Upgrading Motor Graders for Higher Productivity
Demand for motor graders in India is being driven by their increased usage in mining industries, expansion of railways, earthmoving, construction of roads and highways, irrigation, in the cutting of canal banks, ditching, trenching, etc. Competition, therefore, is intensifying, with manufacturers promoting the advanced features in their products, backed by customer support and services. They are offering motor graders integrated with new technologies in transmission, GPS, fleet management, electronic fuel injection engine with variable horsepower, so that the machines can work efficiently in all kinds of terrains and jobsites.
Advancements are being made for automated grading and load-sensing hydraulic systems so that the motor graders can achieve high precision motion control for delivering quantity and quality grading to maximize productivity. Improvements are also being made in the structure and in the design of the blades, rippers, and cab, with upgraded attachments to make the motor graders suitable for both road construction and mining applications.
Shashank Pandey, Head of Excavator & Motor Grader Business Unit, Sany Heavy Industry India Pvt. Ltd. says, “Demand for motor graders is encouraging as they are finding increasing application, notably in transportation infrastructure projects. At Sany Bharat, we have successfully introduced the Bharat CEV Stage IV motor grader manufactured at our Chakan plant in Pune, and we may come with some newer variants to meet the demand in a multitude of tasks.”
Sany STG170C-10 and STG210C-10 are the company’s latest Motor graders with 173 hp and 225 hp engines and with ZF German technology transmission. The graders come with a much wider and clearer operator visibility and digital control panel. SANY SMG200C-8 - another recent addition, is a world-class product with a 250 hp engine that is delivering higher fuel efficiency and greater productivity.
The SMG Series are equipped with electro-hydraulic joysticks and control hydraulics which assist the operator to enhance output, while an auto leveling technology enables leveling work with greater precision. The machines have reliable components, an intelligent control system, and precision hydraulic controls. Their newly designed structure makes them more robust, reliable, efficient, easy to operate with a strong horsepower, and are also easy to maintain.
“Our latest tech-based motor graders are designed to suit every application, and can therefore be adapted to a wide range of applications, including road construction work, and in both light and very heavy maintenance work. We offer options in moldboards and engine horsepower in alignment with the machine size,” informs Pandey.
Sany Bharat is providing end-to-end product support to customers, with a maintenance contract at the time of sale. An on-ground service team is present at project sites at all times to provide essential lubricants, spare parts etc and to quickly address any issue and prevent machine downtime. The company has 42 dealers and 260 touch points, backed by 350+ certified engineers, deployed across India and South Asia to provide the highest level of services. A multilingual call center provides customer assistance and on-site support services.
Pandey informs that Sany Bharat’s 4S offices in many strategic locations across India provide complete services that encompass sales, service, spare parts, and the skill center. The successful 4S model will be introduced in more towns and cities.
Case has introduced the C-series of powerful Motor Graders that come with the FPT 6.7L turbocharged BS (CEV) IV and electronically controlled diesel engine. An intelligent hydraulic system with a load sensor allows operators to regulate the moldboard from the cabin itself, resulting in increased productivity and operator comfort. The motor generates variable horsepower at 220 rpm - 193HP /205 HP / 220 HP and is ideal for mining applications.
CASE 865C Grader for instance, has a ROPS/FOPS open cabin that has an adjustable suspension vinyl seat, easy operator control and accessibility, and unobstructed visibility. It also features an electronic information centre that indicates tachometer readings, transmission modes (automatic/manual), engine cooling temperature, fuel level and consumption, engine and transmission diagnostics. Both the C-series’ 845C and 865 C generate variable horsepower rangingfrom150HP/173HP/193HP/205HP/220HP, which make it possible for the motor graders to perform in any kind of terrain.
Says Alok Jha, Director - Sales & Marketing, India & SAARC – CASE Construction Equipment, “The motor grader, like most other equipment, is a highly operator-centric machine, so it is important to ensure its ease of use, safety, engine reliability, and cost-efficiency. In fact, operator’s safety is paramount for us, hence, we have designed the machines to be more operator-friendly with a cabin that has a hi-tech console for effortless operation and enables unhindered visibility.”
He adds, “There is demand for machines with the new emission norm to reduce carbon emissions. Aligning the machines to meet the BS IV requirements means that the OEMs have to incur an extra cost. Though we have made every effort to absorb as much of the cost increase as we can, but some of the cost does trickle down to the consumer as well.”
“With the transition to BSV in the next two years, the challenge for OEMs will be to sustain the demand. However, on a positive note, the next upgrade would also benefit the industry as it will open doors to the more developed markets of Europe and North America, and we would see more exports from India. Moreover, each upgrade also brings in innovations and more advanced products that bring higher productivity and profitability.”
CASE has a vast network of 65 dealers and 200 touchpoints with trained and certified staff ensuring the best sales and after-sales support. Its 75, 000 sq.ft. central warehouse in Indore has an inventory of 13000 skus of spare parts, and there is a depot each in Faridabad and Guwahati for quick delivery of spares throughout India.
The company offers its motor graders with a standard base warranty of one year from the day of the delivery and further supports customers with extended warranties and service packages through its program ‘CASE Protect’ and ‘CASE Care’. It also provides skill development training to operators so that they use the machines with greater care and efficiency.
Schwing Stetter India is set to introduce a high torque, low rpm, variable horse power Wechai 178 hp engine motor grader with automatic ZF electrical transmission, informs V.G. Sakthikumar, MD, Schwing Stetter India. XCMG motor graders are equipped with top technologies like the CRDi electronic engine with the most reliable ZF transmission with auto and manual gear shifting, and a variable piston.
“Our motor graders are designed to reduce operating and owning costs of our customers. A prominent feature is the ‘No-Spin’ technology. The machines also have self-locking differential for anti-skid performance, which is quite vital to maintain the machine’s stability when working on undulated mining and road construction sites,” adds Sakthikumar.
Schwing Stetter is presently offering the XCMG GR1705 model with a base operating weight of 15 tons, a Weichai engine, and a 12 feet blade configuration. This model is suitable for all kinds of road construction jobs, including state and national highways, major district roads, mining area approach roads, and also for railway construction. To enable the motor grader achieve high precision motion control, and deliver quantity and qualitative grading, XCMG’s high horsepower motor grader features an intelligent variable load sensing hydraulic system. “For PMY roads and district roads, we are providing the most apt solutions in the range of 100hp - 140hp as per customer requirement,” says Sakthikumar.
Schwing Stetter–XCMG motor graders come with an arc shaped moldboard for hassle-free grading and rolling effect in all types of applications, and a standard HVAC cabin. “Our patented double- and single-cylinder technology provides the required resistance during grading. Value is added through the rear riper and front dozer attachments, which make the machines highly suitable for both construction and mining applications,” he informs.
“The cutting-edge technology in our machinery gives us an edge in premeditating the service and spare parts requirements of our machines. Since we can plan the maintenance schedule ahead, we can ensure higher availability of the machines for our customers, plus all our dealers are now present on digital platforms and are providing faster service and maintenance to our customers,” says Sakthikumar.
Arx is offering four models of motor graders: the G1000 (120 bhp, 11.5t with attachments); G1500 (173 bhp, 17.7t with attachments); G1800 (220 bhp, 20t with attachments); and the G3200 (315bhp, 33t with attachments). The G1000 is for village roads and shoulder work on highways after paving, exit ramps and short roads where turning radius is critical. G1500 and G1800 are for road construction; G1800 and G3200 are for mining applications (haul roads) and heavy construction sites. It is currently testing prototypes of the 10t and 32t grader. The 15t and 18t prototypes are under final assembly, and the pilot batches will be launched in the first quarter of the next fiscal year.
“All Arx graders have finely tuned drivelines with optimal torque and speed balancing. We also have a lock-up clutch which ensures high efficiency under no load condition. We will be shortly moving to CVTs on the grader to obtain even higher fuel efficiency,” says Amarnath Ramachandran, Managing Director, Arx.
He informs that all good motor graders have drivelines which are matched for 100 to 120% tractive effort, and a top speed of around 40 kmph. The efficiency of the driveline largely depends on the engine delivering output as per the published torque/hp/SFC curves and the torque convertor efficiency. Arx has trusted and reliable partners in Cummins, ZF and NAF for engines, transmissions, and axles.
“Anti-skid performance can be achieved by having a good traction control system on the axle. Skilled operators prefer an electro-hydraulic actuated differentiated lock which we have on the large grader. For less experienced operators, we advocate the No-Spin system which will constantly run in a diff-lock mode but disengage while turning or at speeds greater than 8-10 kmph. Turning with the diff-lock engaged can substantially damage the differential gears. If the machine is run in auto transmission mode, the chances of the wheel spinning out are less as the machine will serve the torque required and shift to first gear.”
As regards demand getting influenced by the new emission norm, which has made the initial machine price and services costlier, he says, “Emission norms cannot be avoided. There will be a demand surge for second-hand machines in good condition, initially, but this is in the short-term. Supply chain pricing has been extremely volatile over the last two years owing to a 300% hike in the price of steel (as witnessed in October 2020), which has now subsided to 200%.”
“Imports from western Europe for hydraulics and other driveline components are continuously rising owing to Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. Logistic prices have skyrocketed, forcing manufacturers to drive up prices. So, emission is only one more parameter in a long list. While we do our best to add value to products by working on lowering overall cost of ownership, it is important to charge the right price for a machine. Increased productivity and genuine reduction in fuel consumption are essential for lowering the cost of ownership,” he adds.
Arx machines have telematics for machine heath and troubleshooting installed as part of their standard build. The graders are fitted with axial piston hydraulics (except the G1000). Superior valve metering from Walvoil and Danfoss ensures that positioning of actuation is very precise. All ripper and scarifier linkages are robust; the moldboard is cylinder actuated which enables good positioning control. “We offer a large variety of blades based on customer application ranging from Boron steel to Tungsten Carbide. The cabins are designed and built in Italy and will shortly be produced in India in a joint venture,” informs Ramachandran.
“Automated grader solutions are available off the shelf. The choice of package utilized will depend on what the end customer already has, and we can customize our machines. For example, if a customer is using a Trimble solution and already has some other make of graders using the same, it would be necessary for us to offer the same system,” he adds.
Arx is currently selling and servicing its machines in-house but will soon bring dealers onboard once their fleet size increases.