We provide operator training onsite and in our customer center in Hoskote. Our distributors provide onsite service which includes service mechanics, parts at customers' site for key customers and fleet owners. For other customers, parts and mechanics will be available through our distribution at the site at their respective areas and territories, says AM Muralidharan, President, Volvo Construction Equipment. Excerpts from the interview.
What is the demand-supply scenario for wheel loaders?
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 growth. The market will also depend on the growth of the cement industry as well as port handling.
Do you think that there is a drift towards wheel loaders market from backhoes?
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 service sectors.
Which is the fast-moving class in terms of tonnage and horse power?
The fastest moving wheel loader is 3 tonne. We see a likely increase in market for 5 tonne. This is connected directly to the volume of production and higher re-handling of materials.
How do you view the potential for wheel loaders from the mining segment?
We continue to see a high potential in coal mining, however the growth depends on the mining policies in future.
Volvo had launched SDLG range of wheel loaders couple of years back, isn't that so?
The wheel loaders for the India market are manufactured by our joint venture company, SDLG.
Brief us on the latest G series wheeled loaders launched recently.
We launched the L220G at Excon 2011. Featuring an engine and driveline system that improves fuel efficiency, productivity, smoothness, serviceability and operator comfort, the L220G is one of the latest generations of wheel loaders from Volvo to enter the Indian market. The L220G engine is joined with a drive train, hydraulics and lifting systems that are all designed and produced by Volvo to work in productive harmony. The improvements in lifting and breakout forces coupled with the Volvo patented TP linkage ensure smooth, full buckets, resulting in faster cycle times and increased productivity.
What differentiates the Volvo range of wheeled loaders?
The L220G wheel loader is one of the most fuel-efficient machines to enter the Indian market. The engine is joined with a drive train, hydraulics and lifting systems that are all designed and produced by Volvo to work in productive harmony. This unity of purpose means that fuel efficiency is significantly increased compared to the previous F-series loaders - by up to 15 per cent. Lifting forces also increase by up to 20 per cent and breakout forces by up to 10 per cent. The Optishift technology by Volvo, consisting of a new torque converter with lock- up and free wheel stator is a new system that integrates the Volvo patented reverse-by-braking (RBB) function. This also reduces the fuel consumption by 15 per cent.
The L220G is fitted with Volvo's 13-litre, six-cylinder turbocharged after-cooled diesel engine. Producing 274 kW (373 hp), these purpose-built off-highway engines lead the industry in terms of fuel efficiency and reliability. The production of torque and power at low engine speeds, combined with load-sensing hydraulics, removes the need to overrun the engine, which in turn extends engine life and lowers fuel consumption and noise.
Two stronger, variable displacement load-bearing axial piston pumps and hoses have been introduced to handle the increased pressures of lifting. These provide superior control of the load and attachments, as well as high breakout force, faster lifting and tilt functions. A new hydraulic cooling system has been designed to reduce the working temperatures by up to 20oC over previous models. Also, the hydraulic oil-return filter has improved from 20 micron to 10 micron, further protecting the pumps against contamination.
The L220G's transmission features the exceptional Volvo Automatic Power Shift (APS) concept, which ensures the loader always operates in the ideal gear by sensing engine and travel speed, kick-down, engine braking and other factors. Offering operators a choice of four gear shifting programmes, APS results in more efficient work cycles with lower fuel consumption and wear.
Could you brief us on the Volvo cab?
The latest generation Volvo cab fitted to the L220G also sees further improvements. ROPS/FOPS approved, visibility in the spacious new cabin is excellent, to the rear, to the bucket edge and to the centrally located instrumentation. With controls that fall easily to hand, operators can breathe easily thanks to efficient air-management and filtering systems, and get on with the job in hand in a comfortable, clean, low-noise and low-vibration work environment. The servo controls are mounted on the operator seat, and include settings such as return to dig. The all new eco-pedal motivates the operator to work smoothly while ensuring low fuel consumption.
The Volvo loader attachments
• General purpose bucket, made for all kind of jobs.
• Flat floor general purpose bucket, with a smooth, flat floor, good for maintaining a clean and level work area.
• Re-handling bucket - Perfectly optimised for handling, stockpiling and loading already processed material e.g. aggregate, sand.
• Rock bucket - spade nose - Heavy-duty, wear resistant bucket. Optimised for primary loading of shot rock with highest penetration capability.
• Rock bucket - straight edge - Heavy- duty, wear resistant bucket. Optimised for primary loading of shot rock with highest break out capability.
• Rock bucket - side dump - Heavy-duty, wear resistant bucket for primary loading of shot rock with side dumping and for tunneling applications.
• High tip bucket - centre cylinders - High capacity bucket versatile and light bucket for low density material, like grain, wood chips, etc.
• High tip bucket - side cylinders - High capacity bucket fully open with no internal corners for low density material like refuse, compost, etc.
• Light material bucket - High capacity light material bucket for low density material, ~600 kg/cu m, like grain wood chips, etc.
• Light material bucket - High capacity bucket for low density materials, ~1 ton/m¦, like coal, compost, snow etc.
• Light material bucket - refuse - Light material bucket specialised for recycling refuse and waste.
• Grading bucket - For topsoil stripping, small scale dozing, landscaping and leveling.
• Block handling - forks - Heavy duty forks, designed for lifting and moving blocks in quarry applications.
• Block handling - breaker tine - Single, heavy-duty fork tine for breaking out loose blocks in the face and moving heavy raw blocks.
• Block handling - clearing rake - Clearing rake for moving objects and clearing debris.
• Material handling arm - 3-section material handling arm with telescopic sections. For laying pipe, placing concrete dividers, moving material quickly.
• Forks - combi with clamp - The combi fork is perfect for handling palletized or round wood in applications where the load must be secured.
• Forks - standard visibility optimised - The visibility optimised forks give the operator a clear view precision, control and productivity.
• Forks - lumber with back rest - Thin and durable fork tines for handling the stacks of planks. Extended back rest gives possibility to take several stacks.
• Grapple - General purpose - All-round log grapple for handling and sorting short wood or tree length stems. Can also grip single stems.
• Grapple - sorting - Log grapple especially made for sorting and loading logs in stacks or in bunkers.
• Grapple - unloading - Excellent log grapple for unloading timber from trucks.
• Attachment bracket - standard - The most commonly used attachment bracket in the world, invented by Volvo, proven in use for decades.
• Attachment bracket - large loaders - Well-known and trusted interface for large loaders, proven in use for several decades on Volvo loaders.
• Attachment bracket - block handling - Optimised for block handling and allows fast, easy and safe inter-changeability between different block handling attachments.