Arvind K Garg, Senior Vice President and Head
Arvind K Garg, Senior Vice President and Head, L&T Construction & Mining Machinery, enumerates the technologies and products introduced by Komatsu and L&T, the company’s extensive customer service programs, and proactive skill development initiatives which have won them several awards.

What will be the highlights of L&T product display at bauma Conexpo India 2023?
In this edition of bauma Conexpo, we plan to provide glimpses of our technologies and solutions that hold the potential to revolutionize the construction industry. L&T’s focus has always been on the latest sustainable technologies, and we are looking forward to using bauma Conexpo as a platform to showcase the next-gen technologies, new attachments, and variants to enhance the versatility of our machines. Additionally, our digitalized technology solutions will deliver unique product experiences for our customers and visitors.

At our stall H30 in the outdoor pavilion, we will showcase Komatsu’s premium collection of Hydraulic Excavators, Dozers, Motor Graders, and attachments. We are confident that the latest hybrid technologies in Komatsu excavators will be a showstopper. Most of Komatsu machines are already biofuel B20 compatible, and we will showcase these products, in view of our commitment towards supporting India to reach carbon neutrality by 2070.

Also on display will be L&T’s indigenous range of Road Machinery, Vibratory Compactors, Wheel Loaders, Skid Steer Loaders, and Pneumatic Tyred Rollers. Customers will experience our premium quality machines manufactured under our Atmanirbhar Bharat mission. A range of attachments including car scrap shear and grapple, crusher buckets, rock splitters, and slope compactors will also be displayed.

L&T is introducing equipment with high-tech technologies to contribute towards a more sustainable, eco-friendly environment. Please elaborate on the products and your upcoming solutions.
The adoption of sustainable technologies has been the overarching trend in recent times and will continue to be so. Connected machines with telematics and digitalisation were introduced by us over a decade ago and are benefiting customers immensely in improving their operational efficiencies.

For over a year, alternative fuels like biodiesel have already been adopted in our products to help customers reduce their carbon footprint. Autonomous machinery and electro-mobility technologies are ready with Komatsu and will be introduced in India at an appropriate time when the ecosystem is ready.

L&T introduced the concept of hydraulic technology to India in 1972. We manufactured the first excavator in 1975 and in 1979 manufactured India’s first Electric Excavator. This was L&T’s first step towards zero-emission equipment. Since then, the industry has changed by leaps and bounds. Today, almost all multinational construction equipment OEMs have manufacturing bases in the country.

Komatsu and L&T have recently launched biofuel-compatible mining equipment in India. We are currently working on enabling a mining site that will use biodiesel for the first time in India. A biofuel blender will be installed at the location to blend the fuel so that it meets ASTM requirements, and it would have a distinct advantage over existing ones.

Komatsu and L&T’s product portfolio include electric excavators and dump trucks for the Mining and Construction Industry. Together we have delivered electric-powered large-size hydraulic shovel models PC3000 and PC2000 for Coal mining, and we plan to introduce Hybrid machines as well. Komatsu has also launched battery-operated electric excavators, which will debut in India in the coming years.

Arvind K Garg, Senior Vice President and Head, L&T Construction & Mining Machinery

Machine performance versus cost: can OEMs strike a balance between the two to attract buyers?
Customers have always demanded products with superior technology, fuel efficiency, productivity, longevity, and above all, a good parts and service support system. While some new entrant customers prefer equipment with a low entry barrier for ownership, it is evident that over the next few years, the focus will shift towards lifecycle costs as the industry matures. This is a trend observed across several emerging markets and in India too.

Customers will make choices not just on initial cost but on life cycle costing and productivity over the next few years. Komatsu and L&T have always kept in mind the long-term advantages to the customer as the core of our product offerings. We are confident that the market will move towards premium products with superior performance and lifecycle costs for the benefit of the customers.

Please elaborate on L&T’s compre- hensive customer services Equip-Care, Suraksha Kavach and Vishwas Machine care programs, Rebuilt Exchange and Refurbish offerings.
After-sales service support is our forte. Our Equip-Care is a proactive after-sales support program that seamlessly integrates smart machines, customer requirements, and a trained after-sales team across the country to provide unmatched support experience to customers. Equip-Care continuously draws information from operation monitoring system Komtrax on our machines to plan scheduled services and interventions in case of any caution, abnormality, or alert on the equipment, in the shortest time possible.

Komatsu and L&T pioneered the concept of extended warranty and machine care programs with the launch of Suraksha Kavach and Vishwas Machine care programs a decade ago. Under these industry-leading initiatives, machines are covered with extended power train warranties up to 4 years/10,000 hours and are bundled with a host of value-added services such as Komatsu Energy Saving Training & Guidance, KOWA analysis, PM Clinics, Komatsu Undercarriage Inspection, and Machine Health Reports. The program takes care of the operation and maintenance aspects of the machines on time. What’s more, Komatsu’s KOWA center in Nagpur is a unique laboratory that provides oil analysis and health report of Komatsu equipment.

L&T has Service Centers at six strategic locations which are equipped with specialized bays, modern facilities and tools such as Dynamometers, Hydraulic Test Benches, and Transmission Test Benches to overhaul and rebuild machines and their aggregates.

L&T extends Rebuilt Exchange facility for critical aggregates and supports customers in minimizing machine breakdowns with the supply of float components on an exchange basis. Besides, L&T Service Centers also supply refurbished equipment to customers looking to procure them in the market. Several dealer workshops and outlets across the country complement this infrastructure.

Arvind K Garg, Senior Vice President and Head, L&T Construction & Mining Machinery

L&T is leading the CE industry in skill development of operators, technicians and mechanics, training maintenance teams on energy-saving operations and machine upkeep, empowering the women workforce, and is opening up employment opportunities for the youth by making them job-ready for the CE industry. What do these training programs and initiatives entail?
As demand for equipment rises, the industry is likely to see a shortage of skilled labour who can deliver the best from newer technologies being increasingly incorporated into machines. In fact, greater awareness of the benefits of using a qualified workforce, training programs, and dedicated grants and scholarships for training can be a boon for the industry. In this direction, ICEMA through IESC has taken up several initiatives to skill the workforce in the industry.

As a business, we have made it our duty to promote skill development. In the past, as the Chairman of the Infrastructure Equipment Skill Council (IESC), I had urged the government to make skilling mandatory so that certified operators operate the machines.

Training has been an important focus area for L&T since several decades. L&T CMB is on a mission to ensure that only trained person should operate and repair a customer’s machine. We have six full-fledged training centres with a team of about 16 trainers. We train about 6000+ people every year at various levels, from an operator to mechanics and foremen. We also have special programs for equipment owners.

Women empowerment initiatives by L&T include training women to operate and service our equipment. We are now running a fully women operated FMC site in addition to adding several women operators and mechanics in the industry.

The GoI through NSDC has also driven many initiatives to skill up the workforce in the CE industry. We train and certify customer operators and mechanics in line with IESC NOS and QPs. (National Occupational Standards and Qualification Packs) for NSQF Levels 3 and 4.

Since 2015 we have trained and certified around 15,000 operators and mechanics post the launch of the Skill India Mission. Senior customer operators and maintenance teams are trained in energy-saving operations and maintenance. We have both fixed and portable simulators to hone operators’ skills. We develop an operator pool from unemployed youth who want to make excavator operation a career. Till now, more than 200 youths have been trained. This is a part of our CSR activity.

We have partnered with the Government of Odisha and the National Academy of Construction in Hyderabad to train youths in mechanic hydraulics.

We have been awarded the best training partner under the NSDC several times, along with similar recognitions, like the Trainer of the Year trophy awarded to our Head of Training Department.

Arvind K Garg, Senior Vice President and Head, L&T Construction & Mining Machinery

How do you see the growth of India’s construction industry in the next ten years?
Morgan Stanley has recently forecast that India will be the third-largest economy by 2027, with its GDP more than doubling from the current $3.4 trillion to $8.5 trillion over the next ten years. The numerous mega infrastructure projects and schemes launched by the government have laid the groundwork for catapulting the country’s economy to the next level. This will lead to a steady demand for construction equipment in the years to come. We have already seen the beginning and it will only accelerate over the next ten years.

What support can the Government provide to the Construction Equipment Industry?
The construction ecosystem’s success will depend on close collaboration among the industry, government, and policymakers to ensure that the requirements of this sector are addressed, thereby paving a roadmap of growth and progress of the country. The government is fast working to create a more favourable atmosphere for the construction equipment manufacturers in India to rise and reach their full potential. If a special support like the PLI scheme is extended to the industry it would be a great enabler.
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