Capital equipment purchases are done after carefully examining all these costs, like lifecycle costs, cost per tonne of material handled. All offerings keep these in mind and our machines are designed to improve the overall lifecycle and keep the operating costs low so that are able to offer better economics to the customer, says Abhijit Gupta, Managing Director, CASE New Holland Construction Equipment. Excerpts from the interview.
How fuel-efficient is the F series wheel loader? The CASE F series range of wheel loaders come with the FPT F 4HE9684E, turbo-charged engine, fitted with an intercooler developing 230 hp @1,800 rpm. Equipped with an automatic transmission mode, this enables the operator to select this mode for automatic gears shift depending on the load and thereby preventing engine overloading and reducing fuel consumption. In India, the offering is Tier-III compliant and has a common rail with multiple injections.
To further enhance fuel efficiency, it is possible to cut off the engine by setting the engine for auto shut- off if allowed to idle beyond a certain time limit. Also by locating the engine to the rear end, the engine also acts as a counterweight. This helps in a lower operating weight for a similar pay load and leads to fuel savings in each cycle.
Tell us about the features that help maximise performance and profitability. Apart from being highly fuel- efficient, the F series also helps a customer to maximise profitability. For example, the four-speed transmission with manual kick-down setting allows maximum traction and bucket breakout during digging and loading operations. Between loads, a dual-mode shutdown feature allows the operator to set and limit the time that the machine can idle, in five minute increments. All these saving leads to a higher profitability.
How user-friendly and safe is the F series? The machine has a ROPS cabin as a standard feature. The hydraulic joy stick controls in the cabin ensures maximum comfort to the operator. All the filters and check points are accessible from the ground level itself and the operator can easily access them. The machine also has a cooling box, a unique concept where the air, hydraulic oil and the engine oil are all cooled by this box. This concept of the cooling box helps the operator keep the radiator clean by simply rotating the radiator fan in a reverse direction for a short while.
Is there a move toward value-added features in the wheel loader market? The large-sized wheel loader with more than a 5 tonne payload is where the clients would be willing to opt for technologies like automatic transmission and electronic controls for the engine. The customers will pay for features and demand them once the benefits are seen. The cooling box in the CASE wheel loader, the hydraulic joy sticks for controls, are some of the features which the market is bound to appreciate. Brief us on the range of wheel loaders offered by your company.
CASE is introducing the 5T and the 6T wheel loader, the CASE 721 F and the CASE 821 F. Both these wheel loaders are very well accepted the world over. CASE has adequate capacity to meet market needs. The large-sized wheel loaders are predominantly used in mining and quarrying applications.
What is the current overall demand-supply scenario for wheel loaders? The current overall demand is down in 2014 across verticals. Opening up of the mining sector will boost the demand for wheel loaders. In ports, we expect that once the economy picks up and the traffic in ports also picks up, the demand for the wheel loader will pick up. The wheel loader segment for construction continues to remain low in 2014 whereas for the mining sector it further dipped in 2014 due to the slowdown in mining.
How do you assess the potential for wheel loaders from the agri-sector? Compact wheel loaders will find acceptance in the agricultural sector. These wheel loaders will be in the 55-70 HP class. CNH Industrial, through its agriculture company New Holland Tractors, offers tractors mounted with loader attachments which is popular in the agri sector. These tractor-mounted loaders are used for variety of utility applications.
How do you assess the potential for various attachments? Wheel loaders are equipped with various attachments like grabs, forks and a variety of buckets. The selection of the attachment is done on the basis of the material being handled. Selection of the right bucket is crucial to get the lowest cost per tonne.
Is finance for buyers a major issue? Finance was always available for viable, bankable projects. Wheel loaders are bought by mature clients against a specific requirement. While the financing options are available, the number of hirers in the wheel loader market is still low, when compared to loader backhoes or excavators.
What is your outlook for the CE industry in general, and especially on the wheel loader market in another 3-5 years? The CE industry normally grows twice as fast as the infrastructure industry. The wheel loader industry will bounce back once the market revives. The agencies have forecast a growth rate of 10-15 per cent per annum for over the next 2-3 years.
Opening up of the mining sector will boost the demand for wheel loaders.