Loaded with opportunities

Wheel loaders are multipurpose moveable shovels, designed to carry heavy loads and relocate materials from stockpiles to trucks, or transfer materials around job sites. Wheel loaders are used in industries such as quarry and mining, construction, agriculture and forestry, and many others. Additionally, public sector entities, equipment rental companies, sand and gravel sites, and companies dealing with industrial waste also use wheel loaders for site preparation work, digging and moving and placing materials.

The global wheel loader market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world (ROW). The Asia Pacific dominated the global market of the wheel loader. Asia Pacific region will continue to dominate the global wheel loader market in the forecast period owing to factors such as rising mining activities particularly in China, India, Indonesia and Oceania.  Additionally, Asia Pacific is expected to witness the highest CAGR, with the growth in this market centered in China, Indonesia, Japan, and India. Rising investment in infrastructure development is another factor propelling the market growth in this region. In 2018, Europe accounted for the second largest share of the global market. However, over the next five years, North America is anticipated to outpace Europe in terms of market share and CAGR.

The market for wheel loaders is seeing fresh traction due to the buoyancy in road construction activities. Fresh off take of coal due to a surge in thermal power production is adding to the demand. Users want wheel loaders that deliver higher productivity and lesser operating costs, along with enhanced servicing of their machines across their work cycle.

According to industry estimates, demand for the 3-tonne class is up by 30 per cent, while the 5-tonne class has grown by 60 per cent this year. However, the 3-tonne continues to dominate the market with an 80 per cent share, while the 5-tonne has a 15 per cent market share.

Says Dimitrov Krishnan, Managing Director, Volvo Construction Equipment, “The present market size of wheel loaders in India is 3,500 units approximately. It is estimated to grow to 4,000 units next year. The market is currently dominated by 80-150 HP range equipment, which accounts for over two-thirds of the overall market. Although the market share of the above-150 HP range segment is lower, it is poised to register impressive growth in the coming years given the government’s renewed thrust on mega infrastructure and mining projects. Volvo Construction Equipment is present across all segments in the Indian wheel loader market. It is the undisputed leader in the premium segment.”

Volvo Construction Equipment has recently introduced next-generation H-Series Wheel Loaders – purpose-built for the Indian market. The Volvo H-Series includes L90H, L120H, L150H, L180H, L220H, L260H and L350H models. These machines comply with CEV-V Emission Norms, one step ahead of CEV-IV norms prescribed by the Government of India. They feature novel features like Optishift technology in transmission, load sensing hydraulics, delayed engine shut-down mechanism, Rimpull control, reversible cooling fan and ECO pedal. The Volvo H-Series wheel loaders take reliability and performance to a new level, delivering unmatched productivity, fuel efficiency and machine uptimes.

MV Rajasekhar, Director (Mining and Construction), BEML, said, “In the current context, users prefer wheel loaders that deliver higher productivity at lesser operating costs, along with enhanced servicing of their machines across their work cycle. During FY 2020-21, the construction equipment industry has seen 9 per cent YoY growth in overall equipment sales and wheel loaders sales have increased around 14 per cent on a YoY basis mostly driven by an increase in domestic sales. The infrastructure sector has become one of the biggest focus areas for the government. The government’s major emphasis on infrastructure is to ensure the sustainable development of the country. The infrastructure sector includes power, bridges, dams, roads, and urban infrastructure development. Construction activities are gaining pace across the country, and new quarries and crushers are opening up. Hence, the growth outlook for the wheel loader industry is very encouraging.”

BEML is developing the above range of wheel loaders with CEV stage IV compliant engines, which are in line with the government’s directive on the implementation of new emission norms for wheeled construction equipment from April 2021.

A spokesperson from CASE said, “With the infrastructure pipeline created by the government, mining policy reforms and a general rise in construction activities in the country we are optimistic that the demand for construction equipment including wheeled loaders will further rise. As a result, the CE industry is expected to witness a 15 per cent year-on-year rise in domestic sales volumes in FY21 with a doubling of sales in Q1FY22 compared to last year.”

He added, “Moreover, loaders are being used for various activities such as mining, construction, warehousing, quarrying, ports, etc. making it an important equipment for different types of projects, indicating its future growth and demand.”

Among loaders, CASE has CASE 770EX OL, which is equipped with cutting-edge features and offers a great performance for different types of construction and mining activities. Customised for the Indian market, the CASE 770EX OL is powered by a 3.9-liter 4-cylinder FPT Industrial S8000 engine with a mechanical injection system. This delivers powerful performance and fast responses coupled with 8 per cent higher productivity and fuel savings of up to 10 per cent versus comparable products in the market. CASE 770 EX OL equipped with +10 per cent bigger size loader bucket that allows more load lift per bucket. The power shuttle transmission provides four forward and reverses speeds.

The hydraulically shifted clutches allow the operator to change direction and travel speed on the go, while the control valves deliver smooth speed and direction shifts, resulting in smooth and precise operation. The new single-piece engine hood provides excellent access for maintenance and best-in-class serviceability. The machine layout is designed to ensure all daily service points are easily accessible at ground level for quick and efficient servicing. Everything is Heavy Duty in EX OL, from tanks to rims to fenders, which further boosts productivity, especially when working in rough terrains.

The heavy-duty structures will enhance the reliability and durability of your machine. For enhanced operator comfort, the 770EX OL has a redesigned, spacious cab with operator-friendly features such as a large buddy seat, storage compartments, mobile charger, document holder, bottle holder, radio, etc. Large glazed windows provide outstanding all-around visibility, improve air ventilation to the operator, and make it easy to listen to any early warning indication coming from any part of the machine.

Wheeled loaders can be used in any industry that deals with heavy loads and requires to carry heavy as well as light material from one place to the other. It can be used for activities like moving material or goods, digging, quarrying, landscaping, at excavation sites, in agriculture and more.

In terms of mining, wheeled loaders are primarily used to load heavy material and carry the same from one place to the other or transfer them to a dump, conveyer belt, a truck or to some other machine.

In construction activities, in addition to the basic loading job, these machines at times can also be used for digging holes and grading land. However, it largely helps in lifting dirt, debris and other such material. Additionally, loaders are also being widely used in warehouse management as its main function is to load goods and material and transport wherever required. Therefore, owing to its versatile functioning, requirement of wheeled loaders is not only limited to construction or mining activities, but also being used by multiple sectors where lifting or moving heavy materials is involved.

JCB presently offers three models in the Wheeled Loader segment: 430ZX Plus, 43ZX, and the latest 455ZX, which is a 'Made in India' machine designed to work for longer hours and at a lower maintenance cost. The world class aggregates used in the machine ensures quality, reliability and value for money.

The new 455ZX is a 5.5T machine that comes with a Common Rail JCB DieselMAX 672 engine and is targeted for mining, construction, ports, and roads. Air conditioning and fan comes as standard on the JCB 455ZX, ensuring that operators can work comfortably in extreme conditions that sites offer at times. Ergonomic controls, comfortable seats and spacious cabin offer fatigue-free operation and enhances the productivity of the operator. A stylish, central dash display combines analogue dials and a colour LCD screen for display of the health status of the machine, service requirements and operating information.

In the endeavour to continually innovate and offer the best customer experience to its customers, JCB has recently introduced a Loader Productivity Management System (LPMS) integrated with JCB Livelink - an industry-feature from JCB India. LPMS helps in real time monitoring of individual weight of loaded bucket, total accumulated weight, tare weight, and number of loaded buckets.

All JCB Wheeled Loaders come fitted with an Advanced Telematics technology known as Livelink. It provides real time updates on Service, Operations and Security of their machine and gives vital information to the customer in terms of a number of hours the machine has been operational, service intervals, fuel levels, and malfunctions if any, in real-time. JCB Livelink enables Users, Dealers and JCB to have complete control of their machines from any part of the world.

The 432ZX is a 3.6-ton payload machine with a Cummins 6BTA 150hp engine, a ZF automatic ergo power shift transmission with an electrically operated selector and a gear changer. The machines come with the option of a general purpose 1.8 cu.m bucket to a larger 3.1 cu.m re-handling bucket. It also has a best-in-class operator environment with ergonomically placed controls and low internal noise levels along with servo-controlled hydraulics for effortless hydraulic operation with detente feature.

The JCB 430ZX Plus is a 3.3-ton payload machine with an Ashok Leyland 133HP, six Cylinder turbocharged engine. The machine has a high reach Z-bar-dumping ability and comes with a range of buckets from a 1.5 cum bucket to a 2.5 cu.m material handling bucket. The machine consumes 3.2 per cent less fuel and is 7 per cent more efficient.

Today, JCB is well positioned to leverage opportunities in applications such as mining, quarries, etc. with its world-class range of wheeled loaders, which are known for their reliability, productivity and efficiency.

Escorts Construction Equipment Limited, which has recently acquired the entire business of Doosan in India from Ariando (the earlier exclusive distributor), is promoting its higher capacity wheel loaders. Doosan wheel loaders are available in sizes ranging from 2m3 to 6m3 and have proven fuel efficiency, stability as regards tipping load, and greater speed, thereby shortening work time and maximizing productivity.

The wheel loaders have advanced hydraulics that transmits hydraulic power to the load working drive to minimise unnecessary loss of power, thereby, boosting efficiency and generating sufficient power for digging, steering, and combination movement. These strengths enable Doosan wheel loaders to be operated at diverse worksites regardless of the weather conditions, topography or application.

Doosan wheel loaders with a bucket size of 4m3 or more, generally perform loading works in quarries and small mining sites, etc. Its DL420A model has an operating weight of 22 tons and is equipped with various bucket options including the 4.2 m3 General Purpose Bucket and the 4.7m3 Material Handling Bucket, and features a 210Hp Doosan mechanical engine. The DL550 machine has a weight of 31 tonne, is equipped with a 394Hp Scania engine, and offers options of 5.7 m3 General Purpose Bucket and a 4.5 m3 Spade Type Bucket 

Bobcat’s latest entries into the compact wheel loader field include the L65 and L85 with standard bucket capacities of up to 1 cubic yard and a Z-bar front linkage. In addition to buckets and pallet forks, the new loaders hook up to a wide range of Bobcat tools and attachments using the powered Bob-Tach system.

The new loaders run on a redesigned tier 4 Final Bobcat engine with improved cold-weather starting capability and components simplified for routine maintenance. The 2.4-liter turbocharged diesel engines put out 55 and 68 horsepower on the L65 and L85, respectively. The attachment control mode enables you to vary the engine and travel speeds separately to optimize auxiliary hydraulic performance.

A large fuel filter protects the engine from contamination and results in a longer filter life and increased holding capacity. The lift pump and self-priming fuel system offers continuous forced air outflow and eliminates the need for a primer bulb. And a pre-filter protects the lift pump from debris and particles that increase wear and degrade performance.

Cat 966 GC wheel loader is designed to reduce fuel consumption and keep operating costs down. It is powered by a 321-horsepower Cat C9.3B engine that meets Tier 4 Final emission standards. It features a four-speed forward/reverse electronically controlled, automatic planetary powershift transmission with shift protection and single clutch gear shifting for smooth gear changes. According to Caterpillar, the loader’s optional ride control and limited slip differential axle configurations further improve operating smoothness over rough terrain and increase traction.

Caterpillar says the engine’s automatic Cat Clean Emissions Module, including SCR catalyst and diesel particulate filter, works in the background without impacting the production schedule. The Cat Engine Idle Management System, Auto Engine Idle Shutdown, variable speed fan and load-sensing hydraulics result in lower fuel consumption and reduced noise. An optional automatic reversing fan assists in cleaning cooling cores to improve performance in high-debris environments.

With operating weights ranging from 8,422 pounds to 15,432 pounds, Yanmar’s V-series compact wheel loaders offer capabilities for a variety of applications while maintaining a small footprint, comfortable cab and ease of operation. The lineup includes the V4-7, V8, V10 and V12. They tackle everything from agriculture to construction, snow removal and rock quarries.  Bucket capacities run from 0.65 to 2.35 cubic yards and lift capacities of 7,451 to 15,962 pound-force. Travel speeds clock in from 11.8 to 22 mph.

The V4-7, V8 and V10 are equipped with electronically controlled Yanmar diesel engines, which balance power with minimised fuel consumption, the company says. The V12 features a Deutz diesel engine. Hydraulic quick couplers allow for fast and easy attachment changes. Operational efficiency is further enhanced by parallel-kinematics on the V8, V10, and V12. This allows operators to lift loads precisely without the need for constant readjustment of the load angle, according to Yanmar. The V4-7 is the most compact loader in the line and has a Z-bar boom configuration for higher breakout forces. It also has an auto-leveller mode for applications when it is beneficial to maintain a consistent bucket level. When heavy lifting isn’t required, the V4-7 offers eco mode, which reduces the motor speed and fuel costs.

The way forward

Wheel loader is an important equipment when it comes to large volume operations such as construction, mining, warehousing, etc. All these activities require loading and unloading heavy materials making wheeled loaders an inevitable part of these projects. Therefore, considering their applications and functioning, loaders among other CE machines are expected to witness a rise in demand in near future.

Additionally, the multiple steps taken by the government to introduce newer construction and infrastructure projects and the mining policy reforms will act as a catalyst toward the gradual growth of the wheel loader category. These initiatives will help the industry revive and move towards a positive growth trajectory, which will lead to an increase in the demand for all types of construction equipment, including loaders.

“Volvo CE is strongly invested in electric wheel loaders.”

-     Dimitrov Krishnan, Managing Director, Volvo Construction Equipment India

What is the current market size of wheel loaders in India?

The present market size of wheel loaders in India is approximately 3,500 units. It is estimated to grow to 4,000 units next year. The market is currently dominated by 80-150 HP range equipment, which accounts for over two-thirds of the overall market. Although the market share of the above-150 HP range segment is lower, it is poised to register impressive growth in the coming years given the Government’s renewed thrust on mega infrastructure and mining projects. Volvo Construction Equipment is present across all segments in the Indian Wheel Loader market. It is the undisputed leader in the premium segment.

What are the demand and application trends for wheel loaders in mining, construction, warehousing and industrial segments?

Demand for wheel loaders in India is strong across sectors – from road to rock and everything in-between. While it is particularly pronounced in road, quarrying and mining sectors which together constitute four-fifths of overall volume, good demand has emerged from ports and industrial segments in recent years.  Wheel Loaders also find use in airports, municipal corporations and warehousing operations. The demand for higher capacity wheel loaders is especially strong in the mining and quarrying sectors. Volvo CE Wheel Loaders are the preferred choice in these sectors on account of their high uptimes, long run hours, reliability, safety and operating comfort. 

Which are the key models introduced in wheel loaders? What are the important fuel efficiency and productivity features?

Volvo Construction Equipment has recently introduced next-generation H-Series Wheel Loaders - purpose-built for the Indian Market. The Volvo H-Series includes L90H, L120H, L150H, L180H, L220H, L260H and L350H models. These machines comply with CEV-V Emission Norms, one step ahead of CEV-IV norms prescribed by the Government of India. They feature novel features like Optishift Technology in Transmission, Load Sensing Hydraulics, Delayed Engine Shut-down Mechanism, Rimpull Control, Reversible Cooling Fan and ECO Pedal. The Volvo H-Series Wheel Loaders take reliability and performance to a new level, delivering unmatched productivity, fuel efficiency and machine uptimes.

Bucket is probably the most productive part of a wheel loader. What are the innovations of buckets in your wheel loaders?

A wheel loader bucket matters more than anything else in the machine and is probably the highest revenue generator. Matching the bucket to the application is critical to achieving optimal efficiencies and economies of scale. Volvo CE produces a full range of customised buckets to suit specific needs. The buckets are made of top-quality Hardox 400/500 material to ensure durability and long life. Volvo CE buckets are also renowned for their innovative design and value. The Rehandling Flat Floor Bucket Design for instance provides a high bucket fill factor that eventually increases productivity and overall customer profitability. 

What are the emerging opportunities for wheel loaders in the Indian market? What will drive the growth of wheel loaders in the future?

Given huge outlays in total capital expenditure over the next decade in energy, roads, ports, railway, airport, and irrigation sectors, the opportunities for growth of wheel loaders in India have never been better. The Government’s extensive infrastructure development plans along with landmark reforms in mining policies ensure a continuing robust demand for all kinds of construction equipment, including wheel loaders, in the foreseeable future. But while growth is assured, it will likely be propelled by an emerging range of super-efficient, environment-friendly, remote-controlled machines. Volvo CE is strongly invested in electric wheel loaders and machines capable of running on alternative fuels such as bio-diesel. The Company is also adopting frontier technologies to build autonomous wheel loaders in the future – to improve overall productivity and minimise operator threats in a host of challenging applications.

The long-term outlook of the market looks positive with the Government’s plans for infrastructure creation and reforms in mining policies. In this scenario, what is needed to reap real benefits for the wheel loader market?

Volvo CE is looking to indigenously manufacture a full range of new-generation wheel loaders – purpose-built for the Indian market. This will provide one-stop customised solutions across the country. Volvo CE is also investing in sustainable future technologies to further enhance productivity, fuel efficiency, operating comfort and machine life. The idea is to ensure Indian customers get best possible returns on their investment in Volvo Wheel Loaders and thereby reap real benefits in the great unfolding opportunity in Indian infrastructure.