We promote ‘circular economy’ through our Used Equipment and Remanufacturing business verticals for sustainable consumption of resources and reduce emissions.
Tata Hitachi - Sandeep Singh, Managing Director
With a target of Net Zero emissions by 2070 taken by the Government of India, reducing the use of fossil fuels in CE machinery is both a major challenge and an opportunity. Tata Hitachi has identified various projects to be taken up for electrification of different categories of models in our portfolio. Our parent company - Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan, has electric driven technology in their mini excavators and in large mining machineries. We have made strides in addressing environmental concerns through our CNG options. Backhoe loaders, showcased at Excon 2019, have been equipped with CNG capabilities, underscoring the company’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions.
Initiatives and rewards
On the operations side of the business, Tata Hitachi sets aggressive carbon footprint reduction targets each year and works towards them. We have reduced our carbon footprint in manufacturing by 45% in the last 5 years. We have made significant investments in our plants at Dharwad and Kharagpur towards renewable energy, rainwater harvesting, and reusing ETP water for irrigation, apart from creating biodiversity parks, improving the quality of potable water in the catchment areas of our manufacturing plants, and enhancing painting efficiency to reduce paint emissions.
Our Kharagpur plant has an installed solar capacity of 10.5 MW that meets 74% of our power requirements, while our Dharwad plant has a target to meet 90% of its power requirements through solar power via a power purchase agreement. In addition, the administration buildings of both our plants are LEED-certified.
Recently, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recognised Tata Hitachi’s efforts in the field of energy conservation and management at the CII Energy Conservation Awards 2022. Our Kharagpur plant has been awarded a 5 Star Rating for its efforts towards Energy Conservation and has also been adjudged the 1st Runner Up in the Energy Intensive Group category at the event. In 2021, HCM, Japan, selected both our Kharagpur and Dharwad plants as ‘ECO Factory of the Year” for outstanding efforts in energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, recycling of waste and other resources, and efficient water recycling. With these measures and technologies, we are making the transition to reduce carbon emissions and zero wastage of precious resources.
Electrification of equipment
The electrification of CE is one of the possible ways in which we are trying to achieve the goal of decarbonization. It is also very important to understand that CE per se demands high energy intensity. Hence, the approach towards zero emissions is going to be graded, as technology is in its infancy. Already, the industry has shown that it is possible to introduce CNG-powered machines. However, sales will depend on customer demand and widespread CNG availability. If demand increases, the industry is geared up to scale production. We displayed the CNG-powered backhoe loader SHINRAI at Excon 2021.
There are various aspects being considered, including technologies that are suitable for different product classes, in terms of usability, mobility, infrastructure requirements, cost impact, how much leeway the platform allows us, etc. There will be a certain segment of the CE industry, like compact equipment below 7T, that is likely to move to battery powered technology. This technology is available from most OEMs now.
We anticipate that the resolution of the following issues will be key to moving towards complete electric offerings for our customers: primarily, for moving to electric-driven machinery, there needs to be a strong business case to make the move. It could be backed by an economic standpoint, or an environmental position taken by the government. The focus on the ecosystem for electrics has already been brought in by the automotive segment, which has shifted heavily to this technology. This shift may help us partially in building the infrastructure and the know-how for the support systems.
We were the first in the CE industry in India to introduce Hitachi’s hybrid excavator ZH200 at Excon 2017. So, while there are efforts to develop battery/electric technology, commercialization is still, in our view, some distance away.
Further, Tata Hitachi promotes eco-friendly design in its products and services. Apart from ensuring that our wheeled equipment adhere to the current regulatory requirements of CEV-4 emission norms, we are also working to ensure that our excavators are compatible with emission norms which will be implemented in the future. In addition, we also maintain a target of reducing fuel consumption of all our products and models through engineering innovations. With our TL340H PRIME, we are also the first and only manufacturer in India of hydrostatic wheel loaders that assure fuel savings of 20% over conventional wheel loaders. Also, our excavators are very well-known in the market for their fuel efficiency. Further, extending the replacement intervals of various oils lessens the load on the environment. We are continuously working to make improvements in this direction.
Hitachi’s electric excavators has been in our portfolio for over a decade and are being used in mining applications. Models like the EX2600E-6, a 15 cum bucket capacity electric excavator, are running in coal mines in India; recently, one of them crossed 100,000 hours of successful operation with the support of our FMC. In short, our approach to emission reduction started much before the debate on emission controls started in the past decade.
For the effective use of resources, we promote ‘circular economy’ through our Used Equipment business and Remanufacturing of parts. These initiatives are aimed at ensuring a sustainable consumption and production pattern by enhancing the value of the product life cycle and further reducing emissions.
Productivity enhancement through technology integration
Our key approach to productivity enhancement in our machines has been through technology integration in our products. With increased focus on areas like safety, equipment efficiency, and remote connectivity, advanced technologies like IoT, telematics, and mobility technology solutions have become a standard for Tata Hitachi.
ConSite and InSite are two proprietary technologies that enable our customers to remotely monitor Tata Hitachi machines through granular, real-time operational, maintenance, location, and health data. Periodic reports to analyse performance, efficiency, and machine productivity, allow our customers to visualise the operations and health status of the machines, improve their efficiency, ensure maintenance management, and work closer with Tata Hitachi. This way, the machines are used in an efficient manner, and through the analysis of reports from Consite and InSite, it helps in reducing wastage, thereby resulting in reduced carbon emissions.
Tata Hitachi has also taken proactive steps to control emissions in their wheel loaders by developing CEV-IV engines. The engines incorporated with After Treatment Devices (ATD) with DEF (Urea) manage the emissions effectively. Through InSite telematics system, Tata Hitachi ensures the monitoring and immediate notification of any deviations, enabling swift action to be taken.
To create better awareness, our team constantly engages with customers to analyse these reports and enhance the efficiency of the machines. Not only through a reduction in their operational costs but also through reducing emissions. Today, some of the more aware institutional customers insist on the advanced reports from these connected technologies, as well as training to understand them, to drive emission reduction in their own operations.