It was the return of a positive sentiment that made EXCON 2015 exciting as well as successful. It is claimed to be the biggest exhibition of construction equipment in South-East Asia.
Story & photos by : Bhushan Mhapralkar
Heavy rains until the day before EXCON 2015 would commence at the Bangalore International Exhibition Grounds had the organisers and participants worried. The rains threatened to jeopardise the preparations, and called for valiant efforts to stabilise the ground for display of heavy earth moving and construction equipment in the open area. Attracting over 800 exhibitors, of which 270 were from overseas, the five-day fair opened its doors with the skies a shade of deep blue on November 25, 2015. The mushy soil patches underneath the carpet at some places in the open display area were the only telltale reminders of what it was like the day before. Claimed to be the biggest exhibition of construction equipment in South-East Asia, the eigth edition was spread across 2,20,000 sq. m. and witnessed over 200 product launches. Attracting over 35000 business visitors from across the globe, the fair, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), had country pavilions from Germany, Italy, China, Korea, Turkey and United Kingdom. Attracting participation from 22 countries, EXCON 2015 was arranged in two parts almost, consisting of an open ground display area and a closed display area spread across four halls.
If the tower cranes, mobile cranes, backhoes, excavators, tippers and concrete mixers found their way to the open display area, the closed display area saw the presence of components and aggregate makers like BKT tyres, JCB Engines, Allison Transmissions, Trelleborg, ITR and many more, showcasing India’s potential as a preferred outsourcing destination for construction equipment manufacturing. Pointing at India’s rising prominence as a global hub for construction equipment manufacturing, EXCON 2015 saw the participation of almost all the leading players in the construction equipment industry.
Targetting the construction of 100 km of roads everyday
Reflecting the return of a positive sentiment on the back of the beginning of activity in mining and infrastructure, chief guest and minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, in his inaugural speech mentioned that infrastructure development is highly essential for the progress of the country and the need of the hour was quality construction, good equipment and a good approach. He stressed upon the use of bio-diesel or ethanol in construction machinery to reduce pollution and be in sync with the government’s vision of a clean India that is free from pollution. Touching upon the need to create skilled manpower, Gadkari mentioned that the atmosphere for road development is good. He said that the government was planning to increase the national highway road length from the current 96,000 km to 1,50,000 km. Revealing that the government was also planning an express highway between Delhi and Srinagar, which will reduce travel time to six hours, and an express highway between Mumbai and Nagpur, Gadkari spoke of a target to build 100 km of roads per day. He also spoke about the plan to convert 111 rivers into inland waterways, and that his ministry is exploring the usage of waste materials such as oil sludge in the construction of roads. About 1200 centres for roadside amenities such as restaurants, rest houses etc. and 200 truck driver clubs have also been planned.
Sumit Mazumder, President, CII, mentioned that the industrial growth is on a steady upward trajectory led by higher growth in the manufacturing sector. Vipin Sondhi, Chairman, EXCON 2015 and MD & CEO of JCB India, expressed that the (construction equipment) industry witnessed difficult 36 months. “There has been some stability right now,” he added. Anand Sundaresan, President, ICEMA, and Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Schwing Stetter India, complemented the Indian government on the significant growth witnessed in the road sector. The construction industry went through a decline however, he remarked. Despite the difficult past, it was the beginning of mining and infrastructure activities that saw the stakeholders of the industry point at a brighter future; stress on the emergence of a positive sentiment. Some also pointed at the influx of technology in the form of new, efficient and highly productive machines.
Volvo FMX dump truck
The highlight of EXCON 2015 was perhaps the launch of the Volvo dump truck in two versions, the FMX 480 and the FMX 520. Aimed at mining application strictly, and to address the gap between the big dump trucks and the heavy duty tippers, these dump trucks are equipped with a 24 cu. m. and a 26 cu. m. rock body. Structured over five axles (10×4), the trucks are powered by a 13-litre Euro 3 engine that does 480 hp and 520 hp. Transmission is a 14-speed manual unit. While, the third axle on the FMX 480 is steerable, on the FMX 520, the fifth axle is steerable. Speaking on the occassion, Pierre Jean Verge Salamon, President, Volvo Group Trucks India, said that he is very positive about the Indian growth story. Expressing his optimism about the government’s plans to double the coal production to one billion tonnes by 2020, Salamon mentioned that the next five years will open up several new opportunities in coal mining, redefining productivity and efficiency demands. Speaking to CV, a company official also mentioned that his company was evaluating the prospect of road trains at coal mining sites. Trials were underway, he claimed. An official announcement will be made when the time is right, he added.
SSAB body for Scania P410
Anders Grundstormer, Managing Director, Scania CV India, also announced that they were looking at road trains to take out coal from the pits. Expressing that the market looks promising, Grundstormer said, “The mining market looks promising, and that of the coal especially, in terms of input of coal and manufacture of coal. Outbound capacity of mines will double; currently it is 550 million tonnes, he added. Grundstormer averred, “We expect to take 35 per cent of the market share of the premium segment. We will focus on outbound; we will look at concepts of road trains that we have in Indonesia and Austalia. Coal import is increasing and will continue to grow before the India made coal levels out the import.” he exclaimed. An important announcement at EXCON was the launch of P410 premium heavy duty tipper with a SSAB body. According to Grundstormer, the SSAB body is lighter yet stronger, and offers higher productivity with an ability to accommodate one more bucket full of overburden.
Pro 8031 from Volvo Eicher
Volvo Eicher displayed the Pro 8031T (8×4) heavy duty 31-tonne tipper and Pro 8031XM 330 hp (8×4) tipper with rock body and box body options for mining apart from the Pro 6025T 220 hp (6×4) box body. An RMC with 210 hp was also displayed. The portfolio was a reflection of the fact that Volvo Eicher is now fully equipped to address mining and construction segments. Speaking on the sidelines of the launch, Vinod Aggarwal, CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles said, that the worst recession for the commercial vehicle industry is behind us. More growth is expected to come from mining and construction. He drew attention to the fact, that the coal mining industry is showing handsome growth with significant focus of the government to increase domestic production of coal. “A number of infrastructure projects are under implementation and the construction segment too is likely to show good growth in the next two to three years.” he added.
Four new Tata construction trucks
Tata Motors unveiled four new products, Prima 3138.K32 CuM Coal tipper, Prima LX 2523.K RePTO, Prima LX 3128.K 19 CuM scoop HRT and TataSAK 1613. If the 5.8-litre 130 hp 1613 is based on the popular semi forward control platform with a four-wheel drive ability for off-road mineral movement, the Prima LX 3128.K 19 CuM Scoop HRT is equipped with a hub reduction tandem rear axle. It is powered by a Cummins ISBe 6.7-litre 266 hp engine mated to a 9-speed gearbox. Speaking on the sidelines of the launch, Rajesh Kaul, Business Head – Intermediate, Medium & Heavy Trucks, Tata Motors, opined that the Prima LX 3128.K 19 CuM Scoop HRT makes an ideal vehicle for shallow and light mining application. He mentioned that the the four new construction trucks have been engineered on extensice customer feedback. “They have been built with world-class manufacturing standards, and are designed to offer maximum vehicle uptime and lowest TCO,” he added. Pointing at the Prima LX 2523.K RePTO, Kaul described it as a high powered concrete mixer with rear engine power take-off. “This one does not have a slave engine to power the concrete mixer,” he said. Power is drawn from the 230 hp, 6.7-litre engine mated to a 9-speed gearbox. The flagship was the Prima 3138.K 32 CuM box coal tipper. Powered by a 370 hp, 8.8-litre Cummins ISLe engine, and mated to a Eaton 9-speed gearbox, this one’s a powerful truck for heavy duty coal mining application. The coal body measures 32 cu. m.
Torro 31 tipper from Mahindra
The highlight of the Mahindra Trucks and Bus division display was the new Torro 31 8×4 tipper. Ideal for on road transportation of coal, iron ore and crushed stones, this truck is powered by a BS III compliant, 170 hp engine mated to a 9-speed gearbox. With the tipping mechanism from Hyva, the Torro 31, according to Nalin Mehta, CEO and Managing Director, adds to the company’s existing range of tippers, and would present the ability to carry more load and enjoy optimum mileage for superior productivity. Mehta also drew attention to the 6-7 per cent market share his company has gathered in the six to eight months. Also on display at the venue was the 274 hp Torro 25 tipper; a Truxo 25 transit mixer (6 cu. m. and 7 cu. m.) with a spacious and ergonomically designed cabin; a 58.5 kW Loadking Zoom 4×2 light duty tipper with a 5950 kg GVW, and a range of backhoes the company makes at its Chakan plant.
Volvo Penta displayed CEV Bharat Stage III emission compliant D5 and D8 engines. These make up the company’s new medium duty engine range, and could replace the 6- or 7-litre six-cylinder engines. The base engines are made at Pithampur according to Jonas Nilsson, Head of Volvo Penta in India. Looking at intensifying its activities, Volvo Penta is also looking forward to offer its heavy duty range, which consists of the D11, D13 and D16 engines. Explaining that the D5 and D8 off-road engines share the same common electronics platform as their D11, D13, and D16 counterparts, which allows them to communicate using the same protocol, regardless of emissions level — simplifying design work for OEMs, Nilsson expressed that the engines’ four- and six-cylinder design and common design footprint make the design process easier for several emissions stages. Capable of complying with the most stringent emission norms, the engines are primarily aimed at construction equipment, port-based material handling equipment, raw material exploration, silver extraction, etc. Volvo Penta engines are powering the Sandvik loaders and haulers according to Nilsson. Pointing at sharing developmental resources, Nilsson exclaimed that the nature of application of engines will be to operate concrete pumps, stone crushers, mixers, mobile cranes, etc. According to Nilsson, Volvo Penta is also working with Putzmeister on the concrete pump; with TIL for mobile cranes, and with Cargotec for material handling equipment. Also supporting special application commercial vehicles, Volvo Penta is in discussion with OEMs in India too. Bullish about growth in all the sectors the company operates in, engines produced by it are also exported. Also exported is the equipment powered by Volvo Penta engines.
Greaves Cotton unveiled a 105 hp next generation automotive diesel engine. It is a three-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine with common-rail fuel injection. Likely to be offered in BS 4 guise, the engine, with some minor changes can be adapted for Euro 5 emission compliance. Producing a maximum torque of 220 Nm @ 1600-2000 rpm, the engine weighs 150 kgs (dry). According to Greaves Cotton sources, this engine could soon find its way into an SCV.
Mahindra displayed the 605DI engine in a naturally aspirated form. This engine is BS III CEV compliant and produces 60 hp. Displacing 3532 cc, it delivers a torque of 214 Nm between 1000 rpm and 1200 rpm. Resembling closely with the engines that power the Mahindra backhoes, the core architecture of this engine is claimed to be common to the Mahindra tractor (new generation) engines.
JCB displayed two engines at its stall in Hall 1. One that is made in India, and one that JCB is looking at offering to other off-highway OEMs in India. Both are four-cylinder engines and share the core architecture. The one that is made in India is BS III compliant, 16-valve unit that generates between 76 hp and 150 hp. Available in naturally aspirated, turbocharged and common-rail fuel injection guise with a high pressure rotary pump, the engine is based on the JCB Dieselmax motor. The block, bedplate design and crankshaft dimensions are similar to the Dieselmax, and the cylinder block has been designed for heavy duty off-highway application; the pistons are made of aluminum alloy, and the fuel injectors are centrally located for even burning of fuel. The engine that JCB is looking to offer in India confirms to Tier 4 final stage emission norms according to a JCB official, reflecting upon JCB’s decision to make its own engines. According to the official, the decision to make own engines was taken so that they could get the very best. An engine that was best suited for the job; that was significantly fuel efficient and productive than the engines sourced earlier. For the new engine, the company is hoping to find takers soon; for applications like harvesters, agri equipment, etc. Said Vipin Sondhi, that JCB exports engines to 60 countries, up from the earlier six. Describing India as a competitive manufacturing base, he explained that the company is using its international marketing network to market these engines. Claimed a JCB official that the Indian made engine is already finding application with a Delhi-based road sweeper machine manufacturer. Not stopping at the four-cylinder engine, JCB is also looking at offering six-cylinder engines of up to 284 hp. These, according to the official, are made on a flexible line that can be set up anywhere with little changes.
JCB showcased five new products and two new verticals. According to Vipin Sondhi, the five new products are in the existing range, and include the ‘ecoXcellence’ range of backhoe loaders, skid steer, master loader, 220LC Xtra tracked excavator and Loadall. The two new verticals include the skid steer loader and the telehandler. Sondhi also stressed upon the Livelink telematics solutions. He said that 10,000 machine until July 2015 have been delivered with Livelink, which enables the owner to retain full control of his machine. Explaining that health alerts are delivered in the form of an SMS, Sondhi remarked that JCB could take a pre-emptive action if a certain machine was found to be facing a problem, or is likely to face an issue. He added that JCB has introduced a new Livelink fitment package for those who would want to fit it on their machines. Mentioning that the sector is currently at Bharat Stage III level of compliance, Sondhi opined that the reduction in the use of diesel for the same amount of productivity points at sustainability. “When we launched 3DX two years ago it was saving Rs 2 lakh per year, now it saves another 10 per cent,” expressed Sondhi. Expressing that GST will make India a unified market and bring about a clarity in taxation, Sondhi drew attention to the department of industrial policy announcing an FDI relaxation in 15 sectors including the construction sector. Referring to the construction sector as the one which drives ‘Make in India’ Sondhi remarked that they were creating entrepreneurs by helping operators to turn into owners of construction equipment. With the biggest display area of all the exhibitiors, at 4500 sq m, JCB construction equipment display reflected upon the fact that the machines have been designed for Indian conditions. There are about 400 design engineers the company has employed at its
Ten new products from Sany
Sany premiered 10 new products at the fair. These includes a two and three-tonne mini excavator called SY20 & SY35; 75-tonne flagship excavator called SY750; SPC400 40-tonne truck crane; STC600S 60-tonne truck crane; SCC1500E 150-tonne crawler crane; SAG120-3 120 hp small capacity motor grader; SAG160-5 160 hp motor grader; SBP60F 60 cu. m. per hour batching plant, and STM6 transit mixer.
Putting up a significant display at the fair, Schwing Stetter India displayed 16 new products. These included a M30Z batching plant, a SLM 2200 self loading mixer, RVH 18 circular distributor, LW 300 FN wheel loader of 3-tonne capacity, ZL50GN wheel loader of 5-tonne capacity and a GR 150 motorgrader. Drawing attention to Gadkari mentioning a target of 100 km road construction in his inaugural speech, V. G. Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter Sales & Services, said that it will open a big market requirement for a company like theirs. Also, the taking off of the nuclear projects and other projects, he added. “Activity is happening and it is a matter of time when it gets moving on the ground,” stated Sakthikumar. He also opined, “Money is not a problem and there are enough projects, which will open a big floodgate for construction equipment. I believe that growth will come in by the middle of next year.” Pointing at companies taking advance action given the shortening window span, Sakthikumar mentioned that their strategy to launch products even when the market was down was to avoid delay when the window opened. “It also helped us to build confidence in the minds of our customers,” he said. Stressing on long term commitment, he explained that they are keen to address the needs of their customers above all, and with high quality products and service support. Eyeing an opportunity in view of the smart cities programme, Schwing Stetter recently launched a sludge pump. Close to an year ago, it announced an entry into tower cranes.
Volvo CE displays the EC750D excavator
Highlighting Volvo CE’s engineering prowess was the 75-tonne EC750D excavator. One of the biggest machines at the fair, the heavy weight 508 hp EC750D (powered by Volvo D16 Tier 3 engine) is set to address the strong demand for larger equipment to meet meet growing production targets. The EC750D, said Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President, Volvo CE India, is well placed to work in tandem with the new FMX dump trucks that have been launched by Volvo Trucks, and is aimed at mining applications. More specifically in line with the government targeting annual coal production of one-billion tonnes by 2020, he added. He expressed further, that pressure is building on mining operators to improve both their productivity and output. Hinting at a synergy between the Volvo Group companies, Dimitrov said, “The volume of excavation is very high in a coal mine.” Volvo CE has already sold the first six EC750D machines in India to BGR Mining and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, one of the largest private mining contractors in India. Apart from excavators, Volvo CE will be focusing on excavators for land clearing, compactors, and pavers.
Dump truck tyre from BKT
At Excon 2015, BKT launched a 100-tonne dump truck tyre of all-steel radial construction. Said Ashok P. Chhajer, General Manager – OE Sales, Balkrishna Industries Ltd., that they are highly confident of this tyre. It will lead to a lot of foreign exchange saving since it is made in India, he added. Claiming that all the steel radial dump truck tyres are currently imported, Chhajer mentioned that this is the largest all-steel radial tyre produced in the country till date. The dump truck tyre is made at BKT’s new plant at Bhuj in Gujarat. BKT has invested in the latest technology and equipment at the Bhuj plant, and with the view that this plant will turn out a majority of radial tyres unlike the Aurangabad plant, which produces a good deal of bias-ply tyres. Almost 90 per cent of what the company produces in India is exported. Starting with the manufacture of two wheeler tyres for Bajaj Auto by setting up a plant at Walunj on the outskirts of Aurangabad, BKT specialises in the manufacture of off-highway equipment tyres. It was some fifteen years ago that the company exited the truck and bus tyre market. Concentrating solely on off-highway segment tyres, the nearest that the company produces to a truck tyre is the 10.00 R20 off-highway tipper tyre. According to Chhajer it costs more than a similar tyre from another manufacturer, and will offer far superior performance under harsh off-highway mining operating conditions. Having got this far without collaborating with any tyre manufacturer, BKT will be selling the new dump tyre across the globe. The company will target OE as well as aftermarket with this tyre. According to Chhajer, BEML has taken a keen interest in this tyre. He credits the development of tyres including this one to a team of 50 R&D engineers who introduce 150 to 160 new tyre sizes ever year. Other than BKT, Bridgestone put up a display of off-highway tyres at its booth in Hall 3.
The strong arm of technology
Every machine, every aggregate and every part that was displayed at EXCON 2015 spoke of technology. Better yet, technology spoke up in no uncertain terms. Right from a dandy looking hydraulic cylinder, boom section, body component, tyre, bucket, engine to the highly complicated Allison 4000 series transmission on display in Hall 2. Indicating a rising role of technology to address the changing needs of the customers, which are often contradicting, the presence of heavy weight machines like the Volvo EC750D excavator signalled a distinct shift. A shift to higher productivity machines that are also quite efficient. The rising demand for telematics solutions pointed at the growing need for security. It also hinted at the need for a skilled manpower capable of understanding the efficiency and technology at work. A work force that is able to get the most out of the machines.
The return of positive sentiment was the highlight of EXCON 2015. Generating positive energy and enthusiasm, EXCON 2015 would act as a catalyst for further growth.