15 October 2019

Table of Contents for Cover Story





Interaction- Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President & Head of Volvo CE India

Make in India has inspired our business

Volvo CE has been digging in the Indian market since long time, during when it developed India oriented capacities and competencies, culminating in machines specially developed for India. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, DIMITROV KRISHNAN, VICE PRESIDENT & HEAD OF VOLVO CE INDIA, dwells on their R&D for autonomous intelligent machines, and predicts an electrifying future.

 

Tell us about your Manufacturing Base in India. Do you practise Lean Manufacturing? What is your current level on the Six Sigma (6σ) scale?

Volvo CE has a long history in India. Our factory in Bangalore will be celebrating 40 years of production in the very near future. We have a large and experienced team at Volvo CE that understands the market, and the needs of our customers.

Our production facilities, including the one in India, have some of the highest levels of automation in our industry. All our factories operate under the Volvo Production System, or VPS. It’s a toolkit that includes methods such as Six Sigma – which reduces unwanted variation in processes, and Lean – which eliminates wasted time and material, to create a more streamlined assembly process which helps us offer industry-leading reliability in our machines. The five principles of the Volvo Production System are:

  • Process stability
  • Teamwork
  • Built-in quality
  • Just-in-time
  • Continuous improvement

 

 

Cutting edge Smart Technology featured in your machines. Such as; engine control, SCADA, PLC, Telematics, IoT, etc. Also Safety and Operator Comfort features in your machines.

Volvo CE is at the forefront of technological development and, each year, our parent company, the Volvo Group, invests billions of dollars in research and development to drive new innovations.

Our unique CareTrack telematics system allows owners to get real-time data on a variety of performance-related features for their fleet. The system generates a wide range of reports, delivering data on aspects such as fuel consumption, operational hours, geographical location, and more. The reports are available via a web portal or can be received via SMS or email alerts.

The system can also be used to manage machine servicing and the replacement of parts. This allows fleet managers to reduce fuel costs, optimize machine and operator performance, as well as proactively manage service and maintenance for maximum uptime.

Our work on autonomous machine research has also produced very positive results. Last year, we presented the Volvo Co-Pilot that offers a range of intelligent machine services – Load Assist, Dig Assist, Compact Assist and Pave Assist – to help operators deliver higher quality outcomes, in less time and with less effort. These are examples of automated and assist-functionalities that differentiate our machines in the market.

 

 

Green environment friendly technology in your products.

Where green environment friendly technology is concerned, Volvo’s pursuit of electrically-driven vehicles could be a game changer. Recently, our company unveiled the world’s first fully-electric compact excavator, the EX2, which is equipped with electric drive systems and electromechanical linear actuators. While it is too early to say if there will eventually be a shift towards electric engines, Volvo CE believes that going electric is the future of our industry. The EX2 prototype shows our determination to provide zero-emissions machines in the future which will have the same power and force as conventional equipment.

The EX2, however, is just one of a few electric initiatives we have. The LX1, while not fully electric like the EX2, is a prototype electric hybrid wheel loader. At a press event in the US in July this year, we presented results from hundreds of hours of testing that show an average improvement of 50 per cent in fuel efficiency compared to its conventional counterparts. This equates to a reduction of 35 per cent in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Thirdly, the HX1 is a prototype autonomous, battery-electric load carrier. It is one element of a project that aims to electrify a transport stage in a quarry – from excavation to primary crushing and transport to secondary crushing. It has already picked up industry awards for innovation.

 

 

Major demands made by end-users of your equipment. Is there a shift from initial cost price to TCO in Buyer Decisions? Importance of Aftermarket Services.

We are confident that Volvo CE machines are among the best when it comes to Total Cost of Ownership. This is reinforced by the fact that India is home to some of the most sophisticated equipment buyers in the world, and our strong market position here reflects the levels of ROI we are able to bring to customers.

Our superior fuel-efficiency, combined with high levels of productivity and excellent reliability all contribute to better profitability for owners.

For smaller contractors, or those buying from us for the first time, we offer a range of attractive financing options through our Volvo Financial Services arm.

 

 

Do you practice ‘Make in India and Sell Globally,’ use your India manufacturing base to supply the global market.

Yes, our P5320B ABG paver, which is designed and built out of our Bangalore factory, was one of the first new products to roll off our production line following the introduction of Make in India back in September 2014. The paver is built off the back of 50 years’ experience in road building machinery and is sold across India and the rest of the Asia-Pacific market. As an initiative, Make in India has inspired our business to make more of our facility in Bangalore. We have a long history of building equipment in this country, but it’s something we can see growing further in the coming years. Down the line we expect more new models to come on-line having been through a comprehensive design and build program in our Bangalore plant.

 

 

Your assessment of India’s manufacturing policy, to what extent does it foster growth of your company.

At Volvo CE, we believe that product development for any market should combine proven technology with an adjustment for the needs of local industry. Our machines are developed specifically with the needs of our Indian customers in mind and are built at our factory in Bangalore. Volvo CE is proud to support the government’s Make in India initiative.

What distinguishes your products vis-à-vis the competition? What is your current market share in all your product categories?

Volvo CE is at the cutting-edge of industry innovation and is also the only major manufacturer with a presence in the three major operating sectors: road building, mining and general construction.

The newer models in our D-series excavators are equipped with G4 work modes that optimise fuel efficiency and performance. These work modes — Idle (I), Fine (F), General (G), Heavy (H) and Power max (P) — are integrated within the throttle control, so that operators can easily select the best one for the task at hand. In addition, an ECO mode automatically switches off the engine, further reducing fuel consumption.

Two of our biggest excavators, the EC950E and the EC750D, also come with an electro-hydraulic system which enhances fuel efficiency while increasing productivity and performance. The electro-hydraulic system uses intelligent technology to control on-demand flow and reduce internal losses in the hydraulic circuit. This provides superior digging force, shortens cycle times, and increases controllability.

For pavers, we only manufacture sensor pavers at Volvo. At our plant in Bangalore, we manufacture two models: the P4370B ABG and the P5320 ABG, both of which have a maximum paving width of 7 m. Sensor pavers have intelligent operating technology that help control the machine in terms of mat thickness as well as the level of the mat and the grade required in the finished road. The paving quality of any road is defined by the ability of the paver to satisfy these three requirements in line with the highway design. Regular pavers without sensors simply follow the undulations of the road base and are therefore unable to give a smooth finish to a paved surface. In turn, this affects the traffic flow of the highway and increases maintenance requirements in the finished road. As for product market share, earthmoving is such a fundamental part of construction that it’s no surprise that excavators and backhoe loaders dominate sales. However, in the past year we have also seen sales of road-building equipment pick up dramatically.

Additionally, we are seeing the market in India maturing and companies recognize that specialist products deliver better productivity than generalist products. Which is why sales of excavators are on the rise at the expense of the backhoes, which have traditionally been Indian contractors’ preferred machines. We definitely see that changing.

 

 

Impact of GST on your company.

The GST is still a fairly new implementation, having rolled out on 1 July, so we’re still assessing its full impact. But I think the construction equipment industry has taken a hit with the GST on earthmoving equipment. To buyers, the new tax rate translates into a 10 per cent increase in construction equipment cost, thus increasing the overall cost of infrastructure development. In addition, it also affects the cash flow of buyers and puts a heavier financial burden on their businesses. While there is speculation that the policy may slow infrastructure development in India, the degree of impact will depend largely on the ability of buyers to claim input tax credits.

 

 

Your outlook for the Indian ECE market. Which sectors will be the major demand drivers?

For Volvo CE, in India we are seeing most activity in the road building sector with numerous projects progressing. Understandably we are seeing the highest levels of demand for excavators, compactors, and pavers, for this application and its associated industries. For other sectors, such as mining and general construction, activity levels have not been so high and therefore demand for equipment is not so high.

 

 

Give us an understanding of your company’s performance this year and your outlook going forward?

Market share gains in key segments coupled with good cost control and growing demand in most markets helped Volvo Construction Equipment post an especially strong third quarter of 2017 globally. This saw sales up 34 per cent, order intake up 45 per cent, and delivers up 48 per cent, in the period, as well as a strong improvement in profitability.

In Asia (excluding China), the total market for the third quarter of 2017 is 12 per cent above last year, with continued growth in India and Indonesia, helped by a recovering mining sector. The Chinese market is 74 per cent above last year, with strong recoveries in both excavators and large wheel loaders.

The outlook to 2020 is still very bright. India’s potential is clear, and the drive to improve infrastructure and energy supply will unquestionably facilitate further growth in the economy and the construction equipment industry. As a company, Volvo CE has deep roots in India and an established sales and support network. We are well-positioned to play our own part in the next stage of India’s development and are excited to do so.

 

 

As an exhibitor, what are your expectations at EXCON ’17?

For Volvo CE, EXCON 2017 is a perfect platform to highlight our unique position in supporting India’s ongoing infrastructure buildout. We are excited to highlight our strength in depth as well as the superior productivity of our machines during the upcoming show.

Our new EC200D excavator will be the star at EXCON 2017. We will launch it in India in EXCON 2017, which will be the first chance for many to see the new machine up close and personal.

We are expecting to see strong interest in the EC200D, which was designed specifically for general construction work. The new excavator features our famed fuel efficiency, a bucket breakout force of 123 kN, and an arm tearout force of 96 kN, which helps it deliver high job site productivity and fast cycle times.




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