With higher productivity, newer demand, and proposed newer emission norms taking a centre stage, engine manufacturers are fine tuning their product research and development capabilities to deliver higher levels of cost advantages and fuel efficiency to OEMs P.P. Basistha takes a look at the newer levels of product development.
Demand of off-highway engines is being increasingly characterized by higher volume and value orientation. While manufacturers are witnessing demand from existing product verticals, there are newer business vistas for engines, altogether from newer product verticals, given the widening scope of mechanization in construction activities. Solutions robustness is the added demand order by OEMs to deliver better total lifecycle costs to the buyers, to legitimize the better product value proposition.
R&D and Business Development
Given the growing business opportunities in Off-highway engines in India, Volvo Penta is set to optimize the monetization of its local production output from its Pithampur VE powertrain facility, that began production of 5 and 8 liter industrial engines in April 2017.
Mr. Miron Thoms, VP and Head - Volvo Penta India, says, “We will encash the throughput from the facility based on the localized production of the industrial engines. This will cut down lead times, freight and import duties for the OEMs. Further, a higher product value for the customers through the new engine platform, in terms of low fuel consumption and more reliability, and support from Volvo Penta’s efficient service network and leading parts distribution system in India, will enable the OEMs to get better engine uptime.”
He adds, “Our new engines 5 l and 8 l from our local production facility are designed to meet global emission regulations, offering OEMs a simple engine room design for all markets – domestic as well as international. This will help OEMs reduce their R&D costs and minimize the need for making engine variants.”
Says Mr. Jasmeet Singh, Head – Corporate Communications JCB India, “Over the years, JCB engines have gained a reputation of being fuel efficient, reliable and productive. They are designed to withstand arduous Indian site conditions and come with low noise and vibration along with a longer engine life. The stringent quality checks as part of the company’s ‘No-Fault Forward’ philosophy, ensure that each engine unit is compliant to JCB’s One Global Quality standard.
The ecoMAX engine is the first engine in India that has been developed exclusively for off-highway applications. It has gone through multiple stages of improvement with latest being the achievement of BSIII norms with external and without turbocharger.
Simpson has continuously upgrading their engines to meet customer’s expectation. Informs Mr. Senthil Kumar - GM, Sales & Marketing, Simpsons, “Our 4 cylinder S433 – 3.3 Litre and TSJ 436- 3.6 litre engines are work horse engines with better back up torque and optimum performance fully addressing the duty cycles of equipment required in the field.”
Simpsons manufactured engines are being supplied for material handling (forklifts, hydra cranes), earth moving (compactors, skid steer loaders, pavers), construction (concrete mixers, pumps) and stationary applications (power-gen, compressors).
“We perceive a lot of potential in India’s off-highway market, especially for machines under 100HP, which meets our range of engines. We would like to introduce our engines under this category, as it meets most of the requirements of customers engaged in construction activities,” says Mr. Akihiko Adachi, Sales Head of Emerging Countries, Engine Global Marketing Dept.-2, Kubota Corporation Japan HQ. However, Kuboto will not be producing its engines locally in India at present, but will do so when demand picks up.
He informs that Kuboto, which has been catering to world-class construction equipment through co-engineering with OEMs, will enter the Indian market through an alliance with an OEM serving the CE industry. He adds, “As per our observation, the Indian emission regulation will migrate towards the norms being practiced in USA and Europe. Given our expertise and collaboration with US and European customers, we are well prepared to support Indian OEMs with the new emission norms.”
Affirms Mr. Sanjeev Nimkar, Business Head & VP, Industrial Engines, Kirloskar India, “We have been closely monitoring the demand trend for Off-Road applications and have found that demand is back, albeit for more value in the product. End-users are looking for optimal solutions as their work margins are yet to recover fully, and they want solutions that deliver a higher cost advantage (better productivity) to them.”
He informs that in view of the proposed BS IV emission norms slated for implementation from October 2020, the company had embarked on a project two years ago to develop new age engines meeting world’s most stringent emission norms and has successfully come out with a prototype. It will now be supplying the prototype to the OEMs for their fitment on off-highway equipment.
“We are strongly positioned to offer electro-mechanical solutions, which can adjust to fuel adulteration, usage abuse, and lower maintenance. This is apart from full range of need based electronic solutions as well. We have also upgraded the oil change intervals of the engines from the earlier 250 hours to 500 hours, and our maintenance schedule has been consistently beyond 10000 hours for overhauls, as compared to the 5,000 to 6000 hours offered by our competitors,” he adds.
Says Mr. Ashwath Ram, Vice President, Engine Business, Cummins India Limited, “As India market transitions to BSIV & BSV CEV norms, Cummins strategy is to upgrade the products in order to provide best in class cost of ownership (TCO) to its customers. Cummins is well positioned to meet these norms due to its vast experience in meeting these norms globally (US - Tier4 Final, Europe - Stage V etc. At every emission change globally, Cummins has been able to provide added value to its customer. With the launch of Stage IV and V products, we will continue this trend by providing better fluid economy, higher service interval & higher power density as compared to earlier engines. In India Cummins will continue this performance with its fit for market engines, after treatment solutions & related components.”
He elaborates, “Cummins, formulated, Cummins Emission Solutions in 2002 to focus on after treatment for upcoming emissions regulations worldwide. Now Cummins is a global leader in designing, manufacturing and integrating exhaust after treatment technology and solutions. These solutions are designed to meet the highest emissions standards worldwide offering not only performance and reliability, but fuel economy and significant cost savings as well.”
“We are able to provide the right solutions based on strong partnerships with OEMs based on a deep understanding of the market and applications. This makes Cummins engines most competitive in the industry from robustness and total cost of ownership standpoint.”
The US origin engine manufacturer provides engines for excavators, wheel loaders, compactors, compressors, backhoe loaders and cranes.
Higher ratings for wider applications
Even while demand for engines from existing product verticals is increasing, business vistas from new product verticals are opening up. Engine manufacturers are also increasing their engine ratings to meet higher productivity expectations and wider application requirements.
Volvo Penta is leveraging its brand value through wider engine ratings. Mr. Miron Thoms informs that the Volvo Group has decided to reduce the engine platform to 5 base engines: 5 L, 8 L, 11 L, 13 L and 16 L displacement. Except for the D5 4-cylinder engine, all engines have an inline 6 configurations. The 5-liter and 8-liter engines ranging from 105 kW to 235 kW are made in India. The 11-liter, 13-liter, and 16-liter are available from 235 kW to a maximum rating of 565 kW.”
Volvo Penta, which has a fair share in captive power generation for fixed crushing plants, is keen to widen its presence in mineral processing plants. Mr. Miron informs, “For the power generation segment, Volvo Penta offers 85 kVA to 650 kVA. The most powerful 650 kVA rated TWD1653GE is certified for CPCB2; it can be operated as standard in ambient temperatures as high as 52°C. It is the most powerful engine for power generation in its displacement class.”
He adds, “We at Volvo Penta see ourselves not just as an engine supplier, but as an engine partner. The expertise and the synergy that we have with the Volvo Group’s automotive and construction segment, we share with our customers and partners.”
Volvo Penta is targeting specific segments such as construction, power generation, mining, material handling, agriculture, and special applications, for installation of its drivetrains and engines.
Says Mr. Jasmeet Singh, “JCB India’s engines are available as naturally aspirated and turbo charged. The range varies from 56kW to 97kW in BS3 emission compliant machines such as backhoe loaders, wheeled loaders and compactors, and extends from 63kW to 129kW in excavators. The genset engines of 60kVA to 160kVA are also manufactured at our state-of-the-art facility at Delhi-NCR for both export and domestic requirements.
With the success of ecoMAX, JCB forayed into OEM engine business in 2015 and has partnered with several OEMs for engine supply.
Mr. Senthil Kumar says, “As part of product development programme, Simpsons has already developed common rail engines in 2.6 ,2.7 litre (3 cylinder) and 3.6 Litre capacity (4 cylinder). These engines are available in hp ranging from 35 to 75 hp. To expand the range above 75 hp, Simpsons has already initiated a new development programme for a four cylinder engine with 3.7 litre capacity which will support OEMs upto 120 hp.
With this common rail series, Simpsons is keen on focusing international markets such as Europe and North America in addition to their dominance in domestic non- emission markets in the past. Currently the products are approved for Tier4F, EU Stage3B and are in the process of EU Stage5 approval. Recent introduction of engines in Turkey market is the successful one and clear focus has been initiated to consolidate the engine requirements from this marker like domestic market.”
In addition to new product development, Simpsons is also continuously working on enhancing value to OEMs on current products like longer service intevals, low friction, vibration and noise technologies.
“This will minimize fuel consumption, less operating cost and also enhances life of engine,” says Mr. Senthil Kumar.
Apart from home grown strong brands Kirloskar engines are the first choice for the Leading Korean, Japanese, American & European MNCs for their top end applications like Excavators, Loaders, Transit Mixers and motor graders. Says Mr. Sanjeev Nimkar, “We have now fully stabilized our 400-600 HP platforms, which has enabled us to meet demand of rigid dump trucks performing in mining applications, compressors used for well drilling, and high end FM-UL approved fire-fighting engines. We have also strengthened our full range for excavators of 8-12-14-20 tons and beyond.”
Higher availability & support finetuned
To ensure product optimization for higher uptime, engine manufacturers are engaging more closely with the OEMs and end-users.
Volvo Penta, which is present in 61 locations with 85+ touchpoints, is continuously improving its aftermarket network and increasing the number of touchpoints across India. It has a regional warehouse and parts distribution center in Bangalore.
Informs Mr. Miron, “We continuously train our dealers and technicians in improving their competence levels, and a new training center is coming up in Bangalore soon. In addition to our service agreements we have various soft offers which are served to customers through our dealers. One example is the Volvo Penta oil analysis, a preventive maintenance tool, which helps users to stay one step ahead by increasing uptime. Also, our new Volvo Penta Action Service is now available for end-users around the world in 18 languages, 24/7.”
“Supported by an all-India dealer network for after sales-service, ecoMAX engines are giving high performance to the machines. JCB offers unlimited hours’ warranty and upfront availability of parts for one year, through 650+ dealers,” informs Mr. Jasmeet Singh.
In 2011, JCB India commissioned its engine manufacturing unit at its flagship, backhoe loader manufacturing facility in Ballabgarh, Haryana. So far, over 1,50,000 ecoMAX engines have been manufactured at the unit, and machines fitted with these engines have been exported to over 85 countries.
Simpson offers Direct to Customer (D2C) product support through its dedicated 30 service centres in Industrial locations spread across entire India. The technicians from each centres have been well trained in Simpsons training facility to offer assistance for effective maintenance of the products.
“At Kirloskar, our central control room evaluates feedback from our customers’ customer (end users) on our engine’s performance on daily basis; this information also helps us in new product developments. With over 450 outlets, we have the highest number of service dealers in our product segment for servicing and parts supply. Spare parts are replenished on a daily basis from our central warehouse and our first pick availability is 96% for each outlet,” informs Mr. Nimkar.
“Cummins India has one of the largest sales and service network with more than 450 touch points that is unmatched in the industry. With a large team of more than 5,000 company trained engineers and technicians, this network is designed to handle service events with utmost responsiveness,” informs Mr. Ashwath Ram.
The widening of ratings by engine manufacturers across equipment verticals is a commendable initiative towards closer product application orientation. However, it will be vital on the part of the manufacturers to render adequate support to the new range of engines. This is through closer engagements with the customers.