is also important that designers are aware of the likely connections that will need to be made and consider this very early on in the design process. This will streamline the project design process and ensure that once the system is up and running, it operates at maximum efficiency.

Mining Equipment
Mining AggMax Pre-build in factory before dispatch to site

The third party equipment that CDE has most experience with when designing processing systems for mining projects are attrition cells, spiral classifiers, decanter centrifuges and filter presses. Through the development of partnerships with suppliers of these systems, we can ensure that our focus on Transfer Point Technology does not stop at our own products but extends to this 3rd party equipment as well. As a result of our focus on tailoring each system, we are also able to manage the introduction of new equipment to our systems as and when required.

3 – Intelligent Process Integration

Intelligent Process Integration involves the introduction of several different processing phases onto a single chassis. Aligned with the previous point on modularity, this allows for transfer point efficiency to be maximised. Additional advantages are a reduced plant footprint which results in a reduced civils requirement. These factors combine to reduce both the time required and the final cost of the project.

When feed systems, screening plant, fines processing, scrubbing systems are all provided as individual stand-alone units there will be a large amount of design time spent on designing civils and support structures to accommodate all of this in equipment. Once the equipment reaches site the time taken to mechanically install the plant will be longer than necessary as a result of having to put all of the individual components together.

The reduction in mechanical install time is delivered because all equipment undergoes a complete pre-build to its working position in a factory environment. This is a final quality control step that allows for any fabrication issues to be addressed before equipment is dispatched. Our focus on the delivery of wet processing systems means that this approach extends to ensuring that all pipework connections are already established prior to dispatch – eliminating the requirement for cutting or preparation work on site, reducing install time and eliminating the requirement to source this pipework locally either because it has been damaged in transit or is missing from the items delivered to site.

Another significant advantage of integrating several processes onto a single chassis is that all equipment can be pre-wired and tested in a factory environment. Adding to the reduction in time taken for mechanical install, the electrical installation time is also reduced. It also has the advantage of making the electrical connections a design feature of the plant – cable runs and housings are part of the design process which not only improves the aesthetics of the plant but also enhances health and safety on site.

This approach also reduces the requirement to try and find local suppliers of cables and other electrical items – particularly relevant in any discussion concerning how to approach mining projects in remote locations.

4 – A phased approach to project delivery

Through a phased approach to project delivery, it is possible to show a return on your investment much more quickly. The start of this process will be detailed discussions with your mining engineers to understand the specifics of the reserve – capacity requirements, likely requirements for future upgrades. This will also involve a detailed analysis of your material in an attempt to understand whether it is possible to kick start a project with a simple processing system which can then be added to as and when required.

For example, a detailed material analysis throughout the reserve will reveal whether there is a seam of relatively clean, uncontaminated material that requires minimal processing. Following this, it can be determined at what stage additional equipment may be required – for example a logwasher may need to be introduced to tackle claybound material or to help in the removal of other contaminants. Following this a third phase may be the introduction of primary stage water treatment and tailings management systems.

From an operational perspective the main advantage of adopting a phased approach is that rather than waiting for months on the delivery of a complex processing system, most of which will be under-utilised for a period of time you are able to take delivery of your first phase equipment in as little as 12 weeks. This allows you to begin to show a return on the investment very quickly which helps fund the future expansion of the plant when conditions dictate that it is necessary.

5 – System Adaptability

We have touched on the variability that is inevitable within mining projects and what is required at the outset may change over time. Future developments with your business may require a capacity upgrade to meet a rise in demand for the material you are producing. We may come across an area of your reserve with particularly challenging material that will require the introduction of a new process. Space restrictions on site or future environmental legislation may require the introduction of a tailings management system.

Given this potential for circumstances to change, it is essential that your processing system has the in-built flexibility to respond to these changes. We can't predict the future but through a comprehensive analysis of your material we can identify whether, for example, there is likely to be a requirement for an additional process to be introduced and when this is likely to happen given your extraction plan for the reserve.

If we have established that your business plan indicates a likely requirement for additional capacity as extraction progresses, we will design the civils on site to take this into account – minimising disruption to your operation. We will also bear this in mind when considering the location of the processing plant in the first instance to ensure that once any upgrade is required the original location is still suitable. Another step that we will take is to ensure that the original conveyor specification is fit to cope with the forecasted additional capacity both in terms of belt specification and stockpile capacity.

Similarly, if additional processing equipment is likely to be required this can be considered during the design of the original civils plant. We will also conduct a detailed analysis of the likely future water and power requirement once the additional equipment has been added to make sure that this infrastructure is in place.

6 – Mobility without compromise

Mobile makes sense. As your extraction progresses it makes sense that your processing plant should be able to be moved within the deposit to ensure maximum operational efficiencies are delivered. With a static processing plant this is not possible. As your extraction progresses your operational efficiency is reduced – increased transport movements on site as vehicles have to haul material greater distances to the processing plant, unnecessary double handling of your material as it is stockpiled at the extraction point before being delivered to the processing plant. By opting for modular equipment which integrates several processes on a single, easily transportable chassis you ensure that your processing plant can be moved quickly and easily within the deposit – or to another processing location – in order to maximise operational efficiencies. This should be done without compromising on the specification of the screens, fines washing plants or logwashers that are included. The creation of a modular product range fit for the purpose in mining projects should involve the same specification of equipment as would be included on a static plant.

One of the major areas of compromise on mobile plant is with the walkways – ladders leading to very narrow walkways are the norm on most mobile machines. This makes plant maintenance very awkward, increasing the time and therefore the cost of carrying out plant maintenance. Site health and safety rules may also be compromised.

This is why we believe that even on mobile or portable plant, the walkways for access and maintenance should be of the same specification as would be found on a static plant. This ensures that you continue to enjoy all the benefits of a static plant in relation to maintenance access – ease of visual inspection, access to change screen media, replace spray bars, and carry out hydrocyclone maintenance.

The issue of maintenance access is often overlooked when a processing plant is being specified but it is a very important consideration as it is a factor which will have considerable influence on plant availability and delivering the highest standards of health and safety on site.

7 – A turnkey approach

It is evident from the analysis of all the aspects that make up a successful mining project in the 21st century that a much greater level of interaction between equipment manufacturer and the end user is required in order to deliver successful projects. With the many considerations that need to be made, there is potential for a huge number of vendors to be involved on each and every project and this requires that a robust Project Management system is in place.

Our own process is split into three distinct phases:
  1. Technical Pre-Sales
  2. ProMan
  3. CustomCare
Each of these phases include large amount of work. In Technical Pre-Sales, the elements include process design, equipment selection, mechanical design, civil design and 3rd party equipment integration. As we move into the delivery phase of the project, ProMan takes over and includes factory testing, power distribution, risk management, scheduling, budget management, construction management and quality control. Once your plant has been successfully installed and commissioned, our range of After-Sales services are activated including our MasterClass training programmes, service visits, recommended spare parts lists and on-going maintenance contracts.

The effect of being able to offer this complete range of services in addition to the equipment that we provide is to significantly reduce the number of vendors involved in the project, the result of which is a more streamlined project timeline which costs less to deliver. Effective communication is crucial to the delivery of successful materials processing projects and our process provides you with a dedicated single point of contact throughout the project lifecycle to ensure you remain fully informed at every stage of the project. Another advantage of this approach is that it helps to develop both our knowledge of your business and your knowledge of our capability which will allow both parties to explore the potential for further co-operation in the future.

In Conclusion

It is clear to all involved in the delivery of mining projects in the 21st century that there are many complex issues to be overcome. The demands of the industry are constantly evolving and it is essential that the products offered by equipment manufacturers continue to evolve. It is equally important that equipment manufacturers develop their processes and approach to project delivery in order to continue to meet the demands of the industry.

In summary, I believe there are 3 main considerations in this analysis of how equipment manufacturers can continue to supply mineral processing systems that are fit for the purpose.

1. The individual components that make up a complete processing plant cannot be looked at in isolation and should instead be made up of modular systems with the in-built flexibility to cope with shifts and changes in individual project circumstances.

2. Off the shelf processing systems from a collection of different manufacturers will not deliver the efficiency required of 21st century mining projects. A tailored approach is required with each individual project being built according to the specific requirements of the project – capacity, feed material and potential for future development.

3. Equipment manufacturers must get closer to the project and the end-user and understand the background, the specific objectives and the plans for future development. For most equipment manufacturers, this requires a huge shift in the way their business models are constructed. Our business has always been constructed on the principle that direct contact with the end-user is critical to success. We have been delivering projects in this manner for over 20 years and our project portfolios across all the sectors in which we operate are evidence of its success.

NBMCW November 2014

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OEMs are optimistic about sales’ rise...

Road Equipment: OEMs See Extended Decent Returns Initially

Road Equipment

Buoyed by the recent announcements of the government to put road projects on fast track, road equipment manufacturers are contesting hard to convince targeted buyers for avoiding brand substitution. P.P. Basistha takes a look.

Finally, there is a sense of joy in the board rooms of Indian road construction equipment manufacturers after a prolonged gloom. Top sales brass across companies, share optimism on positive projected demand. They speak with a strong assertive voice on fresh trade enquiries from contractors across the country, looking to take up projects that were aborted earlier, owing to paucity of funds. The senior sales executives expect that the earlier tangles of land acquisition and environmental clearances leading to curtailment of the projects will now be sidelined. Major instances contractors backing out of the projects, discovering the bid amount on which they have taken up the work were unrealistic, post taking over the work would also now be sidetracked with the government showing its keen interest to put projects on fast track.

However, in between, making broad statements on the projections and enquiries, the senior marketing officials, slow down intermittently, sharing eloquently that, the fresh project off-take would not be possible without serious competition. This is because OEMs will get tougher, vying for space afresh in the market in its nascent stages of opening, followed by not so late dormant phase in the backdrop of protracted demand slump. Given the market network, the manufacturers have built over the years, product selling may not be too tough altogether, if the projections are found to be appropriate, however, getting decent returns on the products could be an issue.

Enquiries by NBM&CW with the road equipment manufacturers could not wholesomely gather the volume of inventories with them at present. However, couple of important contractors contacted shared their upbeat mood in getting some best bargains from the OEMs, indicating that the market continues to be in a large extent the domain of buyers with manufacturers busy in pushing out inventories. Not hard to find, amidst a lull market, reputed asphalt batching plant manufacturer concluded some big deals very recently. Contractors in the deal claimed to have got some good discount packages.

Abhijit Gupta
The trend makes it tough for equipment manufacturers to make decent margings on product sales. Mr. Abhijit Gupta, Managing Director, Case New Holland Construction Equipment, India says, we are expanding our Ex series expanding our product range with the EX Series of Backhoe Loaders, 1107 DX Soil Compactor along with carrying out key engineering improvements, so as to reduce total cost of operation of our customers. Further, to expand and retain our market presence, we are looking towards deeper market penetration." Along with eyeing the domestic market, we are now exploring on leveraging the India plant for exporting its product range to Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East etc.

Case Soil Compactor
He continues, "Our new 1107 DX vibratory soil compactors, come with an operating weight of 11,300 kg and are powered by four cylinder 105 hp engine. They are high on fuel efficiency as well as productivity, provides better operator comfort and safety. Our other Compactor product includes, the versatile, reliable 752-8 tons asphalt vibratory compactors and 450 DX–3 tons mini tandem roller. All these products are manufactured at our plant at Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh.

According to Mr. Gupta, "Key to our product placement has been to reduce total cost of operation, notably through fuel efficiency and higher productivity. We will continue to build on our leadership position in the Compactor segment. To provide efficient service to our wide base of Compactor customers across the country, we have set up a CASE Customer Assistance Toll Free No 1800 3000 9770 and increased our dealership network to 59 dedicated CASE Dealers with over 200 touch points.

A M Muralidharan
"We will continue our well-known strategy of bringing down total cost of operation to the contractors, through our 9.8 tons double drum asphalt compactors, 11 ton soil compactors, 22 ton pneumatic tyre rollers and 5.5 meters and two models of 9 meter pavers to build up our presence among the road contractors. Based on our sole distinction among other manufacturers to offer complete range of products, required from the initial stage of road construction till its completion, we will have to retain our existing customers as well as leverage our market presence by offering packages," says Mr. A.M. Muralidharan, President Volvo Construction Equipment India. Volvo CE manufactures its road construction products at its Peenya plant in Bangalore, barring the two models of 9 meter pavers which the company imports from Germany.

Volvo Soil Compactor
However, he concedes, "Based on the emerging trend of earthwork compaction getting subcontracted in the main projects to individual small contractors, we are also targeting the retail and rental segment for volume sales. Based on the approach, we are looking to leverage our position to second position in soil compactors at par with double drum asphalt compactors. We aim to build our brand presence through our compactors, delivering better compaction forces powered by advanced 76-100 hp engine with 5-7 percent fuel efficiency."

Complementing with localization of the products, to make them affordable, Volvo CE has been carrying out engineering improvisation for making its products attuned to Indian road project sites. Mr. Muralidharan informs, "To make the machines perform optimally, we are carrying out tropicalisation of our compactors and pavers. In order to take care of spurious fuel, an added filter has been provided in the engines."

Volvo CE will bank upon its 18 dealers to promote fresh products as well as to provide product support to its 5,200 units of compactors working in the market. The Swedish entity provides remanufacturing support through upgradation of the hydraulic systems in its road construction equipment.

Product positioning & support requirement

While manufacturers are looking forward to promote volume sales based on the range of offerings to suit the emerging demand requirements, brand retention will largely depend on addressing the emerging complexities of the road construction projects in India, through the equipment offerings and product support.

As plant and machinery constitutes 6-10% of the investment component for typical road construction project, contractors are of the view that OEMs can add value to the business by making them run the plants efficiently. This is more so in present period of compressed margins and escalation of project cost. Though OEMs have no jurisdiction to curtail project cost escalation due to various external factors however, there is a definite room for fine-tuning the plants to the expected site conditions, so that chances of putting extra finance in operations are kept minimal.

Hiten Kapadia
Atlas Copco India will emphasize on optimum running of plants through requisite support. Mr. Hiten Kapadia, Business Head, Atlas Copco says, "Training and development of our service team and dealers is a continuous process. They undergo training and refreshment course at regular intervals. We have also started "one number concept" for all supports and complaints in order to have a better control of the situation. Our engineers are also trained on major sub assembly like engines. We refer to the engine manufacturer only for critical problems."

Dynapac Soil Compactor
Atlas Copco which acquired Dynapac brand of road equipment few years ago offers soil compactors between 4 to 27 ton class, asphalt compactors between 1 to 18 ton, pneumatic tyre rollers 6 to 27 ton, paver finishers 1.8 mts to 14 mts and milling machines. The company is looking forward for enhanced business volumes through its Dynapac SD2550CS paver equipped with the new Dynapac R300TVE rigid screed. According to Mr. Kapadia, "The machine offers higher paving capacity with lowest cost per ton. Together, the Dynapac SD2550CS paver and the Dynapac MF2500CS material feeder make a great paving team, meeting the needs of contractors, communities and rental companies around the world. The superior screed system and the new version of the intelligent Pave Manager 2.0 control system contribute to the highest mat quality."

Mr. Kapadia informs, "Our R&D team has carried out improvements on the new paver, focusing on enhanced operator comfort, advanced control systems, for delivering the highest quality and total cost of ownership."

He elaborates, "The Dynapac SD2550CS offers come with a new dashboard. Ergonomically positioned and designed based on recommendations from operators, it creates easy to understand analogue signs in a digital display. To make work easy for screed operators wearing gloves, the smart screed remote controls also have toggle switches for screed extensions and levelling cylinder function.

The easy-to-learn and operate intuitive dashboard is equipped with a camera system. This offers a 360 degree view, giving the operator even greater control over the paving job by monitoring the process on a high resolution display on the dashboard. The upgraded Pave Manager 2.0 operating system, with colour display, offers an improved operator interface as well as additional features. The new version incorporates direct access buttons to key functions on the main dashboard, improved display of screed control as well as additional paving functions."

He continues, "The other improvements include, equipment flexibility for achieving desired job quality. SD2550CS is suitable for highway paving up to 14 m, with a theoretical production capacity of 1,100 t/h. The heating system with a 60 kW generator and the screed heating system ensure faster heating up to the full working width. The big hopper (2.6 m deep with 15 t capacity), a 1.3 m wide material tunnel and a 500 mm diameter auger system provides the smooth material flow required while paving wide sections. The paver is also available with a big material hopper and, when used together with the new Dynapac MF2500CS material feeder, the paving performance can be 30% higher."

Dynapac Road Construction Equipment

Mr. Kapadia says, "To meet varied job sites requirements of the road contractors, number of screeds can be fitted to the Dynapac SD2550CS paver. This includes, the Dynapac V5100/6000 TVE (tamper vibration) screeds, V5100/6000TVH (high compaction) screeds as well as the Dynapac R300TVE rigid screed." Mr. Kapadia explains, "R300TVE is a tamper vibration rigid screed with a basic width of 3 m that can be extended with mechanical extension boxes up to a maximum width of 14m. In order to operate with variable paving width, the screed can also be offered with hydraulic extensions at the end, which are 1.3m wide and would extend to 2.6m maximum width. This screed is designed to offer a smooth surface finish owing to its rigid construction." Enhanced business volumes are also looked by Atlas Copco through its Dynapac PL350, PL500 and PL1000 which are compact cold planers having milling widths between 0.35 to 1m. Mr. Kapadia informs, "Available as 4 wheeled units, these models are highly user-friendly and offer high performance, excellent manoeuvrability, and an impressive level of reliability. Dynapac compact planers effortlessly achieve a depth of 200 to 300 mm. Powerful engines deliver higher output than engines of planers in similar sizes."

He continues, "The planers are well positioned in terms of providing best operators comfort with their ergonomic design. Controls and instrumentation are positioned facing towards the operator for ease of operation and all-round visibility, particularly for viewing the cutting areas. User-friendly control concept guarantees fast response times and high performance operation. This is important for patching work, when the operator has many small, independent jobs to handle.

The patented hydraulically operated front sealing of the cutter housing, adapted to the shape of the cutting drum, minimizes accumulation of the milled material, thereby reducing labour time at the end of the cutting track."

The other features of PL350, PL500 and PL1000 planers according to Mr. Kapadia are, "Flexible quick-change system for drums, four wheel operations, small cutting radius of only 230 mm, allowing the machines to perform at crammed job sites and ease of maintenance." He points out, "To make the planers numerous for varied applications, we have made drums available for demarcation work. Smaller drums with an adapted scraper blade and a side cutting wheel are available as options for both new models."

Mr. Kapadia says, "The Dynapac machines are designed for toughest conditions and have lowest operating cost. The compactors have most advanced compaction technique like high frequency. Our asphalt rage rollers are capable of delivering required quality in minimum passes. The pavers are equipped with unique fully floating screed to achieve the specified surface finish."

He says, "To make ownership and operation of the plants economical for our customers, we have been emphasising on innovation and development. This has been dually through promotion of products from our global portfolio by making them attuned to suit Indian requirements and also through sourcing of plants from our local plant at Nasik." The company has a refurbishment centre in Pune to support its entire range of Dynapac road construction equipment. The products are delivered from the company's manufacturing facilities in Sweden, Germany, Brazil, China, and India.

Ramesh Palagiri
Wirtgen India is banking on product positioning to build up presence in the freshly reopening road construction sector. According to Mr. Ramesh Palagiri, MD, Wirtgen India, "Further to the production of Soil Compactors, we launched the Tandem Roller for the Indian market. We would shortly commence with the production of our Vogele range of Pavers as well as the Kleemann range of crushing and screening equipment." He mentions, "Products to suit the demand of the Indian market are indigenously manufactured, with localisation component of around 70%, so as to ensure cost effective and competitive product offerings."

32085-Hamm-HD99-TandemCompactor.jpg
Mr. Palagiri says, "Our range of compactors are equipped with Intelligent compaction system and are designed to achieve optimum compaction with minimum number of passes to reduce the overall operating cost which is of vital importance for Indian contractors."

He adds, "Our Hamm compactors can also be offered with intelligent compaction systems like Hammtronic and HCQ system as an option."

Expanding its product range for wider market accessibility, Wirtgen has recently introduced the Vogele Range of Dash 3 Pavers for road construction. Mr. Palagiri says, "These innovative & eco-friendly asphalt pavers are based on user-friendly Vogele state-of-the-art technology. The machine concept of the "dash 3" generation focuses entirely on "lower consumption – lower emissions – lower costs." The "VÖGELE EcoPlus" low-emissions package combines a number of individual measures distinctly reducing the fuel consumption and noise of "dash 3" pavers."

Mr. Palagiri says, "Ensuring our products are economical to own and operate and deliver the desired quality, we provide total solutions to our customers, once a machine is sold, right from Commissioning the machine, be it a slip form paver, a recycler soil stabiliser or asphalt paving, depending on the nature of the job. We have "Application Specialists "at our Project sites to work closely with the project managers and supervisors. This ensures a maximum output from our machines." Wirtgen will be shortly extending its Reman support to pavers, which was restricted only to surface miners.

Amit Gossain
Looking forward to expand and strengthen business presence in cyclic road construction sector, JCB India has recently launched the VMT 330 tandem roller. According to Mr. Amit Gossain, EVP-Sales Marketing & Business Development, JCB India "VMT 330 is a highly versatile machine with high compaction forces and drum offset design. It is ideal for compaction in restricted spaces as this has got high kerb clearance. Also, the vibration system and articulated joints are maintenance free. VMT 330 roller provides saving up to Rs.1.10 lacs in 3 years."

Mr. Gossain says, "our intention has been to make available road equipment attuned to the Indian road site requirements. JCB's 9T Tandem Roller VMT 860 is designed to offer high productivity and reliability with maximum operating economy. Powered by robust, fully topicalised, low fuel consumption JCB Engine ecoMAX, the ideal combination of static weights, centrifugal forces and amplitudes makes this asphalt roller perfect for a wide range of both soil & asphalt applications, from rolling sub-base to finish rolling."

JCB VM Soil Compactor
He elaborates, "VMT 860 has been specially designed keeping in mind the tough Indian working conditions. This new generation road roller comes with maintenance free lifetime lubricated central joint. It is also equipped with two water pumps, each pump capable of sprinkling adequate water on both the drum surfaces. The roller has unique operator platform with ergonomically located controls and rotating seats that make operation very comfortable. Owing to its excellent maneuverability and a compact design, VMT 860 compaction rollers are also ideal for a wide range of workplaces, including yards, access roads, residential streets, car parks, roads, highways and airports."

Catering to applications for highway construction, dam sites, canals, land development, runways JCB India offers VM 115, 11T single drum soil compactor. Mr. Gossain says, "VM 115 is designed to offer high compaction and greater output at the lowest fuel consumption within the category of machines. It is powered by turbo charged, water cooled 4 cylinder JCB ecoMAX engine, generating output of 114 HP. The VM115 Compactor develops high amplitude for deeper compaction, an optimal centrifugal force for a higher density and correct frequency range to get the best re-location of the soil particles during vibration."

To expand its presence in road construction business, JCB India will bank upon its 59 dealers and 600 outlets stocking products. Mr. Gossain says, "To ensure that prompt service is provided to our customers, our dealers run a service van which offers 24x7 assistance to our customers in case of a machine breakdown in any part of the country." He adds, "Based on our dealership network, our objective will be to make further market penetration and be closer to our customers."

Cushioning Effect

Marini Asphalt Batching Plant
While earning smart profits is an issue many manufacturers are pondering with, getting volume sales may not be an easy task altogether. This is because the emerging demand gap is most likely to be filled up by the existing fleet in the market. With margins of contractors remaining compressed and release of payments still getting extended in many cases, there is likelihood that contractors may extend concrete decision to procure newer units.

Blesson Varghese
Taking cognizance of extended procurement, we will be looking for newer application areas of our compactors and pavers, to deliver a great value for money for our customers and also to promote sales," says Mr. Blesson Varghese, MD, Fayat India.

He explains, "Being the leader in the Industry, we will refrain from entering those areas where product placement based on rudimentary technology is high; instead we intend to bring high technology for quality conscious and productivity seeking contractors. Technologies like Bomag intelligent compaction which is GPS enabled optimizes operation. It stores operation data and allows the operator to rationalize normal operations and ensures best in class compaction and data recording. Based on our Bomag 'Ecomode', we will target special application areas & projects where better stability is required by the compactors. The contractors using the compactors will get appropriate quality with better fuel efficiency."

According to Mr. Varghese, "Post launching of our total high-tech range of Bomag machines involving rollers, milling machines and pavers at bC India 2013, we have a wide range of products for India. Our range is almost complete now in India from asphalt batching plants to pavers - compactors and maintenance equipment. The 800 tph pavers with upto 12 mtrs screed size deliver 98% compaction, highest in its class as compared to offering from other manufacturers." He mentions further, "We are well positioned to cater diverse paving requirements based on our offerings of 5-7.5-9 meters pavers. The pavers are engineered to pave normal asphalt mix as well new age mixes in trend these days, delivering best in class efficiency, productivity and performance.

Existing Fleet as Barriers

Backed by the positive business sentiments of projects taking off-road equipment manufacturers have drawn projections of demand for pavers and compactors picking up full scale by end of 2014.They argue, the lull period with extended payments of the contractors has led to manifold rise in actual use of the existing fleet in the market, which will pave way for fresh fleet acquisition by the contractors. However, it will be interesting to see what will be the pace of fresh off-take as the size of existing fleet, which is not small, is likely to provide a barrier for the new equipment to move to the contractor's stable at least in the mid-term.

NBMCW September 2014

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Intelligent controls systems helps in m...

Equipment Controls

Equipment Controls Deliver Preventive Maintenance and More...

Intelligent controls can curtail increased cost of operating equipment in face compressed job margins.

Rising fuel cost and wages, extended payment intervals of contractors, and not to mention the depressed margins, have increased the cost of owning and operating the equipment manifold in recent years. OEMs have been carrying out periodic engineering advancements to increase equipment uptime and minimize cost of operations. The initiative can be supplemented in a major way through installing intelligent controls in the machines.

One of the major attributes of intelligent control is that it can contribute towards preventive maintenance which can neutralize extended downtime in a major way as operators look for extended deployment of their assets, so as to generate surplus cash that can go on to meet their repayment obligations as well as generate decent profits.

Samip Desai
German automation and controls manufacturer, Moba Mobile Automation who is a leader in Automation for Mobile machines provides digital consoles for compactors, pavers, motor graders, excavators, tandem rollers, and tippers. According to Mr. Samip Desai, National Sales Manager, Moba Mobile Automation, "The digital consols can fully integrate the equipment. It provides information to the owners and operators about the health of the equipment. Taking into consideration varied site conditions, we have carried out advancements in the consoles by making them water and dust proof. Besides, the controls have software orientation, minimizing wiring systems, hitherto not made available by other suppliers locally. The consoles can be easily mounted on the equipment."

Moba Mobile Automation
Moba is a well know for its leveling systems for road construction equipment specially the Big Ski system which has become very popular for providing excellent riding quality and ease of use due to elemination of string lines in top layers. The leveling systems can be used in pavers, motor graders and also excavators. Mr. Desai says, "In pavers, graders and dozers the leveling control systems can assist the operator by making the machines perform for attaining the desired grade and slope specified as per the job contract. For compactors and tandem rollers the MOBA MCA2000 helps to know the desired number of passes required for completion of the job, thereby rationalizing the number of passes consequently cutting down fuel consumption to a big extent."

Moba has supplied the leveling systems to Volvo CE, Ammann-Apollo, Macons, Unipave etc. The company has begun localizing of non critical parts of the controls and leveling system, as per its international quality specifications to make them affordable to Indian customers. Product support is provided by Moba through its eight trained service engineers, by assisting the OEMs to install and integrate the intelligent control solutions with the machines.

MOBA has also started developing some affordable Pay load monitoring systems for tipper trucks which logs the number of trips with loading, unloading time along with weight and location.

Harpreet Singh Wahan
Equipment integration solutions are also made available by FW Murphy–India. According to Mr.Harpreet Singh Wahan, Head Marketing, FW Murphy, "Our display solutions entirely work to integrate the equipment – engine, transmission, hydraulics, payload, camera, safety and other systems in real time with set-point based safety alarms. This is cumbersome with conventional gauges." He explains, "Icons, round gauges, bar graphs and pop-ups in application and customer specific layouts makes our display systems extremely user friendly. Comprehensive multi-language text based fault warnings and acknowledgement system keeps the operator aware about the health of the equipment. Data is available in several formats and measurement units which can also be changed by the user through the user settings". FW Murphy commemorated its 75th year in business of controls in 2014.

FW Murphy supplies its display based solutions worldwide to OEM's that include, Volvo CE, Shantui, Sany, BEML, Atlas Copco, Caterpillar, John Deere, Vermeer, Godrej, XCMG etc. The company also supplies sensors and engine panels to major Engine manufacturers like Perkins, Cummins, Caterpillar, John Deere, Kubota etc.

FW Murphy Sensors and Control Systems
The systems supplied are used to monitor critical engine parameters like rpm, oil pressure, coolant temp, transmission oil temperature, transmission oil pressure and fuel level etc. Mr. Singh explains, "with the systems the software can be adjusted to maximum and minimum set points and then can be used to automatically for triggering alarms and warning for critical conditions." He adds, "our solutions also integrates other equipment parameters and sensors like length transducers, proximity sensors, load cells, inclinometers, angle sensors. These among many can also be directly configured for display and alarm triggers."

According to Mr. Singh, "The competitive advantage that the Murphy systems working for off highway construction and mining equipment is that they can work up to 8g of vibration, 50g of shock, have IP rating of IP67 perform at work sites with temperature conditions varying between -40 to +85 degree celsius. The added advantages are, the displays are visible even in bright sunlight." Product support to the OEMs in India is provided by Murphy based on application engineering, analysis and custom programming from its setup in Pune.

According to company sources of IFM Electronic India Pvt. Ltd, "Our sensors and control systems can provide maximum reliability under extreme conditions, be it heat, cold, moisture, and extreme vibrations. The reliability of the solutions provides high equipment uptime."

The official sources further mention, "Our sensors and control systems extensively facilitate towards communication of the equipment with the owners and operators and also assist towards remote maintenance." IFM India has its operations in Kolhapur, Maharashtra.

The ability of intelligent controls to facilitate preventive maintenance is well endorsed by equipment owners. The major advantage of preventive maintenance is that it can help replacement and reconditioning of critical parts and components when they remain between the realm of economic repairs. However, most significantly it can contribute towards attainment of the desired job specifications as stipulated by the project developer. To meet the same more accurately, it is pertinent for suppliers of the controls to supply solutions that can meet the critical performance criteria of the OEMs based on the job site conditions in an affordable manner.

NBMCW May 2014

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Indian construction equipment market ...

Indian Construction Equipment Market Light at the end of Tunnel

Samir Bansal, General Manager, Off-Highway Research, India

Indian Construction Equipment

The Indian construction equipment market has been volatile for the last few years. After an unprecedented four-fold growth in four years since 2003, the construction equipment demand in India exceeded 50,000 units for the first time in 2007, but declined by nine per cent in 2008 in the wake of the global economic crisis and witnessed a further drop of 11% in 2009.

Construction Equipment Sales
The market recovered strongly with a growth of 45% in 2010 and 22% in 2011, when it peaked at 72,197 units. However, limited access to long-term finance, high inflation, delays in policy decisions and statutory clearances for infrastructure projects adversely affected the sales leading to a market declined by eight per cent in 2012 and a further 15% drop in 2013 to settle at 55,946 units.

In terms of the number of units sold, the Indian construction equipment market is dominated by six machine types. Of these, backhoe loaders, crawler excavators and mobile cranes together accounted for 78% of total market in 2013 against 74% in 2008. While the combined share of mobile compressors, compaction equipment and wheeled loaders decreased from 19% in 2009 to 18% in 2013, the share of remaining equipment declined from seven per cent in 2009 to five per cent in 2013.

The market structure has remained more or less unchanged for the past five years, but vast differences are noticeable while evaluating the performance of individual products. The share of the most popular product, backhoe loaders, grew from 38% in 2009 to 50% in 2013, while crawler excavators, considered to be the most important machine for infrastructure building, declined from 20 to 18% during the same period.

Share Construction Equipment

Mobile compressor was another equipment that improved its contribution from seven to nine per cent. The share of balance equipment declined with mobile cranes dropping from 16 to 10%, compaction equipment from seven to five per cent, wheeled loaders from five to three per cent and other equipment from seven to five per cent.

Off-Highway Research forecasts the crawler excavator to be the fastest growing equipment type, which will account for 29% of the market in 2018. Backhoe loader will continue to be the most popular equipment, but its share will decline to 39% and that of mobile compressors to seven per cent. No change is expected in the contribution of mobile cranes and compaction equipment, while some growth is projected in the shares of wheeled loaders and other equipment.

The current state of the market can be summarised as follows:

Of the six major machine types that dominate the market, sales of four products declined in 2013, one remained almost flat while the sixth showed an upward movement. Their cumulative sales fell by 17% in 2013, while the combined sales of the remaining machines increased by 10%.

The Winners: The market for ten equipment types declined in 2013, while six equipment types recorded gains. The highest growth was noticed in rigid dump trucks, which grew by 45%, followed by mini excavators at 24%, mobile compressors at 13% and skid steer loaders at 11% while asphalt finishers increased marginally. 10 units of articulated dump trucks were sold in 2013 against no sales recorded in 2012.

The Losers: Among the losers in the market for major equipment types, mobile cranes declined by 32%, crawler excavators by 26% and backhoe loaders by 14% in 2013. Wheeled loaders fell by six per cent and crawler dozers by three per cent and motor grader sales declined by 13 per cent. Crawler loaders, wheeled excavators and RTLTs recorded a 67, 42 and 11% drop respectively but on insignificant sales volumes.

Construction Equipment Forecast

Although the Indian economy has shown lower than expected growth in the last two financial years, the situation is predicted to improve in the future. Major challenges for the construction equipment market did arise from delays in policy decisions, which are often set aside as the government struggles with a wide number of social and political issues on a daily basis. Major non financial constraints include problems related to land acquisition, and procedural and approval delays, especially for environment and forest clearances.

The government has been slow in reforming its regulatory and administrative structure, and this has resulted in the on-going gap between the planning and execution of all infrastructure projects. The continual allegations of corruption charges being faced by several political leaders, and the incoherence within the ruling coalition on development issues, hampered decision making at every level in the government.

Display of equipment for private treaty transaction

Other challenges mainly come from the widening current account and fiscal deficits, though the government in its interim budget presented in February 2014 did try to address these issues. The Reserve Bank of India is pursuing its high interest rate regime that was put in place to tame inflation during 2010-2012, but the new government, expected to be in place by the end of May 2014, may have a second look at this policy.

Some infrastructure projects were cleared recently on an adhoc basis, but it is expected that after the general election, scheduled during April-May 2014, the situation may turn favourable for infrastructure growth. In the long-term, it is understood that the government's obligation to bridge the massive infrastructure deficit in the country will outweigh all other unfavourable factors, hence despite this prevailing uncertainty, most construction equipment suppliers are optimistic about the future growth.

Off Highway Research

Off-Highway Research is bullish about the future growth of the construction equipment industry in view of the high potential that exists in the country. The simple truth is that there is a massive amount of work to be done in every sector, and this will call for large volumes of equipment to complete it. How large those volumes will be is totally dependent on government's effectiveness in facilitating project execution and addressing the key impediments highlighted above.

The market for construction equipment is forecast to grow by around eight per cent in 2014 and witness a higher 10-14% expansion during 2015-2018. The demand is expected to grow to 60,655 units in 2014, and reach 96,730 units by 2018.

Almost all types of equipment will witness growth, though the market will continue to be dominated by the six most popular products: backhoe loaders, crawler excavators, mobile cranes, mobile compressors, compaction equipment and wheeled loaders. Together these will account for 94% of the market in 2018.

Importantly, demand for equipment that has sold only in small numbers in the past, such as mini excavators, rough terrain lift trucks and skid-steer loaders, may also increase considerably. The demand for less frequently purchased equipment such as articulated dump trucks, crawler loaders and wheeled excavators will be driven by specific orders and no future pattern can be predicted for them with any degree of certainty at this point in time.

NBMCW May 2014

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Wheel Loaders market to grow in 2014-15...

Wheel Loaders Manufacturers Brace for Better Application Orientation

Liugong

Possibilities are emerging that the wheel loaders market in India is likely to have some modest expansions in 2014-15. However, the burgeoning competition will not remain discounted, P. P Basistha takes a look.

Manufacturers and distributors of wheel loaders in India do not seem to get convinced that projected demand of new loaders by coal mining companies, power utilities; quarry owners even the port operators will to a certain extent curtail competition. On the contrary, perception is rife that market size will continue to remain under pressure. This is because fresh offtake will materialize only after the idle units get fully deployed. The conviction is not fully without substance.

While certain recent developments like big ticket expansion by Steel Authority of India Ltd to expand its existing production capacity (the PSU behemoth has recently commissioned its new blast furnace in its Eastern India facility, thereby requiring enhanced movement of iron ore) and newer planned expansion from recently allocated Chiria mines in Central India, newer road projects in North Eastern part of the country, required to be built through blasting-drilling and crushing, spot processing growing volumes of imported coal or major recent proposed expansion by Coal India of Raigad mine holding colossal reserves, holds promise for wheel loader manufacturers.

Continued emphasis on incremental coal loading by the railways also affects business prospects. However, wheel loaders makers are not too sure what will be the actual demand created from the newer developments. Demand balancing is expected to take some time as the market will continue to be serviced with large number of existing units.

While enquiries by NBM&CW to primary and secondary steel producers on whether there will be maintenance and operation contract renewal to run their existing units with present wheel loader manufacturers and distributors, or the new solution providers will be brought in to evoke highly mixed response, same as with road and hydro power project developers on requirement of newer plants for hauling aggregates. Nonetheless, firm existing demand fundamentals, recent spate of project clearance by the government, indications of expanded output by the industrial sector are expected to create pull of new equipment.

Future projected offtake from various demand pockets has made the industry assessed demand of 1700 units in 2014 up from 1400 units in 2013 but down from 1600 units in 2012. However, they contend that the task will be critically challenging to cater the requirements of the business avenues as numerous factors will have to be confronted to promote sales. Market was at its highest level of 2400 units in 2010.

Vijay Sharma
"The key challenge at present is to make the wheel loaders available at an affordable prices, yet incorporating technology improvements, in face of rising production costs, so as to make the products attuned to Indian operations," says Mr. Vijay Sharma, Terex. Terex has started manufacturing its 3 and 5 tons wheel loaders with 1.5 and 3.5 cum bucket capacity at its plant at Gautam Budhnagar, near Delhi wherein the company has a target to produce 250 units of loaders during 2014.

According to him, "We've plan to increase production depending on the market demand. In order to make the products attuned to the Indian requirements, we have carried out some necessary changes in design by making the fabrication stronger, so as to make it rugged. For better serviceability, the loaders are being equipped with fuel efficient 120-170 hp, Indian Cummins Engine. We are working together with Cummins to educate the potential customers for using the appropriate fuel, so as to expand maintenance schedule."

Terex
Terex is planning to build critical mass of its loaders banking on its 55 dealers and 150 outlets. The company is giving emphasis to localization of its loaders. Sixty percent of the components fitted in Terex's wheel loaders including transmission systems and engines are of local origin.

It is quite essential to make the wheel loaders suitable, yet affordable for Indian applications, particularly taking into account higher usage in port sector among other usages. Ports are leasing out cargo handling operations to private stevedores. According to the leasing contracts, the stevedores will have to deliver the required cargo throughput on per ton basis stipulated by the ports. With any shortfall, the stevedores are liable for stiff penalties from the port authorities. To avoid the same, the wheel loaders, deployed for cargo handling would have to be made work strenuously for delivering high cycle times. This is visible from usage of the wheel loaders at the eastern Indian ports handling colossal volumes of coal and other bulk mineral cargoes. One of the logistics service providers to the port of Paradip has made a major acquisition of good number of units recently from a Chinese manufacturer. Major acquisitions have also been reported at Krishnapatnam Port in Southern India private port from a European manufacturer.

Rohit Punjabi
Mr. Rohit Punjabi, Liugong India says, "The wheel loaders manufactured in India have been made suitable for versatile applications. Being entirely loading equipment, our wheel loaders are structured to undertake various loading applications be it for the port stevedoring industry to remove and load iron ore or other bulk cargo, the construction industry for loading aggregates, mining for moving overburden or aggregates. However, the bigger utility of the machine comes through its rapid mobility, hauling and high loading and unloading output."

Terex
Attainment of critical mass by making products available at affordable prices along with delivering high uptime is being emphasized by Liugong India. The Chinese company currently produces 250 units of wheel loaders at its newly commissioned Pithampur plant. According to Mr. Punjabi, "Currently, the products manufactured at Pithampur plant undergo 30% localization; other components for wheel loaders are imported from China and the US. However, we target to achieve around 70-80% localization in future." Liugong currently manufactures its 3-5 tons wheel loaders in India."

He adds, "We have in place proven wheel loader CLG 856 BS-III with 5 ton payload capacity powered by US Cummins engine. The loader is used in various applications besides coal and iron ore handling with a standard bucket size of 3.0 cum with optional bucket size of 1.8 – 7.0 cum & with a gross power of 220 hp at 2,200 rpm. To make the wheel loaders suitable to Indian requirements, we have recently rolled out from Pithampur CLG 836BSIII wheel loaders with payload capacity of 3 ton.

The market presence will also be looked into by Liugong by promoting loaders for specialised applications. Mr. Punjabi says, "Our CLG 842 with 4 ton payload capacity and CLG 888 with 8 ton payload capacity is for specialized applications. The loaders are suitable for coal, stone aggregates, fertilizer and timber handling applications." The special application wheel loaders are imported from LiuGong's plant in China.

Liugong

Liugong India is looking for future sales banking on its advanced technical attributes. According to the company, the machines fitted with fuel-efficient high horse power Cummins Engines allowing it to operate in adverse conditions and high altitudes with 20% higher productivity than available range. The wheel loaders are fitted with Liugong / ZF transmission and axles, Premco hydraulics etc. Other features include standard ROPS / FOPS cabin, safety struts, audio visual alarm, adjustable steering wheel, electronic surveillance system, centralized automatic lubricating system, automatic bucket return to dig, automatic boom height kick control for higher cycle times, claims the company.

Liugong India is banking on its dealership network for existing business retention and also sales expansion. Mr. Punjabi says, "Our 15 dealers operating across India ensure that our machines should reach our customers in any part of the country on time. The dealers are our biggest assets for business promotion. As part of our expansion strategy, the number of outlets will continue to expand in order to make our availability 24x7 for our customers." The company has a population of over 1800 loaders working in India with corporate and retail users.

Amit Gossain
Economies of scale and cost competitiveness will continue to be monetized by JCB India through its Pune Heavy Line facility manufacturing wheel loaders for the local markets. JCB India offers 3 Wheel loader models (two variants of 430 ZX, 432 ZX). The two models of 430ZX are 3.3 tonne payload and the 432ZX is for 3.6 tonne payload. Out of the two 3.3 payload variants of 430 ZX; one comes with JCB common rail BSIII complaint 130 hp engine. Mr. Amit Gossain, Executive Vice President – Marketing, Business Development and Corporate Affairs, JCB India says, "430ZX was designed to meet the specific needs of the customers. Our wheel loaders offer the best in class productivity and fuel efficiency." JCB wheel loaders are available with bucket capacities ranging from 1.5 to 3.1 cum. He claims, "Given the world class vendor base that JCB India has formed over the years, the localization level is consistently increasing enabling us to make our products cost competitive."

JCB
Mr. Gossain says, "JCB Wheel Loaders are used for specialized applications such as quarrying; mining (Iron Ore, Limestone, and Laterite etc.) aggregates re-handling, ready mix plants, coal re-handling, wagon/high bodied dumper loading etc. We have a large base of customers which comprises rental companies, contractors (small & major, corporate) and various industries where materials are re-handled."

According to Mr. Gossain, "The wheel loaders provide optimum return on investments. JCB wheel loaders are capable of continuous hours of uninterrupted and productive operation. Ergonomically placed operator controls ensure best in class operators' comfort. 432ZX comes with automatic boom lowdown which has been incorporated to enhance the machine productivity and keeping the long working hours in mind, we have introduced servo control to reduce the operator fatigue. JCB Wheel Loaders are fitted with multi plate oil immersed disc brakes that make the machine more effective in any kind of working conditions." JCB currently has a fleet of 4500 units working in India. The equipment are serviced by 59 dealers and over 575 outlets.

Capacity Shift & Business Orientation

Case 821F

Volume sales can only be expected by wheel loader manufacturers in India in the lower end, amidst the shrinking market only if supported by local manufacturing and front integration with adequate sales and service channels.

Anil Bhatia
Based on its strategy for being a total solutions provider in the near future in India, Case New Holland Construction Equipment India (CNH) is quite optimist on the potential of wheel loaders business in India. However, Mr. Anil Bhatia, Director Sales & Marketing CNH India contends, "We will refrain from introducing the 3 tons class loaders in India as it will not be commercially feasible for us to import the products. Instead, our emphasis will be to promote our 5 tons class wheel loaders."

Mr. Bhatia mentions, "We have promoted few of our 5 tons wheel loaders to some of our key customers in India for trial and the results have been encouraging. We expect spurt in wheel loader sales with expansion of highway projects and quarries."

According to him, CNH is well positioned to promote and support its wheel loaders in India with 53 dealers and 200 service outlets. The company will add 9 dealers more by March 2014.

New range of wheel loaders for the Indian market with 5 ton payload capacity will be launched by Caterpillar in later part of 2014. According to the company sources, "The new 950GC wheel loader combines low operating costs with the durability, reliability and economy of proven Caterpillar components to deliver productive performance."

Caterpillar
950GC is fitted with Cat Engine C7.1 delivering168 kW @ 2200 RPM. Net power is151 kW @ 2200 RPM. The wheel loader has a bucket size of 3.1 m3, dump clearance is @ 45° discharge 2930-3139 mm, B-Pin Height 4188 mm. Maximum Reach of the wheel loader is @ 45° discharge 1380 mm. Operating Weight of 950 GC is 18100 kg.

Company sources say, "The new Cat 950GC will be marketed for stockpiling, truck loading, material handling, hopper charging and load-and-carry work. The features of 950GC will be Cat Z-bar linkage, performance series buckets, load-sensing hydraulics standard, and air-conditioned cab with intuitive controls. The loaders will be powered by Cat 7.1 tier-3 engine with power rating of 168 kw (225 hp)."

Sources add, "The engine features a new fuel-injection system specifically designed for fuel available in emerging markets. An electronically controlled, hydraulically driven, variable-speed cooling fan reduces fuel consumption and sound levels, and an optional fan-drive-bypass feature will allow faster warm-up in cold weather."

Caterpillar India currently manufactures Cat® 988 H wheel loaders at its Thiruvallur facility near Chennai for quarry aggregate, industrial and mining applications. 988 H is powered by Cat® C18 engine of 397 kW (540 hp) with ACERT® Technology is U.S. EPA Tier 3 and EU Stage III compliant engine. Other features include, positive flow control hydraulic system, axle oil cooling system, fuel management system, auto idle kickdown , engine idle shutdown, impeller clutch torque converter , rimpull control system.

The new and existing range of wheel loaders will be supported by Cat's existing 8 territorial dealerships across India owned by GMMCO and Tractors India Limited having 175 plus dealer outlets. The dealers offer rent to purchase, trading of existing machines and short-term rentals services.

Manjunath

Doosan Infracore will lay preference towards selling bigger capacity loaders of 7 tons and above by continuing to import the loaders from Korea. According to Mr. Manjunath GM-Sales, Doosan Infracore India, "promoting the higher capacity loaders provides us a level playing field with other manufacturers promoting products of similar capacities. Fitted with Doosan and Cummins Engines, the loaders are versatile and are suitable for applications from coal loading to any other bulk commodity handling."

Doosan


According to Mr. Manjunath, "We will not be getting aggressive towards promoting our loaders on price basis, instead we will focus on quality sales and support through our 28 dealers." The company has a population of 50 wheel loaders working in India. Doosan Infracore has its plans for setting up a local manufacturing facility near Bangalore very shortly.




Pankaj Kumar
DOZCO markets the heavier capacity 20-80 ton Kawasaki wheel loaders for the Indian market with bucket capacity varying between 3-10.5 cum, under its exclusive distribution tie-up with the Japanese manufacturer- Kawasaki for the Indian market. DOZCO has bagged a fresh order of supplying 9 units of Kawasaki loaders to National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). According to Mr. Pankaj Kumar, Vice-President-Sales, "Although the smaller loaders constitute the mass segment, we will refrain from pushing the same as importing the equipment by shelling 26% custom duty added to high exchange rate of Japanese yen, will render the import unviable for us."

Kawasaki

Kawasaki has carried out recent technological modifications in its wheel loaders. The upgraded loaders are being promoted as 'ZV-2" series. Mr. Kumar informs, "Advancements have been carried out to make the loaders more user-friendly by extending maintenance intervals. The duration of lubrication of Propeller shaft's universal joint has been increased to 12,000 hours i.e a term can be used as "maintenance free". Oil drain out intervals of other moving parts has been extended from earlier 250 hours to 500 hours at present."

He adds, "Heavy full box frame for front and rear chassis of Kawasaki Loaders increases chassis life and resists twisting load. The Kawasaki loaders have an exclusive dual z-bar loader linkage which ensures powerful breakout force. In addition, it has also a 50-degree tilt back angle with powerful breakout force and tractive effort which simplifies loading and carrying without spillage. The auto transmission automatically selects optimum speed from second to fourth gear and vice versa to facilitate scooping and carrying.

DOZCO will promote its wheel loaders by targeting specialized applications as well like tunnel constructions, Block Handling, Hot Slag Handling through its side dump bucket, Block Handling attachments etc. DOZCO provides back support to the equipment through annual maintenance contracts on hourly basis where customers are charged according to the minimum equipment utilization.

Strong market orientation to promote the wheel loaders in the diverse Indian market is the business strategy of Volvo CE India. The European manufacturer is following a dual branding strategy through Volvo and its acquired SDLG brand to build up wheel loaders business in India.

According to Mr. B. Sridhar, Head-SDLG Business India, "SDLG will emphasize towards enhanced brand building to increase its market presence in India." SDLG officially launched its new wheel loaders and motor graders during Excon 2013.

SDLG

However, according to Mr. Shridhar, "The challenge towards increasing our share in competitive market will be to stabilize, develop, and justify our brand through appropriate product placement. We will do this by strengthening our after sales support, better parts support, and operators training both during warranty and post warranty period. The strategies are likely to increase the acceptance of our products."

Volvo has thirteen dealers out of which four are dedicated to distribute SDLG products. Parts support to the products is provided through Volvo CE's mother warehouse in Bangalore. SDLG currently has 500 units working in India.

He says, "Though the products are not intended for the premium but the value segment, whose emphasis is towards getting a reliable product, providing higher uptime, hence product support is vital for the company."

Mr. Sridhar mentions, "The reason for Volvo to acquire SDLG brand was to serve the growing mass market. To make the wheel loaders and motor graders well attuned to the Indian requirements, improvisation has been carried out in transmissions, axles to make the equipment deliver high on performance. Improvisation has been made for better operator's comfort."

The new SDLG 979, 23.5 ton is powered by SDLG, tier-3 electronic engines with rated power of 226kw. Bucket options for the wheel loaders vary from 3.5-6 cum with other attachments involving wood grappler, side drum, and fork. The wheel loaders can be used for applications like truck, wagon, hopper, wood and barge loading in various types of minerals. SDLG's wheel loaders are available between 7–25 tons.

Muralidharan
"Our target is the valued customers who need higher cycle times usage between 22–34 hours with 90% availability at mining or aggregate sites. Our loaders are capable of handling even with heavier loads to the tune of 35-40 tons of marble or granite through special attachments. Being imported from Sweden, Volvo's loaders provide total economical cost of operations, powered by fuel-efficient Volvo engines, delivering higher torque at lower rpm levels," says Mr. Muralidharan, President, Volvo CE India.

He expects that the volume of heavier segment wheel loaders to grow with increment of output in quarry and mines and also with renewed growth of the road construction sector.

Volvo CE has been promoting its wheel loaders to quarry owners and mining companies. However, it will explore appropriate business opportunities in rental sector. Volvo CE has supplied its wheel loaders to iron ore mines in Goa and coal fields in Central India. Though the company may have gained positive results in building its brand as Mr. Muralidharan claims that the Volvo CE wheel loaders have found encouraging demand without disclosing the figures, the challenge for the company remains high customs duty and fluctuations in dollar. However, he contends, "We will refrain from localizing the products; until now as the modest demand volumes do not make it commercially viable to take on local production." Volvo will plan to make business grow by targeting specialized applications involving irrigation and tunnel constructions with its side dump buckets and other bucket attachments.

Volvo
Volvo is planning to offer marketing and services support through its dealers across the country. Mr. Muralidharan informs, "We have been strengthening our distribution network periodically. Currently, we have 13 dealers spread across India to offer enhanced sales and support to customers. As the market grows, we will continue to invest in distribution and even our dealers will invest in terms of infrastructure and people. As part of customer support, our remanufactured program 'Reman' encourages users to keep their Volvo machines genuinely 'A Volvo'. It allows users of Volvo CE to have their used components renovated to the same condition as new with a warranty backup. However, the rider is Reman support is only available for components that have been used between 12,000-14,000 hours, but generally with wheel loaders components having being used in India between 20,000-24,000 hours, the components remain beyond to go through economic repairs."

While the manufacturers and the distributors of wheel loaders have plan to make product placement based on the emerging applications requirement, it will be pertinent to have better service orientation by making necessary investments aimed at strengthening marketing and product support channels.

NBMCW March 2014

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Excavator Manufacturers Keep Pace with ...

Excavator Manufacturers

Driving sales while retaining market presence remains ever challenging for excavator manufacturers in India amidst prevailing volatility in demand, as product manufacturing and finally placement continues to be influenced by host of market factors, at home and abroad. P.P. Basistha takes stock of the evolving factors and strategies of excavator manufacturers to maintain traction in business.

The challenge for excavator manufacturers in India towards building future sales and retaining existing buyers, amidst present spell of subdued demand, is that, demand largely continues to remain restricted around 20 tons class at present. This is even after mechanization of construction activities started gaining ground from 2005 onwards. Off take remaining restricted below a specified class has eventually been putting pressure on profit margins of manufacturers, which otherwise they might have obtained selling higher capacity machines. Not to mention, it has deterred expansion of product offerings. With demand being restricted to certain tonnage class and crowding of market space by large number of manufacturers, stiff competition is the evident fall out, excavators manufacturers in India presently seem to counter and brace for more in future, till 2015 when demand is likely to expand based on fresh off take of units.

There are numerous challenges for of generating profitable business, following colossal investments being made, when demand is restricted to certain category and falling sales. Continuous and strong engineering innovations have to be carried out, so as to substantiate competitive product placement and the brand name. This is a hard fact which excavators' manufacturers in India are getting gradually reconciled into and carrying out necessary changes in their production systems and products to check brand substitution by customers, in face of ever rising operational costs, on account of growing fuel costs and wages.

The challenge is even more for manufacturers, those who have chosen the promotional line towards offering products that will focus on restricting total operating costs, despite higher initial costs being incurred. The strategy is dicey in the Indian market as buying decision is greatly influenced by the quantum of initial investments, be it good times when rental rates are high or lull when rentals are otherwise.

A M Muralidharan
"Sustainable equipment uptime is the solution to restrict total operational costs. Volvo CE is the first manufacturer to introduce a telematics system called CareTrack that allows remote monitoring and machine diagnostics by using exclusive Machine Tracking Information System (MATRIS)," says, Mr. A.M. Muralidharan, President Volvo CE India.

380D-Excavator
To ensure higher equipment uptime, Volvo CE India has recently launched customer care centre. Mr. Muralidharan explains, "Customer Contact Center 'V Care' will help customers achieve higher productivity by minimizing their machine downtime. The center will record and process all customer issues centrally and in real-time, giving Volvo CE the ability to monitor dealership customer serviceability and enable them to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently. The new center is an integral part of Volvo CE's objective to offer customers total lifecycle care – from providing equipment to support and partnership – and ensure customer complete satisfaction. The response of this programme has been positive so far."

The initiatives are likely to retain captive sales. To add on revenue and supplement captive sales, Volvo CE has devised its parts remanufacturing programme. He describes, "Our remanufactured program or 'Reman' is to encourage users to keep their Volvo machines genuinely 'a Volvo'. It allows users of Volvo CE to have their used components renovated to the same condition as new with a warranty backup."

However, the challenge is increasing the ratio of generating profitable business in India for Volvo CE. The company invested Rs.90 crores during late 2011 as part of its manufacturing expansion program at its Peenya facility in Bangalore manufacturing excavators and road construction equipment. To ensure optimum capacity utilization, Volvo CE will require expanding its market network. Mr. Muralidharan informs, "We have been strengthening our distribution network periodically. Presently, we have 13 dealers spread across India to offer enhanced sales and support to customers. As the market grows, we will keep investing in distribution and even our dealers will invest in terms of infrastructure and people."

However, focusing on profitable business from the Indian market while ensuring market expansion, Volvo CE has begun to enlarge its class offerings. Seeing lesser competition above 30 tons class segment, Volvo CE has newly introduced EC380D and EC480D, 38-48tons heavier capacity excavators. Mr. Muralidharan claims, "Response for the excavators has been quite positive."

The D-series excavators come with a turbocharged high pressure direct injection Volvo diesel engine offering maximum power of 279 hp and 343 hp (256 kW) delivering dependable power with high torque, along with lower emissions and noise. A new function called ECO mode has been introduced in these machines as a standard function that helps in reducing the fuel consumption in each mode of operation. The other standard features include, machine tracking and preventive maintenance information, ten working modes based on job site requirements. Mr. Muralidharan mentions, "Advanced hydraulics rugged reinforced undercarriage, heavy duty boom and arm are standard on these machines, and high strength tensile steel arms provide durability in strenuous applications."

Cat-320D Excavator
Class offerings are also being enlarged by Caterpillar India. It has recently launched 320 D series-2 hydraulic excavators. According to the company officials, "The new 320D Series 2 Hydraulic Excavator is an exceptionally reliable, highly productive machine that lowers operating costs through reduced fuel consumption and simplified routine maintenance. The 320D Series 2 machine features a new engine, capable of taking on spurious fuel, powerful hydraulic system, durable main structures and a refined operator station. The excavator can be configured with a standard or a long undercarriage based on the job site requirements."

Officials explain, "Compared to its earlier predecessor, Cat 320D, the 320D 2-series 2 is powered by Cat 7.01 engine that is more robust to inferior fuel. There is a 3% fuel consumption reduction for the 320D 2 series 2 as compared to 320D. The new dual fuel filter technology minimizes owning and operating costs. With the technology, the service interval for 320D 2 series is 500 hours as compared to 250 hours in 320D with a C6.4 Engine. One of the unique feature of duel fuel technology is that when idling, it ensures that less fuel is burned to have the engine running." 141 HP or 105 KW Cat C7.1 engine, in 320 D 2-series meets U.S. EPA Tier 2, EU Stage II regulations and China Stage 1 regulations.

Cat 320 D 2-series is equipped with standard eco-mode power setting, while condition monitoring as part of standard feature is ensured with PL522 which is a cellular based Product Link and is equipped with the latest release of Vision Link® 2.7. According to Caterpillar officials, "The user interface provides customers a mobile optimized web application, the ability to schedule automated delivery of Vision Link reports, and remote access to on-board payload system information. The mobile application is available on, BlackBerry, Android/Chrome and Windows operating systems."

Fitted with a smaller and high efficiency pilot pump and newly designed main pump, Cat 320D 2-series also claims to have 3 percent enhanced hydraulic efficiency. Caterpillar official claims, equipment efficiency is also increased by minimizing extra gap between gears and gear case in order to reduce oil agitation.

To build up revenue base, Cat India has in place remanufactured support and tailor made customer support agreements, categorized into gold, silver and bronze categories in association with its exclusive dealers Tractors India Limited covering Eastern and Northern India and Gmmco covering Southern and Western India. The US origin company, also offer services like rent to purchase, trading of existing machines, and short term rentals.

Strengthening Portfolio

Dheeraj Panda
To ensure business growth amidst the given class constituting the mass market base, Hyundai Construction Equipment India has recently launched R210-7v 'value for money' excavator. According to Mr. Dheeraj Panda, Head Marketing, Hyundai Construction India, "This product was specifically designed for value conscious Indian customers. It is suited for varied application both in rental and hiring. R210-7v is equipped with mechatronics for optimized fuel consumption and productivity. It has lowest operating cost in 20-22T class of excavators, stable in the toughest and most rugged working terrains powered with Kirloskar 6R1080T engine."

Mr. Panda adds, "Strengthening our offerings further, we have also added 9 series excavators in 14T. This is high-end, most advanced excavator in the Indian industry in terms of technology being offered." Hyundai offers excavators from 8 to 120 tons. It presently manufactures 8-22 ton capacity excavators at its Pune facility. To make the products price competitive, Hyundai India claims to have attained 50% localization of the excavators made up from 40% during previous year, allowing it to make its excavators price competitive in India.60-65% sales are from its 20 tons class equipment.

Hyundai Construction Equipment

To ensure off take of its new range of excavators, Hyundai India has 29 dealers with 100+ service touch points across the country. To cater to the rapidly growing customer base in Southern India, Hyundai recently added, V Engineering Enterprise and Asha Atuomines Pvt. Ltd as its new dealers. Strengthening to dealership network is vital for Hyundai to maintain hold on its captive customers. The Korean equipment major derives 40% of its equipment sales in India from its repeat customers, while remaining sales is from the first time buyers.

Amit Gossain
Strengthening presence further in 8-22 tons operating weight class offerings (JS81) to(JS 220LC), JCB India is now offering its new, JS 205 LC-20 tonne excavator. According to Mr. Amit Gossain, EVP-Marketing, Business Development & Corporate Affairs, JCB India, "The new machine will be well suited for applications such as earthwork, quarrying, road construction etc It offers outstanding cycle time and has a rugged and robust structure which makes it highly durable. JS 205LC provides fuel savings worth Rs.5.2 lacs within a span of four years."

JCB Tracked Excavator
Higher uptime and integrated service support is claimed to be offered through the JCB's Ecomax engines for the new excavator, "We have designed and launched our "Ecomax" engine to ensure that our customers get the machine and engine serviced at JCB dealerships hence making JCB a one stop solution. Currently, JCB Ecomax engine is fitted into wide range of tracked excavators - JS 120 (63 KW), and JS220 (125KW)." JCB's backhoe loaders, wheel loaders and compactors is powered by Ecomax engines. The engines are available in the range of 76 hp to 150 hp and are available as naturally aspirated, turbocharged or common rail.

JCB India will look for expansion and retention of market presence through its available dealership network with 540 outlets supported by 24X7 dealer service van. Product cost control is being looked through enhanced adoption of lean manufacturing systems.

Rohit Punjabi
Liugong India is banking on its dealership network for existing business retention and sales expansion as well. According to Mr.Rohit Punjabi, Asst. Director (Strategy Development and Marketing) Liugong India "At present, our 20 dealers operating across India ensure that our machines reach our customers in any part of the country. The dealers are our biggest assets for business promotion. As part of our expansion strategy, the number of outlets will continue to expand so that we are available 24x7 for our customers."

Liugong Excavators

Liugong India hopes to strengthen its brand in India through what it claims as its advanced engineered excavators. Mr. Punjabi claims, "Liugong excavators perform better while digging and loading at lower operating costs. The excavators promoted in Indian market are being manufactured at our plant in Pithampur. The products have been developed to suit Indian job site applications, besides they have been made maintenance-friendly. Our excavators come with tougher, stronger boom and dippers. Heavy-duty stabilizers have been introduced to achieve longer service life in tough terrains. Improved protected hose routings and other hydraulics are designed in segments to achieve lower replacement costs and longer uninterrupted working."

LiuGong India expects to promote sales further by making its excavators technically well positioned for niche applications. Mr. Punjabi explains, "To make the right product positioning for niche applications, say rock breaking, we will keep researching on the right hydraulic oil flows that may be required for the breakers to function optimally. Comparative aspects like tonnage to weight volumes are also being evaluated for the optimum performance of the equipment in the Indian working conditions. Further, we are continuing to research for better integration of the excavators with various attachments involving the breakers or buckets of various configurations." He adds, "Business from special applications for LiuGong India has been promising and we see further growth in the segment".

LiuGong has its full fledged R&D facility in Pithampur that Mr. Punjabi claims has been instrumental in designing products suitable for Indian applications. He says, "We are planning to manufacture 6-8-20-36 tons class models locally at Pithampur. Forty percent of LiuGong's business in India is from excavators' sales contributed by 20 tons class equipment, 10-12 tons models contribute 15% of excavator's sales, whereas 6 tons provides 5-6 percent of sales. The Chinese construction equipment conglomerate derives 35% of its sales from corporate and remaining from the retail buyers in India.

Business strategies for bigger quantum of localization, incorporation of advanced engineering to make the excavators suitable for desired job site applications are some of the strategies that may bring dividends for excavators manufacturers in India. However, it cannot be looked in isolation. Strategies would have be to be aligned towards ensuring continuous, prompt onsite product and parts support and most importantly, suitable back up market linkages both at home and abroad, so as to hedge business risks and generate profitable business in mid and long-term in India.

S Manjunath
Doosan Infracore
Doosan Infracore has chosen to avoid aggressive business promotion for its excavators in India. Steep appreciation of US dollars during last few months has deterred excavators' sales in India by the Korean company. Retrograded sales on account of currency appreciation have been further compounded by curtailment of actual demand. Doosan officials in India see the situation to continue for some time until there is news of some major off take of units. The company will tread a cautious path to keep revenue flowing by keeping its investments in India finely calibrated until demand picks up to a satisfactory levels. "We will look to hedge slowdown in excavators through our offering of Bob Cat skid steer loaders, compressors and other products which are stable in the Indian market. Nonetheless, we will ensure stability of Doosan brand by making available timely product support to our 5,000 excavators working at sites through our 26 dealers in the country, says Mr. S.Manjunath, General Manager, Doosan Infracore India."

The company has plans to begin local assembly of its 8-11-22 tons hydraulic excavators for the Indian market at its facility in Bangalore shortly. Doosan has hex product range of 3.2-8-15-20-22-30-35-38-42-50-70 tons excavators for the Indian market. Sizeable chunk of business is derived through sales of 20- 22 tons class units.

Preparedness

Despite continuous spell of volatile demand, hydraulic excavators' manufacturers in India are continuing with new product development in concurrence with carrying out improvisation in their existing offerings along with necessary value addition to product support. It seems the readiness backed by the diverse business strategies to expand and consolidate market presence, lies in the mammoth projected figure of the demand of excavators escalating to 40,000 units by 2016 led by a forecasted double-digit economic growth. However, the logic behind the business plans also lies in the cyclic nature of the market. This is while taking cognizance of immediate past demand trends, when after seeing a significant decline in 2009, the demand for excavators witnessed an extraordinary growth with market touching the level of almost 15,000 units in 2011. According to industry estimates, demand for excavators in 2013 would approximately be around 12, 000 units. There is likelihood that the demand can reach 14,000 units in 2014 on account of recent big ticket project clearances made by the government recently. Hence, future preparedness by excavators' manufacturers, taking into consideration the cyclic demand pattern of the market is well planned.

NBM&CW November 2013

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Backhoe Loaders : Manufacturers Take on...

jcb backhoe loader

Backhoe Loaders manufacturers are reworking on their marketing strategies to combat volatility in sales, P.P. Basistha reports.

Infrastructure development across economies is generally characterized by its cyclic nature and 2013 seems to be the ebb when backhoe loaders manufacturers in India are really struggling hard to keep the business going. Demand retrogression started setting in from 2010 onwards, although manufacturers managed to register modest sales. However, demand perked up once again in 2011 making manufacturers get some exceptional business gains. But 2013 was all bearish led by overall slowdown in infrastructure projects across sectors, coupled by tightening liquidity and higher inflation, keeping rental costs under pressure. Not to mention prevailing overall subdued business sentiments.

Manufacturers are of the opinion that volatility in demand would not occur as has been the case between 2009-11, on the contrary; the bearish trend is now likely to be in place, until infrastructure development picks up in a big way. But the 'cyclic' trend led by 'bearish' demand has not gone too well with the relatively newer entrants in backhoe loader manufacturing. The year 2010 saw entry of good numbers, first time entrants in backhoe loaders production. Taking note and being enticed by the booming demand of the base machine for infrastructure development from 2005 onwards, companies altogether into different verticals of mechanical engineering, invested colossal sums in creation of production facilities and network for manufacturing and selling backhoe loaders.

backhoe loader sales
Jumping into the gravy train, resulted towards initial gains. However, the prevailing complexities of backhoe loaders market in India dovetailed by the present uncertain demand situation has brought stiff challenges for the newer manufacturers. Newer players are opting for brand building with slew of marketing and product development measures. Challenges galore for existing players well versed in the business of backhoe loaders, as they are highly skeptical whether the market will be able to attain the volume size of 40,000 units by 2015 according to earlier projections. Size of backhoe loaders market has been estimated to be at 32,371 units during 2012 down by 1000 units as compared to 2011.

The foremost challenge for existing manufacturers is to counter the strong urge of buyers towards brand substitution. This is in case of both existing and new buyers. Urge towards brand substitution is essentially on backdrop of attaining total economical cost of operation precisely on account of rising fuel and operators' costs. Expectations of getting total products support are higher than before from manufacturers. This in turn is making it tougher for manufacturers to build up top lines and bottom lines.

Amit Gossain
However, according Mr. Amit Gossain, VP Marketing, JCB India, "despite volatile market conditions, JCB has succeeded in creating new avenues for business through generation of newer markets. In fact, we have seen growth in our market shares across several regions and product categories."

He explains, "The percolation in different regions has been possible on account of our strong and long standing relationship with all our dealers. Our dedicated dealer principals have invested heavily to upgrade their existing facilities and have also opened new facilities which are equipped with all the latest technology for efficient product support." Mr. Gossain adds, "JCB has the largest distribution network in the country with over 500 outlets. We will look at strategically expanding our network even in the remotest areas of the country."

Given sizeable market presence, estimated to be at 70%, challenge for JCB will be to retain its existing customer base, while concurrently expanding market share. The company has adopted multi-pronged strategy. It will continue to rely on its dealers with after sales support and parts availability in focus. New product launches will continue to be on the agenda. Mr. Gossain points out, "We have introduced a new version of India's most beloved construction machine - 3DX backhoe loader - "the New JCB 3DXcellence." The new JCB backhoe loaders save upto Rs2.5 lakhs per year on fuel and the recently launched; JS205LC saves upto Rs5.4 lacs in 4 years." JCB will unveil technologically advanced products for Indian construction market during Excon 2013.

Making products economical to own and operate through value engineering will be at core for JCB. Fully supported by its own 'Ecomax' brand engine manufacturing facility at its flagship plant at Ballabgarh in Haryana, the plant characterizes lean manufacturing supported by a strong vendor base. The company will look for strengthening lean manufacturing further.

Anil Bhatia
Case India is taking forward the task of preserving its market presence through multiple strategies. According to Mr. Anil Bhatia, Head Marketing Case, "We have been strengthening our marketing network through sustained dealership development. Marketing promotion is being undertaken through road shows, best after sales package is being worked out with our existing and new customers." The 60% of Case's backhoe loaders are derived from first time buyers. Case offers backhoe loaders with 76 and 96 horsepower.

Mr. Bhatia mentions, "Our focus is now on each and every customer rather than on territories on a macro level. We are looking for the possibility for being close to the customer as much as possible through deputing mobile workshop, for ensuring higher equipment uptime." Product sales and support is being undertaken by Case through requisite training to dealers through various programme, parts availability and also ensuring financial support to the dealers. The Fiat group company has 176 dealers outlets in the country. It claims to have sizeable market presence in North Eastern India for its backhoe loaders.

case backhoe loader

Market Consolidation

With demand being less and competition remaining high, retention of market share remains topmost priority for majority of manufacturers. Caterpillar has carried out investments at its production facility in Tamil Nadu. According to a company official, "To meet the growing demand for backhoe loaders, during 2012, we have invested in state-of-the-art facility at Thiruvallur. We have flexibility and when the time is right will be prepared to invest in rapidly increasing that capacity. Caterpillar Product System (CPS) is used in the facility which is a global process and best in class standards."

Caterpillar will look to expand its share of backhoe loaders banking on its existing exclusive dealers Tractors India Limited and GMMCO. The official explains, "Our dealers have branches spread across India for offering requisite product support. We conduct customer loyalty surveys regularly to collect customer feedback and take necessary responsive measures. Our dealers stock Cat 424B genuine parts and consumables at locations close to customers. Apart from this extensive network, our factory trained service engineers are equipped with mobile service vans to reach the remote job sites in a matter of hours. Customers can contact their local dealers via toll free numbers for any sales or service related queries."

cat backhoe loader

Caterpillar claims to offer value added services to its customers through its dealers based on their rental, used and new equipment business model. Presently, Cat is offering only one 76 hp model in India. It proposes to expand its products range in near future based on market potential and shift in customer requirements. The Indian backhoe loaders market is dominated by 76 HP standard machine which accounts for about 85% of the backhoe loaders industry. Cat sold 1,593 units of backhoe loader during 2012.

Delhi based Escorts Limited (Construction Equipment Division) sold 1196 units during 2012. The company expects to sell around 1400 units during 2013-14. Higher sales expectations are based on the ability of the company for better product placement. According to Mr. Parminder Sachdeva, GM, backhoe loaders, ECE, "We are relatively a new player in the market, however with technically advanced products in terms of higher reaches, higher break out force, better productivity and fuel efficiency, we have been able to brave demand volatility."

escort backhoe loader

ECE's 'Digmax' series of backhoe loaders, which was launched in 2010 is equipped with proven Kirslokar engines. Mr. Sachdeva claims, the engines have higher uptime and better fuel efficiency. The maintenance- friendly engines have a higher maintenance span which are cost effective too."

ECE will look to strengthen the brand of its 'Digmax' backhoe loaders through better product support. Mr. Sachdeva mentions, "We are ensuring 97-98% availability of our backhoe loaders through total packaged services. This involves, operations and parts availability, lubrication maintenance contracts at competitive costs post warranty period." ECE is looking to expand its network through identification of dealers at strategic locations.

kairas vakharia
Mahindra will be banking as well on its dealers to build up sales of its backhoe loaders. The company is focusing on retaining its dealers through providing necessary support. According to Mr. Kairas Vakharia, Senior Vice President, Automotive Strategy & Business-Construction Equipment, "Adequate dealer support is being ensured as we are very mindful of dealer viability and constantly monitor it and take necessary action. There are various means to do this. Firstly, design the dealer business model that allows for operation at a reasonable breakeven volume, secondly, provide the dealer adequate financial support in terms of margins as well as expenses support, thirdly, provide a range of products and fourthly drive demand in the local area through effective marketing and retail financing support."

Mahindra has created a pool of dedicated dealers for its construction equipment business. However, the company also promotes its backhoe loaders through some of its auto and farm equipment dealers. Mr. Vakharia points out, "We have selected dealers based on their interest in this category and our assessment of their financial and operating ability in this segment." Mahindra has over 150 dealer sales, service and spare parts outlets. The dealers are backed up by twelve area offices, one mother parts warehouse and ten regional parts warehouses.

Retention and sales built up is also looked into by Mahindra by keeping its production costs under control. Mr. Vakharia explains, "On the supply side, we work with vendors who are financially sound and have the ability to withstand market's ups and downs. In our case, volumes to vendors have increased significantly this year with growth in sales and we face no issue at this front."

Mahindra claims of being ranked number 3 in the backhoe loader market in the first quarter of this financial year. According to the company, sales for its 'Earth Master' brand of backhoe loader by 89% in quarter 1 as compared to the same quarter last year. The company sold 800 numbers of backhoe loaders in 2012. Mahindra's manufacturing plant currently has a capacity of 2000 backhoe loaders per annum.

mahindra backhoe loader

However, the prime strategy to increase sales will be through increasing its portfolio for backhoe loaders. Mahindra has recently introduced two new variants of 'Earth Master' brand to participate in all price segments of the market. Mr. Vakharia mentions, "We had entered the market two years back with a premium product that provided superior features as well as performance and was priced at the top end of the market. We have built credibility with this approach, and have now added products at lower price points that will allow customers with lower budgets to own an Earth Master. The two new variants, Earth Master LX and Earth Master SX will complement our premium variant Earth Master VX." Mahindra also plans to introduce a 4 wheel drive version of Earth Master this year.

About 51% of the Mahindra's present sales of backhoe loaders are derived from its existing customers. The ability to draw sales from existing customers has been through, according to Mahindra, owing to its prompt customer support. Mr. Vakharia informs, "We have invested heavily in customer care. We have an ongoing method of tracking customer satisfaction 90 days and 300 days after a customer purchases a machine. The latest tracks show over 90% satisfaction with product performance and reliability. We have a practice of tracking every service call. We target to close all service calls within 12 hours of a customer calling in, this is a standard that is set much higher than the industry standard. As of now, we are able to close 83% of all service calls within 12 hours. In addition, we have also set up a dedicated call centre for service support that can handle nine languages."

The ability of backhoe loaders manufacturers to reorient their product and support offerings augurs well for the customers as they stand to benefit being offered a wider choice. Nonetheless, it agurs well for manufacturers as well as they get braced up to take the challenges of the volatile market situation both in the mid and long-term taking cognizance of the fact that construction equipment market will always tend to remain cyclic.

NBM&CW OCTOBER 2013

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JCB India launches new excavator JS205L...

Amit Gossain & Vipin Sondhi

Adding serious competition to the 20 tonne Excavator market, JCB India launched its JS205LC Tracked Excavator at its Chakan, Pune facility. Calling it a 'Game Changer' product, Mr. Vipin Sondhi, MD & CEO, JCB India said, "Once again, JCB raises the bar in innovation with the New Tracked Elevator – JS205LC. The new 20 tonne Excavator offers best fuel efficiency coupled with better performance and productivity." Developed and manufactured in India, this excavator is designed to meet requirements of Earthwork, Quarrying, Road Construction and others. The company is optimistic of staying on top of its existing primary markets in India, Africa and the Middle East while complementing global emerging markets where infrastructure development is on the rise.

Highlighting the scoring design features Mr. Amit Gossain, Executive Vice President – Marketing, Business Development and Corporate Affairs claimed, "The JS205LC is designed for very high fuel efficiency and operator safety. The reliable structure is strengthened with bigger, deeper and wider sections to provide durability and strength. With excellent tear out forces customers can look forward to high output and faster completion of work. All this come with a low maintenance cost and ease of serviceability."

JCB-Excavator-Launch

The fresh layout of the operator cabin offers a full working view and ergonomically placed controls contributing to safety features and comfort. The strong network of dealers and service outlets throughout India backed by world class customer service network support adds to the brand strengths.

JS205LC-Tracked-Excavator

Salient Features :

  1. Best – in – class performance – Excellent bucket and dipper tear out forces result in high output and faster completion of work especially in hard strata.
    JCB's innovative hydraulic regeneration system recycles hydraulic oil across the cylinders for faster cycle times and reduced fuel consumption.
  2. Unparalleled fuel efficiency – JCB's advanced load sensing hydraulic system has been designed for lower energy needs.
    Increased engine power and pump flow for faster operations when higher output is required.
  3. Ease of serviceability - Compact and easy to handle, bonnet is assisted by gas cylinders and helps in easy opening & closing. Makes periodic maintenance easy and effortless; Ease to access periodic check points ;
    Wire mesh provided to avoid clogging of radiator and oil cooler
  4. Operator comfort – Ergonomically placed operator controls and roof hatch aided by rear sliding window highly increases the operator efficiency. The new JS205LC comes with an AC option.
  5. Safety features– audio and visual alerts provided in instrumental panel for air filter blockage, low coolant level, high hydraulic oil temperature. Belly guard for lower frame and undercovers for upper frame.
  6. Standard configuration– Gross Engine Power- 106 KW, Bucket capacity– 0.8 cu.m – 1.02 cu.m, Operating weight– 20,500 kg

JCB  Excavator at Chakan
.....

Haulotte Group sets up base in India

Haulotte Group

French major Haulotte Group, a global leader in manufacturing Aerial Work Platform and Telehandler has expanded its presence in Asia through its new subsidiary Haulotte India. The group which is ISO 9001 certified, designs manufactures and markets a wide range of products focused on aerial work platform and material handling equipment.

HA32-2005-07-Officielle
Alexandre-Saubot
Mr Alexandre Saubot
The Indian market, already familiar with Haulotte machines, will benefit from the Mumbai office, which according to Mr Alexandre Saubot, CEO, Haulotte India is being set up as a hub for equipment and spare part sales, technical and maintenance support for Haulotte machines serving the country. "We are really proud to serve the India market, and now to be a local partner who listens and serves customers, providing them a service tailored to specific needs with a flexible and diversified offer. We have decided to reaffirm commitment to our Indian customers. Haulotte Group and Haulotte India are fully committed to our customers with a strong and ever growing presence in Asia," says Mr Saubot.

Strong backbone

Scissor Lift
The Haulotte Group has grown with the base strength of steam locomotive which later paved the way to manufacture mechanical diggers and then mobile cranes and derricks. Pinguely and Haulotte were founded in 1881 and 1924 respectively by Alexandre Pinguely and Arthur HAULOTTE. These two companies, over their entire expansion, have tuned their engineering competences to the needs of their markets and in 1995, they merged and aerial work platform became the core business of the new entity Pinguely-Haulotte. Later in 2005, Pinguely-Haulotte was renamed to Haulotte Group along with its logo and the business model was turned around to focus on the manufacture of articulated work platforms, scissor lifts, telescopic work platforms and vertical mast work platforms. In 2008, Haulotte Group acquired American scaffolding leader Bil-Jax.

H43_Italy_IMG_6176
With 6 manufacturing plants and 7 products range available in over sixty models, the Haulotte Group is world no. 3 and Europe no.1 manufacturer of material lifting equipment. Its excess of 1600 employees are spread in 5 continents. The company declared revenue of Euros 306.9 million in FY 2011, followed by a sales growth of 25% in Q2 of 2012. Their manufacturing operations spread across France, Romania, USA and China, are geared to adapt to demand fluctuations and specific market conditions. Sales and services are covered by 20 subsidiaries and offices in strategic markets and supported by a distributor-network giving coverage in more than 100 countries.
photo1-OPTIMUM8
The company's service solutions include users' training, technical assistance with machines, spare parts and turnkey solutions. Haulotte also keeps up an equipment rental business in selected geographies as brand establishing exercise.

With a ear on the ground

The spread of Haulotte's presence across the globe is a part of their strategy to be a local partner that listens and serves customer's specific needs. This renders a scope for flexible and diversified offers. Treating rental companies as partners in developing projects, the Group inculcates customer feedback and requirements to enhance product lines through its continuous R&D. Product customization also comes from the diverse verticals like logistics, manufacturing, airports, maintenance and retail services by their machines.

With this perspective and the mission to achieve customers' proximity by providing the best product and service solution, Haulotte India is a first-step towards building a long-term relation with the region.

NBMCW June 2013

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Motor Graders Vying For Sales Retention

Case Motor grader

Motor graders manufacturers look to counter volatile sales through product positioning as they expect sales to revive during mid-and long-term period." P.P. Basistha reports

Slowdown in road construction projects has taken its toll on sales of motor graders. Significant dip in sales has been reported by motor grader manufacturers during 2011-12. Although, the industry reported positive sales during 2011, however, demand was not outstanding as registered during 2009 and 2010. Steep demand curtailment was during 2012. Slow awarding of the tenders, project and time cost overruns, on backdrop of raging inflation, consequently making the contractors appeal for revision of escalation clauses brought the conceived projects to a halt. Further, growing litigation and more recently, contractors altogether backing out of projects, citing reasons that are debatable have scuttled projects development altogether.

As a damage control exercise, the government and project developers are addressing the persisting teething issues, that have been delaying projects. This is despite well framed elaborate clauses, model concession agreements enshrined in government’s roadmap to develop and operate road projects through public private partnership models. It will be required to be seen till when the government and project developers are able to set a well amicable finer roadmap for putting road construction projects on fast tract. Till then, motor graders manufacturers may have to reconcile to falling sales.

However, sharing optimism they feel demand is well likely to revive as the government remains committed to infrastructure. Nonetheless, revival of demand would be characterized through stiff competition as manufacturers expect 2013 to be a better year. According to manufacturers, motor graders volume was around 350-400 units in 2010- 2011. During 2012, the total market dropped drastically by around 40% to around 250 units. The total market is expected to be around 400 units in 2013.

Product Positioning Vs Demand

The manufacturers are of the unanimous opinion that ‘product positioning’ will solely allow them to outmaneuver the bumpy ride towards attaining smoother sales in the long run. Not to mention, just retaining presence. According to Caterpillar official, "Our motor graders with all advanced features, namely ACERTTM Engine, load sensing hydraulics, moldboard positioning options, rugged frame, drawbar, circle construction, machine control & guidance options using Cat Accu Grade, asset management using Cat Product Link, coupled with features such as ROPS, positioning of instrument cluster help achieve efficiency in cost per kilometer and also reduce the lifetime costs. The noticeable features are well likely to maintain and sustain our presence in the market."

Caterpillar-Motor-Grader

The company expects to cushion competition and continue with sales through wide range of offerings from its stable. The official adds, "Caterpillar offers a wide range of imported motor graders that cater to multiple customer segment requirements right from heavy construction to haul road maintenance and mining applications. 120K2, 140K2, 14M, 16M, and 24M are the options where our customers can choose according to their specific grading requirements."

Volvo-Motor-Grader

A.M-Muralidharan
Volvo CE expects to make its sales bankable through advanced features of the products as well. According to Mr. A.M. Muralidharan, President, Volvo CE, "Our motor graders are very popular and widely accepted by the road contractors due to their superior performance and unmatched productivity. Secondly, because of higher weight of the grader, the end users are able to complete the work faster. Range of advanced features makes Volvo’s graders cost-competitive to own and operate.

Mr. Muralidharan elaborates, "The top features of our motor graders resulting direct cost benefits are 3 power settings with 8F/4R transmission or 8 power settings with optional 11F/6R transmission: Volvo’s D8 / Tier 4i engine features increased displacement, power and torque. Engine characteristics are perfectly matched to Volvo transmissions, maintaining legendary Volvo grader productivity in the most demanding applications. Three or eight power settings automatically deliver optimum power in each gear for reduced wheel slippage and fuel consumption. Faster project executions are ensured through Volvo’s exclusive circle turn system uses twin gear, direct-acting hydraulic cylinders that provide instant, high output torque, enabling moldboard rotation under any load. This means there is no need to stop, reverse and change moldboard angle."

He adds, "Further safety is taken care of through Volvo ROPS/FOPS Care Cab. Cabs include plenty of glass for unobstructed views; easy-to-use ergonomic controls; a familiar steering wheel; comfortable seating and a Contronics system to keep operators informed of all functions in real time." Volvo offers 15T and 21T class motors graders for road application and mining applications. The products are being currently imported from Brazil for the Indian market.

The companies will look back to sales through their network and products support. According to Caterpillar, through its association with Gmmco & TIPL, it is bringing world-class customer support and offering training to its customer’s operators and site personnel. Together with Gmmco & TIPL, it offers value added services which ensure that the customer's project requirements of quality cost & time are met. Few examples of the value added services include customer support agreements, scheduled oil sampling (SOS), equipment protection plan, maintenance & repair contracts, equipment rental options, parts stocking etc.

Expanded product reach will be of Volvo CE’s strategy to build up and protect sales. Mr. Muralidharan says, "We have currently 14 dealers across India to render product support with an objective to ensure best of machine availability. In today’s market scenario, machine availability has become a crucial factor to complete projects in time thereby maximizing customer’s profit. Volvo trained service technicians and better availability of parts help to meet customer requirement within the time frame." Volvo Customer Centre facility located in Hosakote, Bangalore offers training programs to customer operators to improve operating skills to the desired level.

Grader

Anil-Bhatia
Case New Holland (CNH) will also strengthen its hold on road construction equipment business through expanding its network. Mr. Anil Bhatia, Director Sales & Marketing, CNH, says, "Along with strengthening our existing dealership network, we will be expanding our presence in unexplored markets." Case India has 18 offices and 62 dealers with 150 outlets proposed to be increased to 185 during 2013.

Product availability and support will be vital for the company to promote sales of its newly launched B-series, Case 845-B VHB (variable horsepower) and Case 865 B VHP motor graders for the Indian road construction market. The B-series motor graders are sold by CNH in African, Middle East and Russian markets. According to Mr. Bhatia, "The B-series motor graders feature 6.7 litres triple horsepower ranges on the 865 model and dual horsepower on the 845 B to match the power requirements of various applications and deliver optimum fuel efficiency." He adds, "the motor graders are equipped with forward mounted articulation joint and rear mounted cab, giving operators a commanding view of the complete mould board and ground engaging equipment. The spacious cab offers improved control layout, while maintaining the traditional 9-lever motor grader controls preferred by most operators."

Mr. Bhatia claims, "The case circle design with outer facing gear teeth, improves operations and serviceability, maintains gear power and increases the life of circle drive components." Gross power range of 845 B VHP is 150-173 hp with standard 3658 mm standard mould board and that of 865B VHP between 193-220 hp and 3962 mm standard mould board.

Sany-Grader
Advanced product positioning is also claimed to be on offer from Sany Heavy Industry India Pvt Ltd. through its SHG series hydraulic motor graders. The chinese equipment manufacturer has, SHG 190, SHG 190C and SHG 190-E to offer under SHG series. According to the company, "The products with hydraulic transmission technology features step less speed regulation and easy operation, SYMC electrical control system featuring high intelligence technology with functions on locating and remote control, rops and fops diver cabs. The other features includes, full closed rolling disc swing mechanism making the equipment work quickly and be maintenance free, self-adoption function to ensure that the machine power matches with load."

The models are fitted with Deutz and Cummins, 6 cylinder, water cooled, 4 stroke, top valve direct inject turbo charged engine delivering rated power output of 148-146-144 kw and 2300,1950 and 2200RPM.

Offerings & Support

Multiple models may allow manufacturers to address varied applications to take over competition with the revival of market. However, sales are likey to be aided equally through expanded reach and timely product support. This has to be the key for allowing road contractors to retain their business margins.

NBMCW May 2013

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Affordability Issues Baffle Road Equipm...

Road Equipment Makers

As product owning and operation costs continue to mount for road construction contractors, led by growing business and project execution complexities, road equipment manufacturers in India face challenges of exploring numerous elements that can facilitate growth in top and bottom lines while ensuring decent returns on margins for the contractors, Partha Basistha reports.

"All cutting edge technologies are redundant unless it results in profits to our customers"- Marini Fayat

Rising fuel and manpower costs, compressed work schedules, and profit revenue margins, make the observation quite legitimate for road construction contractors nationally and internationally. For contractors in road construction business, involved in executing projects through engineering, procurement and commissioning under the aegis of build, operate, and transfer there, is a sustained requirement of growing cash flow into the business throughout the entire stage of construction and finally operation. Indexing profitability with the business, seems at first glance, the more job volume, the more business profitability, however, the looming rider remains. The more number of jobs, the more requirements of cash supply. Further, the more complexity greater the requirement of finance availability.

Marini Fayat

Business structure of road contractors in India has continued to become complex over the recent years, right from the project awarding stage that may get stretched due to delayed land acquisition, delay in laying of access points to the job site or arbitration. Additionally, during project execution, complexities in execution may require the contractor bring in added mechanization for faster completion of the job. Further, requirement to meet desired specification of the concessionaire, may also need added mechanization, thereby requiring higher cash flow again than that of the estimated amount. These are typical situations in India, which usually surpasses the levels of committed cash required for the projects.

According to Mr. Digvijaysingh G. Padheria, MD, Digvijay Construction Pvt Ltd., "Indexing the future requirement of plants that may be required during the course of construction and the monetary requirement for the same, continues to be a challenging task for the plant manager at Indian job sites. Though calculations of estimated cost of plant operations and predictability of ongoing and future requirement, in the course of construction are available tools, however, not absolute in Indian conditions."

While plant and machinery constitutes 6-10% of the investment component for typical road construction project, contractors are of the opinion that OEM's can add value to the business by making them run the plants efficiently. "OEM's have no jurisdiction to curtail project cost escalation due to various external factors. However, they can play a very crucial role by bringing technologies and processes which can reduce the production & operating costs, so chances of putting extra finance in operations is kept minimal. Marini asphalt plants are designed for contractors who are interested to keep an edge and interested on efficiency, environment and sustainability. Since availability and desired quality of fuel is an issue with the contractors, burners of our plants come with multiple options, so depending on the location and prices of fuel, customer can use either diesel, heavy oil, gas or light oil. If the contractor is using a Marini in close proximity to seaports, he can even use waste oil.

Blesson-Varghese
The desired temperature is ensured in our plants through our QUAD-control burners which have three variable sources of air. Further, inherent design features like Waste Heat Recovery, Heat retaining designs and a fantastic dryer-burner combination, keeps fuel consumption of our plants at minimal levels," says Mr. Blesson Varghese, MD, Marini Fayat Group.

Mr. Varghese further adds, "Since Fayat has its roots from civil engineering and even 50% plus of our group turnover comes from our civil engineering activities, we understand the veins and pains of every road building professional. This understanding & decades of experience is built in to each of our products, which are know to set industry benchmarks in Productivity and Efficiency. Cost saving is delivered on a Marini by some very intuitive designs. For eg, a Marini requires very low pressure fuel pumps, delivering very high up time and very low maintenance. The pumps work on low pressure thus requiring less energy. Being custom built to Indian job site requirement, our plants work economic miracles for our customers. Wider experience in the Indian market has enabled us to place products differently as compared to our competitors."

MARINI launched MAC 120 and 160 tph range of asphalt batching plant at bC India 2013 in Mumbai. According to Mr. Varghese, "Plants are intended to be marketed towards the new smaller road construction contractors entering into the market, who normally desire so much to own a Marini."

By this mid segment range of products, complemented by the right size of paver fnisher and supporting equipment, we intend to bring to our customers, value for money proposition and a taste of the latest pro-customer technology. Small contractors in India are seriously thinking about sustainability and we are ready to offer them some fantastic profit delivering machines. Marini's asphalt plant portfolio comprises plants of 120-160-240-280-320-360 tph.

Market presence is also being built up by Linhoff. The company has been in India for last 10 years. It is now looking to strengthen its presence through its wide portfolio of asphalt plants. It has asphalt plants between 80-to-400 tph and Eurotec concrete batching plant serving the Indian market. The range of Eurotec concrete batching plants are 30-to-240 Cum provided by Linhoff in the Indian market. The company's 7 plants of 120cum are operational in India. It is looking to offer cost competitive solutions to buyers through undertaking local manufacturing of its asphalt and Concrete plants at its upcoming factory at Khed near Pune with an initial capacity of 20 plants per month. Likely to be commissioned during September this year, the factory will manufacture asphalt and Concrete batching plants catering to the required capacity of Indian market.

Concrete-Batching-Plant

"Initially, we propose to produce mass required 80-240tph range asphalt plants. The smaller capacity of plants will find usage for pan India road construction projects and especially in the North Eastern part of the country and other hilly areas," says Mr. Abhijit Padhye, VP (Sales & Marketing) Linhoff India Pvt Ltd. He claims, "Our local production would comprise Linhoff's cost-effective CMX series of compact mix batch plants."

The CMX series batching plants involve components like hot mix dryer screen drum, hot storage bins, bag house, mixer, and weighers which are moved to site in modular form and are assembled there in sequential order. These plants are also known as stationery plants, as they require a Skid mounted foundation. Linhoff's range of batching plants comprises MSD series modular batching plants, CMX series compact mix batching plant, TSD series mobile batching plant, LH series tower batching plants, HRC series recycling asphalt attachments to existing new plants, mastic attachments to existing/new plants. The company's Lintec's CSD series plants are marketed in European Union and Middle East for premium segment customers which according to the company are also bought by 10% of it's Indian clientele.

At par with promoting asphalt plants, the company will lay emphasis towards promoting concrete plants, with customized origin. According to Mr. Padhye, "in the concrete segment we are more interested in the dedicated specialized plants which call for our expertise of catering to major customers like Lafarge through our worldwide offices. However in India we will also supply to small users in the 30-45 cum range, sharing our overseas experience and product knowledge.

Technology: Sole Criterion for Sales?

Though technology can be a key differentiator for products sales. However, it may not be the only differentiator, for a product like asphalt plant in India. This is as because there are many external factors linked to production, which may not altogether be under the jurisdiction of the contractor. The factors are well likely to have an inflated bearing at the costs of production, which even the best of the technology may not be able to neutralize. According to Mr. M.L. Pandita, General Manager, Plant, Gammon India Limited, "The viability of the plant depends on timely availability of aggregates and transportation lead times for transporting the aggregates from the source of its origin to the site. For projects taking place in North Bihar, Gorakhpur, Eastern UP or in certain parts of West Bengal lead transportation distances are between 200 and 300 kms or even beyond. Further, crushing laws vary in different states. To minimize the lead times, the contractor may have to make alternative transportation arrangements through additional dumpers. Further, road bridging may require to be done with nearest rail sidings, which ideally is not best option. All these factors definitely has a cost bearing on the operation of the plants."

Case-Construction

The factors can negatively influence sales, despite technically ideal product positioning. Not discounting the same, Linhoff has put in an elaborate product support structure in place. According to Mr. Padhye, "Apart from the conventional service module, our product support structure is quite wide. It comprises complete operation and maintenance service. Through our specialized service department, we provide complete team of personnel to operate and maintain, along with providing the required throughput at a nominal cost. We also make our plants available on rent for the complete/partial tenure of the project backed by our operation and maintenance services. We also provide refurbishment services backed by guarantee, where we retrofit used Linhoff plants. We can also support customers through plant buyback arrangements and long term funding plans."

Passing value to customers in road constructions business, yet continuing with sustains sales is becoming arduous in India. This is despite growth in overall volumes over the years. For example, slow adaptability of advancements in technology by users, while emphasizing to keep operation costs down has made it challenging for manufacturers to pass value through compactors or pavers.

Anil-Bhatia
According to Mr. Anil Bhatia, Director, Sales & Marketing, Case India. "While maintenance parameters remain same with almost all Global construction equipment manufacturers, Case is looking to incorporate value through economizing operational costs and enhanced life expectancy primarily through process and quality improvements. Continued improvements are carried out in engine to keep the temperature at the optimum level and to regulate accurate fuel delivery. Our upgraded version of Case 752, the 9-ton tandem vibratory compactor now comes with fuel efficient water cooled engines, which results in substantial temperature reduction that will also benefit customers with longer engine life and lower fuel consumption."

Case's range of vibratory compactors comprises of newly upgraded tandem compactor model 752, 1107 soil compactor featuring an operating weight of 11.3 tons and 3.2 tons mini tandem 450 DX. The company claims to be the market leader in India having sizeable market presence backed by the myriad offerings. Case India will strengthen its existing dealership network apart from expanding its presence in unexplored markets. Case India today has 18 offices and 60 dealers having more than 160 outlets proposed to increase the service outlets to 190 during 2013.

Ramesh-Palagiri
With sales continuing to remain volatile centering competition, total solutions availability continues to be the driver for sales in India, necessarily backed through market expansions. According to Mr. Ramesh Palagigiri, MD, Wirtgen India pvt ltd, "as a complete solutions entity, for Indian road construction market, Wirtgen offers pavers with screed size from 5 meters both tracked and wheeled, Vogele 1300-2 and Vogele 1303-2 for smaller roads construction. Our pavers range from the 9 mtr to 13 mtrs class, with extending screeds. We have recently launched the Dash 3 generation of Pavers of which the 2100-3, is available for the Indian market." He mentions, "further for compactors, we have Hamm 311 vibratory soil compactor as well the HD 90 Tandem Roller. Besides, pneumatic rubber wheeled tyred rollers for Asphalt are available. For milling machines, we have the W35 DC and the W 50 for specialised applications, the W 100 and the W 130F for city milling, and the W 2000 for large milling jobs." He added, "shortly we would introduce the HD 99 which would be produced at our Indian facility."

Soil-Compactor

Mr. Palagiri is optimist to think that sustained demand for the range of products will be driven by their technical attributes to a big extent. He says, "Our pavers are equipped with advanced technology, eco-friendly, economical and ergonomical aspects. The "EcoPlus Package," for instance, significantly reduces fuel consumption and noise levels. Further, the popular ErgoPlus operating system, is equipped with a number of additional ergonomic and functional features. Pavedock assistance, new Autoset function, etc. are just some of the many new features in the Dash 3 generation of Pavers." He adds, "rollers produced at Pune, meet all requirements specific to the Indian construction industry – from lighting via cooling system all the way to engine technology."

However, all the necessary technical attributes may not be sufficient to build up the brand and promote sales. To justify the brand, Wirtgen is looking to build up sufficient product support initiatives. According to Mr. Palagiri, "We have made large scale investments in a new highly advanced workshop where as many as five machines can be overhauled simultaneously as a major initiative towards product support." The state of the art workshop has four bays to refurbish 4 machines at a time including paver and surface miner. He informed, "15 machines were refurbished at this facility and the target for 2013 is 20 machines." Wirtgen India will be starting full fledged REMAN by 2014.

Wirtgen's production facility at Pune also houses a training school. Four batches of 20 trainees a year, are trained with hands on learning experience on the machines.

Network Expansion

Market penetration and subsequent expansion continues to be major strategy for building presence in the challenging terrain of Indian road construction equipment business. OEM's have felt that market expansion holds precedence in India in tandem with product placement. Backed by the business perception, Amman group carried planned 70% acquisition of Indian, road construction equipment major, Gujarat Apollo Industries. According a statement from Amman, "The partnership with Apollo is aimed at expanding the market position in the field of asphalt mixing plants, asphalt pavers and compaction machines in India and the neighboring markets. It states, Apollo wide network of sales and servicing subsidiaries in India; its products will be instrumental for promoting Ammann range of products in India."

Under the joint venture, according to the company statement, "Ammann will invest in Apollo's core business of asphalt mixing plants, asphalt pavers, bitumen sprayers and compaction machines." The joint venture, known as Ammann Apollo India Private Limited, the company states will be responsible for the sale of the Ammann products range in the market region of India, whilst the Ammann Group will continues to operate on a global basis. The joint venture agreement is due to be signed in mid-April 2013.

Excavator-with-Easy-Dig

With sales continuing to remain volatile centering competition total solutions availability continues to be the driver for sales in India, necessarily backed through market expansions. In accordance with the same, BOMAG launched its total high-tech range of Bomag machines involving pavers, rollers and milling machines at bC India 2013. According to Mr. Varghese, "Our range is almost complete now in India from asphalt batching plants to pavers – compactors, maintenance equipment, recycling systems & even automatic sweeping machine. The 800 tph BOMAG BF 800 C class pavers with 10 m screed size delivers upto 98% compaction, highest in its class as compared to offering from other manufacturers. Besides unmatched compaction and leveling that the industry's most heavy & high performing screed offers, Bomag pavers are engineered to safeguard pavements from thermal segregation and light oil dissipation which is detrimental for pavement performance. The pavers have the same bloodline of our compaction range. The pneumatic tyre rollers are fully hydrostatic machines, which deliver our clients unmatched performance and almost negligible maintenance at sites."

Desai MOBA
Automation, it is felt, is another element that can contribute value to compactors, graders and other supporting equipment in road construction within the value chain. However, it has to be cost-competitive. As adaptability to the same remains conservative from the contractors end in the country, Moba, the major automation solutions entity for road construction equipment will be localizing its products at its new plant in Gandhinagar. According to Mr. Desai, National Manager, Sales & Services, MOBA "Initially, we will localize our cables, metal brackets and allied accessories that help in mounting the solutions on the equipment." The company has recently launched its human machine interface and thermal profile, for measuring the asphalt temperature to ensure the passes are of right specifications."

Nitin Lall
However, manufacturers would be able to reap the benefits of localization, if only demand volumes are sufficient. Affirms Mr. Nitin Lall, General Manager, Chicago Pneumatic. He says, "The benefits of local sourcing only can be when demand is adequate. The company which acquired Dynapac in the recent past, manufacturers 11-ton soil compactors and 9-tons tandem rollers at their state of the art Dynapac facility in Nashik, which happens to be one of their most modern plants around the globe. According to Mr. Lall, the localization ratios of the products are between 70 and 30%. We look to low ownership and operation costs for our products in India, by sourcing them from Europe, China and of course within India. The products are cost-competitive and adhere to European quality specifications. Global sourcing is a major strategy to make products cost competitive."

Dynapac

However, with global shipping container rates remaining subdued as of now, it will be profitable for the company to get imports at a reasonable cost. Nonetheless, as a long-term strategy to safeguard and extend market presence, Atlas Copco is strengthening market presence. "Enhanced marketing support is our present focus through appointment of more number of dealers and better service back up and continued hiring of people. Our ratio for sales and service support personnel is 10:30" says Mr. Lall. Atlas Copco, sells imported 9 to 13 meters pavers, pneumatic tyre rollers and 1-2 meters planners in India. It would add another 10 dealers during 2013 to its existing 30 dealers. The company plans to introduce slew of new products for the Indian market during 2013-14.

Notwithstanding, amidst the evolving marketing challenges, manufacturers continue to see the Indian market prospective as demand fundamentals continue to remain firm from the road construction sector with sustained emphasis of the government on infrastructure building. However, it would require to be seen that how sooner and transparently the project executing agencies are able to award the new tenders and get them executed. It will equally be interesting to see how, OEM's are able to meet the demand and service expectations of the market.

NBMCW May 2013

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Beyond Low Sentiments

Despite falling sales of excavators during the current year, the manufacturers are still working on their business strategies onboard to strengthen and expand their footprint in the Indian construction sector wherein the regular introduction of new products is one of the strategies behind the same, P.P. Basistha reports.

As the old adage goes, it makes real sense to leave aside sentiments and instead have a practical approach to counter the ongoing and future developments. The approach has positively proved itself in the history of survival. The thought has its rationale in businesses as well. Instances galore where fragile business decisions or indecisiveness have made organizations succumbed to the vagaries of market developments. The excavator manufacturers in Indian construction market are indeed not willing to be out of the realm of the approach. Followed by making large scale capital investments for manufacturing the base equipment in Greenfield facilities and also towards brown-field expansions production capacities, it has really been hard for the manufacturers to reconcile the negative developments in the market, driving demand deep south at least by 25-30% as compared to last year. However keeping aside the negative business sentiment, preparedness is steady at the manufacturers’ camp for the present and future.

The basis behind the readiness backed by the diverse business strategies to expand and consolidate market presence, lies in the mammoth projected figure of the demand of excavators escalating to 40,000 units by 2016 led by a forecasted double-digit economic growth. However, the logic behind the business plans, also lies in the cyclic nature of the market. This is while taking cognizance of immediate past demand trends, when after seeing a significant decline in 2009, the demand for excavators witnessed an extraordinary growth with market touching the level of almost 15,000 units. The cyclic nature of the market determining demand is also expected to turn volatile, which is well unlikely to leave manufacturers unscathed by stiff competition, thereby making them imperative to continue in action.

Mr. H.S. Mohan
“Beyond doubt the fallout of this cyclic demand pattern and projected demand of approx.. 40,000 units getting extended further beyond 2016 is expected to make business tougher at present,” says. Mr. H.S. Mohan, COO, Doosan Infracore. He elaborates, “The projected demand of 40,000 units being further extended will certainly mean that demand in short - and mid- term is likely to remain subdued, thereby putting strain on top line and bottom line growth of producers amidst stiffer competition.”

The Korean manufacturing entity proposes to take on to the situation by focusing on customer service and support. Mr. Mohan mentions, “Sizeable chunk of our sales comes from our 20 tons segment which have been able to make encouraging presence. We will keep focusing on marketing the products of concerned capacity and also by extending service support to our existing customers. We will also maintain market presence with supporting our Doosan excavators. Doosan has a fleet of 5,000 working excavators in the market.

Owing to subdued demand & current price war in the market, Doosan will take decision for capital investments to set up production unit only after evaluating the market situation properly.”

Doosan

While Doosan claims to maintain decent presence in the 20 ton class segment, the competition in the higher capacity units comprising 30 tons and beyond is also increasing. The company has a product portfolio of 30-34-50 and other higher capacity. According to Mr. Mohan, “The market size of 30 tons class is modest in India as of now due to mining segment, not showing any growth. Doosan markets excavators of various capacities comprising 8-15-20-22.5-30-34-50 tons.

Though demand volumes of higher capacity units is modest in India, a major jolt to the demand has been due to slowing demand from the Road Construction & mining industry due to various reasons.. The situation is likely to maintain its status quo. This is likely to insulate the segment from pricing disparity that manufacturers may resort to build up their presence at present. The pricing parity in higher capacity excavators in the Indian market is also likely to remain, in fact due to low volumes, all the major manufacturers will keep importing the products from their parent companies.

Notwithstanding, the spurt in demand of higher capacity excavators is expected to take place going by the cyclic pattern of the economic growth, leading to firming up of the economy followed by present slump in future. Based on the cyclic growth pattern, large scale capacity expansions are planned by the steel sector, notably Steel Authority of India Limited, Tisco. There are good numbers of secondary producers lined up for financial closures of their planned expansions, one being Electro Steel Castings. Capacity expansions are also being planned by cement and other mineral sectors which will lead to the requirements of higher capacity equipment.

It will be quite interesting to see that with demand unfolding for the higher capacity units in future; what will be the nature of pricing and which will be put in place for bigger excavators by manufacturers to build up market network? This is evaluating the fact that certain manufacturers have established manufacturing presence backed by sound vendor base and an elaborate market network, brand recall added by strong geographical presence in important demand pockets. The market size of higher capacity excavators beyond 20 tons is estimated to be between 1-18% out of the total sales. Among this, 34-37 tons commands the highest percentage of 18%, 30 tons at 5 percent, 38-40 tons at 1 percent and that of 40-50 tons at 7 percent. The higher capacity segment have more or less maintained similar percentage of among the total segment of excavators during the previous years.However, led by slow down in mining the percentage of sales of higher capacity expected to shrink during 2012.

Total excavators sales during 2010 varied between 11,455- 14,650 units. Sales for 2011 were closed at 14,700 -14,900 units. From January-October 2012 manufacturers have registered sales at 11,729. According to industry estimates, sales for 2012 are expected to close at around 14,000 units.

Banking on Base

The key to maintain presence amidst slowing demand and stiffer competition will be to make the cost of competitive products and services available. Sustained ability to make equipment and customer support at economical rates, even after post warranty period, will contribute towards brand recall.

Mr. Sunil. K. Sapru
“Strong customer focus and response to emerging market requirements will be our regular key strategy for promoting business and to build up our sustained presence,” says Mr. Sunil. K. Sapru, Liugong. He elaborates, “We will work towards the same through our three pronged-strategies. We will keep appointing new dealers at various demand territories of the country, thereby integrating our manufacturing facilities with the sales channel. Secondly, we will coordinate with the dealers to assist them for products promotion and support so as to make the first strategy complete in itself. Thirdly, by setting up our own sales channels, we want to stay in important markets which would have larger volumes demand. Through our own set up, we want to ensure sustained support to the equipment.”

Liugong derives 35% of its sales from corporate and remaining from the retail buyers, will also look to expand its footprint by exploring various applications market. The Chinese manufacturing entity will develope its products to tap the precise applications market. According to Mr. Sapru, “The appropriate product positioning will be the key of our strategy. By addressing the requirements of the special application market, we will work on the products, in order to deliver higher on fuel efficiency and productivity. To ensure that the products have higher uptime, Liugong’s sustained technical support through regular parts and operations support will be in place. Operation support will be provided through our well-established training at our Greenfield facility in Pithampur. Besides, onsite support will also be there at par for the equipment working for conventional applications.”

Liugong

He explains, “To make the right product positioning for niche applications, say rock breaking, we will keep researching on the right hydraulic oil flows that may be required for the breakers to function optimally. Comparative aspects like tonnage to weight volumes will also be evaluated for the optimum performance of the equipment in the Indian working conditions. Further, we will continue to research for better integration of the excavators with various attachments involving the breakers or buckets of various configurations. Business from special applications for Liugong has been promising and the company sees further growth in the segment.” However, he declined to comment on the level of business, Liugong has been deriving from the segment at present and future expectations.

Ability of Liugong to offer excavators, customized for Indian conditions both standard and niche applications are based on its full fledged R&D facility in Pithampur. Mr. Sapru mentions, “We are planning to manufacture 6-8-20-36 tons class models locally at Pithampur. Our R&D facility will offer key knowledge support towards indegenising the products.” 40% of Liugong’s business is from excavators’ sales contributed by 20 tons class equipment, 10-12 tons models contribute15% of excavator’s sales, whereas 6 tons provides 5-6 percent of sales.

Promoting newer products for conventional applications or niche applications necessarily calls for strong product back up support. This is essential for brand recall. For JCB India, future and existing strategy to promote its excavators will be through expanding its market reach. Acting on existing and emerging competition, which will be getting stiffer, despite growth in absolute volumes, emphasis on marketing backed by new product launches is the future roadmap for JCB India Pvt. Ltd.

JCB

Mr. Vipin Sondhi
According to Mr. Vipin Sondhi, MD & CEO, JCB India, “One of our biggest strength is the strong distribution network and dealer outlets, we provide to our large customer base across India. Presently, we have 56 dealers and over 450 outlets operating in India who ensure that our machine reaches our customers in any part of the country. We will continue to bank on our dealership network. Besides, in future, we will continue to look for opportunities to expand especially the distribution network through its outlets.” For the company new product launches has to be justified by expanding market network to ensure availability of equipments. Market expansion is essential for JCB if it yearns to attain the similar stature for its excavators business with that of backhoe loaders enjoying more than visible market presence in the country.

Adding Muscle

The vital ongoing strategy to keep business moving during the tougher times is increased focus on localization, in order to reduce manufacturing costs. Hyundai Construction Equipment India pvt ltd seems to get the logic well adapted in its business in India. The company presently manufacturer’s complete range of 8-34 ton capacity excavators at its Pune facility with localization component being 35-40%. While excavators of 50-80 tons capacity are imported by the Korean company. The company’s 60-65% sales are from its 20 tons class equipment. The range of excavators made available by the Korean company in India comprises 8-11-14-20-22 tons class units.

According to the company, phase wise localization of its products backed by requisite customer support, since its inception in India in 2008, has allowed Hyundai attain close to 20% market share in excavators. The company derives 90% of its sales from the retail segment with the remaining being from the corporate buyers.

Strengthening its presence in the 20 ton capacity segment, Hyundai has recently launched its advanced 9-series excavators to its predecessor 7- series. The 7-series of excavators comprises Hyundai’s ‘Robex’ range of 210,215, and 220. The new 9-series bear’s model numbers of R-220-9S, which is expected to compete with higher end models of competition.

Mr. Dheeraj Panda
According to Mr. Dheeraj Panda, Head of Marketing, Hyundai India, “The new 9-series scores extensively on advanced technology. The new excavators come with better matching of engine and hydraulic torque. Optimum utilization of the equipment is ensured by facilities installed in it to download operation data of the equipment for its subsequent evaluation.” Though the mentioned features seem to be part of standard offerings of other manufacturers, Mr. Panda argues, “The machine has been engineered for niche applications to a big extent than other contemporary brand offerings. The 9-series excavators are operator-friendly. They allow the operators to select between various operation modes including attachments. The machine comes with a rugged undercarriage and reinforced boom. Given the features, the newer machines deliver higher on fuel efficiency, productivity and safety.”

Hyundai

Mr. Panda mentions, “Given our well spread sales and service network supported through our 27 dealers having 90 touch points, further complemented by our mother warehouse in Pune and 3 regional warehouses in Kolkata, Hyderabad and Delhi we are well placed to promote sales and support our equipment. The technical support to equipment working at inaccessible sites is ensured through our dealer residential engineers.”

Expansion and preservation of market share is also been initiated by Volvo during the trying times. Volvo India pvt ltd has launched two new higher capacity D-series excavators, EC 380 D of 38 tons and EC 480 D of 48 tons class for the Indian market. According to the company, Volvo D-13 turbo charged high pressure diesel engines, in the excavators offers maximum power of 279 hp (208 kW) (/EC380D), and 343 hp (256 kW) (EC480D) allowing the equipments to have superior cycle times and greater fuel efficiency. The excavators will be marketed by Volvo for heavy production duties such as quarrying and mining apart from trenching, loading, moving rocks or general construction in India.

Volvo intends to market the new D-series excavators on its features, which the company claims makes its products competitive in its positioning. Among the inbuilt features, Volvo will be banking to sell the excavators are rugged undercarriage made from high strength tensile steel, with sprockets and top rollers made from forged steel and deep hardened for long term durability. Track guards and bolt-head protection are some added features of the excavators.

According to Volvo, heavy duty booms are standard on these machines. High strength tensile steel arms provide durability in severe applications. Wear strips welded to the inside of the arm give added protection and the linkage yoke features a support bar for additional strength. The optional boom float function lowers the boom using gravity only, freeing up hydraulic flow for other duties.

At par with other contemporary products available, the D-series excavators also comes with an option for operators to select various modes, so as suit job requirements. The operator can select the work mode, settings and attachment requirements all from inside the cab. There are four working modes (idle, fine, general and heavy) for the operators to choose upon.

Volvo

D-series comes fitted with standard with ‘Care Track’, Volvo CE’s telematic system. Accessed remotely, CareTrack provides machine information such as fuel consumption and service reminders that allow improved planning and operation. Services support to the machines will be provided by Volvo’s dealers through general and annual maintenance support and operator’s training.

Preparedness Needed

Responsiveness of excavator’s manufacturers to the ongoing market situation and preparedness for the future through introduction of newer products and services augurs well for the end users who stand to benefit in the long run. This is as because products are more likely to be placed on aggressive price positioning by producers. The newer developments resulting in stiffer competition also impart new lesson for the manufacturers, as they will reconcile the fact that promoting products in the Indian construction sector from now onwards will have to be well-packaged through right product positioning, service and affordability. All because market has attained the desired maturity and the process is happening at a rigid pace.

NBMCW December 2012

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Cutting Down Loading Costs

JCB Loader

Loading equipment are witnessing all-round technological advancements in order to match higher production requirements of the processing plants in mining and quarrying sector to neutralize production losses, P.P. Basistha explicates.

Sustained feed support is the key to ensure optimum capacity utilization of processing units at sites to attain desired production output. The hauling and loading operation will have to synchronize well with the rate of plant utilization to meet the rated production output wherein the equipment features ensure that there is minimum spillage during the entire process of loading-unloading the stockpile materials to the feed unit. Higher and sustained productivity is essential even if the equipment is performing an independent function of clearing the overload or transportation of the materials at road and rail sidings or at port berth side. The performance of loading and hauling equipment at sustained levels is pivotal, as it is the major machinery in the entire mining and quarrying production chain. Inconsistent productivity than the rated levels may disrupt the entire production chain resulting the production cost to unprecedented levels.

Case for having higher and sustained uptime of loading equipment is more at Indian mining sites like coal and iron ore supporting the core industries such as power and steel with strong linkages to the growth of the economy, where one of the major reasons, according to the mineral raw materials supplying sources behind rising production costs is because of lower equipment uptime. Dearth in availability of new advanced equipment, backed by necessary technical support in terms of training, maintenance and parts support for the newer technologically advanced equipment are the added causes.

H. S. Mohan
The higher utilization of wheel loader while carrying its functions, makes it essential that the machine should keep performing during its lifecycle and retires with a decent resale value. "We provide complete support to our wheel loaders from annual maintenance contracts to full maintenance contracts along with complete operational support through trained operators. Our team of experienced service engineers based across seven regional offices, provides the necessary support to the equipment allowing the owners to have higher equipment uptime and sustained return on investments," says Mr. H.S. Mohan, Chief Operating Officer, Doosan Infracore India. According to him, "Doosan makes wheel loaders available in India with GP buckets of 3.9 cu‎m 4.8 cu‎m capacity for iron ore handling. However, the bucket size can be increased for coal handling depending upon the bulk density.

Doosan Wheel Loaders
However, the Korean equipment major is put at disadvantage with import duty and exchange rate difference, thus barring it to make cost-competitive equipment available. Despite this, Doosan will keep importing its equipment from Korean plant. Mr. Mohan says, "The demand volumes are quite modest to make local production viable. The company will also keep importing its acquired Bobcat brand of skid steer loaders. Product positioning of Bobcat's skid steer loaders is based on its higher productivity coupled with flexibility as compared to other products and ability to take multi various loading applications with at least 48 types of attachments."

Sunil Sapru
"The ability of manufacturers to make the wheel loaders available at competitive price counts for Indian quarrying and mining sector claims Sunil Sapru, President LiuGong India. Further he illustrated his views commenting as the owners increasingly tend to look for higher ROI with lower owning and operating costs at par with their global counterparts requires to looked into with the steep escalation of input cost viz steel & fuel. Our products add value to the whole fleet of products with its cost- effectiveness, reliability & durability which in turn provide the "Value for Money."

With a vision & commitment to its stakeholders in offering cost competitive products, LiuGong India will roll out its new Wheel Loaders CLG 816 with payload capacity of 1½ ton from its newly commissioned Pithampur plant near Indore shortly. The loaders will find its application primarily in municipal works, mini batching plants, bail handling and mini crushing plants etc.

Liugong wheel loaders

Further Mr. Sapru exemplifies, "Our wheel loader range comes with various capacities for diverse materials handling requirement." The wheel loaders are our in-house production from our Indore factory. The products have passed our in-house stringent tests besides the field tests & conform to Indian environmental & emission norms. Customising a product based on application needs is a trend where customers have started using product for right applications. So there is a drift from other category machines towards wheel loaders as it is a multi utility product. This shift is really evident in the loaders segment. The design offers exceptional visibility to the bucket edge and its ergonomics. Its features also include priority steering; unload systems, caliper disc/ wet disc brakes, an electrically raised engine hood and low brake pressure warning signal, deluxe operator station. All operator controls are located on a single-lever pilot joystick control. For operators comfort & safety feature includes backup alarm, an enclosed FOPS/ROPS cab, standard heating, air-conditioning, a fully adjustable seat and boom hoist cylinder braces.

We have in place proven wheel loader CLG 856 BS-III loaders with 5 ton payload capacity powered by US cu‎mmins engine. The equipment finds in use in various its application besides coal and iron ore handling with a standard bucket size of 3.0 cu‎m with optional bucket size of 1.8 - 4.5 cu‎m & with a gross power of 220 hp at 2,200 rpm. The wheel loader is manufactured at LiuGong's Pithampur plant with 40% being indigenised & the other components are sourced from abroad.

Mass selling newly launched wheel loader CLG 835 BSIII is completely being manufactured at Pithampur (Indore) plant & fitted with LiuGong's in-house transmission systems and engine from cu‎mmins India delivering gross power of 125 hp at 2200 rpm. The loader has a payload capacity of 3.2 tons with heavy duty bucket of 1.5 cu‎m and coal bucket of 2.5/3.0 cu‎m and general purpose bucket of 1.7 cu‎m/2.0 cu‎m.

LiuGong also has wheel loader offering for special applications comprising CLG 842 with 4 ton payload capacity, CLG 862 with 6 ton pay load capacity and CLG 888 with 8 ton payload capacity. The loaders are suitable for coal, stone aggregates, fertilizer and timber handling applications. The special application wheel loaders are imported from LiuGong's plant in China. The products in our offerings are the "State of Art" products complying with advanced technical features/ latest generation & fuel-efficient engines. The products are built with the internationally known components which enhances the productivity & life. Our in-house R&D adds in meeting the stringent conditions & product customisation for different applications in time. "Whenever it comes to the very stringent & difficult conditions everybody thinks of LiuGong".

According to Mr. Sapru, "To provide backup technical support to the wide range of wheel loaders, we have in place a complete training facility at Pithampur for the customers. Besides, we also provide full fledged operators training while service support in terms of maintenance backup is provided by our 16 dealers having 30 sales and service outlets across the country together with LiuGong Product Support Department. Parts support to any working locations of the loaders is rendered through our Pithampur and Chennai warehouses, besides dealerships outlets."

LiuGong India Plant has an installed capacity to annually produce 3000 units of earthmoving equipment. LiuGong India has converted its warehouse at Pithampur into central warehouse owing to its strategic location so as to logistically enhance support for its equipment working in various parts of the country."

Amit Gossain
Wheel loaders with lower operating costs are claimed to be made available by JCB. According to Mr. Amit Gossain, VP, Marketing and Business Development, JCB India, "we have recently launched 430ZX machine which comes with JCB ecoMAX CRDi engine, known for its best in class efficiency. It also provides the best in class road speed of 28.3 kmph and also has the most rugged and reliable world class ZF transmission and axles. Lowest operation cost – up to Rs.2 lakhs savings every year is another notable product characteristic of the wheel loader. It offers 1000 hr change interval for transmission filter."

jcb wheel loaders
Mr. Gossain adds, "Higher uptime of the equipment and commensurate reduction in operating costs is further ensured by our strongest and largest distribution network in India. As of today, we have 56 dealers and over 450 outlets. Currently, we have over 5500 people who have been trained by us and are employees of our dealers for selling and servicing these machines, providing complete back up support to the equipment being closer to the customers."

JCB offers 3 Wheel loader models (two variants of 430 ZX, 432 ZX). The two models of 430ZX are 3.3 tonne payload and the 432ZX is for 3.6 tonne payload for the Indian market. Out of the two 3.3 payload variants of 430 ZX; the first one comes with JCB common rail BSIII complaint 130 hp engine, the second one comes with Ashok Leyland BS-III complaint, 130 hp turbo charged engine.

Sam M Vedhakumar
At par with placing technologically advanced wheel loaders, equipment performance monitoring support is one of the key services manufacturers need to ensure for the loaders, so as to have higher equipment uptime, minimal owning and operating costs and higher safety at job sites. According to Mr. Sam M Vedhakumar, Sales & Support Manager, Caterpillar, "performance monitoring is carried out through a machine idle time and fuel usage, avoiding machine breakdowns, extension of machine life through proactive maintenance, knowledge on site progress and machine location, utilization levels, geographic fencing, operator gaps etc for our wheel loaders." He further mentions, "To complement higher equipment performance, our dealer, Gmmco and Tractors India, offers multiple business solutions for our customers. This includes, addressing requirements of availability, productivity, product health monitoring through customized service support agreements, risk management through extended warranties, scheduled oil sampling, customer operator training, site supervisor training, job site analyses and other value added services."

Caterpillar wheel loaders
Caterpillar manufactures wide range of wheel loaders available based on the material that needs to be loaded, its wet & dry density, fragmentation levels, underfoot conditions at site etc. Depending upon their site conditions and productivity, Cat wheel loaders options consist of, 950H with 115 net hp, 962H with net 211 hp, 966H with 262 net hp, 972H with 287 net hp, 980H with 349 net hp and 988H with 532 net hp engines. Bucket sizes vary from 2.5 cu.m to 7.7 cu.m on these models. Apart from these, Cat wheel loaders, Hindustan 2021 with 115 net hp is also available.

Mr. Vedhakumar claims, "Our wheel loaders score on higher performance as compared to contemporary products offering based on its host of advanced technological features. The major features according to the sources are, 'precision fuel delivery' supported by Cat ACERT™ engines that can match engine output based on the job requirements with the highest possible efficiency. The other feature, 'engine idle management software' ensures the engine should run at the minimal rpm when the wheel loader is idle, adds value to performance. This system reduces fuel consumption by up to 40%, apart from emission. The idle speed can be adjusted to the working conditions or the tools used. In addition, other noted feature is 'planetary transmission'. It allows the operator to choose manual or auto shift mode, allowing higher cycle time and productivity." All models of Cat H-Series wheel loaders are equipped with planetary transmissions.

He further mentions, "our wheel loaders also feature best in class operator's comfort and ease of operations given their largest and most ergonomic cab in the industry. The standard air suspended comfort seat is fully adjustable to fit any operator's preferences and reducing any excessive machine vibrations on the operator. The standard electro-hydraulic controls provide the operator with an unmatched feeling and control of the implemented function. The electro-hydraulic fingertip controls are integrated and suspended with the seat platform to provide consistent and comfortable operation. At all times, the controls are in the same position relative to the operator."

Equipment integration is another major feature that allows higher cycle times to its wheel loaders, Caterpillar sources claim. According to him, "we offer wide range of purpose-built, high performance buckets, designed to function as an integral part of the wheel loader. The combination of the right bucket with the Cat wheel loader provides the best possible performance in a particular application. All Cat buckets are designed and built to exacting specifications. High-strength, tempered steel provides additional durability without requiring thicker, heavier plates, resulting in longer life and larger payloads. Choosing the correct bucket, can reduce cycle and loading times, lower operating costs by up to 20% and eliminate unnecessary stress and fatigue for the machine, bucket, and operator."

He adds, "Cat ground engaging tools further offer reliable tip retention due to superior retainer locks, quicker tip change-out due to a convenient twist-on design and increased tip life of 10-15% with sharper and better penetrating tips resultantly enhancing machine productivity and protect expensive structural components."

A M Muralidharan
Equipment performance monitoring is claimed to be offered by Volvo. According to Mr. A.M.Muralidharan, President, Volvo Construction Equipment India, "high equipment uptime for our wheel loaders is ensured by 'CareTrack' – Volvo's telematics system that allows remote monitoring and machine diagnostics by using exclusive Machine Tracking Information System (MATRIS). CareTrack can also help in reducing overall fuel consumption by identifying that which machines are idling excessively, or are otherwise consuming more fuel per hour than others."

Volvo wheel loader
However, Mr. Muralidharan claimed that it is the advanced features of the wheel loaders that ensure higher cycle times, precisely its engine. Volvo's diesel engine is at the heart of the company's range of products. Based on well-proven, robust technology, Volvo's V-ACT engine range meets the needs of Indian customers by providing increased machine performance along with reduced emissions.

According to Mr. Muralidharan, "we are constantly innovating to make equipment fuel-efficient while reducing emissions and environmental impact – Opti Shift is a prime example of this. Volvo's unique OptiShift technology consists of two important features – A torque converter with lock-up and free wheel stator and Volvo's patented Reverse by Braking (RBB) function. The combination of this technology has reduced fuel consumption by up to 15% as well as increased machine performance of wheel loaders." Opti Shift was first launched as an option of Volvo wheel loaders in 2009 and since 2011, it has been a standard feature on the larger machines – the L150G, L180G, L220G, and L250G.

He says, "Higher equipment performance is complemented through onsite operator training and also at our customer center in Hoskote near Bengaluru. Our distributors provide onsite service which includes service mechanics, parts at customer site for key customers and fleet owners. For other customers, parts and mechanics are available through our distributors at the sites of their respective areas and territories."

Volvo supplies 3 and 5 tonne wheel loaders to the Indian market through its Chinese joint venture entity SDLG and Volvo's Swedish factory. The 3 tonne and 5 tonne wheel loaders can find their usage for handling stone aggregates, coal, limestone and sand.

According to Mr. Muralidharan, "L220G features an engine and driveline system that improves fuel efficiency, productivity, smoothness, serviceability and operator comfort. It is one of the latest wheel loaders from Volvo Construction Equipment to enter into the Indian market. The L220G engine is joined with a drive train, hydraulics and lifting systems that are all designed and produced by Volvo to work in productive harmony. The improvements in lifting and breakout forces coupled with the Volvo patented TP linkage ensure smooth, full buckets loading– resulting in faster cycle times and increased productivity."

Upgradation & Advanced Products

Pankaj Kumar
Higher productivity with lower operating costs is also the focus of Kawasaki. The Japanese company which markets its wheel loaders in the country through exclusive distribution tie-up with Dozco India, has recently carried out technological upgradation in its wheel loaders. According to Mr. Pankaj Kumar, VP, Equipment Sales, Dozco India, "Upgradation has been carried out by Kawasaki in its Z-IV series. Current series of loaders are upgraded with increased Operating capacity, increased power, tractive force, hinge pin height etc. to make Kawasaki, a product of superior quality in the market. Besides, modifications have also been done towards better operator's comfort which will result in better productivity. The upgraded versions of the wheel loaders will now be categorized as 'V-2' as compared to earlier identified series 'IV'. Kawasaki wheel loader with bucket capacities of 3.2–10.3cu‎m comes with advanced engineering to deliver higher productivity. The machine has a direct injection, turbo charged engine for low fuel consumption and comes with a load sensing steering system, ensuring that only the required oil quantity is supplied to the steering circuit (takes priority over loading circuit) so that the light touch steering is ensured even at low engine speed. When steering is not required, the full discharge from the steering oil pump is applied to the loading circuit so that the powerful bucket loading can be ensured for energy savings."

Dozco wheel loaders
He adds, "The loader has an exclusive z-bar linkage which ensures powerful breakout force. In addition, it has also a 50-degree tilt back angle with powerful breakout force and tractive effort which simplifies loading and carrying without spillage. Automatic transmission automatically selects optimum speed from second to fourth gear and vice versa to facilitate scooping and carrying. Kawasaki claims to be competitive due to its simplified maintenance and inspection mechanism with the critical points such as radiator water level, air cleaner and greasing can be checked easily. To facilitate cleaning of the radiator, the radiator grille can be opened at the top."

Dozco provides back support to the equipment through annual maintenance contracts on hourly basis where customers are charged according to the minimum equipment utilization. The company also provides operators training support through its engineers both at job site and classroom. DOZCO has a wide spread network of 19 branches with corporate office in Kolkata and central warehouse in Visakhapatnam to support its customers in terms of technical services and spares back-up.

Hyundai wheel loaders

Dheeraj Panda
Upgraded version of wheel loaders has also been made available by Hyundai Construction Equipment India Pvt. Ltd. "We have recently launched our new generation 3 and 5 ton wheel loaders. This is a value for money proposition, where the loader is much economical on fuel consumption, safety, reliability, and higher uptime. The higher sustained uptime to the equipment is ensured through our comprehensive onsite as well as factory training programme. Sales, Service and Parts support are ensured through 25 dealer outlets having 95 touch points. Timely Parts support to the equipment for reduced downtime is ensured though our mother warehouse in Pune and four regional warehouses, all of which are connected to our global sales and service network. Hyundai Wheel Loaders are developed as per customer feedback. Our SL series of Wheel Loaders have been designed according to the same," says Mr Dheeraj Panda, Head, Marketing and Key Accounts, of Sales, Hyundai Construction Equipment India Pvt. Ltd.

Dheeraj Panda
terex skid steer loaders
The intention of equipment manufacturers to introduce higher capacity wheel loaders is based on the emerging requirement of the mines and the quarry owners to have compressed loading and transportation time to bring production cost down. Based on the criteria, Terex also plans to introduce its high capacity wheel loaders for the Indian market. "Currently, we are undertaking tests and trials for our TL 210, 4 ton wheel loaders with 2.1-3.5 cu‎m bucket capacity before introducing it to the Indian market. Post introduction, the loaders will be imported from Terex's manufacturing unit in Germany. The wheel loaders have hydrostatic automated transmission systems and are driven by 160 hp fuel efficient German cu‎mmins engine. The added feature of the machine is its compactness. Besides, with heavier pay load, the machine requires lesser turning radius," says Mr. Dinesh Nain. Based on the nature of demand, Terex will look to indegenise the equipment in near future. Currently, Terex manufactures TXL 70 wheel loader with 1 ton pay load having 1 cu‎m bucket capacity at its Gautam Budh Nagar plant near Delhi for the Indian market.

The construction equipment conglomerate also intends to strengthen its footprint in the Indian mining, construction and aggregate sector, through its 'Heman' series of skid steer loaders. According to Mr. Nain, "the Heman series of skid steer loaders score high on productivity with higher tipping load at 1500 kg and competitive pricing as the equipment are being locally manufactured fitted with Indian Simpson engine and 90% local components." Terex has a network of 53 dealers with 10 outlets for extending support to its equipment. The company claims to have 25% share in skid steer loaders.

hitachi hydrodynamic wheel loaders
Decent return on investment is also claimed to be made available by Telcon through its wheel loaders. According to a company spokesperson, "Our various models suited for different loading applications in construction and mining, offers right return on investments through their high productivity. Tata TWL 3034, a 3.3 ton payload hydrostatic wheel loader is fast gaining acceptance in Indian market, comes with higher fuel efficiency in comparison to traditional hydrodynamic wheel loaders. TWL 3034 has its distinction as India's first hydrostatic wheel loader. The other all new Tata TL360Z has been designed to be the fastest and most productive wheel loader in its class while delivering the lowest cost per ton to improve customers' profitability. Few of the key features of TL360Z are high driveline reliability, better braking efficiency, reliable electricals, ease of serviceability and higher operator comfort.

The spokesperson adds, "Hitachi ZW220 wheel loader with its powerful isuzu engine is ideal for mining and port application. ZW220 is packed with numerous innovative technologies and mechanisms. Total control of engine and pump torque is an industry's first. Three work modes and three driving modes help enhance operating ease and yield high production. What's more, lots of advanced designs give power and speed for loading and travel. The ZW220 will set a new standard of productive, easy-to-operate wheel loaders."

case skid steer loaders
Skid steer loaders which are multipurpose material handling equipment in its entity, find their application at mining, aggregate and construction sites with paucity of space for loading sand and other construction raw materials. They are seen as a potential market by acclaimed equipment manufacturer. Case New Holland Construction Equipment India has recently launched its new two variants of skid steer loaders SR 130 and SR 150, which will be imported from the company's plant in US. Case will also introduce its other variants of skid steer loaders in phases in the Indian construction equipment market in near future.

D V Junnarkar
According to Mr. D. V. Junnarkar, Head Marketing, CNH Construction Equipment India, "the design of the new variants of skid steer loaders have been fully customized to suit Indian applications. The equipment have higher pin height, better operator comfort, spacious cab with 25% more interior width and serviceability, higher buckets heights for easy loading in Indian tipping heights. Added features include more glass surface area to provide 360 ovisibility." The new skid loaders come with new power stance chassis with up to 21% longer wheel base and 30/70 front/ rear weight distribution enabling the equipment to lift and haul more materials. Operating weight of SR 130 is 2270 kg with bucket cylinder of 18.5 kn. Tipping load for the equipment is 1179 kg. Gross engine horse power of SR 130 is 46 hp (34 kw) @ 2900 rpm. Peak torque of the skid steer loader is 130.5 nm @ 1750 rpm. SR 130 is fitted with ISM 420/ M3 engines.

SR 150 comes with ISM 420T/ M3 engines having gross hp at 52 hp (39kw) @ 2900 rpm. Operating weight of the skid steer loader is 2400 kg with bucket cylinder of 18.5 kn. Tipping load of SR 150 is 1374 kg.

Present market size of skid steer loaders in India in terms of volume is estimated to be about 600 units which is expected to expand to 1100-1500 units by 2015.

Value in Extraction & Loading

One of the key strategies to increase production volumes at mines coupled with clean extraction of pay minerals, is understood to be through better economies of scale which can cut down on production costs during extraction and transportation of the mineral resource. According to officials of Wirtgen India, "Its surface miners are the products that can fulfill the purpose. The machine is a compact entity in itself. It is able to provide economical solutions as it enables selective mining and also cuts down on traditional drilling, blasting hauling and crushing methods requiring additional tools to perform the same, thereby bringing production costs down and also resulting in lesser down the line processing costs needed to clean th cut material.

According to Wirtgen officials, "optimum productivity in surface miners is ensured through its cutting tools and cutting drums, which is the most integral and critical component of equipment. Scheduled maintenance of the milling drums and rebuilding of the cutting tools is vital to ensure optimum productivity of the equipment. This is essential to reduce downtime of the miners. For high uptime of the surface miners, Wirtgen is well positioned to offer complete technical support by rebuilding the surface miners through its service support locations. Wirtgen has designed new variant of HT-15 tools, advancement from the earlier HT-14 one, which have minimum change over time and less prone to damage."

Wirtgen surface miners

Wirtgen surface miners comprise their models SM2200 and its variants, SM2500 and SM4200 for coal extraction and other application. More than 120 machines are working across India in Coal and Limestone. These Surface Miners are compatible to work with 50-120 ton heavy haul articulated tipper trucks. Officials say, "Good numbers of machines are working at various open cast coal mines in India." The German construction and mining equipment company also has its largest 4200 surface miners for iron ore and coal application. The equipment which has cutting depths based on the characteristics of the mineral strata and is capable of a cutting performance of upto 3000 ton/hour. They can be used with 240 ton articulated tipper trucks, making it suitable for heavy mining applications.

NBMCW November 2012

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Mining Hurdles in Maintaining Output

Coal Mines

Adoption of advanced technology is the foremost thrust area wherein the policy makers, planners and mining companies need to focus to raise India’s mining output by addressing issues like environment and policy matters across various mineral sectors, P. P. Basistha takes an overview.

Often published news of coal stocks reaching ‘alarming’ proportions with power and steel plants are nowadays the readily available tool with policy makers at home and abroad to justify lower growth projections of the country’s economy in the years to come. It is ironical that India being the world’s third largest producer of coal and fourth largest producer of iron ore with significant reserves of copper, zinc, lead, lignite etc. is resorting to expensive import of non-coking coal. India imported 42.68 million tones non coking coal during 2006-2007 to colossal 68.13 during 2010-11, simply as the producers are unable to match the burgeoning demand due to dearth of advanced technology backed by adequate sustained technical support for opencast and underground mining. The added reasons for the dismal output continue to be policy and environmental issues along with transportation and supply side constraints from the point of evacuation to the consumers. During 2010-11, the mining industry grew by 5.8 percent as compared to 6.9 percent in 2009-10.

It is well-known that financial closures have been delayed for number of important power and steel projects in the recent past due to non assured supply of coal which remains the dominant source of India’s energy, meeting 52.4% of country’s primary energy requirement and the major mining segment having maximum and heterogeneous deployment of plants and machineries. It is also the key source of direct and indirect employment, mainly in the backward areas. Not to mention, it is the prime driver of the economy with power sector accounting 77% of non-coking coal off take. According to Planning Commission projections, coal will continue to have a dominant share till 2032 meeting over 50% of the primary commercial requirement and the country’s coal reserves will last for over 80 years considering the current production.

Impeding Supplies

Coal Mines
With demand of coal from power sector increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 11%, the requirement of non-coking coal is likely to increase to 868 million tons during 2013-14 as against 533 million tons during 2010-11. The CAGR of steel, power and cement have all witnessed upward revision during mid-term appraisal of the XI plan. With demand fundamentals of the economy remaining firm, the growth of the core key sectors is also likely to remain firm during the XII plan.

Over the years, the growth rate in coal production has gone up from 6.1 percent during 2007-08 to 8 percent during 2009-10, with 80% being accounted by Coal India followed by Singareni Coal Company

Tata Steel, Meghalaya and others (mostly captive producers). However, what becoming more clear now is that the growth rate earlier projected by Coal India is not achievable due to rising demand trend far surpassing supplies. As per the approved plan document, projected indigenous coal production/supply in the terminal year of the plan (2011-12) was 680 million tons. However, due to various reasons with CIL and its subsidiaries and persisting teething issues, the production target for 2011-12 was kept not more than 452 million tons.

Raw coal production during 2010-11 was 431.32 million tons showing no growth over previous years. However the target set by Ministry of Coal for the same period was 460.5 million tons with dispatches lower at 424.30 million tons which calls for serious, planned expansion in production output by addressing various issues impeding growth.

Thrust for Exploration

Coal Mines
Necessity to raise output apart from the mineral sectors driving the energy based industries, is also equally important across mining sectors so as to sustain targeted high economic growth levels. Though, the mining industry’s contribution to India’s GDP has increased in the past few years contributing 2.3 percent in 2010-11, it remains well below the global norms. Countries like Guinea, South Africa, Australia, and Canada contribute to about 5-25% of the GDP to the economy through their respective mining sectors. The contribution of mining sector to the GDP is based on high level of exploration and production spending by the countries. India’s expenditure on exploration is low and only 2-3 percent of its mineral resources have been explored. The current rate of exploration spending in India is $15 per square kilometer as against $124 per square kilometer in Australia and $118 per sqkm in Canada making it much necessary for India to increase its emphasis on exploration and production.

According to the mining industry sources, apart from CMPDIL, there are few agencies that have necessary technical competence and resources to undertake exploration in the country. It is also stated that behind the impediments towards exploration and capacity building, are challenges of infrastructure development. Creation of infrastructure is persisting challenge, particularly where adjoining blocks have not been developed. Industry sources explain that deficient connectivity through roads, non- availability of basic necessities like water, power, and accommodation arrangements will remain. Availability of basic infrastructure is prerequisite before start of mine development activities. Non-availability of supporting infrastructure, they claim is mostly due to lack of coordination with the local authorities at the state levels, thereby delaying the development of the project. Also on a micro level, industry sources point out that there is dearth of competent trained manpower to understand the working situation and dynamics of mining activity to set up the supporting infrastructure facilities.

Land Acquisition Issues & Environmental Clearances

One of the major detriments towards raising output by mineral producers is delayed land acquisition for expansion. SAIL and CIL along with some other secondary producers of steel, copper and lignite have been facing delayed land acquisition. According to CIL sources, it has identified mines comprising, Talcher, IB valley, Rajmahal and North Karanpra which are said to have unlimited potential but expansion is a problem. This is due to the location of these reserves which are on tribal lands. The issue is coupled with that of environmental and forest clearances that is threatening to derail the PSU behemoth’s expansion plans.

According to a recent document prepared by the company, acquisition of forest and non-forest land, shifting and rehabilitation of villages, approval and environmental management plan and the law and order position in some states are the major hurdles in achieving the target. Land acquisition of course remains the major hurdle especially due to inadequate resettlement and rehabilitation policies in the states which have coal and other mineral reserves. Industry sources point out that scattered land holding pattern and poor land holding records make land acquisition a contentious issue. Delays also occur due to ownership dispute between the Revenue Authority and the Forest Department. Delays in handling over the forest land after its release by the centre and the state governments takes place. Besides, there are not infrequent differences between the project developers and state authorities, resultantly expanding time limits for production.

Integrated Planning Required

One of the major initiatives to raise productivity is to address the transportation issues of the minerals. There is a need to have an integrated planning right from the mines and railways to power and steel plants and other bulk end users of the mineral resources. The planning process till recent past for movement of coal from the collieries to power plants and secondary steel plants was being dealt at the Linkage Committee level. The Committee was to spell out the long-term linkages and hence gave the railways a tool to plan for capacity augmentation. However with the new policies of auctioning the captive mines and fuel supply agreements that have now got reduced. In this scenario, it is now essential for the railways to be actively involved in new policies as it is an important component of the supply chain. It will also be important for the railways, followed by examining the transportation bankability, to provide evacuation support from the point of origin through better connectivity initiatives. Important connectivity through new coal blocks like Shivpur-Tori-Hazaribagh projects will have to be expedited soon.

Technological Advancements Imperative

Along with addressing all the other measures to increase productivity, the vital initiative to raise mining output will have to come from adoption of advanced mining technologies. Induction of advanced technology in the Indian mining sector has been tardy. There is limited use of global positioning and geographic information system and technologies to map mining activities. Though with the requirement to raise mine output, there has been very gradual adoption of newer machinery and solution, despite the same, the desired output has always shown steep fluctuation, during the lifecycle of the equipment comprising wheel loaders, articulated dump trucks, excavators, crushers and screens, conveyors, bucket wheel extractors, draglines or surface miners among other equipment. Inability to attain the desired output has affected the flow of return on the capital intensive technology that has been deployed. One of the main reasons behind the same, according to the equipment suppliers, has been due to the initiative of the mine owners, as they prefer to use their own personnel to operate the technologically advanced equipment shortly after they have been deployed at the site, rather taking support of the suppliers. As a result, there have been instances of frequent break-down of the machinery as the operator’s personnel have less understanding of the working features of the equipment. Besides, there has been dearth of transparent guidelines of annual maintenance contracts from the mine owners. However, it has been learnt that the PSU’s notably CIL, Hindustan Copper have started putting in place newer guidelines for equipment suppliers to provide AMC.

Another major cause for low utilization of the equipment is non-availability of genuine spare parts on time. It is alleged that there has been percolation of spurious parts leading to frequent breakdown of the machinery. The case manufacturers claim to have heavily taken place in underground mining equipment, which is one of the reasons for lower output. These issues need to be addressed, more so as because there is emphasis by the miners to acquire higher capacity machines that of course need sustained technical support to raise output.

The new Mines and Minerals Development Regulation Act (MMDR) 2011 envisages to increase productivity by addressing the issues on a macro level. During September 2011, the union cabinet approved the proposal to introduce the MMDR bill 2011 in terms of the National Mineral Policy 2008 to replace the existing MMDR act of 1957.The MMDR Act is still awaiting parliamentary approval.

The MMDR act is aimed at introducing more supportive and legislative environment for attracting investment and technology into the Indian mining sector. It provides mechanism for grant of prospecting license or mining lease through competitive bidding in notified areas of known mineral reserves and on the basis of first time principle in non-notified areas where presence of mineral reserves is not known. In order to facilitate the exploration of deep-seated and concealed mineral deposits(other than bulk minerals like bauxite, iron ore lime stone) using high technology and venture capital, the act also provides inclusion of new concession named high technology reconnaissance-cum exploration license.

The other provisions of the act are on profit sharing where it emphasizes suitable compensation of the project affected persons. Provision of the act also includes setting up of National Mineral Development Fund by the Union Government out of the proceeds of the cess levied by the Union Government. The amount from the NMF shall be utilized in meeting the administrative expenses of the National Mining Regulatory Authority and the National Mining Tribunal detecting and preventing illegal mining as well as promoting scientific management of mining activities. Implementation of the act by incorporating observation and suggestion of the mining companies along with various stakeholders in the sector, is expected to address the issues of the mining industry thereby enabling it to raise output.

Coal Mines

NBMCW November 2012

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Construction Equipment Industry Holds B...

Construction Equipment Industry

There is no doubt that Indian economy is currently in a slow mode adversely impacting infrastructure sector across segments. But industry experts dubbed the prevailing scenario a short lived global cyclic phenomena and that the Indian economy will soon bounce back on its growth trajectory making the projections of rating agencies and economists beating the dust. Although, it is true that the investment sentiments are down but given the huge infra deficit and recent funding infusions in the road sector and various initiatives of the government to boost investment are set to spur growth thereby bringing the Indian infrastructure sector back to its pristine growth glory.

In this context, NBM&CW has initiated an interaction with road construction equipment makers on the following points to gauge the impact of slowdown on the equipment industry and their business. The initiative also provides an insight of the competitive landscape to understand the market scenario, industry's growth potentials and innovative steps taken by the equipment makers to outdo their nearest competitors especially at trying times when demand for construction equipment has dwindled down drastically.

JCB India

Amit Gossain
Amit Gossain, JCB India
Slowdown in infrastructure projects in the last few months have derailed the infrastructure growth story; what are the new initiatives at your end to sustain these development?
The sentiments are not very positive at present, however we can see a quick return of growth as our government is taking concrete measures to encourage growth. Any slowdown in the infra sector will have an unswerving impact on construction equipment manufac- turers.

JCB always ensures that all our efforts/initiatives are customers centric and aims at providing the best in class services to them in every possible way. To provide incomparable after sales support, we are strategically planning the expansion of our distribution network in the remote areas of the country. Currently, we have over 450 outlets with presence in the farthest regions of the country like Leh.

We will keep introducing India-centric fuel efficient products, the latest example of which is the “All New 3DX”. It is a revolutionary product which will provide unique benefits and immense cost savings to our customers.

We will further invest in our world class manufacturing plants at Ballabgarh and Pune and will also invest in up-skilling our people to ensure that we continue to maintain our leadership position in the market.

Due to ever increasing projects size and tight schedule contractors are demanding more productive and energy efficient equipment; what is the technological edge of your products and new launches on your agenda?
Since its inception 30 years back, JCB products are known to be the leaders when it comes to performance, technological advancement and reliability. As the project requirements vastly differ in India, JCB India has always manufactured products which are robust, custom built and highly fuel efficient plus provide the best return on investment to our customers. For example the JS120, the latest offering in JCB India’s range of tracked excavator and with the JCB ecoMAX engine, it is the most fuel efficient 12T excavator in India. The “All New 3DX” backhoe loader is over 20% more fuel-efficient and is equipped with the JCB Engine ecoMax.

Compactor
JCB offers the finest road compaction equipment through its Vibromax series. The VM115 caters to the soil compaction needs of the sector while the VMT 860 is a master at asphalt compaction. These machines are built specially for Indian roads and are the best at compaction. Excellent maneuverability and compact designs make these ideal for a wide range of areas.

Recent important initiatives at Government's end are expected to bring in some positive results this year; how do you see the demand trends in 2013-14 for road construction equipment?
As road construction (national highways, state highways, and rural roads) is a major growth driver for the Indian infrastructure industry, I feel approval on building 4,000 km of highway projects under EPC will go a long way in ensuring growth. The EPC model will help in minimizing the time and cost over-runs and will enable a faster roll-out of projects.

To accelerate the development process in the rural area, the government has already formulated various schemes. For example pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna - scheme that aims at providing connectivity to all the eligible unconnected habitations of more than 500 persons in the rural area.

With increasing investment in the infrastructure sector, we foresee huge demand for road construction equipment manufacturers in the coming years. Also, as our government plans to work on the faster execution of the top priority projects, it will act as an enabler in keeping the momentum rolling.

CASE Construction

V. Junnarkar
V. Junnarkar, Case India
Slowdown in infrastructure projects in the last few months have derailed the infrastructure growth story; what are the new initiatives at your end to sustain these development?
Since India is facing a huge infrastructure deficit, the slowdown is not going to last for long. Tackling the emerging situation in the given circumstances, we have made extra efforts to support machines already working with the customers at various job sites to maximize their utilisation. Apart from this, we are working on strategies to further strengthen our network by launching of New Products to make the most out of the upcoming boom in the sector.

Due to ever increasing projects size and tight schedule contractors are demanding more productive and energy efficient equipment; what is the technological edge of your products and new launches on your agenda?
Case Construction Equipment
Case Construction Equipment is a global full-line construction equipment manufacturer enjoying unmatched heritage of leadership, innovation and reliability built over past 170 years by attaining global expertise and excellence.In India, the company has consolidated top position in vibratory compactor and is also a market leader in loader backhoe segment. It is now poised to expand its product offering by introducing new products line to become a full liner in the construction equipment segment.

Recent important initiatives at Government's end are expected to bring in some positive results this year; how do you see the demand trends in 2013-14 for road construction equipment?
As the pace of projects delivery and their execution picks up, the demand for Road Construction equipment will also grow and we are fully geared up to cater to the emerging demand trend. In view of this, we have also launched Skid Steer Loaders recently and will announce the launches of other new products at the right time. The future of CASE – INDIA looks bright with a series of new models.

After market services, leasing, buyback, AMCs, equipment operational services are the emerging trends. How are you positioning yourself to meet these expectations?
Case India is committed to use the best technology and resources available in the global market in order to deliver product efficiency and reduce customer’s owningand operating costs. We already have a strong dealership network capable of offering value added services like, AMC, equipment operational services. In addition, we have a clear focus on providing efficient after sales services to prove our superior product value and win the satisfaction of our customers in the marketplace.

Wirtgen India

Ramesh Palagiri
Ramesh Palagiri, Wirtgen India
Slowdown in infrastructure projects in the last few months have derailed the infrastructure growth story; what are the new initiatives at your end to sustain these development?
The past few months have indeed been slow for the growth of infrastructure projects and industries. Nevertheless the strategy for Wirtgen India, has been to focus on strengthening our sales network and capacities to be prepared when the market revives. Training is also one area where we continuously work on; and also the focus is on Inventory and receivables control.

Asphalt Pavers
Due to ever increasing projects size and tight schedule contractors are demanding more productive and energy efficient equipment; what is the technological edge of your products and new launches on your agenda?
Wirtgen group offers the most innovative products in the field where we opearate. The average age of a major of our machines is less than 3 years and this is possible due to continuous innovation.

By next year, we are introducing the new generation of Asphalt pavers – Dash 3, the new Recylcer W 240 as also the 9 ton class - Tandem roller.

All these machines would be in Indian market by next year and are World class products for Road Construction and Rehabilitation.

Recent important initiatives at Government's end are expected to bring in some positive results this year; how do you see the demand trends in 2013-14 for road construction equipment?
In 2012–13, there is a 20–40% drop in business for our products. The government plans to award EPC contracts which are Cash contracts. If these are awarded next year, the sales would improve to attain the 2011 figures again.

After market services, leasing, buyback, AMCs, equipment operational services are the emerging trends. How are you positioning yourself to meet these expectations?
The Customers are now looking at the Total cost of Ownership rather than just the initial purchase cost of a machine. Hence the AMC’s, FMC’s with parts supply, as well as Renting machines would also be areas to look for in the coming years.

Apollo

Asit A. Patel
Asit A. Patel, Apollo
Slowdown in infrastructure projects in the last few months have derailed the infrastructure growth story; what are the new initiatives at your end to sustain these development?
We anticipated the market slow- down even in April/May 2012 and suitably modified our production plan. In any market slowdown situation, competition is inevitable. We follow a policy of retaining the market share, even if it means marginal reduction in contribution. All our products are fairly well positioned in the respective market segments as value for money products-hence there is no immediate need for repositioning.

Due to ever increasing projects size and tight schedule contractors are demanding more productive and energy efficient equipment; what is the technological edge of your products and new launches on your agenda?
Technological upgradation is a constant process at Apollo. Energy efficiency has been our USP across the products range. We have a couple of new launches under plan and one product is likely to be launched in October this year.

Batch Mix Plant

Recent important initiatives at Government's end are expected to bring in some positive results this year; how do you see the demand trends in 2013-14 for road construction equipment?
Yes - The EPC model is expected to bring in some positive results in the years to come. We estimate a growth of around 8–10% in the market segment of road construction equipment in which we are present.

After market services, leasing, buyback, AMCs, equipment operational services are the emerging trends. How are you positioning yourself to meet these expectations?
We offer comprehensive AMC as well as operation and maintenance contract for our asphalt batch plants. We also anticipate that the demand for such services shall go up in the future and are fully prepared to meet such demand.

Conmat

Nagesh Kudva
Nagesh Kudva, Conmat
Slowdown in infrastructure projects in the last few months have derailed the infrastructure growth story; what are the new initiatives at your end to sustain these development?
There is no denial to the fact that whenever there is a slowdown in infrastructure projects, OEMs have to revise their strategies. Further many might believe that in the last few months, we had a derailed infrastructure growth story but we at Conmat never felt anything like that was affecting us. We at Conmat have witnessed healthy and promi- sing numbers in the recent past and the entire credit goes to our technologically superior products, excellent service quality and the pricing policy. As far as initiatives are concerned Research & Develop- ment, Customization, Product upgra- dation etc are continual processes at Conmat and that is what always provide us a competitive edge in an era of fierce competition.

Due to ever increasing projects size and tight schedule contractors are demanding more productive and energy efficient equipment; what is the technological edge of your products and new launches on your agenda?
The latest technological advanc- ement in the concrete batching plant industry undoubtedly has to be the TWIN SHAFT MIXER technology. This technology ensures a three-dimensional mixing of concrete by its twin shafts undergoing a rotator motion in clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. This technology not only ensures better quality of slump with any specified recipe but also reduces the maintenance up to 30% in batching plants.

CONMAT is pioneering in introducing indigenous make TWIN SHAFT MIXER starting from 20 m Cu.M. onwards. TWIN SHAFT MIXER is the latest technology for quality concrete mix. Low maintenance and minimal wear and tear of components are some of the prominent features of a TWIN SHAFT MIXER. All their plants are inline bin system with latest inventory control software which on one hand enables end user to erect a plant in the minimum available space and at the other hand the automatic PLC enables more than 100 recipes of slump to be defined even when the plant is running in an auto mode.

Concrete Batching Plant

In order to meet emerging need of the customer, CONMAT has recently launched FULLY AUTOMATIC MOBILE CONCRETE BATCHING PLANT with TWIN SHAFT MIXER technology for the first time in India. This fully mobile concept has been well acknowledged and appreciated by the building contractors, real estate builders, small and big infra contractors as this mobile plant meets their requirement since this doesn’t call for any heavy foundation, big stock yard etc.

Similarly, our mechanized and electrically operated concrete pavers are far more energy efficient and productive to the hydraulic pavers. Qualities like no oil spillage or power losses, low maintenance due to high quality geared motors, very low power consumption with higher output and hence faster paybacks, advanced electric drive systems are some of the prominent features that make the Conmat Paver more desirable and preferable for various road projects.

Recent important initiatives at Government's end are expected to bring in some positive results this year; how do you see the demand trends in 2013-14 for road construction equipment?
We at Conmat are extremely confident that in the coming year with huge number of road projects lined up our technologically superior and excellent quality products like Fully Automatic Concrete Stationary and Mobile Batching Plants with TWIN SHAFT MIXER, Mechanized in-situ concrete paver finisher and Transit Mixer will deliver on the quality standards expected by contractors and committed by us.

After market services, leasing, buyback, AMCs, equipment operational services are the emerging trends. How are you positioning yourself to meet these expectations?
We believe that Leasing and Buyback are trends that are yet to gain popularity and acceptance in the Indian market. Though we at Conmat keeping up pace with the upcoming trends offer AMC / Extended warranty to our customers as and when required.

NBMCW September 2012

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