The long-term growth for construction and earthmoving equipment is intact and positive says Hemant Mathur, Assistant Vice President-Sales and Marketing, Tata Hitachi
Technology integration had taken the centre stage for some time now. Talk about the benefit of technology integration in CE.
Today, technology and telematics has helped the customer monitor his machines and operations sitting in the comfort of his office or home. The analysis built around the data that telematics offers, gives the customer insightful information that helps him identify whether the operations are going as per plan or if some intervention is required. Telematics also recommends on which areas of operation to focus on and how. The machine informs the customers and the dealer of any emergency situation or a potential problem. The dealer is then adequately prepared to resolve the issue at the earliest.
All this has transformed the way the modern construction sites are functioning. Enabling customers to improve system efficiencies, schedule maintenance interventions, reduce unplanned breakdowns and maximise equipment and site utilization.
AI, IoT, Big Data some of the very commonly heard terminologies, comment on how Tata Hitachi as a company is taking advantage of the technology?
IoT offers the power of knowledge about the various parameters of the machine at the touch of a button at the time and place of the customers’ convenience. Realising the enormous power this data places in the hands of our customer and us, we have taken the bold step of making it a standard offering in all our machines in India.
The ZAXIS GI series excavators are equipped with Global e Service, an offering based on the platform developed by Hitachi, Japan. On this is layered a premium offering called ConSite, which we offer as a standard with all our GI machines. ConSite uses years of experience, comparative data of similar class machines operating in the region and provides insightful advice and recommendations to improve operations. There is also an alarm service which uses machine events and is an intelligent filter to communicate machine breakdown and raise caution alarms with due recommendation to the customer and to the dealer for appropriate action. Our consultative approach to examining and advising customers on the health of their machines is a major value added support to our customers.
InSite is our home grown IoT solution that provides key operational, maintenance, location, and health data of the machine to the customers and Tata Hitachi.
The first two- quarters of the current FY was muted for the construction segment, the third quarter also seems to be in the same lines. Your take on this with respect to CE?
The CE industry in India has seen rapid growth over the last few years, powered by positive changes initiated by the Government of India, as also by the State Governments, to facilitate infrastructure development.
Though the industry is currently facing headwinds, we strongly believe that the steps taken by the Government in addressing the challenges would bring positive energy and momentum of growth in the infrastructure sector.
It goes without saying that a vibrant and strong CE industry will be among the most powerful engines which will drive the growth of infrastructure, and in the process, provide a further impetus to growth in the country.
What do you expect from Excon this year?
EXCON is the premier construction equipment and technology trade fair and conference, which has both national and international presence. The exhibition provides an exceptional platform for participants to leverage the opportunities in the Construction Equipment (CE) industry in India. Over the years, EXCON has emerged as a mega business event, attracting stakeholders with its sheer size and the range of products showcased.
In its 10th anniversary, EXCON 2019 is set to build further in scale and stature and put India’s CE industry, on the global map.
EXCON 2019 will provide a great opportunity to bring together more than 70,000 business visitors on a single platform to explore fresh opportunities. It will also have special focus on important issues such as the role of AI and IOT in the CE industry, Women’s role in infrastructure, Technology and Skills, MSME’s and Defence. The presence of important stakeholders such as Government, investors, manufacturers and buyers will help forge new partnerships in the Indian infrastructure sector.
Ending this financial year, the new green norms will be implemented. How ready is Tata Hitachi?
In line with the global practice of promoting the use of cleaner diesel engines, India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on March 5th 2018 has issued a notification for implementing BS-IV and BSV emission norms for the engines of wheeled construction equipment from October 2020 and April 2024 respectively. The Emission standards are similar to Euro Stage IV and Stage V non-Road vehicle.
Tata Hitachi is gearing up accordingly. All its wheeled products including backhoe loaders and front-end loaders are being upgraded with BS-IV compliant engines. Each of these products is going through the Company’s rigorous NPI (new product introduction) process that involves thorough analysis of design concepts by different functions, building of proto machines and testing them elaborately in the Company’s in-house test facilities. The entire process is supported by Hitachi, who already have wide experience of manufacturing Euro-IV (like BS-IV) construction machines for the global market. During this changeover, Tata Hitachi is also planning to introduce some newer features in the machines that will make them more user friendly and even more safe (ISO 20474 safety compliant) to work on. These wheeled machines of Tata Hitachi will hit the market in October 2020. In addition to the wheeled machines, the Company is also proactively working on developing new tracked excavators equipped with BS-IV compliant engines.
The first half of the current FY was muted for many of the sectors, especially for infrastructure. How was it for Tata Hitachi?
This year, there were elections in Q1 that were quite disruptive and there were issues with liquidity / NBFC funding. All these led to a contraction of demand in the H1 of the year.
We expect demand to slowly recover in the 2nd half of the year, given the Govts focus on infrastructure as well as the various measures taken to improve business sentiment and availability of liquidity.
India’s infrastructure sector is poised to grow significantly with the increasing demand for development of key infrastructure projects such as roads and highways, rural connectivity, urban infrastructure including metro rail projects, ports and airports, industrial corridors, smart city projects, etc.
The Government has initiated various steps for accelerating infrastructure development. Investment and implementation of key projects along with corrective measures and industry friendly policies of the Government we believe, will greatly help the infrastructure development in our country. Several projects have been announced in the last year opening up new avenues for the construction machinery industry.
Therefore, the long-term growth for construction and earthmoving equipment is intact and positive.
In terms of growth, we do see that the Mini excavator segment and the mining excavator sector showing significant opportunity in the near term given the increasing mechanization of construction in the country. In case of mining – the sector has performed much below potential in the last few years, however with the various steps being taken by the government to increase production of coal and iron ore – it is expected to better.