Our compaction products are a true testament to Atmanirbharta

The Indian construction equipment Industry experienced a substantial 26 per cent rise in sales volume in the financial year 2023-24. How does Volvo Construction Equipment’s plan to capitalise on this positive industry growth momentum to further enhance its market position and sales performance across its product segments?
From my perspective, the volume growth in our market is driven both by domestic demand and export growth and it’s clear that the Indian CE market size is close to hitting the $10 billion mark. Our business has been particularly strong in road construction, quarrying, mining and bulk material handling segments. In the mining segment, we maintain our leadership position where our focus on total cost of ownership and product suitability continues to drive growth. We’ve made recent announcements indicating our commitment to this market by investing in a new wheel loader assembly line, with more to come throughout this year. Our commitment to the Indian market remains very high.

Can you provide insights into Volvo strategic focus on its compaction business in India and how it aligns with the company’s broader goals and vision?
Our journey into compaction began with the acquisition of the Ingersoll Rand’s road equipment business in 2007, and since then, we’ve been actively involved in this market worldwide. Our product offerings span soil compactors, tandem rollers, and pneumatic tyre rollers. Localisation is a key aspect, with our products boasting varying degrees of localised content. We’re well-prepared for future regulatory changes and technological advancements, ensuring our products meet the highest standards.

So, we have the complete range of compaction equipment what the customer wants for the road construction projects. For soil embankment and granular sub base layers, we have the soil compactors that deliver exceptional performance in variety of materials, then for asphalt layer we have double drum compactors, and to finally finish the roads, we have pneumatic tyre rollers, which is our leading product in the market as well.

How does Volvo CE contribute to the nation’s infrastructure development, particularly through its compaction business?
Compaction plays a vital role in almost every major construction project, including those in irrigation. Our products are integral to achieving desired soil compaction levels, contributing significantly to project success. Through increased localisation and value addition, we ensure our products meet the diverse needs of such projects, providing features like forward and reverse compaction options for optimal asphalt rolling performance.

When it comes to irrigation jobs, we have soil compactors with both axle drive and drum drive options. The standard machine comes as an axle drive machine, which is suitable for all soil compaction applications while the drum drive option improves the gradeability of the compactor upwards of 35 deg gradient.

What are the key initiatives and strategies that Volvo Construction Equipment is implementing to further strengthen its compaction business in India?
Our focus is on innovation while increasing localisation and additionally to ensure our readiness to meet evolving regulations. We’ve recently introduced concepts like battery electric powered mini tandem compactors - designed and manufactured in India. These received great attention in the Excon 2023 and Bharat Mobility show recently. Additionally, we’re investing in manufacturing excellence and exploring export opportunities. By ensuring our products are compliant with upcoming regulations, such as CEV 5 emissions standards and the new safety standards, we aim to stay ahead in the market.

Volvo Construction Equipment has been actively participating in the ‘Make in India’ initiative. How is the company integrating this initiative into its compaction business operations, including manufacturing, sourcing, and localisation efforts?
Our commitment to the “Make in India” initiative is through our localised production and continuous improvement efforts. While we maintain global standards in product design and quality, we’ve adapted our offerings to suit the Indian market’s specific requirements. This approach has not only strengthened our market presence but also contributed to the nation’s economic growth.

All our products that we offer comes with standard warranty or can be ordered with extended warranty with good maintenance contract. We can also offer additional options like compaction meter, where the customer can digitally monitor the level of compaction. This technology is not being fully adopted by the market but it is available.

Skilling is a critical aspect of the industry. As the Chairman of the Infrastructure Equipment Sector Council (IESC), how do you perceive the current state of skill development within the Indian construction equipment industry?
We prioritise skilling initiatives to ensure a competent workforce. Our training programmes cater to various skill levels, from novice first time operators to improving skill of seasoned operators by upskilling. Our 90-day programme through our partner GMR foundation offers boarding and lodging, and vocational training. Other than this, we at Volvo CE roughly train around 3,000 seasoned operators and certify them. This is something we do regularly within our training centre in Bengaluru and at customer sites. We also provide training to dealer operators and partners.

We collaborate with private training partners to offer comprehensive training, including vocational and operator certification programmes. By investing in skill development, we aim to empower individuals and enhance industry standards. Under the IESC activities, about 25,000 operators are being trained every year. In the last 10 years, IESC has trained and certified over 100,000 operators and technicians.

Lastly, are there any plans for further capacity expansion at your facility?
While our current capacity meets market demands, we anticipate future growth and are prepared to scale accordingly. This may involve additional manpower and infrastructure enhancements to support our expansion plans. We remain committed to serving the Indian market and aligning our capacity with its evolving needs.