General Manager & Head – Construction Equipment Business,
Larsen & Toubro.
We have made substantial investments in developing world class service & training centres.
L&T offers two models of wheel loaders in 3.5T payload segment – L&T 9020 and L&T 9020 SX, and also offers Komatsu model WA380-6 in the 5T class. “We have recently launched DigiEye in line with our corporate objective of making our machines digitally enabled,” says Vivek Hajela, General Manager & Head – Construction Equipment Business, Larsen & Toubro Limited Excerpts from the interview…
Brief us on the range of wheel loaders offered by your company?
L&T offers two models of wheel loaders in 3.5T payload segment. While L&T 9020 is suitable for the general construction, small / medium blue metal quarries and raw material handling inside the process industries, our premium model L&T 9020 SX with higher productivity and faster speed of operation is meant for larger blue metal crusher and mining industry.
What are the key market trends in terms of hp / tonnage, and shift towards higher capacity wheel loaders?
We find that the demand for 3-3.5T payload wheel loader grew at healthy rate of 28%, which constitutes for 78% of the wheel loader demand. The 5T class wheel loader finds application with large mining and material handling contractors especially in coal mines. We expect this trend to continue with 3-3.5T class of wheel loader growing at healthy pace in the near future, alongside 5T will find its space and grow in certain segments and applications. We also offer Komatsu model WA380-6 in this segment which is imported from Japan as a completely built unit.
What are the key features built-in in your range to optimize fuel efficiency, helps reduce cost per tonne and safety?
We are one of the pioneers in starting the usage of Ashok Leyland Hino Series engines, which proved to be one of the most fuel efficient in the class. Our Product Development Centre at Coimbatore has been working on the optimization of the linkage, arm and bucket design to provide higher penetration forces and faster hydraulic cycle time. This enables us to deliver higher productivity per litre of fuel.
The operator’s cabin is provided with safety grill as a standard fitment and we also provide an option of FOPS/ROPS cabin for enhanced operator protection in mining application.
How have you been able to leverage the digital platforms to enhance the performance of your range of wheel loaders especially to optimize cycle time and accurate loading?
We have recently launched DigiEye in line with our corporate objective of making our machines digitally enabled. DigiEye will provide operational inputs like the utilization of the machine on a 24-hour scale, the location of deployment, alerts for timely maintenance and prevention of breakdown. This feature will also enable timely maintenance of the equipment enabling higher uptime and hence enhance its productivity. We also have an optional payload monitoring system to avoid manual intervention and to improve the speed of operation. The accuracy of the system is close to 98%.
Could you talk about the bucket options on offer? What are the key design features here?
The payload capacity of the bucket is a key design feature and it remains the limiting factor. Depending on the material density, we can offer different buckets from 1.5 cum to 4.5 cum. We also have an option of bottom opening bucket for certain critical applications. Similarly, we can offer buckets with our tooth points and an option of choosing a welded or bolt on tooth points on
What are the attachments available for the wheel loader? How do you view the potential for this segment?
Presently, we offer attachments like high lift arm for extra dumping height to load into the Punjab body trucks and it has been accepted very well especially in the northern states. We offer loader with dozer blade attachments, which is very popular with coal OB contractors for light dozing activities due to the speed and economy against the conventional dozer. We also offer bottom dump bucket and wood grapple attachment. But the use is limited for these attachments. As more urbanisation and infrastructure development happens, the wheel loader can be used with different attachments due to its mobility and versatility.
What is the current overall demand – supply scenario for wheel loaders from different verticals?
There has been excellent demand from various segments in the past 2-3 years. The growth in infrastructure development has led to faster growth in general construction and material handling at quarries. It constitutes almost 60 per cent of the sales volume followed by coal handling at pitheads, railway sidings and at ports. The segment constitutes about 22% of the demand, while approximately 10-12 % from the mining.
We expect infrastructure development to continue to dominate the demand in the near term and we expect the growth rates of 10-15 % over the next 3 years.
What differentiates your range of wheel loaders in the market?
We take great pride in being one of the Make-in-India manufacturer right from the design stage. These products are designed and developed by our Product Development Centre at Coimbatore and have been manufactured considering the needs of the Indian customers w.r.t. higher productivity, lower fuel consumption, lower cost of operation and maintenance, ease of operation for the operator, safety etc. We have a dedicated design team continuously taking feedback from the field and offering solutions for different applications. Thus, we are providing customer centric solutions as against standard solutions.
We firmly believe in ‘In services lies Success’ and have made substantial investments in developing world-class service & training centres at Delhi, Kanchipuram, Durgapur, Singrauli, Nagpur and Pune. This enables us to provide unmatched services to our customers where ever their jobs take them to throughout the country in the cases of major breakdowns by providing quality service and repairs.
Thus, our wheel loaders provide
great value in terms of customised solutions as per the application and our ability to support our customers throughout the lifecycle of the products in every nook and corner of the country.