Sunday, September 27, 2020

Industry Focus- Mini Excavators

XS Size, XL Impact


The demand for mini excavators is on an upswing in India and globally as well due to their highly efficient, cost effective and compact nature. While the pandemic had paused the global business dynamics for quite a while, the demand for these ‘mini beasts’ is set to rise once the world enters normalcy. With the Indian construction sector already witnessing a huge fillip, the market sentiments for this segment of construction are on a high! It’s time for manufacturers to take the leap of faith and invest their time & efforts in bringing out the most innovative mini excavators in the market to drive growth… writes Prerna Sharma.


Mini excavators are highly adopted in various industries due to their ability to operate in confined spaces. These machines can be used with several types of attachments, allowing the user to perform various tasks with a single machine. Therefore, they are finding varying applications in agriculture, railway maintenance, material handling, forestry, and log splitting. The increasing application of mini excavators in the agricultural sector has prompted vendors to manufacture agriculture-specific models. Compact construction equipment includes products that are small, robust, cost effective and versatile in application. Their rise in popularity is also attributed to the increasing adoption of electromobility, with manufacturers investing heavily in developing electric solutions for which mini excavators are ideal.


The excavators provide assistance in performing landscaping, excavating, demolishing, picking and placing, materials handling, and constructing activities, and others. In addition, the mini excavators also aid in the completion of labor-intensive tasks or work earlier performed using heavy construction equipment. Also, the advancements in technology have resulted in superior excavator equipment with high power output and performance capabilities, which offer effective alternative solutions for heavy construction equipment. As a result, the mini excavators are available in different power output capacities suited for different applications.


According to Off-Highway Research (OHR), mini excavators have never been more popular. Global sales of machines under 6 tons in operating weight are believed to have reached 290,000 units last year; third year in a row that global sales of minis have set a new record. According to OHR, mini excavators are replacing other types of traditional machines – particularly backhoe loaders – in many developed markets, as well as gaining ground in many emerging markets due to rising labor costs and the need to complete projects quicker. Providing insights into the mini excavators market, Hyunsoo (HS) Kim, Dir- Commercial, Doosan Bobcat India, says, “Mini excavators in India have been undergoing a robust growth. In the developed countries like Europe and Japan, mini excavator’s segment is more matured and account for larger proportion of construction equipment being sold. However, in India, it has been relatively a recent phenomenon. Though it started developing recently, it has been growing at a steady pace and is the only segment that has been growing continuously.”





He adds, “Currently the market has 9 players of which 2 are Domestic Manufacturers and rest 7 are Imported. Almost 80% of the machine sold are imported. 2.5-4 Ton models are the most popular category which is high in demand comprising close to 80 per cent of the Mini Excavator sold. These models are fitted with engines, which have a power rating of 24 HP to 34 HP. This segment has been continuously growing for last 11 years. Compared to 2018 it grew by 8 per cent in 2019 at 1430 units. Earlier it was more concentrated in Kerala but now we see other states have also started slowly improving in terms of Mini Excavator adoption.”



A mini or compact excavator is a tracked or wheeled vehicle with an approximate operating weight from 0.7 to 8.5 tons. It generally comprises a standard backfill blade and features independent boom swing. Mini excavators are widely used in construction & mining, and agriculture among other industries. Nowadays, most of the foremost vendors are developing lightweight mini excavators. Moreover, owing to environmental concerns, some of the leading players are focusing on the production of all-electric mini excavators to reduce CO2 emissions. Exponential growth in the construction industry is one of the key driver contributing to the growth of the market.




Growth factors


The rapid growth of the construction, industrial manufacturing and agriculture sectors, increasing government spending, and rising FDI inflow in developing countries are significantly driving the mini excavators market growth in the region. Allied Research report states that the growing construction industry is one of the major indicators that drives the growth of mini excavators market. Also, the versatile benefits of mini excavators such as compact size, durability, availability of various power output ranges, superior maneuverability, and others, are also fueling the demand for mini excavators. Moreover, the demand for robust, effective, and mobile construction equipment over heavy construction equipment boosts the market growth of mini excavators market, thus, providing lucrative opportunities for the market players. However, the lack of skilled operators and technicians can hamper the market growth of mini excavators market among emerging economies. The mini excavators have significant application for tasks such as landscaping, materials handling, demolishing, forestry working, snow removing, constructing, and others.


Rising investments in the public sector by governing bodies, particularly in developing countries, are contributing to the growth of the mini excavator market by the construction segment. The growing foreign direct investment (FDI) and rising population have increased the need to construct roads, public transportation networks, and residential buildings. The growing global urban population is also driving the market growth by the construction segment. Moreover, market growth by the construction segment will be faster than the growth of the market by the utility segment. The growing emphasis over original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and application-specific equipment in others segment is expected to witness an attractive growth rate.


As per the Technavio report, the global mini excavators market size has the potential to grow by USD 4.89 billion during 2020-2024, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate throughout the forecast period. The report further said that the APAC region will continue to offer maximum growth opportunities to market vendors during the forecast period. Almost 40% of the market’s growth will originate from APAC during the forecast period. China, India, and Thailand are the key markets of mini excavators in APAC. Market growth in this region will be faster than the growth of the market in other geographies.







Innovative streaks


Compact excavators have increased in engine power, hydraulic power, and in size range. Coupled with the introduction of diverse attachments built just for compact excavators, and this has allowed them to become diverse work horses. Keeping up with their innovative spirits, JCB’s 19C-1E electric mini excavator has been honored with one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for engineering innovation, the 2020 MacRobert Award.


The 19C-1E electric mini excavator is the world’s first volume-produced fully electric mini excavator. Through electric innovation, JCB has shown it is possible to make powerful construction machinery without an internal combustion engine. So far, JCB has sold hundreds of the machines, which have saved the equivalent of 33,290 pounds in carbon dioxide emissions across 5,616 hours of work. As well as significantly reducing carbon emissions, the electric excavator has zero exhaust emissions and very low noise levels. This combination makes it much better suited than traditional construction equipment for operating inside buildings or in areas where noise must be kept to a minimum, for example near hospitals and schools and in cities where night shift work is often necessary.


In yet another initiative, Doosan Bobcat is constantly exploring new ways to advance the compact equipment industry with new technologies, services and products. Through its partnership with Green Machine, the company aims to continue producing innovative products & solutions to help lead the compact equipment industry forward.



Joel Honeyman, VP – Global Innovation, Doosan Bobcat, stated, “We make innovation a part of every product we produce at Bobcat. Electrification is another step forward in our commitment to sustainability, as well as a technology that will allow our customers to work more productively, efficiently and cost-effectively. This is why we continue to seek breakthrough innovations to empower people to accomplish more today and in the future.”







Sany’s smallest Mini Digger Compact Excavator- SY20C is a 1.85T compact and versatile machine incorporated with steel track and independent boom swing function to perform better in confined job sites. Advanced load sensing hydraulic system offers best in class output & fuel efficiency in toughest applications. With improved design and manufacturing processes, this machine gives a reliable performance for longer period of time. Sany’s customized Remote Management System called EVI, helps the user to monitor various machine operating parameters remotely and ensure peace of mind business. SY20C has compact design with its independent boom swing & boom offset feature helps to dig very close to wall. Its ergonomically placed levers with pilot control system provide smooth & comfortable operation experience. Use of canopy facilitates all round visibility, very useful in working in tight spaces. Wide opening hood covers are supported with mechanical struts enables the operator to easily access all critical maintenance components.


An indispensable part of Hyundai’s world quality construction equipment is its fleet of rugged range of Mini Excavators. Capable of working with equal productivity in both normal and confined spaces, Hyundai Mini Excavator possesses the powerful Yanmar 3TNV88 Engine to deliver maximum performance in the toughest of terrains. Other features include Zero Tail Swing for making those tricky turns with speed. The excavators also ensure operator comfort through ergonomic seating design. All in all, Hyundai Mini Excavators function high power machines that deliver maximum with minimum consumption. Innovative hydraulic system technologies make the 9AK series excavator fast, smooth and easy to control. Hyundai’s 9AK series is designed for maximum performance to keep the operator working productively. Operating a 9AK series is unique to every operator. Operators can fully customize their work environment and operating preferences to fit their individual needs.



Market trends



According to V R Raj Kumar, Asst GM - Pan India, Autrans India Private Limited, (Kubota Construction Equipment Business) “The Mini Excavator industry continue to grow at a steady phase and may touch volumes of 3000 machine per year in next few years and many of the backhoe loaders customers shift to mini excavators due to lower fuel consumption, higher productivity and lower maintenance cost”.







The versatile applications of mini excavators in several industries are likely to fuel the mini excavators market growth. Some of the major growth drivers include:


  • Vendors are launching battery-powered and electric mini excavators to adhere to adopt the sustainability concept and adhere to regulations associated with low emissions.
  • Governments and OEMs are focusing on developing zero- or low-emission vehicles.
  • Governing bodies are promoting electric vehicles (EVs) by providing attractive subsidies and implementing supportive policies for establishing EV infrastructure.
  • The decreasing battery prices and the enhanced performance capabilities of EVs have boosted their adoption among consumers, which is one of the key mini excavators market trends.
  • The economic advantages of electric mini excavators and the implementation of stringent emission standards will drive vendors to increase R&D for further improvement.
  • During 2020-2024, the market will grow at a CAGR of over 9%.





According to Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics, global construction market will grow USD 8 trillion by 2030: driven by China, US and India. This immense growth is expected to open lucrative opportunities for the mini excavator vendors during the projected period. Moreover, urban redevelopment and urban MSRT development projects will generate substantial demand for mini excavators.


Industry experts are of the view that the growth of mini excavators is going to go up from here on. Jasmeet Singh, AVP - Corporate Communications & Corporate Relations, JCB India Ltd, states,“With the implementation of large-scale projects,including projects of national importance, the road equipment industry is on a path to gain momentum. A significant financialoutlay announced by the Government in the recent union budgetshas been driving demand for road equipment and will continue to effectively boost demand in the construction equipment industry.”




Adds Hemant Mathur, Asst Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery Company Pvt. Ltd, “There is a positive sentiment in the construction equipment industry as the budget 2020-21 reinstated the government’s focus on infrastructure development in the country. A sum of `103 lakhcrore towards infrastructure projects has been announced under the ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline’ as a part of Government’s spending push for the infrastructure sector. The IFCL & NIIF will beable to leverage the money and create the necessary financing pipeline. Given this, we feel, the mini excavator industry is here to stay andthat the future looks promising.”








Krishnan Chandran, Technical Director, Technovos Engineering & Consulting  LLP says “The Indian market for Mini Excavator has been growing rapidly due to the non-availability of manual labor and requirement of higher output. These coupled with the need for multi attachment has seen phenomenal growth in this segment”. 










Dheeraj Panda, Director – Sales, MKTG & Customer Support, Sany Heavy Industry India Pvt. Ltd., “Mini excavator sales have continued to increase for the last 10 Years in succession with 1400 units sold in 2019. It is expected that the growth will remain in this segment and volume will increase up to 2500 units by 2023.”









Government’s aggressive focus on infrastructure development will be the key growth driver in this segment with the following:


  • Smart cities in the pipeline & increasing infrastructural investment in road construction and housing projects will ensure growth of the mini excavator market in India.
  • Demand for these machines will further emanate from niche applications suchas plantations, and in populous urban areas where space is a major constraint.
  • In addition, these machines are also used in agricultural applications and construction activities. With the increasing shortage of manual labor, dependency on machines will continue to rise which will help grow the mini excavator market in the future.





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