Sunday, July 14, 2024

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Cover Story

Backhoe High on Versatility & Convenience

Backhoe loader manufacturers continue to offer end-users products that are highly versatile in nature, which ultimately results in solid utilization rates in many applications. With changing times and boosting demand pattern, manufacturers are fast refining their product basket with enhanced features designed to help manage operating costs. Pioneering the integration of digital technology with construction equipment, these new age backhoe loaders are changing the game…. writes, PRERNA SHARMA.

These days all the machines come equipped with world-class remote monitoring telematics technology, which helps in the remote monitoring and fleet management on the key parameters of Service, Operations and Security. All in all, the backhoe loader segment is poised for a huge growth uptick on the back of surging construction activities in the country.

Backhoe loaders have become incredibly important machines in the construction sector. The rising initiatives by the government in various countries is boosting the infrastructural development like the building of roads, airports, seaports, and railways, which in turn is having a positive impact on the market. Growing urbanization across the globe has increased the demand for construction of commercial and residential infrastructure. Moreover, the global construction industry has witnessed significant demand in the recent past, owing to increasing population. Furthermore, development of smart cities has paved way for construction of highways across cities. This, in turn, has created humongous demand for backhoe loaders. In addition, growth of agriculture sector is further shaping the landscape for backhoe loaders. The mining industry has also witnessed high growth in recent years, where backhoe loaders are used for digging and excavation process.

Fast Facts

  • The Backhoe Loader market accounts for ~7% market share in total sales of construction equipment industry globally.
  • India is the largest market for backhoe loaders, which accounts for almost 50% of all construction equipment sales in unit terms.
  • Small construction projects are expected to rise the demand for backhoe loaders due to their efficient use in material handling and digging applications across the world.
  • Initiatives by governments of several countries around world to boost the development of infrastructure, such as roads, airports, railways, and seaports, is projected to drive the global backhoe loaders market.

Demand boosters:

All backhoe loaders manufactured in the country have a simple design with a rigid chassis and currently fall in the 49-100 horsepower range. In terms of sales by horsepower categories, the market has been witnessing a changing trend, particularly from the last year, with rising share of the under 50 horsepower category. The most popular models sold in India still feature a 70-79 horsepower engine, 2-wheel drive, side-shift, a 1.0 m3 loader bucket and a 0.23-0.25 m3 backhoe bucket. Centre mount models have only limited appeal, and some demand exists for higher horsepower and 4-wheel drive machines.

An interesting insight by Off-highway Research highlights that India is by far the world’s largest backhoe loader market, with more than 37,000 machines sold last year. Customers have traditionally favored machines with a 75-horsepower engine. However, the introduction of CEV Bharat Stage IV emissions laws for non-road equipment from the first quarter of 2021 caused a marked change in preferences. The laws require lower exhaust emissions from wheeled equipment which can be driven on public highways i.e., including backhoe loaders.

The lower cut-off for the laws is 37 kW (50 horsepower). This has seen the development of a new range of 49 horsepower machines from all the main suppliers to provide a cheaper alternative to traditionally powered machines, which now cost more due to the technology required to achieve emissions compliance. This category of equipment barely existed five years ago, but in 2021, it accounted for almost a third of backhoe loader sales in India.

However, as Off-Highway Research’s new report, The Backhoe Loader Industry In India, notes, this shift may be relatively short-lived. “Currently under 50 horsepower backhoe loaders segment has a substantial share of total sales. Off-Highway Research predicts its share to increase further in the short term primarily due to their lower price. However, this price differential is expected to become much smaller after implementation of CEV Stage-V from April 2024, which may result in a shift back towards higher horsepower machines. The Stage V regulations will affect a wider spectrum of engines, down as far as 19 kW (25 horsepower).

According to Fact.MR research report, currently, the market for center pivot backhoe loaders is growing significantly as these types of backhoe loaders are setting new benchmarks for better operator comfort, exceptional performance, versatility, and job site efficiency. The center pivot backhoe loaders are estimated to account for 86% in terms of revenue by 2022 end and are expected to grow at a value CAGR of 5.7% over the forecast duration. Trailing close behind are sideshift backhoe loaders foreseen to cross ~US$ 500 million by the end of the forecast period by contributing over 11% in the overall absolute dollar opportunity created by the end of 2032.

The demand for backhoe loaders with high engine horsepower is growing as it offers better performance, higher fuel saving and fast response time in excavation, loading and digging. Backhoe loaders with 80-100 horsepower are estimated to capture over 48% of absolute dollar opportunity created over the forecast period. However, owing to the better price to performance ratio along with the excellent maneuverability, backhoe loaders with below 80 HP are also foreseen to auger well in the global market over the forecast period. The backhoe loaders with below 80 horsepower are estimated to account for ~1.5X of the overall value created by the above 100 horsepower segment over the course of forecast duration.

Capturing Equipment Advances:

The overall industry now tends to shift to virtual interaction. Technology-driven companies are now taking the help of the virtual interface more. They are working towards creating a more trouble-free machine and a system to provide remote assistance to the customers. With customers’ profit margins under pressure, manufacturers are striving to make owning and operating their machines financially viable during the current lean period. But as demand improves, competition is likely to become more intense – and so will marketing. In fact, an aggressive marketing plan by manufacturers augurs well for the infra sector as it will broaden the range of product offerings and make prices more competitive. It will also strengthen the pre- and post-sales customer support and service packages of the manufacturers to beat competition. For instance, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has agreed to distribute Kemroc’s cutting-edge equipment in India. Kemroc is a global maker of attachments for excavators and backhoe loaders. The contract covers Kemroc-developed specific attachments, such as its revolutionary EK chain cutters. These chain cutters have revolutionised rock trenching and are widely used around the world, especially in India.

Cat® Backhoe Loaders provide superior digging, trenching, back-filling and material handling capability and can be used for many applications, including but not limited to General Construction, Demolitions and Excavations, Landscaping, Breaking Asphalt and Paving. Cat backhoes deliver the power and precise handling when operating in areas where using larger equipment is not practical. The Cat® 424 Backhoe Loader delivers exceptional performance, superior fuel efficiency and a comfortable, safe and spacious operator station. The Cat® C3.6 engine meets BS-V CMVR emissions standards, a step ahead of current regulatory requirements ensuring longevity in the market. The engine delivers impressive peak torque of up to 424 N·m from an optimized engine capacity of 3.6 L. This provides high fuel efficiency with up to 20% fuel saving over the previous model when operated in the new Eco mode. The design of the Parallel lift loader gives high breakout forces with capability for dozing and loading and increased dump height. The iconic Cat excavator style boom on the backhoe enables reach over obstacles and better loading capability in narrow spaces. Robust stick design and 205 degrees of bucket rotation give a solid platform to deliver superior material retention and performance, even on tough job sites.

This combined with the variable displacement hydraulic pump (132 L/min flow @ 2,200 rpm) provides faster implement speeds and efficiency. The cabin is designed to meet ROPS (roll over protective structure) and FOPS (falling object protective structure), so the operator is protected. The stylish, spacious cabin gives excellent all-around visibility with fully integrated operator workstation including; suspension seat, clear information cluster and ergonomic controls.

Tata Hitachi’s world-class backhoe loaders are adaptable to different applications and are highly versatile to be used in various construction projects. Tata Hitachi’s Shinrai Prime Backhoe Loader is powered by a new CEV-IV compliant fuel-efficient Japanese engine, reliable and proven aggregates, an Excellent Hydraulic System (EHS) for high caliber performance. With a safe, comfortable, and spacious cabin for maximum operator comfort. It is equipped with InSite telematics suite for real-time machine monitoring and is backed by unmatched service support and a wide network of dealerships. The company’s reputation for product strength, agility, and reliability makes them a powerful tool to achieve maximum productivity with its range of advanced features and technology.

CASE Loader Backhoes are known for their versatility, reliability, productivity, flexibility, safety, and operator comfort. Recently CASE Construction Equipment, a brand of CNH Industrial, has crossed the production milestone of 50,000th Loader Backhoe, from its state-of-the-art facility in Pithampur.

On the milestone, Fabrizio Cepollina, Vice President, Industrial Construction Segment in Africa, Middle East and the Asia Pacific, CNH Industrial, said, “CASE has been manufacturing Loaders Backhoes since 1957 when industry’s first factory integrated Loader Backhoe was produced by CASE. Today, our latest range of TLBs further drive brand’s legacy of excellence to newer limits. CASE is globally known for its superior quality machines, making us one of the leading brands in construction equipment industry. This is a moment of pride for us, and we are working towards making our well-equipped Pithampur plant a global manufacturing hub for CASE products. The plant is already catering to the demand of close to 80 countries including India. We are aiming to further increase the volume of exports from here to additional markets.”

Sunil Puri, MD, CNH Construction Equipment India, said, “In India, we are fully aligned with government’s initiatives such as Make-in-India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat, with our Loader Backhoes being 90% indigenized. This remarkable achievement of 50,000th Loader Backhoe roll-out is a testimony of our customer’s belief in the brand and our products. We thank our esteemed customers, dealers and vendor partners for their support and look forward to achieving many such milestones in the future.”

CASE offers class-leading BS-IV compliant Loader Backhoes that are technologically superior. CASE Construction recently celebrated 180th anniversary globally, on the occasion, the brand launched an all-new, highly versatile, 49.5 hp 770NXe Loader Backhoe. The newly launched 770 NXe is a highly versatile Loader Backhoe from CASE that demonstrates a right balance between power and efficiency. The equipment features a cutting-edge Electro-Hydraulics variable displacement pump, coupled with the proven FPT S8000 49.5 hp engine that promises to deliver exceptional productivity in all applications without any compromise. The engine, designed and developed to offer higher productivity by CASE sister brand FPT Industrial, is known for its class leading torque delivery, which provides incomparable performance in tough loader applications with faster response time and high fuel efficiency.

The new CEV Stage IV JCB 4DX Backhoe Loader is Powered to Succeed. Incorporating state-of-the-art technology, which it has inherited from the EcoXPERT range, it is built to take on multiple challenges. Taking ahead a legacy of trust and dependability that has seen more than 350 000 JCB Backhoe Loaders sold, the 4DX with 4WD provides superior performance with increased productivity and lowered fuel consumption.

With Centre mounted high force digging bigger bucket for higher productivity with higher reach of about 5 meters, 4DX is an incredible machine. Powered by the JCB ecoMAX engine (CEV Stage IV), the new 4DX is loaded with 30 innovative features and three unique qualities that are, Easy Shift Gear, Semi-Kick Down Switch and Smooth Ride System Control, with SRS and 4WD as a standard system, that enhance the productivity and reliability of the machine.

It offers superior performance with 15%* lowered Periodic Maintenance Cost. Innovative features like auto stop and auto idle that helps in saving fuel by shutting down the engine within 6 minutes makes this machine a perfect partner for your business.

It also comes equipped with Intellidiagonostic for quick troubleshooting. Presence of dynamic modes like Loading and Roading further enhances the productivity of the machine. It is equipped with CRDI technology, an industry-first intelligent digital connectivity and a new plus mode for optimizing fuel consumption.

The all-new ACE AX 124 BS-4 is offering a high-performance machine with best-in-class aggregates at the right price. The rugged and reliable ACE loaders – AX124 BS-4 – is powered with 76HP Kirloskar engines. These machines are equipped with improved hydraulic pumps and advanced structured loader arms with higher breakout force while digging or loading materials, ensuring 10-15% higher productivity. Further, it is fitted with transmission from Carraro and hydraulic pumps from reputed brands and is available in both two-wheel & four-wheel drive options.

The designers at Mahindra have taken technology to the next level. Looking at the current scenario, the technical team at Mahindra has made a dramatic leap in its Backhoe Loader by designing the brand new EarthMaster SX Smart. With a 36.2 kW (50 HP), naturally aspirated Mahindra engine, best-in-class fuel efficiency, and optimal backhoe performance, it is specifically engineered keeping in mind the Indian usage patterns which breaks all the norms in the Backhoe Loader category. It offers high productivity with bigger loader (1.1 m3) and backhoe buckets (0.27 m3). Mahindra Earthmaster backhoe bucket is around 8% bigger than competition. It offers better dig Depth with 2 mm thicker plates than usual for applications where the strength is needed. More load bearing capacity to front axle with 63 mm thick beam, helps machine to do heavy work in loader application. The machines are ideal for all-weather condition like sub-zero temperature in the Himalayas, due to high impact resistant structural Grade of steel (350 C) for all critical components. It has lower per-hour maintenance cost due to 3000 hours hydraulic oil change interval, resulting in higher savings. Less Machine Maintenance with H-frame design ensures non accumulation of dirt.

The new Backhoe Loader JUNGLI HT by Escorts Construction Equipment (ECE) has enhanced features such as reliable turbocharged high Torque Diesel engine and the trusted XT 1610, which offers high performance, bigger buckets, and has the best-in-class dig depth and dump height.

Manitou TLB 740S and 844S backhoe loaders are designed for performance in tough situations. Efficiency is one of the mutual top priorities and its versatile backhoe loaders are unmatched in boosting productivity. Designed and developed for rough Indian terrains, these machines are setting new standards in the Indian market. Latest innovations in these loaders include intelligent tools and a powerful 76/90 hp Kirloskar engine. A reduction in work time and fuel consumption directly impacts the total cost of ownership.

It is designed for operator ease of access, which makes the maintenance of these machines an effortless affair. Excavator bucket is designed in such a way to extract maximum material per dig with lesser chance of spillage. This is done by giving maximum bucket rotation of 194 degree, which results in faster and productive digging.

Promising Augmentations:

Recently Carraro debuted its new modular transmission concept, THE (Transmission Hydrostatic Electric). The aim behind this concept is to give vehicle manufacturers a solution where they can fit out a vehicle with a hydrostatic or electric version, without having to make changes to the chassis or driveline layout. THE transmissions are highly configurable and will be available in two versions, with synchronized 2-speed, and with powershift. Optional configurations of THE transmissions include an emergency brake and a 4WD disconnect system. This highly versatile solution is particularly suitable for telescopic handlers, backhoe loaders, compact and small wheel loaders, as well as wheeled excavators.

In another interesting development, Simformotion has announced the release of the new Cat Simulators Backhoe Loader System. Set in a construction environment, the system teaches students and operators how to work a backhoe loader (BHL) from machine inspection to driving, braking, trenching, lifting and more. Simulation is an alternative to using actual machines for heavy equipment operator training.

With such incredible innovations in place, the demand for the backhoe loaders is only set to grow in the country. Today construction companies are not only asking for genx technology products, but they are also looking for conveniences and operating efficiencies. This is where companies like JCB, CASE Construction and other global players are winning the race with their enhanced service offerings and high user-friendly quotient. Market Research Future report predicts that the backhoe loader market is expected to gain a market value of $25,891.8 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 7.1% over the forecast period of 2022-2030. Going ahead, cost efficiencies and better utilization will be the two overarching factors that will define the scope & expanse of backhoe loaders globally.

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