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The demand for construction equipment is on the rise

Excavators and motor graders are having their moments under the sun. Infrastructure projects are pushing up demand for these machines

Demand for motor graders and excavators are on the rise with increasing infrastructure projects.
Demand for motor graders and excavators are on the rise with increasing infrastructure projects.

Construction activities across sites call for equipment and devices that can pervade narrow spaces and delicate structures. It is this factor that has buoyed the growth of the global compact excavator market. Then there is a need for seamless manufacturing across other industries such as automotive and electronics, which has also propelled demand for the global compact excavator market. There is a stellar need for movable tools and object within the constructions industry which in turn gives a boost to market demand.

With the growth of the construction end use industry predominantly being driven by the development of large-scale infrastructure projects, development of transportation facilities and infrastructure projects such as light rail corridors, office buildings and shopping centres, are underway. It is estimated that the demand for the motors graders is estimated to grow rapidly.

Beating the West
There’s no dearth of technology in excavators and motor graders today. Having considered the modern infrastructure projects coming up, construction equipment companies are not foreign to coming up with modern and novel equipment. Considering that CEs are becoming more advanced, manufacturers are tweaking products to make them more efficient in terms of lesser maintenance costs and offering profits to contractors. Ajay Aneja, brand leader, CASE India, says, “Integration of new technology is vital for optimal utilisation of any equipment. An equipment with integrated technology leads to better uptime. CASE India modifies its products according to the trending technology for superior efficiency and simultaneously keeping our regular maintenance, on-ground check, after sales services and feedbacks ongoing.”

Ajay Aneja.

CASE India believes that uptime optimisation benefits the machine and contractors in every possible way. Better uptime leads to longer life, lesser asset breakdown, efficient working hours and better productivity.

Higher productivity with optimum fuel is the prime requirement for any customer and manufacturers incorporate features that help to achieve this objective. Electronic and mechatronic controls play a vital role in this regard. Vivek Hajela, GM & head, construction equipment business, Larsen & Toubro, says, “The Komatsu GD535 motor grader is equipped with P and E mode operation. P mode is production priority mode while E mode provides the correct balance between productivity and fuel economy. As a thumb rule, 90% of project work goes well if the machine is kept in E mode. Many times operators have a wrong notion that machine works slow in E mode.”

Vivek Hajela. 

Komatsu motor grades available to the Indian customers are sourced from its Awazu plant in Japan. Apart from strict inspections, it carries out an NDT test for structures after robot welding. The plant has a dedicated test-track where machines undergo torture test before dispatch.

Most companies have built a reputation for bringing the latest technologies and innovations, allowing customers to get better productivity, reliability and efficiency from their operations. Dimitrov Krishnan, VP and head of Volvo CE India, says, “Volvo’s Co-Pilot, for example, offers a range of intelligent machine services – including Dig Assist and Pave Assist – to help operators deliver higher quality outcomes, in less time and with less effort. These examples of automated and assist-functionalities differentiate Volvo’s machines in the market, helping us to stay competitive and relevant.”

The newer models in its D-series excavators are equipped with G4 work modes that optimise fuel efficiency and performance. These work modes — Idle (I), Fine (F), General (G), Heavy (H) and Power max (P) — are integrated within the throttle control, so that operators can easily select the best one for the task at hand.

Dimitrov Krishnan.

Volvo CE India’s production facilities have some of the highest levels of automation. Its factories operate under the Volvo Production System (VPS), which includes Six Sigma and Lean. The five principles of VPS are: Process stability, teamwork, built-in quality, just-in-time, and continuous improvement.

In the motor graders from SDLG, swing frames offer greater flexibility in a variety of work scenarios. The articulating swing frame’s movements allow the blade to generate more power and carry a heavy windrow. It also allows the unit to make turns at more acute angles for close-quarter work or work on smaller roads. Surat Mehta, head of business, SDLG India, says, “For greater durability and easier operations over its lifetime, the swing frame’s composite bearing should be lubrication- and maintenance-free. Our G9138 motor grader features this type of swing frame. The G9138 also features a fully digital panel offering the operator precise control over the highly maneuverable machine.”

VG Sakthikumar.

Speaking about the advanced XCMG motor graders that Schwing Stetter imports into the country, and will soon start assembling here, VG Sakthikumar, MD, Schwing Stetter India; convenor for membership committee, ICEMA; chairman of Mechanisation committee, BAI, says, “The GR1605 and GR150 II graders comes with Cummins BS III engine with double fuel filtration system and turbocharger provides best fuel efficiency even at high load. The turning radius provided by XCMG motor grader is also smaller than most of the competitors in the market which provides single cut turning on 2-lane roads. The assemblage of ultrasonic sensors, proximity sensors, a dedicated control system helps in maintaining the pre-set grading profile irrespective of operator’s efficiency and experience.”

Catering to need
Asia-Pacific seems to be one of the most prominent region in the motor graders market as countries, such as China, India and Japan, are home to some of the prominent manufacturers operating in the global motor graders market. Increasing disposable income in these countries is boosting the demand for construction activities in these regions, which is expected to expand overall construction vehicle production. Amarnath Ramachandran, director, Arx Mining and Construction Equipment, says, “As far as motor graders are concerned, the basic construction of the mechanism remains the same. Engines are moving to low emission, can controlled, CRDI engines. Drivelines from the old double clutch manual transmission to hydro dynamic torque convertor and full power shift which will eventually move to CVT to hybrid and then full electric. The main progress will be on the artificial intelligence side where the grader will be fully autonomous in line with dumpers which are already autonomous.”

Amarnath Ramachandran.

Arx is coming up with a full range of high spec graders 32t, 18t, 15t, 13.5t and 10t. These are for advanced markets and the premium, high productivity segment, with European collaboration. Arx will also have a range of blast hole drilling rigs, piling drills and front end loaders.

Another company that has been at the forefront of offering technologically competitive products with best-in-class productivity and lower operating cost is Sany India. Ranging from 120hp to 200hp, the company offers three models in motor graders. These include SAG120, STG170 and SAG200 models.
Sanjay Saxena, sr VP, heavy equipment & concrete equipment, Sany India, says, “Recently, Sany India introduced the STG170 model, which comes with Tiptronic technology for higher productivity and low operating & maintenance cost. The 200hp has a reliable engine with variable air flow turbo charges along with a three stage filtration system for high torque, optimised fuel efficiency and high productivity. The NOSPIN differential technology ensures anti-skid performance and powerful workability. It is in the process of launching automated grading system enhancing the productivity and performance of the machine in terms of quantity and quality of grading and maximising productivity.”

Sanjay Saxena.

Sany India plans to invest around Rs 1000 crore over five years to increase capacity. It is also working on localisation.

Aftermarket is a key aspect to construction equipment. Sakthikumar says, “Schwing Stetter India is equipped with a wide network of four training centres, 30 sales and spares offices, 400 plus service engineers and 10 service centres. We have experts for each product categories who are available at regional levels to take care for any type of service in tower crane and mobile crane products.”

CASE India offers 24x7 toll-free customer care number for support. “We have an extensive network of over 74 dealers with nearly 300 touch points across the country to support with spares and service even in remote locations,” says Aneja.

L&T has a competent team to extend effective product support during and post-warranty. “Over 30 dealers with 130 outlets provide quick service and parts support. Six service centres pan-India enable overhauling of components and supply of recon and float assemblies to customers. EquipCare enables customers to register their service and parts requirements,” says Hajela.

Considering how vendors are actively catering to the market, more contractors can only be convinced that India has some of the best equipment to offer.

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