COMPACT LOADER
Construction Week|September 2021
The backhoe loader is getting facelifts in different ways. The machine is now trendier
Molly R

Ubiquitous across construction and infrastructure project sites, the backhoe loader is perhaps one construction equipment that is in demand throughout all seasons. With the economy slowly coming back to life, backhoe loader manufacturers are optimistic of demand firming from the third quarter onwards, led by sustained thrust on infrastructure development. A sizeable part of the fresh offtake will be through materialization of pent up demand with construction activities resuming in infra projects such as rural housing, and roads. The backhoes with new attachments are also finding application in irrigation and watershed developments; and a good monsoon could herald new investments by farmers in backhoes for use in their farmlands.

Two years ago the government announced emission norms for commercial vehicles and construction equipment and tractors. Dates were revised due to the pandemic and new emission norms for construction equipment vehicles and tractors came into force from April 2021 and October 2021, respectively. The R&D and subsequent actions meant that ultimately the prices of the equipment would go up.

The BS norms were instituted by the government to regulate emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles and protect the environment. BS-IV engine in terms of efficiency will offer better performance and mileage. It will also reduce PM emissions, which is a main constituent for outdoor air pollution, by over 80% in diesel engine vehicles.

Jalaj Gupta, business head, Mahindra Truck and Bus and Construction Equipment, says, “The cost increase of the Stage IV CE is majorly due to the new engine’s technology. The new BSIV engines in Mahindra Construction Equipment offer higher torque. These engines control the emission of NOx and particulate matter which in turn reduces pollution. We have also designed the engines to offer best-in-class fuel efficiency by optimising the fuel during the combustion process.”

Mahindra has much experience when it comes to CRDI engines which are being used by many in-house and other OEM products. Its BSIV engines are being used in over 2 lakh EarthMasters and RoadMasters. Apart from the engine, the overall product has seen improvements too.

Many companies explored different approaches to bringing out BSIV CE. Rahul Shorey, head sales (construction), Tata Hitachi, says, “Initially we explored all global standard engines available for our CEV4 compliant backhoe Loader, Shinrai Prime. From this we selected the best available engine according to performance, after enquiry and rigorous examination across several engine manufacturers. Finally, we fine-tuned it according to our machine requirements and customer needs. We deliberately went ahead with an engine-mounted after-treatment-device to ensure reduction in noise and vibration and to minimise modification requirements in the equipment. For the after-treatmentdevice we narrowed down on the simple Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) system, which makes the machine environment friendly as well as easy to maintain.”

Nevertheless, what has been a mounting concern for the industry is the increase in input costs which will pressurize the profit margins in the current year. The domestic steel prices have been increasing consistently from July 2020 on the back of demand revival and an increase in international steel prices.

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