BEML: Highest indigenous content in our machinery ensures cost competitiveness

BR Viswanatha, Director - Mining & Construction, BEML
BEML has recently bagged the prestigious Rakshamantri award for its BE1800E electric drive excavator, which is the largest excavator manufactured in India. It has also developed the largest dozer BD475-1 with 850 HP. “We have the highest indigenous content in our construction and mining machinery which ensures cost competitiveness. That apart, we are continuously striving to reduce cost through standardization, improved processes, tooling and alternate sourcing backed by extensive test facilities in our R&D center at KGF,” says Mr. BR Viswanatha, Director - Mining & Construction, BEML.

Being an old brand in mining and construction machinery, how do you look to make your products cost competitive to own and operate for the highly price sensitive Indian market?

BEML has the highest indigenous content in its construction and mining machinery among all players, and this is one of the major factors in ensuring cost competitiveness. We are continuously striving to reduce cost through standardization, improved processes, tooling and alternate sourcing backed by our extensive test facilities in our R&D center at KGF. We believe in delivering best value for our customers in all the products and services we offer. The products developed through our own in-house R&D center are extensively tested for fuel consumption and desired optimization. Local availability of spare parts and service support for all aggregates including engine, transmission, axle and hydraulics, ensures the life cycle costs are most competitive in the market.
We assist customers through our Application Engineering studies in achieving equipment optimization through the right selection, operation, and maintenance in cost-effective ways and to the optimal level.

Nowadays, ease of operation, safety and reliability have become vital selling points. What innovative features are being added in your products to have an edge over competitors?

BEML has taken many initiatives to make its machines “operator-friendly” and to improve the “Ergonomics and Safety features”. To reduce “Operator fatigue”, we have upgraded our Dozers with joystick operation. We have introduced proportional steering and transmission controls in order to have jerk-free operation which increase the operational ease and improves the life of the power train. We have introduced electronically governed engines for ensuring superior fuel efficiency and to facilitate safety interlocks. In Dumpers, we are providing tilt-able and telescopic steering column and air suspended operator seat for exceptional comfort. We are mounting the cabin on viscous mounts for ensuring effective isolation of vibration. ROPS and FOPS cabins are being provided to ensure operator safety wherever applicable. Other safety features like emergency steering, steering lock, body lock, Neutral interlock with work attachment, are being provided to ensure operator safety. We are complying with the safety guidelines issued by DGMS completely. BEML has filed patents for 17 innovations, and six of them related to the Mining and Construction Machinery have been awarded till date. We are contributing towards formulation of safety standards in the country at par with global practices by actively involving with BIS in formulation and adoption of ISO 20474 standards and with India specific guidelines. We are also focusing on our equipment related issues in product improvement.

Preventive and periodic maintenance and proximity to customers have become major USP’s. How do you look at these important aspects?

It is indeed important to ensure that timely maintenance happens for the satisfactory performance of the machine and is in the interest of both OEM and customer, to factor the same at the very beginning and plan for the same.

We publish the preventive and periodic maintenance requirements in our documentation and train our customer’s staff periodically both at our well-equipped Service Training Centre and at customer site. We also ensure that essential spares required for the periodic maintenance is provided to the customers during initial delivery. Our sales and service teams spread across the country along with Depots, ensure that our service engineers are available at the customer locations to extend the necessary support. We also take-up dedicated AMC, MARC, and Cost Cap contracts for customers to ensure adequate support to our products.

Tell us about your latest innovation.

BEML has brought out many new products for Construction and Mining sector during the past five years. Recently, we bagged the prestigious Rakshamantri Award for the BE1800E electric drive excavator which happens to be largest excavator manufactured in India. We have developed largest Dozer manufactured in India BD475-1 with 850 HP and this was launched by Defence Minister during his visit to our KGF plant in Aug 2017.

We have 22-ton class excavator BE220G with combi-cooler for exceptional performance under high ambient temperatures. BE220G is built with positive control hydraulic system for ease of operation and excellent fuel efficiency.

The 100 HP class hydrostatic drive Dozer i.e., BD50 comes with exceptional maneuverability with power angling and tilting features and pivot steering and effortless operation through joysticks. This advanced technology machine features electronically controlled engine fully integrated with hydraulic system for enhanced efficiency and safety.

Our other newly developed product is BL30-1 wheel loader, loaded with state-of-the-art features. This machine is powered by a 230 HP electronically controlled BSIII emission compliant CRDI engine and electronic transmission, for exceptional performance and efficiency. The hydraulic system consists Axial piston pump-based CLSS system for ease of operation and exceptional efficiency. Spacious and ergonomically designed cabin with user-friendly joysticks ensure continuous operation without operator fatigue.

Apart from these, we have Motor graders BG605I and BG405A which are loaded with advanced features. We have now brought out the BG405A with BSIII compliant BEML engine and this machine features 10 feet blade with optional scarifier and Dozer blade and has a very tight turning circle radius for exceptional maneuverability. State-of-the-art Digital display systems are available for data storage and diagnostics.

The versatile BG605-I is exceptionally stable grader with 12 feet blade and is featured with Hydro shift transmission for ease of operation.

How Internet of Things is transforming the construction Industry? What telematics services does your company provide to its customers?

Today, with the proliferation of smart phones and the spread of 3G and 4G network along the length and width of the country, technology can be effectively leveraged to monitor the location and health of the machine.

BEML is offering telematics- based machine location and health monitoring system to customers needing them and has supplied the same as part of the Dozers supplied to Water Resources Department, Maharashtra. We have also developed comprehensive health monitoring systems for Dumpers and Shovels, which will store and display more than 20 parameters and access data from multiple devices having different protocols like CAN, RS232, USB etc. This advanced telematics solution is undergoing trials at customer locations and will be available shortly.

Apart from expanding your sales through first time buyers, what would be your strategy to retain your existing customers?

BEML is determined to serve its customers and help them to deliver against their commitments and be successful in their businesses. We extend seam-less support to our valued customers by providing timely after-sales service support, conducting training programmes to our customers and their engineers in machine maintenance and operation and technical support from our service engineers in operation and maintenance aspects. Moreover, in their business ventures, we assist them through our Application Engineering studies, in achieving equipment optimization in selection and operation & maintenance cost at optimal level.

NBM&CW February 2018

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