Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Cover Story April 2024

Cover Story April 2024

Acing Productivity & Uptime

An indispensable machine in the construction and maintenance of surfaces worldwide, motor graders continue to shape the landscape of infrastructure development. It’s not just limited to precision grading; these machines find prominence during times of disaster management as well. With the advancement in technology, these machines are becoming smarter, more efficient, and eco-friendly. The key lies in maximizing their potential by proper training of operators, ensuring timely maintenance, and incorporating new age technological advancements. This cover story tracks leading players’ innovative strategies to lead the market growth and offer customers the most advanced & sustainable motor graders that ultimately aid in the nation building exercise… writes, PRERNA SHARMA.

Motor graders play a crucial role in various sectors, such as construction, mining, and road maintenance by efficiently performing tasks like grading, leveling, and earthmoving. Motor graders are essential for achieving precise grades and smooth surfaces, reducing the need for rework and enhancing overall productivity. Motor graders are not only vital in routine construction and maintenance tasks but also play a crucial role in disaster response. In the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods, motor graders are deployed to clear debris, repair damaged roads, and restore access to emergency vehicles.

According to Mordor intelligence research, with the increase in construction and mining activities in several parts of the world and the increased government spending to enhance the construction sector, the demand for motor graders is expected to rise to create a flat surface during either the start or while finishing the road or the site. According to GII, the operational advantages of motor graders are a major factor boosting industry expansion.

The availability of attachments for various applications in the mining and construction industry, apart from being used for a specific task of flattening the surface or underground mining, is driving the demand in the market. However, a small motor grader within a range of 80-150 hp is usually enough for most jobs. While the smaller graders are perfect for jobs that need to be completed in a tight-spacing environment, larger motor graders can be used in broader spaces.

Furthermore, advancements in technology have significantly enhanced the efficiency and accuracy of motor graders, making them even more attractive to industries seeking improved performance and cost-effectiveness. Recent developments in braking and engine systems and the progression in blade designs have enabled manufacturers to further enhance motor graders and offer users more control over their procedures. Latest machines come with innovative functions, such as telematics systems, automated controls, and GPS, which enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and precision.

Talking about the region-specific growth potential, APAC was the largest contributor to the industry in 2023, with approximately 50% share. The demand for motor graders is being powered by the increasing urbanization rate and the growing count of infrastructure expansion projects in emerging economies like India and China. Europe is likely to advance at the fastest compound annual growth rate, of 5.7%, in the years to come. This can be primarily ascribed to the increasing count of infrastructure projects, the rising trend for environment-friendly, productive, and efficient technologies, and the growing rates of employment.

When it comes to product segment, the articulated frame type, in terms of revenue, dominated the industry. The category is also likely to advance at a higher compound annual growth rate, of 5.2%, in the years to come. An articulated-frame motor grader offers precision in mining and construction applications, particularly while working in smaller areas. The medium capacity, in terms of revenue, led the industry in 2023, with approximately 45% share. This can be mainly attributed to the significant power output, precise blade control, and low weight of these variants. The construction application generates the highest revenue, mainly because of the development of roads, highways, and smart cities, in emerging economies. The mining application is likely to advance at the highest compound annual growth rate, of 5.5%, in the years to come, and hold the largest share of the industry. To utilize large mining equipment, unpaved, rocky roads must be maintained and improved regularly, therefore, motor graders are employed in mines.

The motor grader industry is highly competitive. Many key companies in this industry are fighting for dominance. To attain a competitive edge, these companies focus on product creation, strategic alliances, and technical advancements.

The motor grader industry is experiencing certain advancements that are driven by the evolving needs of contractors. Manufacturers like Case, Caterpillar, John Deere, and Komatsu are introducing innovations to make graders more user-friendly, productive, and versatile. From the shift towards mid-size models to the introduction of cost-effective variants, automation features, and improved operator comfort, these manufacturers are adapting to meet the demands of the market. As the construction industry continues to evolve, motor graders are evolving alongside, catering to a wide range of project requirements and ensuring better performance on job sites of all sizes.

G9138H is an efficient and versatile product developed by SDLG after investigating the Indian market demands. The high-speed G9138H Motor Grader can complete ground levelling, spreading, shaping, slopping, cutting & clearing with ease and at the same time being the most fuel-efficient grader in its class. It delivers excellent results for a wide range of projects such as highways, airports, defense engineering, road construction and general construction projects. Classic combination of power, speed and maneuverability are results of the environment-friendly CEV-IV Engines, ZF Transmissions. SDLG axles are coupled with superb hydraulics and an excellent sealing system. It is a state-of-the-art machine that gives you higher profitability and productivity.

The SDLG G9138H is CEV-IV certified. This environmentally friendly engine is known for its low fuel consumption and low emissions as per ARAI standards. The engine is designed to reduce sound level in the cab to ensure enhanced operator comfort and performance. The HP controls allow operators to select high, mid and lower power according to the job requirement. The Turbo charged, low emission, high-performance engine and its electronic engine control unit regulates fuel for optimal performance in all operating conditions. Cruise control comes as standard and is unique to SDLG Graders in its class.

ZF Electronically controlled ZF6WG158 Fully automatic Transmission with manual over ride is proven for fast and efficient work cycles. Equipped with 6 forward / 3 reverse for efficient grading. SDLG Axles are an integrated part of the drive train. It adopts the strengthened driving axle featuring top class technology and performance. It provides greater bearing force, machine stability and reliability.

The SDLG grader comes with an excellent weight distribution on the front (3600KG) and rear (9400KG) wheels. Major weight distribution of the rear, which gives the machine power and traction and less weight is on the front axle, which gives the machine control. The weight distribution ratio is matched so that additional Counter weights are not required to balance the machine. G9138H is equipped with large blade force to ensure easy penetration, thus reduces number of passes. The G9138 is equipped with 25 degree articulated frame coupled with minimum turning radius of 6.5 meter helps the operator to manoeuvre this machine according to the situation. Straight frame with articulation ensures quality of grading and sharp turning. Articulation Indicator inside the cabin helps the operator to keep the machine in straight line.

Cat motor graders are equipped with AccuGrade™ Grade Control System for grading accuracy which also eliminates the need for survey stakes. This revolutionary solution is factory integrated, sensor-independent, and features a cross slope, sonic, laser, GPS, and Automatic Total Station (ATS) etc. – all of which work on low cost-per-hour operation to save fuel consumption. All these factors make Cat motor graders easy to own and operate.

CAT motor graders come with a redesigned cab that has connecting glass windows, and rear and side view mirrors for improved visibility and a safe working environment. A ground-level engine shut-off switch stops all fuel to the engine when activated and shuts down the machine when not in use. Strategically placed walkways and grab rails provide additional safety. What’s more, the machines have a secondary steering system which, in the event of the engine stalling, turns on automatically to help the operator stop the machine safely. Cat motor graders have a higher engine horsepower, and we also aim to increase their uptime.

The largest of the Motor Graders, the Cat® 24 motor grader has the power to work wide haul roads, efficiently. Operators will appreciate the latest cab comforts and owners will benefit by the low operating costs. At 535 HP and with a 24-foot moldboard, this grader will keep mining machines productive, safe and operators comfortable. The improved power train rebuild life, new modular design and new machine protection features can save you up to 2,400 servicing hours over the life of the machine. Cat C27 engine, 533 mm (21 in) transmission and lower power train provide 33% additional machine life before needing to be rebuilt. New, innovative main component modular design means they can be removed and installed quicker and easier. Transmission and cooling package can be removed up to 70% faster than the 24M.

Fluid Service Center provides single location at ground level for access to engine, transmission, hydraulic oil and coolant. This feature, along with clustered filters and extended service intervals, saves you maintenance time and operating costs. Consistent Power-to-the-Ground changes real-time engine power levels to offset cooling fan losses resulting in best performance at all times independent of ambient conditions. The 24 features asset protection and performance-improving technologies including: engine overspeed/underspeed, second generation steering system, articulation eStop, ripper auto stow, implements lock out and circle angle limits, to name a few. The Cat 24 is MineStar™ ready and includes Cat Product Link™ Elite and VIMS™ to help optimize equipment management, remote monitoring capabilities, machine availability and component life while reducing both repair cost and the risk of a catastrophic failure.

After a successful story of FMG 170, Fine is entering into a mid-size road construction equipment segment with the launch of their new motor grader. In line with Fine’s vision to be a one stop solution products and services for their customers, today we have entered into the fast growing road construction equipment segment with the launch of motor grader, the fine fmg130. This product has been designed and developed in India after an in-depth understanding of the needs of the road contractor fraternity. Our aim is to liberate them from deployment of various sub-optimal methods with limited mechanization and thereby improve their productivity. A truly customized solution, the Fmg130 provides an opportunity for maximum equipment utilization and delivers excellent quality output, increasing the profitability of road contractors.’

The Fmg130 is a disruptive, category creating motor grader which is set to deliver affordable uncompromised mechanization. It is most suitable for constructing small to medium roads as well as widening of state and national highways. It is also apt for applications such as embankment or earthwork for laying of railway tracks and levelling of large plots for industrial construction.’

The FMG 130 offers a host of benefits to road contractors and is the ideal machine for spreading and grading applications for the entire road contractor fraternity. It offers an optimized solution and precisely caters to the road contractor’s grading needs for government flagship programmes such as Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yogna and Smart City, as well as for district roads, border roads, rural roads and road expansion jobs. The FMG 130 is powered by a 130 HP Ashok Leyland BS iV engine developed by Ashok Leyland which is coupled with a 3 m (10 ft) wide blade. This equipment is optimized to deliver zero compromise grading at 33% as compared to conventional motor graders.

The product comes with a one-year, 1000 Hrs hours warranty, eliminating the customer’s anxiety when it comes to expensive repairs. This is possible due to Fine’s engineering and manufacturing capability, backed by a toughest testing system and sourcing of the best components, according to the company. The company said the Fmg130 has undergone over 5,000 hours of rigorous testing in the harshest of terrains and for the toughest of applications. It has been validated on all performance, safety and reliability parameters and is backed by Fine’s dealer sales and service network. It is equipped with apt technology that is affordable and coupled with unmatched quality, superior style, and operator comfort.

The CASE 865C Motor Grader is a blend of power and precision. Equipped with the FPT Engine, it boasts three power curves for enhanced performance. Maintenance is simplified with easily accessible main checks. Tailored for demanding tasks, its wide range of options ensures adaptability in diverse grading scenarios. The grader also benefits from features like the torque converter lock-up and a multi-radius blade, ensuring top-notch grading results.

The lock-up system overrides the torque converter operation in machines featuring the B-Series’ type of engine and transmission coupling. When it is activated, the lock turns the hydraulic coupling into a direct (rigid) coupling. The Lock-up system is automatically activated according to operating conditions, when the transmission electronics unit’s torque and engine speed readings reach preset values. The Lock-up is usually activated in travel applications where no extra torque is required from the torque converter and the machine runs at a higher speed.

The load-sensing hydraulic system helps maintain a balanced flow for all applications and for simultaneous moldboard movements. It ensures highly responsive and precise control, as well as easy and smooth operation. A directly activated axial piston pump only delivers the required amount of oil where it is needed, so that no power is wasted. The control valves ensure pressure compensation, enabling parallel lifting and lowering of the moldboard. A dedicated switch on the cab floor enables the operator to obtain maximum output from the hydraulic circuit independently from engine revolutions for faster reaction (Full Flow Mode).

Shock-absorbing circle saver option protects your circle turn components. It acts as a shock absorber and allows the moldboard to pass over obstructions and then return to its original position. This works automatically. No adjustment or operator intervention is required.

The patented FPT Hi-eSCR is the key to performance and success. The CASE grader is the only one in the market to meet the restrictive TIER 4 final demands with SCR-only after-treatment technology. This unique solution delivers a highly cost efficient performance thanks to exclusive features such as no DPF regeneration during the working activities means no waste of fuel; no DPF filter periodical replacement; no need for double stage aftertreatment DPF+SCR, etc.

The daily maintenance of all CASE grader models can be performed without the use of any specific tools. All the hoods can be easily removed or lifted without any effort providing access to all the vital components of the machine. Refueling can be done from ground level and the large fuel tanks have the capacity for a whole working day without stopping.

With Sany Motor Grader SMG200 AWD, companies can navigate the road to perfection, combining precision and power for superior road construction. The all-new SANY SMG200 AWD Motor Grader, equipped with 253hp “Fuel Efficient, Powerful & Reliable Engine for higher Performance. 14ft Heavy duty Moldboard offers High productivity with enhanced performance. For SMG200, a Cummins QSC8.3 engine with a variable power function can automatically match different curves according to the actual load. Guarantee the best efficiency on other load conditions. Power shift transmission developed by the SANY international R&D team (members from China, America, and Japan) has eight forward and six reverse gears, and its efficient and responsive power performance can meet all kinds of heavy load conditions. Hydraulic control differential lock can provide enough traction in poor underfoot conditions. Hydraulic control multi-disc brakes are applied on service and parking brakes, which have excellent brake performance and low maintenance frequency because of the sealed structure. A full-sealed slewing bearing structure can protect the circle from dirt and dust, achieving higher operation accuracy and 10000h service life than a traditional wear plate structure. The Hexahedron cab structure provides an excellent view of blade operation.

Schwing Stetter is offering the XCMG GR1705 model with a base operating weight of 15 tons, a Weichai engine, and a 12 feet blade configuration. XCMG’s Motor Grader GR1705 has Variable Horsepower Technology, high torque in low RPM, and an unique patented cylinder tech that reduces fuel consumption. It is easy to maintain, Spacious and comfortable cabin makes operation safe and easy. This model is suitable for all kinds of road construction jobs, including state and national highways, major district roads, mining area approach roads, and also for railway construction. To enable the motor grader achieve high precision motion control, and deliver quantity and qualitative grading, XCMG’s high horsepower motor grader features an intelligent variable load sensing hydraulic system.

Komatsu has placed a significant emphasis on improving operator comfort and overall experience with their motor graders. While introducing new capabilities, Komatsu has prioritized ergonomic design, intuitive controls, and reduced noise levels to create a more comfortable working environment for operators. By focusing on operator satisfaction, Komatsu aims to focus on productivity and reducing operator fatigue, which will naturally result in improved overall performance.

To maximize the lifespan and performance of motor graders, regular maintenance is essential. This includes routine checks of hydraulic systems, engine components, and blade functionality. Keeping blades sharp and well-maintained ensures optimal cutting and grading performance. Additionally, following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and promptly addressing any identified issues can prevent major breakdowns and costly repairs.

Per Technavio research, the expansion of the market hinges on various factors, notably the operational advantages offered by motor graders, technological innovations within the motor grader sector, and the increasing requirements from the construction industry. However, challenges arise from uncertainties prevailing in the construction sector, the rising trend of rented motor graders, and the shortage of proficient and certified operators. They play a crucial role in various sectors such as construction, mining, and road maintenance, efficiently executing tasks like grading, leveling, and earthmoving.

Continued advancements in technology are shaping the future of motor graders. Intelligent grading systems, GPS integration, and telematics are becoming standard features, further enhancing the precision and efficiency of these machines. GPS technology, for instance, allows operators to follow pre-programmed designs, ensuring a higher level of accuracy in grading and minimizing material wastage. As the construction industry embraces the era of smart technologies, motor graders are becoming integral components of interconnected construction ecosystems. These smart construction sites leverage data analytics, IoT (Internet of Things) sensors, and real-time communication to enhance project management and decision-making processes.

Motor graders, in particular, are indispensable for achieving precise grades and smooth surfaces, thereby diminishing the necessity for rework and augmenting overall productivity. Moreover, their versatility and capability to navigate different types of terrain render them invaluable in a multitude of applications, further bolstering market expansion.

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