The Indian market is slowly but steadily moving towards the usage of specialised equipment and attachments. This follows the global trend where specialised equipment is utilised for specialised jobs on tighter project execution timelines. Wheel loaders are gradually gaining popularity in the Indian market and the industry foresees a considerable increase in the demand. EQUIPMENT INDIA finds out the details.
The global value of sales of wheel loaders was $24.4 billion in 2012, second only to crawler excavators. In India, the wheel loader market is just 3 per cent of the total sales and is expected to reach 5 per cent by 2016. The wheel loader market size has been in the band of 8-11 per cent of the total BHL market and the past offtake has demonstrated space for the healthy co-existence of both models of construction equipment. While the trend definitely has to move towards higher capacities with quarry and crusher operators moving towards mid-size wheel loaders, the ingress of these new operators adequately provide growth for the BHL segment as well. This move of the BHL industry clearly demonstrates a drift in the sub 10-tonne category.
Speaking on the changing trends, Amit Gossain, EVP - Marketing, Business Development and Corporate Affairs, JCB India, had this to say, "Wheel loaders are gradually gaining popularity in the Indian market and we foresee a considerable increase in the demand of wheel-loading shovels in the coming years. With increasing focus on infrastructure building, companies are now looking at specialised machinery and attachments for completing time- bound projects The major requirement for wheel loaders will be from sectors like coal, mining, stone crusher, etc." He further said, "Backhoe loaders are the highest selling construction equipment in India, and have been so for over three decades now. The backhoe's versatility and its ability to multi- task are the primary reasons that make it the preferred choice among customers. Though the demand for high capacity machines like wheel loaders and tracked excavators has been on the rise, backhoe loaders will continue to dominate the Indian construction scene as they do jobs which only a backhoe can do."
Says Rohit Punjabi, General Manager (Strategy Development), LiuGong India, "The Indian market is slowly but steadily moving towards the usage of specialised equipment and attachments. This follows the global trend where specialised equipment is utilised for specialised jobs on tighter project execution timelines. It is expected to be increasingly replaced by more efficient and productive machines such as crawler excavators and wheel loaders, particularly on large infrastructure projects. But then again, we may well see the increasing applications of backhoes in rural areas, which will sustain its strong market presence."
According to AM Muralidharan, President, Volvo Construction Equipment, "In developed markets, there is a growth of wheel loaders and excavators over the backhoe as they ensure better productivity; we expect wheel loaders below 10T and excavators below 11T market to grow faster than the backhoe market in future. However, there is a good market for backhoe loaders in the service sectors." Speaking on the demand-supply scenario, Muralidharan had this to say. "The wheel loader market is currently 2,500 to 3,000 units and it is expected to grow based on the infrastructure and construction segment's growth. The market will also depend on the growth of the cement industry as well as port handling."
"The demand of the Indian market is definitely large. With the government's emphasis on more infrastructure projects, the demand for construction and road-building equipment is expected to increase year by year," says Blues Xue, CEO, Changlin Construction Machinery India. He further adds, "When the demand increases and the market matures, we will launch Phase II, and will also be setting up a JV plant for assembling in India. We have already made necessary investigations for the production facility." Case Construction Equipment recently launched its new F-series wheel loaders.
Launched worldwide during 2012, the new F-series offers Indian customers fast acceleration, performing cycle times, high travel speeds and productivity, together with reduced fuel consumption. The F-series loaders are powered by fuel-efficient diesel engines, with improved programmable power modes while the comfortable cab environment reduces operator fatigue, increasing productivity. "CASE India is expanding its offering for the Indian construction industry with the introduction of the technologically advanced F Series wheel loaders as well as the new B Series motor graders, which complete our well-established vibratory compactors range. We are committed to using the best technology and manufacturing practices in order to deliver an increasingly broad offering of high quality products and reduce our customers' ownership and operating costs," said Anil Bhatia, Director Sales and Marketing, Case India.
The 3-tonne (100-125 HP) capacity wheel loader accounts for around 75 per cent of the loader sales in the country, being universally acceptable against various application segments such as quarry, crushers, raw material handling, regular loading, etc.
Overall, emission compliance, fuel efficiency, lowest cost of operation coupled with the lowest lifecycle cost has been the drivers observed in the loader industry. Features such as electronic engine controls, remote monitoring with product linked capabilities provide better equipment monitoring capabilities, thus ensuring high uptime and the adoption of repair-before-failures concepts.
Says Amit, "JCB loaders come with a variety of bucket options depending on the aggregate that needs to be handled. We also offer a customised side dump bucket for wheel loaders which significantly helps in hilly areas and tunnel applications. Apart from this, JCB offers a dozer blade also which can be used for mine cleaning, etc."
"In the early years, Changlin was especially known for their log handlers, and we are still playing a leading role in loaders with log clamps. Most of the attachments are available, such as fork, snow remover, side-dump bucket, rock, coal, ore bucket, pipe clamp and various purpose log clamps. These attachments meet special requirement of the customers. But the demand continues for various types of buckets and log clamps," says Blues Xue.
Says Rohit, "LiuGong's wide range of wheel loaders comes with different attachments like fork, grapple, bucket, etc. This consists of irrigation site works, highways, roads and dam construction, tunnel projects, airports and industrial projects sites.. The machines can also undertake waste landfill, scrap handling, bulk cargo handling at ports, forestry, block handling, slag handling at steel mills among others comprising application at mining sites to clear overburden, and such jobs The company has a well placed customer support network to enable the machines deliver optimum productivity."
He sums up the scenario on a positive note, "In order to sustain the GDP growth on a long-term basis, development of the core and the infrastructure sector is the key. Several projects are on the anvil in the mining sector, which will witness the rapid growth in the mining industry in the near future. With the setting up of the mining projects, there is a definite shift in the demand of the major mining equipment both in term of size and technology. The future demand is shifting towards wheel loaders with state-of-the-art technology."