Volvo CE takes a holistic approach to fuel efficiency. We deliver fuel efficiency across all elements of our machines via engines, systems, operator behaviour and future technologies, while increasing productivity for our customers, says AM Muralidharan, President, Volvo Construction Equipment. Excerpts from the interview.What is the demand-supply scenario for compactors/pavers and motor graders?We have seen a slight increase in the demand for compactors/pavers during Q4 but the market is still low compared to past years. If the requirement goes to double digit numbers, then we do have enough capacity within India. The demand for motor graders is 600-700 tonne. In terms of supply, motor graders are imported hence companies in India generally have stock to cater to customer requirements – its stock and sell model.The road segment is a growth enabler as compared to others like mining. The number of motor graders is likely to increase once the government announces commencement of new projects.How do you differentiate your product from the competition?Around the globe and specifically in India, Volvo CE is the leading solutions provider for buying dependable equipment. We always develop technology keeping in mind customer comfort coupled with competitive pricing.Ease of operation, productivity, energy efficiency and safety have been the cornerstones for Volvo in creating their machines. Volvo has been one of the earliest pioneers in driving higher fuel-efficiency, and one of the earliest in recognising the environmental issue. We understand that fuel has two adverse attributes to it – one, it costs money and the more an equipment is used, the more expensive it gets; two, fuel consumption creates pollution, and hence the need to make engines even more judiciously.Volvo CE takes a holistic approach to fuel efficiency. We deliver fuel efficiency across all elements of our machines via engines, systems, operator behaviour and future technologies while increasing the productivity for our customers. Hybrid technology is one part of this wider range of fuel saving solutions.We are focused on addressing customer requirements by actively investing in technology for the future. Not only that, our product range is of higher quality and better focused and supported. Our recent launches, for example, include a new series of excavators that is more productive and fuel-efficient. At Excon 2011, we launched our soil and asphalt compactors for tier-3 markets. The technologically advanced engines make the equipment highly productive. We will soon start providing customised 5.5-m pavers manufactured at our facility in Bangalore along with 9-m pavers imported from Germany. Our electronic controlled pavers ensure smoothness required for high quality of roads.What gives us an edge over others is the technical support we offer to our customers. For instance, we offer soil stabilisation technical consultancy through our RASTA (Volvo’s Resource Center for Asphalt and Soil Training Academy) initiative, where we study soil at the customer’s site and give them solutions to improve stabilisation of road construction. High equipment uptime is provided by our dealers with expert, local knowledge and the parts and service support according to the customer requirements.We recently introduced our remanufactured (REMAN) programme to encourage users to keep their Volvo machines genuinely a Volvo. It allows users of Volvo CE to have their used components renovated to the same condition as new, thus eliminating the scope of environmental damage. This program aims at creating an eco-cycle and is testimony to Volvo’s commitment towards a greener environment.Volvo CE is the first manufacturer to introduce a telematics system called CareTrack in India which allows customers to monitor a machine through GSM connection and provide suitable maintenance suggestions. With CareTrack, a customer gets the knowledge and information he needs to make the right decisions about his machine and thereby increase profitability. The customer can access the information he needs by entering into a password protected website, which gives him detailed information about his machine.The Volvo diesel engine is at the heart of the company’s range of products. Based on well-proven, robust technology, the Volvo V-ACT engine range meets the needs of Indian customers by providing increased machine performance along with reduced emissions, emissions that are ahead of the increasingly strict regulations on exhaust pollutants. Along with environmental improvements, the V-ACT engine also represents new achievements in combustion efficiency and overall engine performance. With new fuel injection, air management technology and advanced electronics, the inherent potential of the V-ACT engine is then tailored by Volvo engineers to meet the specific performance criteria required by differing machine types and applications.We believe in delivering customer experience hence we have also been investing in training and competence development. Our recently launched the V Care Customer Contact Centre addresses customer issues quickly and efficiently, thus offering a total lifecycle care while ensuring complete customer satisfaction.How constructive are the specs and standards with regard to compaction and paving?There are guidelines provided by the Government of India for highway construction and the products offered as of now meet government specifications. However, we would like to see some improvement on government specifications which will help speed up the projects.Soil conditions determine the selection compactors. How have you factored this in the design of your product range?Our product range across the world has variable settings and depending upon the soil condition we can vary the parameters in the product. The design covers the complete requirement of soil application/asphalt compaction.What are the latest product/ technology trends in compaction / paving?The latest technology in compaction is intelligent compactors which will help customers stop compaction as soon as the required density is achieved. The equipment is designed to sense the required compaction.How do you look at the future for the road equipment segment?We invested into India for road equipment in 2007 by way of acquisition and we have been waiting for more government investment in the road sector. Since there is huge need for road infrastructure in this country, our expectations and the forecast shows that the total market will double by 2020 (Source: Accenture report 2011).COMPLETE RANGEVolvo CE launched its mid-sized paver, P6820, in India during Excon 2011. It is a comprehensive paving solution for customers facing increasing demand for productivity and versatility in the road construction industry. A mid-sized paver that is ideal for medium to large-scale jobs, the P6820 has a high paving output and is designed for paving all kinds of wearing, binder and base courses of large widths and course thickness. It combines Volvo’s well-known fuel efficiency with the flexibility, high productivity, and versatility that customers in the road construction industry need to get the job done. The P6820 can pave up to 700 tonne per hour and a width of up to 9 meters, making it suitable for any number of applications.The potential for smaller capacity pavers is growing year on year with customers using smaller pavers to lay Wet Mix Mecadams (WMM) in order to achieve better levels. Volvo manufactures small-sized wheeled paver P4370B in our manufacturing facility in Peenya, Bengaluru. P4370B has maximum paving width of 5.5 meters with a lay down capacity of 600 tph. The Volvo P4370B is the ideal machine for highway, commercial and utility paving applications. The machine is known for its reliability, comfort, safety and exceptional visibility.With over 130 years of experience, Volvo motor graders are engineered with field-proven components for reliable service life. It’s the road grader versatility that makes it unique in earthmoving, road building, snow clearing, ripping, scarifying, plowing and pushing.Volvo’s D8/Tier 4i engine features increased displacement, power and torque. Engine characteristics are perfectly matched to Volvo transmissions, maintaining legendary Volvo grader productivity in the most demanding applications. Three or eight power settings automatically deliver optimum power in each gear for reduced wheel slippage and fuel consumption.Built around two variable displacement hydraulic pumps and direct drive wheel motors, the system provides additional blade pull of up to 3 855 kg (8,500 lb) and greater front-end stability under low traction conditions like snow and ice.