Need for technical improvisations that meet emerging application requirements and the new hauling regulations and emission norms, is driving manufacturers to focus on the technological features of their tipper trucks and their after-sales service capabilities. P.P. Basistha takes a look.
Indian tipper trucks market has been passing through an interesting phase since the past couple of months. As per the new emission regulation to migrate from BS-3 to BS-4 norms, manufacturers are making the requisite improvisations in their engines, and with the new loading regulation in force, they are making advancements in the core hardware of their machines. The transition has been marked by drop in sales, leading to large inventory pile-up as some of the manufacturers were yet to get ready for the new order. To neutralize the situation, manufacturers had to resort to distressed sales in some cases. This was amidst apprehension, that potential and even loyal buyers may resort to quick brand substitution. This is when demand is swelling, especially from road construction projects, for hauling crushed granular sub base materials and overburden materials, with tight completion schedules. To offset the impact, manufacturers have been working on strategic business development and retention initiatives. Interestingly, there has been some heightened business development initiatives by some very new entrants into the business.
Volvo truck is targeting the niche segment of owners such as big road contractors involved in long road stretch construction, with very tight delivering schedules that require faster turnaround from loading, hauling and tipping to unloading, and covering long distances from the mineral processing sites to the delivery points. Volvo trucks are built to deliver optimum utilization with fuel efficiency, high horsepower, robust bodies designed to carry high loads, rugged super structure with faster tipping ability – all of which go towards delivering lower cost per ton and higher levels of productivity.
Says to Mr. Dinakar B, Senior Vice President - Sales, Marketing and Aftermarket, Volvo Trucks India, VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd, “Our rigid dump trucks consists of 8x4 tipper trucks and 10x4 rigid offerings with body capacities ranging from 19.5 CU.M to 33 CU.M. The portfolio encompasses competitive attributes. This consists higher levels of productivity, delivering higher uptime, fuel efficiency, supported by high powered advanced engines. One of the unique features of our trucks is the ‘Intelligent, I-Shift’ automated gearbox technology, with crawler gears optimized for tough and time constrained operations. The feature ensures precise torque from the engine is available at wheels through electronic control unit even when the truck carries heavy loads. The automated gearbox enables the driver to focus on driving, during the demandable conditions consisting sharp turnings and gradients on mining roads from pit to the surface, without the worry of changing the gears at regular intervals, thus making driving experience comfortable and safer. The added benefits of I-shift is it puts less strain on the driveline and tires thus helps to minimize the maintenance costs.”
He says, “We will look towards banking on these competitive technologies to drive future sales, targeting customers looking for higher levels of productivity, even we continue to carry out improvisations on the same.”
Mr. Dinakar mentions, “Optimum utilization of Volvo tipper trucks is backed by Volvo’s unique Dynafleet telematics system. This allows the owner to gain information on the pattern of fuel consumption. Dynafleet also enables customers to see in real time the location of their vehicles and vehicle’s performance data that are critical to have control on their fleet, letting the customer fully focus on running their core business.”
He adds, “As part of product support, higher levels of vehicle’s availability is ensured with Volvo Trucks Driver Training services to coach drivers into further improving their fuel saving skills. We have pioneered our approach to provide customized support services to our customers that are considered to be benchmark in the industry today.” Volvo Trucks has an active population of 8000+ tipper trucks working at various mining, over dimensional and construction operations.
“With changes in regulatory norms, there is a demand for tippers with lower unladen weight. In order to meet newer gross vehicle weights and evolving haulage requirements, we have been looking at various approaches to optimise unladen weight of our tippers while enhancing the performance of our heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) tippers range. All our HCV tippers are offered with wide range of tipping body option which further enhances scope for reducing the unladen weight,” says. Mr. Vinod Sahay, Chief Executive Officer - Designate, Mahindra Truck and Bus Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Mahindra Trucks & Buses MTB offers tippers on 25T and 31T platforms. It also offers 49 tons tractor for tip trailer applications.
Looking forward to leverage its market presence in haulage of crushed granular sub base materials, MTBL has been carrying out advancements in its Torro and Blazo range of tippers. Mr. Sahay explains, “Ideally, transportation of crushed aggregates happens from crushing point to point of usage. They are also transported for long distances. The varying combination of load and terrains necessarily translates with varying performance of vehicles. In order to reduce this variations, our Blazo series offers ‘Fuel Smart’ technology. This technology offers drivers options to choose power depending upon the terrain and load to optimize on the fuel savings as well as manage turnaround time.” Blazo range of tippers comes with power rating of 274 hp with wide range of tipping bodies offering between14 cum box body to 20 cum box body
“We have taken a due cognizance that utilization of tippers in India are getting characterised by combined mode applications, requiring the vehicles to work for shorter and longer leads, in conjunction with extended performance and fuel efficiency. Based on these new hauling requirements and higher levels of efficiency of the vehicles, we have tried to optimize the performance of tippers across different terrains and loads by offering ‘Fuel Smart’ technology. We also have varying combination of aggregates in terms of bogie and bell crank suspension, 6 speed and 9 speed gearbox combination to offer our customer the most suitable combination for optimized performance in the stated applications,” informs Mr.Sahay.
He adds, “To enable the operators have optimized performance of our tippers, we have recently introduced ‘DiGiSENSE’ technology on all our Blazo range of trucks and tippers. ‘DiGiSENSE’ is our telematics platform which offers host of features starting from track and trace, geo fencing, live fuel efficiency, alerts for critical parameters of vehicle operation, maintenance reminders”.
Mahindra Trucks and Buses is looking to expand and retain its tippers customers base by banking on its existing and newer product support initiatives. “We offer customized annual maintenance contracts, onsite support and other service support based on the demand for our tipper trucks. Tippers operations demand high uptime for completion of projects on time. Spares are key requirements for meeting this requirements. Through MParts plaza outlets we promise guaranteed availability of 150 fast moving parts,” says Mr. Sahay.
He elaborates, “For our tipper customers, we provide comprehensive and round the clock service support. This includes onsite support of mechanics and spares stocking to fleet of 10+ vehicles. Additionally, we also support the tippers working at remote locations backed by our mobile workshop, and critical spares parts availability. We provide standard warranty 4000 hours or 24 months and extended warranty of 6000 hours or 48 months on Torro and Blazo tippers.” Mahindra trucks and Buses posses more than 120 authorized service centres, 2900 roadside assistance points, and spares network of 2069 retail outlets.
Higher Capacities Attain Traction
Sany India made its mining debut with its SRT 55, 60-ton, higher capacity, rigid dump trucks imported from SANY’s China facility, says Mr. Dheeraj Panda, Director and Head-Excavator Business Unit, SANY Heavy Industry India Pvt. Ltd., “Following successful trials of SRT 55 at Coal India’s Dhanbad mines, we have booked five units from VPR mines, delivery of which will begin in November. The trucks have high levels of safety, reliability, durability and comfort, and are cost competitive based on less fuel consumption per ton/ per km delivered by the Benz Engines’ gross horsepower of 480kW, 650HP@1800rpm.”
He informs, “While SANY India’s existing service network will be servicing the trucks, for delivering higher availability of the trucks we will be adding product experts.”
Caterpillar India is promoting its four models of rigid dump trucks: Cat® 770G (40 ton), Cat 772G (50 ton), Cat 773E (60 ton) and Cat 777E (100 ton). All four models are manufactured at its Thiruvallur facility in Chennai. Cat 770G is powered by Cat C15 engine of 511 hp, Cat 772G is powered by Cat C18, 598 hp, Cat 773E is powered by Cat 3412E, 760 hp and Cat 777E by Cat C32 1016 hp engine.
According to Mr. Andy Dhanaraj, Director - Sales, Global Construction & Infrastructure Division, Caterpillar India, “The mechanically activated, electronically controlled, robust engines built on solid engine blocks, deliver high levels of fuel efficiency and performance. The engines can automatically adapt to the power delivery requirements based on changes in the hauling loads .We continue to leverage our technology solutions on our machines to provide best in class value to customers. We upgraded our Cat 773E (60 ton) model by installing a Truck Product Management System (TPMS) that automatically weighs the loads on the trucks, so additional weigh bridges are not required now. This upgraded model is Cat 773E.”
Vital Information Management Systems (VIMS) and Traction Control Systems in Caterpillar tipper trucks enable higher levels of performance. “Through VIMS, the operator gets information on oil temperature flow, engine temperature flow and fault alerts, which enables the customers to undertake preventive maintenance. The traction control systems enable auto braking when the trucks are working in sleep slopes and stiff gradients and also feature an automatic speed retarding system.” He elaborates.
Caterpillar India’s exclusive dealers GMMCO and Tractors India provide maintenance and repair with contract services on re-manufacturing of critical parts and components for the rigid dump trucks.
Tata Hitachi markets its range of 35.4-100-190-220 and 300-ton, 2x4 rigid dump trucks. It manufactures its 35.4-ton, 14.6 cum bodied, EH 600 tipper trucks at its plant in Kharagpur near Kolkata. The heavier capacity trucks are imported from Hitachi Japan. The company has sold close to 75 units of EH 600 to the coal, cement and granite sectors.
Informs Mr. BKR Prasad, Head - Marketing at Tata Hitachi, “We offer unmatched customer support through full maintenance contracts, wherein we post crew for carrying out repairs, monitor operations, and provide maintenance and spare parts. We also offer Cap Contracts on spare parts, where the cost to customer is a function of spares consumed during operation and in maintenance of the trucks. Further, we have managed to take customer service to the next level with introduction of Hitachi patented 'Wenco fleet management systems' for monitoring their operation and preempt any fault or breakdown.”
India is upgrading their cylinders to meet the requirement for higher capacity cylinders from the customers and OEMs. “Our new range of cylinders are faster in tipping cycle time and thus give faster turnaround for tippers carrying bulk materials in 31-37-ton GVW tippers. These fifth generation of cylinders under our Alpha series gives 30% higher productivity and will be produced at Navi Mumbai facility. The new Alpha series cylinders are faster, efficient, safer and less prone to maintenance,” says Mr. Sudhir Chaudhary, General Manager, Hyva India.
He informs that the company is in the process of testing their new-generation rock and box bodies to offer them with the new Alpha series cylinders. The bodies will be lighter yet durable. The trucks will be able to haul higher load volumes and deliver higher fuel savings when returning empty. In the meantime, Hyva India will continue to manufacture its existing range of bodies.
According to the company, it recently introduced Hyva care hydraulic oil for the cylinders which will enable extended drain out intervals, thereby reducing maintenance. The oil is available in the retail market through Hyva dealer network.
The rapid responsiveness of tipper trucks manufacturers to reposition their trucks in accordance with the new emission and hauling requirements indicates the growing maturity of the tipper trucks market. However, it will be vital for manufacturers to also reorient their service support initiatives in line with the repositioning.