MOBA is a German company that provides automation solutions for moving machines. Speaking to EQUIPMENT INDIA, Samip Desai, National Manager, Moba Mobile Automation (I), explains the company's activities and solutions for the Indian market.
What are your major products and solutions for construction, mining and material handling equipment?
MOBA stands for MOBile Automation. We automate any moving machine. We are a German company having an office at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Our proficiency and competency is manufacturing of sensors, controllers and Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs) with our own software, MOBA Visu. With these combinations, we have readymade systems for majority of construction equipment like cold milling machines, excavators, dozers, motor graders, compactors, kerb machines and pavers. We also serve a few machines in mining and material handling like drilling rigs, on-board weighing for wheel loaders, tipper and dump trucks and forklifts. Apart from the existing systems, we provide customised solutions for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), based on their requirement and retrofitments for end-users.
Who are your major customers in this equipment segment? Do you provide controllers and monitoring systems as an inbuilt package or as an upgrade solution?
Our major customers are Amman Apollo, Wirtgen, Volvo, Dynapac, etc. We are also working with JCB, CASE, L&T Komatsu, LeeBoy and ACE, etc., on machine control systems. Atlas Copco, Sandvik, Revathi, PRD Rigs and Scania are our major customers in mining. We are also working with BEML in this segment. We provide controllers and monitoring systems for OEMs as an inbuilt package and upgraded solutions for end-users.
How do machine control technologies elevate the efficiency and productivity of a machine? What are the major advantages?
Machine Control Systems (MCS) are the future in India. They have already picked up in most developed countries. There, machines are sold with factory-fitted MCS. A few global players like us are trying vigorously to introduce and promote this technology in India. Everyone could create start-ups but could not manage to increase the numbers due to various reasons, particularly stiff market conditions. From 2016, there is a momentum again for a start-up. We, with the help of a few major paver manufacturers, are able to manage to promote basic sensors and big sonic Ski (multiplex). In road construction, bitumen layers are critical to both cost and accuracy; this has picked up very quickly in India. Now contractors are looking forward to 3D paving which is fully automated. In 2013, the Indian Road Congress (IRC) has introduced the specifications of intelligent compaction. A few municipalities and PWDs have made it mandatory to adopt this technology in their regions. Soon it will spread all over India. Major contracting companies are looking forward to MCS on motor graders and dozers. We anticipate this number will increase in the next couple of years.
MCS are definitely efficient, as they increase the accuracy levels and production, with less manpower and time of operating the machine, which implies reduction in operational cost. It also enables a semi-skilled operator to achieve higher tolerance levels than an experienced operator without MCS. The classic example of adopting MCS is like drawing a circle with a compass in place of doing it with a free hand. If a project is adopted with complete MCS, there will be increase in quality, productivity, profit margins, real-time monitoring and control over the project.
Is cost a deterrent in buying equipment with electronic controllers and monitors?
Yes. Apparently, the cost is a deterrent in buying the equipment. But once the contractors overcome and buy it, within no time they realise that their opinion was wrong. The return on investment (RoI) is quick and sure.
How do customers in India look at a machine with electronics and control technologies - as a luxury or a necessity?
Indian customers have a typical mindset. They prefer to follow the conventional practices, which are being adopted since many years. They neither feel the need for luxury nor necessity. They have a fear that they lose their identity of skills, which has been acquired after a long time of practice. It is a fact that this technology replaces a very skilled operator with semi-skilled operator with better results.
Are Indian customers aware enough of the advantages of using machine control technologies?
Yes. Most of the customers are aware of the advantages of using MCS.
What are your training initiatives for updating the end-user on the technology?
We visit customers and give presentations on MCS. We participate in exhibitions with simulators. We give feedback to OEMs on the current market trends and encourage them to join hands with us to promote this technology.
How far have government initiatives such as 'Skill India' helped to upgrade operator efficiencies?
For new technology introduction and adoption, the government cannot be proactive in upgrading/helping the operator to increase the efficiency by training. Once it has been introduced, then they will be able to take it forward quickly.
What is your outlook on the market growth for machine control technologies in five years?
In the next five years, there is every possibility of the technology in MCS picking up. India is a country which jumped directly to mobiles and smartphones, leaving pagers era, within no time.
What are your expectations from the government?
The government has to take the initiative to mandate a few machine control systems usage, which increases quality. Contractors will not come forward, until and unless the governing authorities are strict and rigid on quality tolerance levels.
Machine control solutions increase the accuracy levels and production, with less manpower and time of operating the machine, which implies reduction in operational cost.