AM Muralidharan, President, Volvo Construction Equipment
The government has to release mining leases for iron ore, change or to amend environment policies and allocate more coal blocks and coal mining to private contractors.
The construction equipment industry is going to see a big change in the coming years due to significant changes in the infrastructure, construction and mining sectors in India. According to the CII-IECIAL report, from total revenues of $3.3 billion in 2010, the Indian earthmoving and construction equipment market has the potential to grow to $22.7 billion by 2020, and grow from over 60,000 units in 2010 to 330,000 in 2020.
Though coal mining is going fine, it is moving at a slow pace and needs to speed up drastically. Iron ore mining on the other hand, is badly affected, especially in places like Karnataka, Orissa and Goa. We expect Karnataka operations to get back on its feet slowly and reach a level of 30-40 per cent of what it was in 2011. Mining in Orissa is on at a slow pace and in Goa it has completely stopped due to environmental and mining lease issues. Mining all over the country, except coal, is currently at 50 per cent of the productivity level. Growth is expected to come back to 2011 levels, subject to lease agreements approved and signed.
The industry is experiencing a slump owing to a slowdown in the mining industry as well as delay in infrastructure projects due to time and cost overruns. Added to this are shortage of funds, environmental concerns and delay in governmental clearances. Project delays due to land acquisition challenges, in turn have caused major investment deferrals by companies. There is also a lack of structured regulatory and policy framework for PPP models which needs to be addressed. There is no profitability since the cost of operation is going up but the price at which the contractors work is going down.
The need of the hour is for the government has to release mining leases for iron ore, change or to amend environmental policies and allocate more coal blocks and coal mining to private contractors, in order to increase productivity and reduce the import of coal.
Right now, there is not much innovation happening in this sector. Most of the innovations are actually happening with respect to aftermarket support - site support, site management, availability of machines, parts business, operator efficiency, connectivity to machines (electronic), and the like.
Around the globe and specifically in India, Volvo Construction Equipment is the leading solution provider for dependable equipment. Volvo develops technology keeping in mind customer comfort coupled with competitive pricing.
Ease of operation, productivity, energy efficiency and safety have been the cornerstones for Volvo, which has been one of the earliest pioneers in driving higher fuel-efficiency and one of the earliest companies to acknowledge environmental issue. We understand that fuel has two adverse attributes to it - one, it costs money and the more a piece of equipment uses, the more expensive it gets; two, fuel consumption creates pollution, and hence the need to make engines even more judicious. 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.
Volvo is 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 series of excavators that is more productive and fuel-efficient. The EC480DL comes with a turbocharged high pressure direct-injection Volvo diesel engine that offers maximum power of 343 hp (256 kW) delivering dependable power with high torque, along with lower emissions and noise. The automatic idling system reduces engine speed when the levers and pedals are not activated, adding to higher fuel efficiency and lower external noise. These engines work in harmony with intelligent, advanced hydraulics and a rugged reinforced undercarriage.
A new and unique function called the ECO mode has been introduced in these machines as a standard function that helps in reducing the fuel consumption in each mode of operation. A host of new features have been incorporated in the cabin including the monitor, machine tracking and preventive maintenance information.
We introduced our Remanufactured (REMAN) Programme in 2011to encourage users to keep their Volvo machines genuinely a Volvo.
It allows Volvo CE users to have their used components renovated to the same condition as a new one, thus eliminating the scope of environmental damage. This programme 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 a GSM connection and provides 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.
India has enough resources to cater to the demand; unfortunately, we continue to import basic materials like coal when we should be planning for self-efficiency in all our natural resources.
The need of the hour is for the government to release mining leases for iron ore, change or amend environmental policies and allocate more coal blocks and coal mining to private contractors, in order to increase productivity and reduce the import of coal.