The upcoming road development and quarry projects will see rising demand for Tipper Trucks that deliver faster vehicle turnaround times, have a lower cost of operations, and are sturdy and reliable with minimum downtime so that they can meet project completion schedules on time. P.P Basistha meets the Marketing / Business Heads of Volvo Trucks India, Mahindra, and Volvo Eicher, to get insights on how their Tipper Trucks segment is shaping up to meet demand.
Volvo Trucks India
Volvo Trucks India introduced its all new range of Trucks in September 2021 that are designed to deliver higher productivity, safety and driver comfort. The newly introduced tippers have a host of features like a brand new cab which offers higher comfort and visibility, smart and intuitive digital instrument display, enhanced safety with electronic braking, downhill cruise control and optimally designed driveline, enable the trucks to deliver higher productivity and uptime with lower operational costs.
He informs that by simply turning the new traction control knob, it is easy to engage intra-axle to full differential lock and back depending on the ground conditions. The differential lock status is visible for the driver on the instrument display. “All these features take operational efficiency and reliability to the next level,” says Dinakar.
For applications in road construction and in irrigation segments, Volvo is offering FM 420 8x4 tipper with 23 cu.m box body. For light quarry and tunnelling applications, it is offering FM 420 8x4 tipper with 19.5 cu.m cladded rock body. For deep quarry and granite operations, the company is offering its flagship FMX 460 8x4 tipper with 20.3 cu.m body.
The new Volvo FM 420 comes with a 13 liter engine for generating 420 HP @ 1400-1800 rpm and peak torque of 2100 Nm @ 860-1400 rpm. This means that maximum power is available over a wider rpm range and peak torque is available as low as 860 rpm, which results in improved average vehicle speed with lower fuel consumption.
The engine management system has been upgraded from version 2.2 to 2.4 along with several design improvements that facilitate optimal fuel efficiency. The I-shift lever and software are new with additional drive modes and includes I-roll feature which automatically disengages the flywheel in order to lower fuel consumption. “Fast, smooth, quiet and a pleasure to drive, I-Shift optimizes every gearshift – boosting fuel efficiency and increasing driver productivity,” says Dinakar.
The new Volvo trucks also come with advanced safety features: a new cabin with slimmer A-pillars, larger windscreen and lower door lines for improved direct visibility by 10%. The tinted windshield reduces glare and the improved rear view mirrors give drivers a better view. Electrically operated steel roof hatch has been provided as an emergency exit.
Dinakar informs, “Electronic braking system (EBS) is now a standard feature in our trucks and we have also introduced a downhill cruise control feature - When travelling downhill with load, the driver can set a maximum speed. The truck uses engine brakes and later service brake to limit the speed. This prevents unwanted acceleration, the need to keep pressing brakes to regulate the speed and also enhances the service brake life.
“We have focused a lot on enhancing the driver productivity. We have introduced a pre-trip check that diagnoses all the vital parameters of the truck and alerts if something needs attention, which means physical inspection at the beginning of every shift is not necessary, thus improving the truck’s utilization. A fully digital 12” information display shows all the vital statistics of the truck and send alerts in case of any technical error. What’s more, you can connect your phone to the truck via Bluetooth for infotainment and driving safely with hands-free comfort.”
We constantly innovate to enhance the fleet Uptime and we move towards digitalization of the services. We launched all new “Volvo Connect” portal and app where customers can access information regarding performance, utilization and site advisory. “This brings new possibilities in simplifying daily operations and connecting critical aspects of our business in ways that were not possible before. With Volvo Connect, we also provide access to data services through APIs. With the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can evaluate a multitude of parameters, including driving practices and potential fuel savings, which gives actionable insights through custom-made program on the ground,” informs Dinakar.
For on-site preventive maintenance, Volvo trucks are linked to a network of 12 connected uptime centers, through which the company accesses various parameters while the trucks are running, which makes service planning and prediction, smarter. “Thanks to connectivity and Volvo Trucks’ advanced features, we can plan and prepare services according to vehicle usage. With real time monitoring, we can even predict unexpected stops and turn them into planned workshop visits. Besides providing site support, service planning, predictive maintenance and remote diagnostics, we work closely with the site team on the ground to ensure proper truck utilization, haul road maintenance, minimal idling hours and better fuel efficiency, for higher productivity, uptime and optimal cost of ownership,” adds Dinakar.
Mahindra has made improvements in engine combustion and calibration, and has increased injection and cylinder pressures, resulting in faster cycle times, and more fuel efficiency, making the trucks suitable for large, medium, and smaller quarry operations, and also for combined mode applications in road construction projects.
“NOx and PM after-treatment solutions and transitioning to electronic controls has resulted in increased vehicle cost. BS VI regulatory requirements need significant validation and ATS functioning which are greatly impacted by the duty cycles. Special applications for which BS IV variants were applicable are now being revisited w.r.t BS VI variants for ATS functionality in slow duty cycles,” informs Gupta.
He adds, “When we were migrating to BS VI, we knew that the new complexities in emission related engine peripherals and electronics would require more interventions in driving and for maintaining the trucks. Plus, we would be addressing the concerns of the owners and drivers. Moreover, getting initial feedback in the early months of BS VI adoption would be difficult.”
However, all this has been taken care by Mahindra’s new electronic iMAXX BS VI engines which offers several unique value propositions, including operational data accuracy of >97%; Network Uptime of >95%; and a 4G Dual Sim Profile that switches (as per signal strength) between two providers. A fuel theft mechanism in the engine can catch as little as a 15-liter theft on a 300-liter tank and 8-9 liters on a 150-liter tank, along with the exact place of theft.
Alerts on battery, alternator, and major aggregates failure give warnings on the components health. A memory backup of 15 days stores all the data locally and sends it back when vehicles are in a good network zone. Gupta informs, “A backup battery fitted in the device keeps the device alive even if it is disconnected from the vehicle battery – sending out location data so that the vehicle / device can be tracked till 15 days.”
iMAXX advanced new electronic engine also sends out alerts on driver behaviour and on geofence violations. With a single click, a monthly summary, or reports of large fleet accounts depicting overall fuel fill/consumption, pilferage, fleet utilization, driving habit, and critical fault codes can be generated. Besides daily reports on Hub-to-Hub movement, vehicle health, and FE, it also facilitates remote flashing of the ECU (FOTA). “Through this, we don’t have to call the vehicles to the workshop in case of any software upgrades,” says Gupta.
Mahindra has also conceptualized a virtual monitoring room for service and re-engineering. This will provide real time information of the vehicles concerning the fault codes, the engine, and peripherals like temperature, lubrication, and the overall health of the trucks.
“Road construction is a time-consuming process. Ensuring that the trucks will operate 22~23 hours per day is key to our business. So, it is important to identify the right product to suit the operations - right from the beginning and maintaining the trucks is of prime importance to reduce downtime. We offer comprehensive AMC and other customized aftermarket services to customers along with onsite support, to ensure at least 98 percent uptime of our tippers working at sites. We are in the process of setting up more MPARTS Plazas (Parts Retail Outlets) to ensure availability of fair-priced and genuine parts across the country,” informs Gupta.
Mahindra provides 24x7 product support to its customers, which includes onsite support from mechanics, stocking of spares for fleet of 10+ trucks, and mobile service vans with critical, fast moving spare parts. The company gives a standard warranty of 4000 hours or 24 months, and an extended warranty of 6000 hours or 48 months, whichever is earlier.
Mahindra tipper and other trucks are supported through its 90 3S dealerships, 210 Authorized Service Centres, 34 strategically located MPARTS Plazas, and a network of 1600 retail outlets for spares. Says Gupta, “Our onsite support is aligned with training, equipment diagnosis, and implementation of the new BS VI engines and emission norms.”
“We are giving a lot of onsite support to major road, across more than 100 sites, through timely maintenance, parts supply, and training. To ensure availability of our trucks, we have a 24x7 Uptime Center which helps in tracking, monitoring, and evaluating driver’s behaviour, fuel consumption and vehicle uptime.”
Eicher’s connected support services also enable proactive trouble shooting, diagnosing the machine’s health, and fleet management. “This results in more uptime, and the trucks can work for longer periods on road construction projects without breaking down,” says Singh.