Liebherr is investing in skilled personnel and adequate warehousing
Our prime focus is on R9100 which is a 100-tonne class excavator which we will launch here in 2012. For large mining excavators from 26-42 cu m, we will be waiting for a perfect opportunity to launch in India, says Koenig Holger, Director, Liebherr India. In an exclusive chat with Equipment India, Koenig talks about the product offerings and the India-specific plans. Excerpts from the interview.

How do you view the potential of mining industry? How is the growth in this segment reflected in the growth of the equipment industry?
The potential of the mining industry in India is linked to ambitious thermal power generation capacity addition and looks bright. The local coal supply has to increase for keeping the thermal power generation costs low. To mine that extra coal, new opportunities for surface mining excavators and trucks come in proportion to the required increment and create business opportunity for us. Right at this moment, projects in the pipeline are huge and nobody knows when they will see daylight as they are mired for years in statutory clearances and land acquisition.

What are the products and services offered by Liebherr for the mining segment for the Indian customer?
Liebherr offers hydraulic mining excavators and mining off-highway dump trucks with direct custom-made service options for end-users to be rendered by Liebherr itself. Our service package offerings are as per the current Indian market trend but much above the prevailing service quality here. Our focus is to increase delivery in the Indian market in a phased manner, to build up world standard service capabilities with proper infrastructure and facilities.

What is the demand-supply scenario for high-tonnage dump trucks in India and the range offered by Liebherr?
Liebherr Mining Equipment Newport News Co in Newport News is the manufacturer of ultra-class, diesel/electric mining trucks with 400 short tonne payload capacity used in surface mines worldwide. Liebherr mining trucks are operated domestically, as well as in diverse mining operations in Canada, South America, South Africa, Australia and Indonesia. Whether they carry coal, copper, iron ore, oil, sands or gold, these ultra-class trucks have been widely accepted and command attention driving down mine haul roads with their immense loads. Utilising the knowledge accumulated over the course of 60 years, Liebherr Mining Equipment has developed and produced equipment renowned for its outstanding productivity and reliability. In India, only some large projects have considering deploying the ultra-class of truck.

Which is the range of high capacity hydraulic excavators offered by Liebherr in India?
Liebherr Mining Equipment Colmar SAS in France is the manufacturer of hydraulic mining excavators. The range of mining equipment manufactured by Liebherr currently involves seven different sizes of mining excavators with electric and diesel drives of up to 3,000 kW and operating weights of over 800 tonne. This broad, well-spaced range of types provides the right equipment for every application and offers a selection of mining buckets specially matching the properties of the material. Liebherr's most re-cent additions in this product category, the R 9100, R 9400 and the R 9800, have extended the lower, middle and the upper end of the range.

The smallest mining excavator R 9100, which was first introduced in 2010, weighs between 110 and 114 T. It is powered by a new Liebherr V12 diesel engine that develops 565 kW (757 hp) and complies with USA/EPA Tier 2 emission limits and make for a highly efficient, economical use of fuel. The Liebherr bucket of the R 9100, with a nominal volume of 6.8 cu m is an optimised pattern for mining work, designed for improved penetration and a high fill factor. The R 9100 incorporates systems and components of thoroughly proven quality that Liebherr itself has developed; together with the revised single-line lubrication circuit and the fuel and oil filter systems, they are part of the key to this mining excavator's excellent reliability and performance potential. Cost-effectiveness is enhanced by the reduced volume of maintenance work. A wide catwalk makes it easy to reach the individual assemblies for rapid and reliable servicing. All maintenance points are accessible at a practical height from one side of the machine.

The upper end of the Liebherr range is marked by the R 9800 which was first introduced in 2008. With up to 810 T operating weight, the R 9800 is the largest backhoe excavator in the world. It is powered by two 1,492 kW / 2,000 hp diesel engines in Tier-2 configuration. The outstanding production performance of the R 9800 is achieved by applying the latest technologies together with Liebherr's experience to the overall powertrain, hydraulic system with controls and new engineering approaches in all the major steel structures. These new approaches allow on the R 9800 a nominal bucket capacity of 42 cu m as a backhoe and
42.7 cu m as a face shovel. The breakout and digging forces are optimised for the best possible penetration. The R 9800 provides the highest specific digging forces in the ultra-class excavator range. The high digging forces combined with the large hydraulic performance form the basis to achieve optimum bucket fill factor and fast cycle times.

How strong are Liebherr's presence in the wheel loaders segment?
Liebherr makes wheel loaders from one to 10 cu m with hydrostatic drive. Our primary business area for wheel loaders is the cement industry and we command a nice customer reputation among the imported range of wheel loaders.

What are the types of services provided by Liebherr to the mining clients?
Liebherr prefers rendering on-site service to mining customers. The service offering ranges from a technical assistance contract at site to full maintenance and repair contract covering every aspect of maintenance at site.

What was Liebherr's performance in the last two quarters and how do you look at ending this fiscal?
Liebherr has been able to launch its 19 cu m hydraulic excavator in India which will be operational by end of January 2012 vide a four unit supply order with full maintenance contract at site. Liebherr's own mining division commenced fully from the end of 2009.

Liebherr does not have a production facility for mining products in India. How does this impact your business performance?
Today, Liebherr has no production facilities for mining equipment in India. India is a price-sensitive market and Liebherr never compromises on quality. Liebherr is facing competition from Indian manufacturers in our target areas as well as from established local dealerships suppo?rting other international brands. In spite of the increase in the Euro, and phenomenal rise in other foreign currencies has eased our competition to some extent.

How do you view the future? What are the products to be introduced to the Indian mining sector?
The future is bright for us and that is why we are here. The exchange rate bias has been partially eliminated but global demand for large equipment is high. We have expanded our capacity by establishing a brand new facility dedicated to mining equipment in France during last recession which was completed in 2010. Regarding product introduction, our prime focus is on R9100 which is a 100-tonne class excavator going to the mass market, which we will launch here in 2012. For large mining excavators from 26-42 cu m, we await the perfect opportunity to launch here.

Could you tell us about the India-specific strategies for mining products.
We aspire to our legitimate market share in India, but it is not an overnight achievement. We are not chasing all prospects for business though we track the entire market. In order to provide first- class support according to international standards, Liebherr is investing in skilled and trained personnel, adequate ware?housing and short communication cha?nnels, especially at our factories. As a policy, we believe doing it right the very first time for a sustainable growth.

The Liebherr range of mining excavators

R 9100 (110 - 114 t; 565 kW / 757 hp)  
R 984 C (120 - 125 t; 504 kW / 685 hp)  
R 9250 (250 - 253 t; 960 kW / 1,287 hp)  
R 9350 (302 - 310 t; 1,102 kW / 1,500 hp)  
R 9400 (345 - 353 t; 1,250 kW / 1,675 hp)  
R 995 (441 - 450 t; 1,600 kW / 2,140 hp)  
R 996 B (672 - 676 t; 2,240 kW / 3,000 hp)  
R 9800 (800 - 810 t; 2,984 kW / 4,000 hp)