By APA Bureau:
In a bid to enhance its product portfolio and to support its joint venture partner, Tata Hitachi has recently unveiled an all new backhoe loader,Shinrai, which in Japanese parlance means trust, reliability and confidence. Tata Hitachi is a subsidiary of Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. Ltd., which holds 60 percent share with Tata Motors Ltd. holding the rest.
Hitachi has 85 subsidiary companies, including 10 in Japan, and 12 affiliate companies, including four in Japan. Hitachi produces a wide range of hydraulic excavators, ranging from one-tonne minis to 780-tonne mining machines. Its range of products includes mini excavators, wheel loaders, forest machines, cranes & foundation machines, mine management systems, medium excavators, demolition equipment, rigid dump trucks, double-front work machines, large excavators / loading shovels, metal recycling equipment and compaction equipment.
Despite having a wide range of construction equipment in its fold, Hitachi did not have a backhoe loader. This was felt by both the partners, Tata and Hitachi.
Backhoe loader is the largest selling construction equipment in India and a few other markets. Excavator market has been growing faster than backhoe loader in developed markets.
However, in India backhoe loader alone commands 45 percent share in the entire construction equipment market. As it is expected to grow continuously in volume for some more time, Tata Hitachi decided to develop a backhoe loader along with Tata Technologies Limited. The development process began from scratch in 2014 with clear deliverables spelt out among the three partners.
The project began with Tata Technologies which has pioneered engineering development and garnered expertise in designing and developing passenger cars, commercial vehicles and off-highway vehicles. Tata Technologies is a global leader in engineering services outsourcing product development IT services to the global manufacturing industry and enabling manufacturing companies to design and build better products. The company is a strategic partner for developing complete vehicles, engineering subsystems and components, managing the New Product Introduction (NPI) process through collaborative engineering tools, such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and tying together information created and used throughout the extended manufacturing enterprise.
Sandeep Singh, MD, Tata Hitachi, said, “Tata Group offered its engineering support while Hitachi brought to the table its vast experience in construction equipment and technical strength in hydraulics. The USP of the machine is longer running time. The average running time of a backhoe loader is about 15 hours a day. Therefore, the machine has to be robust. Since over 90 percent of the machine is bought by hirers who practically live in the machine, Tata Hitachi has made comfortable and user-friendly cabin, given better visibility, operational ease and hydraulics. Air-condition is an option. We are not looking at fast ramp-up of production as we wanted our customers to get good experience and keep on improving the product. We will take baby steps.”
Asked why the company is taking time to ramp-up though the product was launched after four years of development, Singh said, “We are hungry for numbers but not for market share. When we develop from scratch, market share doesn’t matter much. If we want to be a long-term player, we need to be gradual in going to the market. Once we get customers’ acceptance we will ramp-up immediately.”
The plant has an installed capacity to make 240 machines a month and there is sufficient capacity to make Shinrai, without going in for expansion, he said.
Warren Harris, MD and CEO Tata Technologies, said, Tata Technologies leveraged its design centres in Romania, the UK, USA and India to design Shinrai. “We used our global delivery capabilities to develop the product. We have had industrial design and product mobilisation capabilities from the UK and the US facilities; we had machine design and powertrain capabilities from Romania while we mobilised frugal innovation capabilities from India. All of those have converged to help deliver the product.”
According to company sources, Shinrai will be sold by Tata Hitachi in India and adjacent markets. Besides, this will also be part of Hitachi Construction Machinery Co and its subsidiaries. In addition, the global company is looking at India as a base for sourcing parts for the backhoe loaders for potential assembly operations in markets abroad.
This latest offering from Tata Hitachi is designed and manufactured with the key tenets of capability and reliability. Designed for attachments for six-in-one loader buckets and rock breaker, the machine offers several capabilities to manage varied and demanding applications. The company claims that the new machine possesses industry leading dig forces, reach (of the arm), a brand new front-end loader geometry and a design built for several attachments. It is backed by a ‘high torque at low rpm’ engine with enough reserve power across its entire spectrum to provide confidence in its capabilities. Besides, the equipment is provided with a spacious, air- conditioned cabin with easy to work controls, fully mechanical drive train and an In-line fuel injection pump to support high-torque and other demanding requirements.
The company is also offering a special warranty and support package, lowest operating costs and InSite – Tata Hitachi’s telematics system using IoT, enabling the customer to know about his machine’s location and condition. InSitelinks the customer and construction site. The system tracks all kinds of parameters such as engine temperature, hydraulic fluid, remaining fuel etc. It helps in remote diagnostics of the machine. It closely monitors the entire operation status of the machine to improve its overall performance and increase machine’s availability and efficiency. Besides, it helps the service engineers to reach the customers on a fast track to service the machines.
“Shinrai is built on the platform of next-gen engineering that can tackle anything. With a promise of performance, power and progress. This is a machine where solid trust meets unparalleled reliability,” Kotaro Hirano, President and CEO Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan, said.
P Telang, Chairman Tata Hitachi, said, “This all new backhoe loader carries forward the long history of leadership and reliability demonstrated by Tata from India and Hitachi from Japan.” About 55 percent of construction equipment is driven by road. Asked if there is any concerted effort by Tata Group companies such as Tata Motors, which sells heavy duty trucks that carry the overburden dug out by Tata Hitachi machines, to address the customers, Telang said, “Tata Motors and Tata Hitachi identify their customers’ requirements. There are joint efforts, but you may not see that. Both the companies work very closely, especially in the mining segment.”
The mining sector in India is stable which consumes majority of excavators. Tata Hitachi has 37 percent market share in excavators in India and has equipment ranging from 47 tonne to 260 tonne. Tata Hitachi has 42 dealers including four in neighbouring countries. In addition, it has 250 service outlets. The company is strengthening all its sales and service outlets, Singh said.
Tata Hitachi is one of the largest manufacturers of construction equipment in the country and has three manufacturing plants at – Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Dharwad in Karnataka and Kharagpur in West Bengal. The company has a full-fledged design and development set-up for developing indigenous and collaborated equipment. It has established a new R&D facility at Kharagpur and plans to make it a global R&D hub. Shinrai will hit the market during the first half of FY2019 and the machine will be manufactured in the Dharwad plant from April.