29 May 2020

Interaction-Vikram Sharma, Advisor (India & South Asia), KOBELCO CE

Our Generation 10 Series introduced in India last year has raised the bar for all players


‘POWER meets EFFICIENCY’ is the tag line of global major Kobelco’s Generation 10 series excavator, In an exclusive interview VIKRAM SHARMA, ADVISOR (INDIA & SOUTH ASIA), EX-MD, KOBELCO CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT INDIA, discusses their range of products and market outlook for road construction equipment with CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES.




Briefly give us an overview of the road construction equipment industry, the latest technology trends, and the current business drivers? What are the road equipment currently most in demand?


The Road Construction activity in the country over the past few years have fuelled a substantial growth in many ways. The road construction equipment demand has had a healthy trend raising positive sentiments all around. The quality and timelines have been key focus areas and this has been led to increasing use of the latest machines. Some mega Projects like the Sagarmala as well as many NHAI Projects have been key drivers.


Among the Road equipment, there is a positive growth in the demand for Excavators, Compactors, Pavers and even to some extent Motor Graders.




What are the products offered by your firm to support India’s road construction plans and the cutting edge technology featured in your machines. What distinguishes your equipment from competitors.


Kobelco, in India, is basically a single product Company offering Hydraulic Excavators from 14T to 80T range. For the Road sector, the 14T and the 22T models are most popular in Excavation work as well as at aggregate quarries. Best-in-class fuel efficiency, high productivity and the least carbon footprint are some of the main advantages for the end user. The Operator is provided a global-standard work environment for fast, precise and safe working.




What is your focus on technological upgradation in respect of your products? What are the advancements you have introduced or plan to introduce?


Kobelco, being a global leader, has a strong focus on R&D to stay ahead of the field. They have their own R&D Centre in Japan which does comprehensive research activities including basic research into various materials and processes. Kobelco with its long history of nearly ninety years in the Construction machinery field, has managed to stay ahead of the times. They are also very focused on Customer feedback and expectations, which allows them to retain their customers.



Give us an understanding of their key features in terms of safety, ease of operating your machines, operator comfort, cost efficiency etc their specific advantages.


Kobelco’s Generation 10 Series introduced in India last year has raised the bar for all players. These machines give unmatched benefits/ advantages through many features. Some of them are listed below:

  • A high performance low fuel consumption Engine conforming to Tier III regulations.
  • A unique Auto-Idle-Stop feature which minimizes fuel wastage by shutting off the Engine after 60 seconds of idling.
  • A highly durable structure for uninterrupted working for long durations.
  • A highly advanced hydraulics with matching electronics control
  • A Colour multi-function Display which can be used for diagnosis & resolution of Engine issues.
  • A hydraulic filter choking indicator/ alarm for longer life of the Pump.
  • A unique feature which allows the machine to reset itself for safe operation even at high altitudes.
  • Boom & Arm regeneration circuits to save energy by using the downward movements of the attachments to drive the respective hydraulic lines.
  • An international standard Operator Cabin with climate control, excellent view, light control levers, multi-adjustable Seat, etc.




Are you looking to add new equipment to you existing product portfolio? Are you eyeing specific projects?


We are currently upgrading our existing models to the current Generation 10 series. Thereafter, we may consider extending our range to smaller units depending on market trends.




What are the trends driving purchase or hire of road construction equipment market in India? 


The conventional approach has always been to consider the upfront cost. However, an increasing percentage of buyers are looking at productivity, field support, overall machine uptime, etc as key factors. Long-term players are mostly making purchases but relatively smaller players may look for the rental option. This is also true where the Contractor has a smaller work volume for which the specific equipment is required.




Tell us about the indigenisation efforts undertaken by the company to meet the market requirements? What is the company’s approach to implementing the ‘Make in India’ drive?


Kobelco has been making in India much before the ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched. Our investment in the Indian manufacturing facility has been increasing over time and is expected to continue with this trend considering the positive market response. Our indigenisation level is over 40 per cent and the intent is to take it further. However, there are practical constraints due to shortage of world-class sources in India.




How do you expect the market to shape up for the road construction equipment industry through 2018 onwards?


The current momentum is likely to see us through the current fiscal. The next year, being an election year, will be crucial. The growth phase will continue if there is no change.




Future outlook for the industry and from a company perspective


The overall outlook is quite positive and the demand for bridging the infrastructure gap is expected to drive the growth. Availability of funds has also improved.





Established in the year 2007 in India, Kobelco Construction Equipment India Pvt Ltd (KCEI), is a subsidiary of Kobelco Construction Machinery (KCM), Japan.
Headquartered in Noida, in the National Capital Region, KCEI set up a nationwide network of Authorised Dealers. Now, the Company is fully equipped to meet Customer expectations in terms of Service and Parts, through an efficient Logistics system, covering over 100 Outlets in India and Nepal. KCEI has two main warehouses at Noida and Chennai and has Depots at several locations for ex-stock delivery of machines. Being a firm believer in the India Growth Story, Kobelco invested in a manufacturing facility located at SriCity, in Andhra Pradesh, about 70 Kms from the city of Chennai. This Factory commenced production in 2011 and has since grown in production capacity and range of Models. This factory has the credit of developing the HD series introduced in 2013, featuring several reinforcements and additions to suit Indian conditions and applications. The focus has always been to deliver a reliable and highly productive machine. KCEI aims to continuously pursue high levels of Customer satisfaction and has always been supportive in addressing Customer concerns. The response has been tremendous and is reflected in the high percentage of repeat Buyers.
Kobelco Construction Machinery, Japan, has a long history in the construction equipment industry spanning over 80 years. It has several state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in Japan as well as in countries like China, Thailand, and India. KCM has its own
R & D Centre which conducts research on a wide range of materials and processes, and provides the leading edge in our product innovations and improvements.


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