Roads sector remains the biggest growth driver of motor graders in India. VG Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter Sales and Services, elaborates more on the market and technology trends in motor graders.
What are the current trends of motor grader market in India? Which sectors drive the demand?
The motor grader market in India is growing at around 40 per cent. Sectors such as roads (including national highways, state highways, rural roads and village roads) and mining are driving the demand for motor graders in India. Motor graders have also applications in canal bank cutting, snow removal, ditching and trenching.
Do you see a growth in the use of motor graders in rural road construction?
Growth in the use of motor graders in rural road construction is not much but limited when compared to the national highways as it is mandatory in the National Highways Development Programme.
What is the scope of design changes in motor graders for different applications?
The various applications comprise dozing, ripping, automatic levelling, scarifying, etc. For all these, we will go for the design changes or modifications. The rippers and dozers are required while excavating the existing road surfaces or rather when there is a road extension projects. In order to attain this, we need an additional port for retrofitting the attachments. Another application is for grading canals where the mould blade has to be kept in 90-degree angle. Of late, this is achieved by having a hydraulic operated pull pins and again this will call for a design change of modification. Auto levelling system is considered as a high-end design modification where the complete grader will be made to adapt the sensors and has a dedicated control panel with HMI.
Could you elaborate on the motor graders used in mining? What are the features supporting mining applications?
Motor graders used in mining applications are at least of 15.5-16T class with 200HP engine. To elaborate, GR3505 is an advanced heavy-duty mining grader designed for Australian mining giant Rio Tinto. To meet the high requirements of Rio Tinto, XCMG set up a special R&D group including its CAE centre, hydraulic centre, electronic control centre, etc to carry out technical improvement in the aspects of intelligent control, energy saving, noise control, stability, etc. Thanks to the hard work of the engineers, XCMG made breakthroughs in 13 technical aspects, and the new model boasts international advanced level. The launch of GR3505 adds to the already wide spectrum of XCMG's mining series.
What are the latest technology trends in motor graders in India?
Technology trends start with the engine at the first place followed by transmission, GPS, fleet management system etc. All mechanical engines which were used once are now being slowly replaced by variable horse power and electronic fuel injection engines. This multiple curve engine will deliver power according to the load requirement. Transmissions are moving to automatic power shift type, where the user or rather operator is relieved from the conventional gear changing process. This latest automatic power shift type changes the gears based on speed. GPS and fleet management system is going to be incorporated by OEMs in a big way. Because of the increasing rental market in India, the owners are, of late, paying more attention in having the control of the machine running at a distant site. This will help the machine owners to track the exact performance and position of the machine used in a particular project. IoT in XCMG motor graders has automatic levelling technology which helps in grading with ease.
What are the latest motor graders and solutions from your company?
XCMG motor grader GR1605 is one of the latest products from our company. It is of 13.5 T capacity and has a variable horse power 140-170 HP with ZF Germany gearbox and transmission. It has a much wider and clearer operator visibility and digital control panel.
What are the factors that aid productive operation of a motor grader?
Productive operation is achieved by minimum downtime, faster output, lower fuel consumption and operator comfort. Minimum downtime is achieved by using parts of renowned brands in the machine, proper and scheduled maintenance as instructed by OEMs and quicker response by OEMs in case of breakdown. Faster output is achieved by having high draw pull force and faster vehicle speed. Operator comfort is achieved with an air-conditioned cabin, ergonomically designed controls and better visibility of the grading area. Also, operator training helps in productive operation of the motor grader.
What are the monitoring and control technologies associated with your range of motor graders?
Monitoring technology includes the electronic engines where the health and various other factors can be monitored. It ranges from the oil temperatures, pressure and levels etc. GPS technology helps us in monitoring the position, running hours and effective utilisation of the machine. Control technology includes the overload protection system.
How do you visualise the market scenario in the coming years?
The market is good as the government is investing a lot more in roads, irrigation and railways. We are expecting interlinking of rivers to open up soon, which will add further growth in earthmoving machinery.