´Made in India´, JCB India´s range of material handling machines is revolutionising the industry with the way material is handled.
India is now at a cusp, moving from tradition to modernity. There is a renewed focus on infrastructure, thus spurring specialised demand for material handling equipment (MHE). The construction equipment (CE) industry has grown by over 40 per cent from January to June 2016 as compared to the same time the previous year. What better time to introduce modern MHE to India? Hitting the nail is leading manufacturer of earthmoving and CE, JCB India, with its three products in MHE: Telehandlers, skid-steer loaders and super loaders. ¨This is going to be a pioneering product range in the country,¨ shares Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director and CEO, JCB India.
Safe, productive and versatile
The 4-in-1 telehandler: Globally, JCB has been pioneering the concept of telehandlers since 1977. Telehandlers are extensively used for material handling applications such as loading, unloading, placing and lifting material at various heights and reaches. Through the use of various attachments, this versatile machine greatly enhances on-site safety. In India, there are three variants of telehandlers offered: A 7-m lift height machine known as the 530-70, a 11-m lift height machine known as 530-110, and a 17-m lift height machine, the 540-170.
Compact skid steer: JCB skid steers have a unique side door entry. Skid steers are ideal to operate in urban infrastructure applications or for narrow areas where space is a constraint. This compact and versatile machine is available in two variants in India: The 135 and the 155.
Dedicated super loader: A blend of value, versatility and performance, the super loader is designed for loading applications at higher heights. JCB offers two variants in India - a 3.1-m dump height machine and a machine with a 4.0 m dump height. This range is accompanied by a wide option of attachments such as power grab, drum handler, vibratory roller, industrial grappler, general purpose shovel, heavy duty fork, crane hook - fork mounted, grain bucket and man platform.
Catering to all
In terms of professional MHE, the company is creating a market in 16-18 industries. ¨These include ceramics, processing, agriculture, logistics, cement and sugar; across industries, the telehandler is vastly used in the tunnel industry,¨ says Jasmeet Singh, Head-Corporate Communications, JCB India. He adds, ¨In case of the load-all, the industries are a combination of ceramics, rentals, construction, cotton, aluminium recycling, etc. We focus on these segments; through demonstrations and contact programmes we are building awareness. Similarly, for skid steers, it´s construction, urban applications, process industries, etc.¨
The company has already sold in the hundreds until now, and has exported the skid steers to other countries as well.
Focus on indigenisation
The industry is progressing towards more safe and reliable practices, JCB is achieving focus through indigenisation and innovation. ¨We like to have a close supply base within the country largely, but sometimes there are certain components that are not manufactured initially until volumes take up,¨ says Sondhi. In case of the load-all, indigenisation is 95 per cent, about 45 per cent of the component combination exists with the backhoe; in case of the skid steer, indigenisation is 55 per cent. And Sondhi says, ¨Super loaders would be 100 per cent. So fundamentally, this keeps becoming more indigenised as the product becomes better.¨
Safety and innovation
Thankfully, people are now talking safety. Here, site efficiency is important. ¨Safety is one thing but as an industry, are we able to supply equipment to that standard?¨ questions Singh. And he then delivers the answer: ¨Yes, and we have achieved it through innovation.¨ For example, JCB had to reengineer the skid steer to be equally productive and robust with one loader arm, unlike two in the other skid steers. Consider this: With features such as hose burst check valve, when the sensor detects a loss of pressure, it locks the machine immediately. Other sensors and audio-visual alarms are built into the base of the machines.
Made in India
With five state-of-the-art factories in India, JCB today manufactures 48 products in eight product lines, which are not only sold in India but exported to over 65 countries. ¨The investment as a whole is part of the Rs 2,000-crore worth of investments we have made in the country in the past three to four decades,¨ shares Sondhi. And Singh emphasises, ¨We have invested in India; we are a manufacturer. We have setup a R&D centre and localised supply chains; and are creating employment; our agenda is to stay for the long run.¨ The Jaipur factory, the largest factory for JCB in India, is an investment too. And, the company´s 400 engineers in Pune design machines brilliantly, which work in 65 other countries where it exports. This centre innovates and designs emerging market-centric products. ¨That is where our strength lies - in Frugal engineering and achieving the same quality and reliability at a fractional cost,¨ adds Singh.
Also, JCB has 14 operating training centres across India and has several programmes. ¨We also understand that when we launch a new product, there will be a situation where there may be no operators for these machines,¨ Singh explains. ¨So, we set up training for operators; we encourage factory visits and many a times train them free of cost.¨
Leading the way
Despite a wide range of equipment available, customers want to know more about the ideal machine to suit their application. ¨The best option is to buy the right base machine and invest in attachments, which allow versatility and improves efficiency,¨ points out Singh. In telehandlers and skid steers, one attachment takes less than two minutes to change; so from a loader, it can become a forklift; from a forklift to a trenchcutter to a solid waste management equipment.
Over the years, the MH industry has been witnessing a growing need for technologically advanced and intelligent product solutions. And, as the industry matures, there will be a paradigm shift in the way material is moved. Indeed, with the three product solutions, JCB is leading this shift in India. As Sondhi shares, ¨At the end of the day, in India, what will really sell is a globally designed product, a low-cost one which ensures quality and safety at sites.¨ And these products will play a role wherever Earth needs to be dug or material handled!
CREATING THE REVOLUTION
Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director and CEO, JCB India, talks to CW on the transformation he foresees for the MHE industry.
¨The industry is now progressing towards more safe and reliable practices, and through these revolutionary products, we foresee a great opportunity to replicate global best practices in the MH industry in India. This MH range is going to be a pioneering product range in the country as no one manufactures these products in India. This being a transformational industry, we have to actually reach out and create the market for it. We are going to go sector by sector, customer by customer, with machines and applications, and explain the need. By and large, JCB India´s focus is on indigenisation and this world-class range is a perfect combination of safety, productivity and versatility.
- Seraphina D´souza