26 March 2019

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

There is a growing demand for bigger classes of earthmoving equipment

 

Volvo Construction Equipment, a subsidiary of the Volvo Group, manufactures and markets equipment for construction and related industries. The company’s products include a range of wheel loaders, hydraulic excavators, articulated haulers, motor graders, soil and asphalt compactors, pavers, backhoe loaders, skid steers and milling machines. DIMITROV KRISHNAN, VICE PRESIDENT AND HEAD OF VOLVO CE INDIA spoke to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES about the company’s offerings, role of Industry 4.0, trends in equipment finance and a lot more.

 

Briefly tell us about your product offerings and the key features/USPs that have contributed in strengthening and maintaining your stronghold in the market?

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. We manufacture about 10 different models of construction equipment in Bangalore and some of our models are constructed from 95 per cent of locally manufactured components. The benefit of local manufacturing is faster access to parts and services. Plus, we have always been focused on operations and customer. Volvo CE remains the only major manufacturer present in all equipment sectors: mining, road building or general construction. We have one of the largest and most experienced dealer networks in India, able to provide expert advice and support whenever it’s needed, and there are a range of Customer Service Agreements available.

The most comprehensive is the Gold Customer Support Agreement, and this option is increasingly popular in India as work levels rise and construction schedules are squeezed. It offers preventive maintenance, inspection and repairs carried out at the earliest opportunity by trained Volvo Service Technicians and gives companies the best possible peace of mind.

As infrastructure development in India moves into the 21st Century, construction operations are in the spotlight like never before. The fine margins on modern job sites mean that securing a small advantage in something as routine as excavator choice can translate into a big difference in profitability. With Volvo CE, construction companies know they can take advantage of equipment with best-in-class productivity, and when support’s needed world-class backup is available.

 

Briefly give us an understanding about your manufacturing units in India. Do you practice Lean Manufacturing

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

 

 

Experts have called Industry 4.0 the next Industrial Revolution. How will Industry 4.0 bring in a revolution for the construction equipment manufacturing sector?

Increasingly our customers need to do more with less, which is why Volvo continues to push the boundaries in terms of delivering the best levels of fuel efficiency in the industry. Beyond that we are also looking ahead to the future of the industry and investing heavily in concept technologies like our pursuit of electrically-driven vehicles, which 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 in the market, 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 2017, 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.

We also showcased the HX1, 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.

 

 

In the recent years, IoT has had a vast impact on the manufacturing sector? How do you look at the impact of IoT for the construction equipment sector?

More Indian customers are beginning to realize the usefulness of a telematics system in helping them gain insights to machine performance and health. One of our customers is managing its fleet of eight excavators on a coal mine using Volvo’s CareTrack telematics system, which provides information such as machine fuel consumption, hours worked, idle time and emissions levels. It also sends automatic alerts to a Volvo service center when a machine experiences an issue. These insights provided by the Volvo’s CareTrack telematics system keep up performance levels of our machines on customers’ job sites.

CareTrack is offered not as a standard practice but as specialized packages designed to enhance customers’ businesses. The CareTrack packages we offer include:

  • CareTrack standard

Access machine hours and location and manage service plans and wear parts via the web portal.

  • Tracking and status

Notifications tell you when a machine goes outside pre-set location and time boundaries. A status report supplies fuel level, machine location and machine hours.

  • Operation

Reports highlight how each machine is used and if operators are working efficiently.

  • Production

On Board Weighing technology shows a machine's true productivity. Accessible informatioN– including load efficiency and number of cycles – reduce fuel consumption and improve component life.

  • Anti-theft

Volvo crawler excavators can be fitted with an antitheft tracking system.

  • Communication

Satellite communication is provided in areas where no/weak cell phone connection is available.

  • API

API enables CareTrack data to be incorporated into your management system.

Customers say they like the insight CareTrack provides, which supports them with maintenance, invoicing, fleet management and operator training. With CareTrack, customers can monitor load efficiency, number of cycles, overload percentages and identify operator training needs. For example, CareTrack can tell owners what time the machine operation starts, takes a break, and ends. What’s more, CareTrack allows owners to tap into a wealth of actionable data including fuel consumption, idle time, machine location, fluid levels and service alerts. With the time and labor savings CareTrack offers, customers say they view it as an investment rather than extra costs.

As owners are pushed to deliver more with less, CareTrack is a great way to proactively manage machines and increase uptime by planning service and maintenance requirement in advance, avoiding potential problems. It’s also possible for Volvo CE dealers to troubleshoot faults remotely—minimizing service and downtime.

 

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 offers the Volvo Intelligent Compaction (IC) for select Volvo asphalt compactors, which is available in two packages — Volvo IC and Volvo IC with Density Direct. In addition to offering the pass mapping, temperature mapping and data storage features of the Volvo IC system, Volvo IC with Density Direct includes the industry’s first real-time density mapping technology.

Density mapping has been described as the ‘holy grail’ of intelligent compaction. For years, contractors have relied on IC systems with stiffness calculations instead of density, which is not the true metric by which contractors are evaluated and paid. With Density Direct, operators have real-time access to the metric that ultimately determines the success of their work, density.

Within the Density Direct system is a calibration screen, where the user sets the target density for the project. Once fully calibrated with data specific to the application, the Volvo Intelligent Compaction with Density Direct system produces a density calculation that is accurate to within 1.5 percent of core sampling, providing a real-time reading of density values over 100 percent of the mat.

With this real-time data, the operator is given the chance to make any necessary adjustments while asphalt is being paved. This not only reduces the occurrence of inadequate densities that drive up project costs, but reduces time spent taking core samples, improves quality, and leads to much greater uniformity than nuclear gauge testing. Calibrations are also “saved” by the compactor, so operators can assign calibrations to certain elements of a job, and quickly switch back and forth between calibrations to meet the demands of specific job elements. The user interface of Volvo IC with Density Direct depicts a density map, showing each square foot of rolled asphalt in a color representing density, and also provides a real-time numerical density reading displayed in the corner of the screen. Both Volvo IC and Volvo IC with Density Direct offer real-time temperature and pass mapping data. Using the 8”x10” color monitor of the Volvo IC system, the pass mapping function captures each compactor pass and drum overlap with an individual color, so that the operator can easily see gaps and work to maintain uniform coverage. Temperature mapping provides the operator with a temperature ‘map’ that shows the path of the compactor overlaid with the last recorded surface temperature.

Volvo’s Co-Pilot, for example, offers a range of intelligent machine services – including Dig Assist and Pave Assist – to help operators deliver higher quality outcomes, in less time and with less effort. These examples of automated and assist-functionalities differentiate Volvo’s machines in the market.

 

 

The rising fuel prices have been a matter of concern for all. Tell us about the steps taken by your company to provide fuel efficient equipment.

We offer other high quality and productive equipment, such as the EC480D excavator, which delivers the best levels of fuel efficiency in the industry. At a mine in Kankanee, Dhanbad, an EC480DL excavator delivered over 90 per cent uptime and worked up to 22 hours a day for four years with only limited stoppages.

With Volvo CE, our customers can do more with their equipment and downtime is minimized. Our lower fuel consumption improves cost efficiency and means work environments are cleaner. Overall, our customers can enjoy high levels of return on investment and the reassurance of dealing with one of the world’s very best industrial companies.

 

 

Emerging trends in the equipment finance and rentals. To what extent is consumer behavior influenced by cost.

The rental market continues to grow in India and we expect that trend to continue for some time as the country’s economy matures. Cost remains one of the most important factors for buyers in India, but the purchase price is only part of what constitutes a machine’s overall lifetime cost. Equipment owners and contractors in India have developed quite sophisticated models for calculating “cost per tonne” or “cost per km” for equipment, and this considers a range of factors, including purchase price, operating costs, productivity levels, anticipated maintenance, depreciation, resale value and more.

Volvo CE is heavily focused on productivity and lowering the cost of operations, or cost per tonne, for customers. A big contributor to this is fuel efficiency. It’s not unusual for a Volvo CE customer to report fuel savings of 10 per cent or more for one of our machines versus a competitor model. Our company is well-known for delivering some of the most advanced designs in the industry, which results in leading levels of productivity. And equally important is reliability.

 

 

Detail us on the new innovative products or new breakthrough technologies you are launching at bauma CONEXPO INDIA 2018?

Volvo CE continuously invests in new products and enhancements to existing products. Recently we launched the electric heated screeds for our paver range produced in India. At bauma Conexpo, we will be unveiling two of our new product offerings for Indian market — a new high performance asphalt roller and a new generation large wheel loader of Volvo. The two new machines will help Indian contractors meet the growing demand for high-performing, reliable equipment for infrastructure projects such as road building and earthmoving.

 

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

At Volvo Construction Equipment, we are see growing demand for bigger classes of earthmoving equipment across the world. As for India, the demand for construction and earthmoving equipment on the whole is growing. For all Volvo Construction Equipment products, we expect strong growth at close to 40-50 per cent level.

Some of the larger classes of earthmoving equipment we offer include wheel loaders like the L220H and L350H, which are popular with large mining companies. The L220H has a bucket capacity of 4.5 m3 to 8.2 m3, operating weight of 31,160 kg to 33,130 kg, and maximum static tipping load at full turn of 22,090 kg. The L350H has a bucket capacity of 6.9 m3 to 12.7 m3, operating weight of 50,000 kg to 53,000 kg and maximum static tipping load at full turn of 34,320 kg. Our biggest sellers in India is the EC480D excavator, followed by the L150H wheel loader, and the EC300D and EC380D excavators. We expect the EC750D and E950E to become best sellers within two to five years and gain more traction as customers look for larger equipment. The EC950E excavator is our newest product in India. The 90-tonne excavator offers an ideal combination of power and stability, to handle high capacity duties in the toughest applications. With a bucket breakout force of 424 kN and an arm tearout force of 408 kN, the EC950E offers superior digging force, particularly when working with hard and heavy materials.




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