With applications of backhoe loaders becoming more versatile, manufacturers are adding more features and engineering into their products to gain a competitive edge. NBM&CW reports.
Traditionally, backhoe loaders in India have been finding usage in infrastructure construction as base machines for carrying out digging work. But with newer application requirements by contractors, manufacturers are ensuring that their backhoes deliver higher productivity.
We are proud of the fact that today 'Made in India' products are getting respect from all over the world. From JCB India, we're currently exporting to 90 countries.
Affirms Jasmeet Singh, Head Corporate Communications & Corporate Relations, JCB India, "The market is getting matured and customers today look for more value from their machines. They assess the ROI and optimization of the fleet which will make them more productive and give faster and higher ROI."
JCB is continually making improvisations in its machines based on market survey and customer feedback. For instance, as per customer demand, it is making air conditioning an optional feature in the operator's cabin. AMT, SOS switch, economy and power mode, Guide Me Home, and smart app machine diagnostics to facilitate troubleshooting are some of the other add-on features which are now available in JCB backhoes. "The Eco Excellence range of backhoe loaders is 10% more fuel-efficient and 30% cheaper to maintain," avers Jasmeet.
"Today, we're not just producing a machine but are also creating a complete environment around it. Along with manufacturing a productive machine, our focus is on making it operator-friendly, energy-efficient, and low on operating and maintaining costs for minimal downtime and to ensure a good ROI," he adds.
JCB's Telematics has made life much easier for the customers as they no longer have to physically travel to visit work sites to manage their fleet; they can now monitor and manage their machines remotely from anywhere. JCB's Live Link is enabling remote monitoring for customers of a single or entire fleet of machines. Features include geofencing, timefencing, and information on fuel consumption and pilferage. Livelink provides instant notification when service is due and timely alerts in case of a serious malfunction in the machine.
"The powerful JCB engines and 4-wheel drive in our 3DX and 4DX loaders are making them even more adaptable to perform multifaceted jobs, particularly in hilly terrains such as the North-East region. In the rural areas also, our backhoes are finding increased application such as in water conservation, rural roads, etc. We are further optimizing the product's value through multiple attachments (such as hydraulic rock breakers) and offering them as a package to our customers. Our finely engineered products, timely availability of genuine parts, and support from JCB service engineers are ensuring availability of JCB machines to buyers," informs Jasmeet.
He adds, "We are proud of the fact that today ‘Made in India' products are getting respect from all over the world. From JCB India, we're currently exporting to 90 countries.
Through its Premier Line Support, JCB offers multiple warranty packages, parts and services. The company manufactures its backhoe loaders at its Ballabgarh and Jaipur facilities. It also offers operator training through its operator training centres, many of which are accredited to IESC (Infrastructure Equipment Skill Council).
The rural market is emerging as a key demand area for backhoes, and we want to be fully geared up to penetrate these markets.
CASE India is ramping up production of its backhoe loaders by increasing the work shifts at its Pithampur facility, with production continuing even on Sundays. Says Shalabh Chaturvedi, Head Marketing, CASE India, "There is a market requirement for more productive and efficient backhoe loaders, which we are ably meeting with our new PRO-Series, which have 16-17 new features. The 851-EX Pro, 770 EX- Magnum and 770 EX-Pro that are powered by 96 hp, 86 hp and 76 hp, FPT engines and have better aesthetics and comfortable operator cabins. The loaders have 10-20% more loading capacity and better reach and digging force due to their newly designed arms. The backhoe loaders need less maintenance as they come with 16 pins in the loader arms as compared to the 22 pins in other brands (which would require more greasing time leading to delayed availability of the machines), and an engine hood that can be easily opened for examining the coolant etc."
The 851 EX-PRO and 770 EX- Magnum are fitted with CASE's Eagle Eye telematics to measure varied operational features for predictive and preventive maintenance. Backhoe attachments include rock breakers, extended dippers, augers and clamp shell buckets.
Chaturvedi informs, "Our CASE PRO Series Backhoe Loader is powered by an FPT Industrial S8000 engine which delivers powerful performance and faster response time. The Series is re-engineered from the ground-up to deliver industry-leading backhoe breakout force, higher loader lift capacity/reach and best-in-class cab visibility."
The new PRO Series backhoe loader has a robust, robotically welded two-piece structural frame design which results in great stability, performance and serviceability.
Bigger buckets allow greater load lifting and increased productivity. The Pro Series is equipped with a superior working range and will reach deeper than any other backhoe loaders. There is a choice of two configurations: a standard dipper dig depth of 4.5 and 4.7 meters, or an extendable dig depth of 5.9 meters.
CASE India has a network of 69 dealers with 240+ touchpoints for parts supply and timely maintenance. "The rural market is emerging as a key demand area for backhoe loaders, and we want to be fully geared to penetrate these markets. We are also channelizing our products through Holland's 400 dealers and 800 touchpoints that are promoting the brand's agricultural equipment and giving the necessary support and service," informs Chaturvedi.
He adds, "Case India has recently introduced the revolutionary technology, 'EAGLE EYE' for enhancing the performance and efficiency of their machines. This is an asset monitoring system that combines internet, Cellular and GPS technologies. This system helps to keep an eye on every significant detail such as real time location of the machine, operating hours, cumulative hour meter reading and warning text alerts for critical working parameters. This goes on to ensure optimized performance of the machines."
The power shuttle transmission provides four forward and reverse speeds. The hydraulically shifted clutches allow the operator to change direction and travel speed on the go, while the control valves deliver smooth speed and direction shifts, resulting in smooth and accurate operation.
Mahindra backhoe loaders are designed to meet critical applications as per the Indian conditions, for instance, the more advanced EarthMaster can meet the toughest needs of contractors. It has also launched higher HP versions and offers 4-wheel drive variants.
The company undertakes rigorous testing to ensure optimum utilization of its machines for higher productivity. The DiGiSense telematics system provided in the machines keeps customers informed on their machine's performance, fuel level, air filter clogging, and location through geofencing, on a daily basis.
Our aim is to give the best services to customers in the North-East and rural markets through our network of 60+ dealers who have showrooms and workshop facilities in the region.
Says Manish Arora, Business Head, Mahindra Construction Equipments, "Our backhoe loaders are designed for multipurpose applications, and come with a range of genuine Mahindra attachments for every job such as digging, breaking, and loading, and the operator can also realign the attachments for different applications. Mahindra offers one-year unlimited hours of warranty for its products and provides comprehensive pre and after-sales services. During pre-sales, customers get a feel of the equipment through demos in their locality to better understand the various attributes. For post-sales services, Mahindra gives training to operators to become familiar with the machine's features."
To cater to the growing North-East market, the company has set up four dealerships for providing sales, service and spares in the region, along with easy finance, exchange facility, and quick repair. "Our aim is to give the best service to customers in the North-East and rural markets through our network of 60+ dealers who have showrooms and workshop facilities in the region," says Arora.
As a business strategy, ECE is making its backhoe loaders suitable for multipurpose applications. Powerful 76HP and 90HP engines, advanced aggregates, and an option of two and 4-wheel drive, makes this equipment's application worthy in both rural and infra projects.
We are looking at a competitive edge in product support, not through standard telematics, but by providing varied solutions based on customer specific requirements.
"Pricing parity is very much prevalent across backhoe loaders. To have a competitive product in the market, we are bringing more value to it by incorporating advanced and rugged features, and telematics, along with reliable service and support. Our Jungli backhoe, developed after thorough evaluation of the market, is working on the hard strata of the Himalayan region and in the North-East; it has got a very encouraging response. Escorts backhoe is structurally very rugged with almost negligible failures reported in the last couple of years, even after prolonged usage," informs Ajay Mandahr, CEO, Escorts Ltd. Construction Equipment. ".
The company, which is exporting to about 12 countries, is equipping its backhoe loaders with different engine brands for better application and ease of operation so as to make them better oriented to the requirements of these countries. "For the Middle Eastern market, the backhoe loaders are powered by Perkins Engines; for Africa, the power is driven by Koel engines, and for the domestic market, they are fitted with our indigenous tried and tested Escorts' & KOEL engines," avers Mandahr.
ECE, which is providing its backhoe loaders with mechanical engines, is likely to migrate to electronic engines in the near future and is also carrying out research for developing hybrid models. To facilitate higher usage of its machines, ECE is offering various attachments (as options), such as hydraulic rock breakers and other ground engaging tools, all of which are being outsourced from dedicated vendors.
Support for the machines is being rendered through a range of telematics. Says Mandahr, "We are looking at a competitive edge in product support, not through standard telematics, but by providing varied solutions based on customer specific requirements. To indicate our commitment to customer service, we are also making the operations of our dealers more viable, increasing the touchpoints for maintenance & stocking genuine parts in critical locations."
Action Construction Equipment Ltd. is banking on its new AX 124 backhoe loader and its existing AX 130 model to meet market requirements. Both the units are powered by 76 hp Kirloskar engines. AX 124 comes with improved hydraulic pumps, and advanced structured loader arms with higher breakout force while digging or loading materials from heaps or stockpiles and give 10-15% higher productivity. It is fitted with the globally acclaimed transmission from Carraro and hydraulic pumps from reputed brands with four-wheel drive option. It is targeted for the Middle East, Africa, and South America markets.
We are well positioned to take on the growing market demand as we have sufficient production capacity. Presently, 100 units are being produced every month utilizing only 30-40% of our production capacity.
Says Manish Mathur-Chief General Manager, ACE, "Our machines give enhanced value as they have a single bucket for performing six different jobs. We are well positioned to take on the growing market demand as we have sufficient production capacity. Presently, 100 units are being produced every month utilizing only 30-40% of our production capacity."
We are trying to strengthen the capabilities of our vendors through increased cooperation so as to make the products suitable for both domestic use and for exports.
Amar Deep Chauhan
"With the acquisition of backhoe loader division of Terex Equipment India by Manitou Group, we have entered a new phase- with better offerings and a stronger will to deliver," says Amar Deep Chauhan, DGM - Sales & Marketing, Manitou Equipment India. We are carrying out several improvisations in the manufacturing of the backhoe loaders at our Gautam Budh Nagar plant at Greater Noida, and are also looking to broaden our vendor base. We are trying to strengthen the capabilities of our vendors through increased cooperation so as to make the products suitable for both domestic use and for exports. Presently, 250 backhoe units are being produced a month, and the facility has the capacity to meet demand for higher productivity and availability of machines," he adds.
Manitou Equipment India manufactures TLB 740S and TLB 844S powered by 76 and 90 hp Kirloskar engines for the domestic market, and TLB 818S powered by 92 hp Perkins engines for export to South-East Asia, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.
"We have been making overall improvisations in the loader arms, cylinders, transmission and gearboxes, which have made the machines more robust and productive, and will reduce operation and maintenance cost by at least 30% more than competing brands. Better aesthetics and operator comfort are also being added to the cabins," informs Amar.
Wider availability of breaker, trenching buckets, industrial grapple and forklift attachments is bringing more value to Manitou's backhoe loaders, which come with 'Easy Manager' telematics for monitoring the machine's parameters. Manitou is also targeting rural areas and has 65 dealers for sales and service.
Caterpillar India is offering its Cat 424 B2 backhoe loader powered by 76hp KOEL engine for the Indian market and the higher end 426 F2 fitted with Cat 93hp engine for the export market. The products are rated high on reliability, performance, durability and fuel consumption. A unique load sensing closed centre hydraulic system produces flow and pressure for the implement system upon demand and only in amounts necessary to perform the work functions. This state-of-the-art system results in low fuel consumption. Since the load on the engine is always kept low, the wear and tear of components is also lower, resulting in a longer service life of the components.
Our backhoes have the best-in-class heavy-duty excavator style boom, 1.1 cum loader bucket and options of .24, .27 and .3 cum digging buckets.
Says Amit Bansal, Director Sales & Marketing- BCP, Caterpillar India, "Our backhoes have the best-in-class heavy-duty excavator style boom, 1.1 cum loader bucket and options of .24, .27 and .3 cum digging buckets. We are promoting the 4-wheel drive 426 F2 backhoe loader for the more demanding terrains in the North-East. The products are supported by our ‘Product Link' telematics. We will be bringing more value to our products with attachments such as our new Cat hydraulic breakers." Cat backhoe loaders are being supported by its dedicated dealers, GMMCO and Tractors India Private Limited, through 180+ touchpoints.
The aggressive marketing by the backhoe loader manufacturers by incorporating more features to facilitate higher productivity and greater usage with enhanced mechanization, augurs well for India's infrastructure sector. However, manufacturers must ensure complete product support to the customers.