Cat motor graders are well known for their productivity and profitability
Caterpillar offers a wide range of motor graders that cater for multiple customer segment requirements, right from heavy con?struction to haul road maintenance and mining applications. 120K2, 140K2, 14M, 16M and 24M are the options our customers can choose from, based on specific grading requirements, says Sam M Vedhakumar, Sales and Support Manager, Caterpillar India. Excerpts from the interview.

What is the demand-supply scenario for motor graders and also tell us about the growth enablers?
As India continues to focus on its infrastructure requirements, the demand for motor graders continues to grow. NHAI continues to set aggressive targets of road construction per day resulting in multiple road projects being awarded on a monthly basis. Our state government?s focus on roads as an asset and its ability to promote inclusive growth are also positive growth enablers for the motor grader industry.

What are the product/technology trends in motor graders?
Cat motor graders are well known for their performance, productivity and profitability. Features like autoshift, load sensing hydraulics, blade lift accumulators, positioning of instrument cluster, machine control and guidance options using Cat AccuGrade, asset management using Cat Product Link, operator safety features such as ROPS and FOPS help achieve efficiency in cost per kilometre and also reduce the lifetime costs associated with these machines.

Rising input cost, high cost of funding, and the recent increase in excise duty have put more pressure on OEMs. What is your take on this?
ur customers? initial owning costs have increased due to the financial situation that we face in the market today. The advantage of using Cat motor graders is that the total cost of ownership continues to be minimal, offering good overall value to our customers.

How have the latest emission norms affected the motor grader market?
The move from Tier II to Tier III leads to cleaner emissions and environmental sustainability. Caterpillar is committed to sustainable development process and projects across the world. Our K2 motor graders meet Tier III emission requirements.

Tell us about your service back up and training facilities.
In India, Caterpillar is associated with Gmmco and TIPL in bringing world-class customer support and offering training to our customer operators and site personnel. Together with Gmmco and TIPL, we offer value added services that ensures that our customer?s project requirements of cost, time and quality are met. Few examples of the value added services include customer support agreements, scheduled oil sampling (SOS), equipment protection plan, maintenance and repair contracts, equipment rental options, parts on site, etc.

What are the parameters required to achieve optimal grading, and to what extent is the performance correlated to the machine used and on the operator?
Different operations require different production parameters. As an example for normal grading, the key parameters include operating speed, blade length and width of overlap. For extreme slope operations, apart from the three factors mentioned, the roughness and nature of terrain, tire selection and maintenance, drawbar, circle and blade position, articulation angle and wheel lean angle are critical factors to be considered.

An operator?s role in optimising these factors, depending on the site conditions, is critical to the final finish of the graded surface. Cat motor graders are designed to ensure that the operators have excellent visibility, comfort and minimal efforts as per various jobsite requirements.