Demand of wheel loaders is likely to remain stable during the current fiscal, despite their higher initial cost due to the transition to the new emission norms. To drive business, manufacturers are offering customers value-added propositions, making improvisations in their products to increase productivity, and lower their operating costs, and are aligning their services to meet the emerging applications.
Manufacturers are anticipating an increase in demand for wheel loaders in the production of stone aggregates and by-products used in M-sand, especially for the 3-ton, while demand for the 5-ton is likely to be led by the larger crushing and screening plants with multiple trains, for both aggregates and M-sand production. The optimism is being led by NHAI’s sustained focus on constructing larger multi-lane highways through HAM and auctioning of completed EPC projects through InVits and ToT.
Construction of mass rapid transportation infrastructure will require greater use of aggregates, sand, and cement at RMC plants. The ongoing and planned expansion of the railway network by doubling and tripling of lines, will require additional volumes of ballast. Increased volumes of overburden removal by Coal India Ltd. (CIL) subsidiaries for increasing coal production from the open cast mines will also create demand for wheel loaders. Manufacturers anticipate that CIL has a production target of 700MT this year, while the Government has announced 4 pilot projects for coal gasification and conversion of coal into chemicals.
However, it will be some time before manufacturers see this rise in demand, as sub-contractors and equipment rental companies are in a wait-and-watch mode as hiring rates continue to remain soft. Also, the significant increase in price due to the transition to CEV-IV compliant wheeled equipment, and the steep rise in steel prices continue to influence purchase decisions of potential customers.
NBM&CW speaks with divisional heads at Tata Hitachi, L&T Construction & Mining Machinery, JCB India, Liugong India, Volvo CE India, SDLG India, and Schwing Stetter India - XCMG to get a lowdown on how demand is impacting development of their wheel loader segment, the new models being introduced, the technologies being integrated for improved productivity and machine uptime, their servicing, parts supply, and dealer network.
“The hydrostatic technology in our TL340H Prime wheel loader has eliminated the use of conventional transmission. It handles the same payload while maintaining the lowest deadweight of the machine. This technology also minimizes mechanical losses and reduces fuel consumption.”
BKR Prasad, Head- Marketing & Product Development, Tata Hitachi, Construction Machinery
Tata Hitachi offers a wide range of wheel loaders starting from 3-ton to 11-ton payload class.
To cater to the needs of the small and medium crushing and screening plants, we are offering our only available made-in-India hydrostatic wheel loader TL340H Prime with a 3.4-ton payload capacity. The advanced hydrostatic technology in our TL340H Prime has eliminated the use of conventional transmission. It handles the same payload while maintaining the lowest deadweight of the machine. This technology also increases efficiency by minimizing mechanical losses, making it the most fuel-efficient in its class.
Tata Hitachi TL340H comes with a modified loader arm profile for easy loading on higher-body trucks. With its gearless operation, single lever joystick, high reach, and superior loading capacity, it delivers high productivity. To further reduce the dead weight of the machine fiber and plastic materials have replaced many metallic components which also contribute to aesthetic improvement and operator comfort. We use high-grade steel and alternate material in many places which gives a better life to structures at a lower weight.
To cater to the needs of bigger size crushing and screening plants, we have launched ZW225 - a 5.5-ton payload hydrodynamic wheel loader. It is highly reliable, very productive with an unmatched output, and has a trouble-free operation that ensures that the crushers can operate at full efficiency. ZW225 comes with advanced features like automatic transmission, auto bucket leveler, downshift switch, automatic float, arm kick out, 360-degree panoramic view, and the highest level of operator comfort and safety.
ZW225 is a globally proven model which offers high tipping load due to its smartly positioned fuel tank, battery, and other components, and they increase the tipping load by acting as a counterweight. This helps in reducing the dead weight of the counterweight and thereby reducing the weight of the machine.
Tata Hitachi also offers imported wheel loaders ZW310 (7-ton), ZW370 (8-ton), and ZW550 (11-ton) to meet the higher production demand.
Tata Hitachi has dedicated Design and R&D departments in India to keep upgrading the machines to improve their efficiency and to meet the ever-changing customer requirements.
Tata Hitachi supports its customers through 250+ touch points covered by 49 domestic dealers. We will continue to invest in after-sales support through our dealers by increasing our outlets so that we are within reach of the customer in the shortest time possible. We also offer a comprehensive range of support solutions for our world-class products through our skilled service engineers and dealer partners. The support solutions comprise full maintenance contracts, annual maintenance contracts, cost cap contracts, and extended warranties. The company provides field diagnostic vehicles and mobile workshops for faster troubleshooting and onsite repairs.
To minimize the machine-owning costs for the customers, Tata Hitachi’s full-fledged Reman center provides refurbished machine components like engines, hydraulic aggregates, structural components, etc. The Reman facility is a vital support arm as it provides aggregates at a fraction of the cost of a new part. Through the facility, we can easily exchange old hydraulic aggregates with a Reman component to get almost zero downtime in case of aged aggregate replacement.
Furthermore, our wheel loaders come fitted with InSite (Telematics suite) which provides real-time status on the machine’s performance, idle time, fuel consumption, maintenance, report scheduling, geo-fencing, location tracking, alerts, and more. The IoT and other advanced features automatically diagnose and warn of possible problems in the wheel loaders. This remote monitoring facility helps customers keep the information about their machines at their fingertips, which helps in anticipating likely faults before the machine breakdowns, with faster resolution.
“The L&T 9020 Wheel Loader is designed to work in high altitudes and in extreme weather conditions. It is fitted with a Cold Starting Kit, enabling it to operate in sub-zero temperatures.”
Vivek Hajela, Vice President & Head, CEB, L&T Construction & Mining Machinery
We have made suitable changes in the arm, linkage, and bucket designs of the L&T 9020 Wheel Loader – CEV-IV to meet the requirements of large crushing and screening plants. These changes enable better material retention during carrying and effective loading onto carriers. In addition, rollout forces have been increased for faster loading. The machine’s horizontal reach has also been improved for levelling heaped material inside Hyva body tippers.
A high lift attachment with a new arm and linkage design for efficient loading at heights of 14 feet has been developed. The modifications have increased productivity by 20-25%. The upgrades in operational parameters have made the L&T 9020 Wheel Loader suitable for handling larger capacity crushing and screening units.
The L&T 9020 – CEV-IV comes with a 4.5 litre, new generation, 4-cylinder Cummins engine (model QSB4.5 CIV140D222) that delivers 140 hp power, against 133hp earlier. The changeover from a 6-cylinder to a 4-cylinder engine has reduced the machine’s dead weight by almost 2.5%, improving fuel economy further.
This engine provides two operating modes: power and economy (an industry-first), enabling operators to select engine speed and power per the operational requirements.
The power mode delivers additional power for drastically cutting down cycle time while improving productivity by as much as 60%. Operators can achieve higher productivity for every litre of fuel consumed. The economy mode reduces fuel consumption in utility applications where machine availability is required on a 24x7 basis, while tonnages handled are less voluminous.
In fact, we have recently dispatched to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) the first batch of 25 special variants of the L&T 9020 Wheel Loaders for working in harsh terrains, high altitudes and extreme weather conditions. These sturdy machines are fitted with ‘Cold Starting Kits’, enabling them to operate in sub-zero temperatures of up to minus 20 degrees. BRO will deploy them to strengthen road infrastructure in Northeast, North, and Northwest India. LTCEL bagged the prestigious contract for supplying 70 of the L&T 9020 Wheel Loaders - its single largest order - against stiff competition from several domestic and multinational companies.
L&T Wheel Loaders have a high brand recall. They are indigenously designed and developed for Indian jobsite conditions by our Product Development Centre at Coimbatore. These machines have more than 90% indigenous content, in line with the Government’s vision to promote local manufacturing. This also means we are less prone to disruptions caused by geo-political uncertainties.
We have also decided to introduce a customer-friendly telematics feature that will allow fleet owners plan operations and maintenance more efficiently. They will be able to take decisions based on historical data on operations.
In addition, we are presently gauging customer preference for adding site mapping facilities to these equipment. The feature will improve operational efficiency of contractors and mine owners, who form the bulk of our customers.
On the after-sales front, L&T has developed a nationwide network of 29 dealers and 115 touch points in addition to 27 territory offices of L&T’s Domestic Marketing Network. We have set up six service stations at strategic locations for repairing major components like transmissions, axles, and engines. These service stations are also capable of undertaking major overhauls for these equipment. In addition, five of our dealers have set up component repair facilities. This means most jobsites are within a 3-hour travelling distance, while the response time is a maximum of 24 hours in hilly terrains. Our Central Warehouse at Nagpur is strategically located to reach major centres within 24-48 hours.
Technical capabilities and a nationwide network of service centres give us an advantage when it comes to maintaining machine uptime. It has led to steady orders from demanding customers like Coal India subsidiaries, SAIL, and other PSUs.
"Apart from enhancing productivity and fuel efficiency, our new wheel loaders are empowered with technologies like Advanced LiveLink, Intelliload, and Centralised Lubrication System that ensure complete control over the machine."
Deepak Shetty, CEO & Managing Director, JCB India
There is an ever-increasing demand for innovative machines and solutions in the construction equipment industry that can cater to different applications in the field. JCB, being one of India’s leading construction equipment manufacturers, offers indigenous, world-class, and versatile solutions to ease the groundwork for the construction industry.
Our new JCB 433-4 wheel loader is designed for fuel efficiency and high productivity. On an average, it can bring down fuel cost by 10% and increase productivity by 8%. With a Maximum Engine Power of 93 kW (125hp) and Maximum Operating Weight of 11,000 kg, this machine has a standard shovel range of 1.8 -3.1 cum. With proven aggregates like transmission, engine and axle, the new JCB 433-4 boasts of a higher uptime. It is easy to operate with fully automatic transmission and comes with 15% bigger ROPS/FOPS ready cabin with improved visibility.
The JCB 437-4 is designed to deliver under the toughest conditions and is loaded for performance. It can bring down fuel cost by 10% while offering excellent productivity. With a shovel capacity of 2.2-3.4 cum, a Maximum Operating Weight of 12,040 kg and Maximum Engine Power of 108kW (145hp), it offers greater fuel efficiency, ease of use with fully automatic transmission, and improved operator comfort and better visibility with a FOPS / ROPS ready cabin.
The extremely reliable JCB 455-4 is built to cope with the most demanding work conditions and achieve the biggest goals with its long-term performance. It has a Cummins engine and ZF axles and fully automatic transmission. With an increased output of up to 5% in power mode and a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 10%, it is designed to perform in the most arduous of applications. With a shovel capacity of 3.3 -5 cum, Maximum Operating Weight of 18,000 kg and a Maximum Engine Power of 168kW (225hp), the new JCB 455-4 is easy to operate and much safer, with a highly comfortable FOPS / ROPS ready cabin.
JCB machines work in off-road and often remote locations where advanced telematics ‘LiveLink’ helps in remote monitoring and fleet management. LiveLink now helps over 2,10,000 JCB machines communicate in real-time on machine location, operations, performance, downtime, service alerts, and security. The technology enables better site management and equipment utilisation, thereby improving operational efficiency and cost-saving. Geo-fencing and Time-fencing have enhanced the security of our machines.
Technology has been transforming the way Machine-to-Machine and Machine-to-Customer business is being done. All vital information about the machine is available to customers on their mobile devices through a web browser or through the ‘LiveLink’ mobile application. Additionally, the system also sends out alert SMSs to registered mobile numbers. It incorporates GPS, Telecommunications, Machine Electronics and IoT, enabling the equipment to remain in contact with the owner, dealer and JCB. Accurate monitoring of machine hours and service alerts improve maintenance. Technical alerts and maintenance history data help customers manage the machine health to keep their machines running with maximum uptime and return on investment. Early warnings with detailed machine history enable users to plan work effectively.
This cutting-edge technology can help lower servicing and running costs by ensuring machines are operated to their optimum performance, reducing fuel consumption, and unnecessary machine wear. By monitoring idle-time and real-time fuel consumption, LiveLink helps manage the entire life cost of ownership, driving down costs, and driving up productivity. It also helps keep machines safe and improves control over machine misuse. Alerts can be set up for when a machine is moved out of or into a predetermined zone, and the geofences are customisable to the space required.
“Our wide range of wheel loaders of various capacities can cater to light, medium, and big crushing plants; they can efficiently create stockpiles and do tipper loading with faster cycle times.”
A Krishnakumar, President, LiuGong India
We have wheel loaders of capacities ranging between 2 to 11 tons for catering to light, medium, and big crushing plants. They can efficiently help in creating stockpiles and do tipper loading with faster cycle times. In India, we are primarily promoting our 7-ton payload capacity wheel loader. The main features of our larger loaders are their higher tonnage, bigger volume buckets, higher dumping height & reach, and more crowding forces.
We ensure high availability of our wheel loaders, backed by GPS and telematics, which are available as options. This technology helps users in assessing machine performance remotely, and making the necessary adjustments for improved performance.
Liugong supports its equipment through multiple services packages like annual service contracts, full maintenance contracts, parts contracts, and site support contracts. Depending on customer needs, we can customize these services for preventive maintenance and higher equipment availability.
“Our new BS4 compliant XCMG wheel loaders ZL33FV and ZL55GV are designed to cater to big crushing, screening stationary, mobile plants of 250 to 300 tph, and the higher bodied multi-axle tipper trucks.”
V.G. Sakthi Kumar Managing Director Schwing Stetter India - XCMG
We have recently launched BS4 compliant XCMG Wheel Loaders - the ZL33FV and ZL55GV for catering to the needs of bigger crushing and screening stationary and mobile plants of 250 to 300 TPH, and the higher bodied multi-axle tipper trucks. Both the machines are bigger and better compared to our earlier wheel loaders. The machines’ payload capacity has been increased by 10%,and their hinge pin height, dump height, and dump reach drastically improved for higher input generation.
The new loaders are available with a range of buckets of 1.8-3.1 cu.m in ZL33FV and 3.0 – 5.5 cu.m in ZL55GV. The bucket shape has been augmented to have the best fill capacity and peak productivity. Perfectly tuned hydraulics, and high torque output help deliver the best-in-class productivity. The wheel loaders are equipped with the highly fuel-efficient Weichai engines, which are also known for their linear power and reliable performance.
Schwing Stetter XCMG’s R&D team is working on incorporating telematics in its wheel loaders which will soon be rolled out in to the market. The wheel loaders are backed by the company’s wide network of dealers, parts availability, and service engineers for prompt and timely support.
“Our Volvo L120 H wheel loader has the ability to offer higher duty cycles even in crushing and screening plants that go beyond 200-250tph.”
Dimitrov Krishnan, Managing Director, Volvo CE India
We expect demand for wheel loaders to be steady during the current fiscal, but not exceptional. The market size is likely to be between 4200-5000 units. The key demand drivers will be coal handling in CIL’s surface mines, and the larger quantities of imported coal. Quarry re-handling, led by infrastructure construction, and ready-mix concrete plants will also be behind the demand, which will predominantly be for the 3-ton payload class, though we do see demand shifting to the 5-ton.
Our H series SDLG, CE-IV wheel loader which we launched during Excon this year, features a higher payload, larger buckets, and best-in-class dump clearance. The standard long boom, powered by 5-10% more fuel-efficient engines deliver low cost/ton, and can perform in big crushing and screening plants. Given the size of crushing and screening plants going beyond 200-250tph, we are also looking at the demand potential of our Volvo L120 H wheel loaders, which has the ability to offer higher duty cycles.
We see the demand for granite and marble block handling remaining modest during the current fiscal since their demand from India has been low, both for the domestic and export markets. This is a major business segment, where Volvo CE has a major share through its L 220, 33-ton and L350, 50-ton wheel loaders. These are highly specialized machines which customers can utilize optimally.
Volvo is continuing to work on its strategy of outright sales and is looking to promote its machines through attractive service packages. In this case, the customer does not incur any initial cost to buy the machine, but pay per hour for machine utilization, backed by a service contract. We are also looking to promote the wheel loaders through productivity improvement services. In this, we take stock operating areas on site where productivity improvisations can be done, such as machine management, operator training, etc. We see a good scope for our productivity improvement services, especially at quarry sites and in other areas, through synchronization of the operations. Volvo CE, apart from providing regular maintenance contract for its services, also offers re-manufactured products support for its engines, transmission, and other equipment.
“SDLG wheel loaders have the latest electronic engines and transmission systems synchronized with world-class hydraulics, a robust front, rear frames to withstand high loads, and can load big dumpers with ease.”
Surat Mehta, Business Head, SDLG India
SDLG India is well positioned to cater to the demand applications through its wheel loaders ranging from 3 to 7-ton. Of late, we have been seeing crushing and screening plants getting upgraded with higher tonnage/hour units, requiring larger feed size, and also units with multiple trains, giving varied processed throughput. Aligned to this, multi-axle tippers with higher bodies and also conventional trucks are being put to use by quarry owners.
For handling of stone aggregates and other minerals, our L933H, L936H and L958H series of wheel loaders have been upgraded with a higher payload by using relatively larger buckets to deliver higher productivity and best output for every liter of fuel consumed. The two machines feature best-in-class dump clearance with standard long boom, coupled with a powerful engine, and ergonomically designed cabin offering all-round visibility, easy-to-reach machine controls, vital information display, and rear view.
SDLG Wheel Loaders incorporate the latest electronic engines and transmission systems that are optimized and synchronized with world-class hydraulics. They have a robust front, rear frames to withstand high loads, and feature best-in-class dump clearance that help load big dumpers with ease. In-house developed axles are an integral part of the drive train, which contribute to a greater bearing force, machine stability, and overall reliability.
The company has a pan India aftermarket network of dealers and service engineers at strategic locations, and ready availability of genuine spare parts. A comprehensive customer support package includes repair and maintenance agreements for prompt and proactive assistance so that customers can maximize their machine uptime and get the best value for their investment in SDLG Wheel Loaders.