Undeterred at Bauma China
By Chris Sleight01 February 2013
Trade shows provide a unique barometer of a market’s health and prospects, and November’s Bauma China show in Shanghai was no exception.
There is no doubt that the Chinese market is going through a difficult time. Various market statistics and financial results point to a fall in sales of -40% or so in the industry last year.
It is a downturn that began in mid-2011, as projects funded by the US$ 585 billion stimulus spending programme put in place by the government to help China through the global economic downturn came to an end.
But for all the difficulties in the market as it continues to come back down from those unnatural highs, manufacturers keep rolling out new models and enter new areas, as the exhibits at Bauma China illustrated.
Part of the ‘show biz’ of exhibitions is to take the wraps off a big new machine that will draw the crowds, and there were certainly plenty of these at the November show, particularly in the lifting sector.
Taking the lead on capacity was the Sany SCC86000A lattice boom crawler crane. Featuring four crawler tracks and a twin lattice boom design reminiscent of Liebherr’s P-boom, the crane is rated at 86,000 tonne-metres. Sany also showed a telescopic tower-type crane for wind turbine erection, with the upper works from an all terrain resembling the Grove GTK.
Zoomlion also displayed a new wind turbine erection crane with vertical telescoping lattice mast and lattice luffing jib. Its maximum load moment was given as 3,000 tonne-metres.
In addition to large all terrains from XCMG there was the XCL800, an 800 tonne capacity lattice boom truck crane on eight axle carrier. Also on show was its first foray into the tower crane market with the luffing jib XGTL1600-100.
Since the show, XCMG has claimed a new record for a production crawler crane, when its 4,000 tonne capacity XGC88000 lifted a total of 4,500 tonnes as part of its testing, prior to shipment to the customer.
But the big show-stoppers at Bauma China were not limited to the lifting sector. Shantui used the event to unveil its largest ever dozer, the SD90-5, which weighs in at 105 tonnes and boasts a 708 kW engine and 45 m3 capacity blade. This puts it in the same size category as Caterpillar’s largest dozer, the D11.
Meanwhile Zoomlion used Bauma China to present a new 300 tonne face shovel excavator, the ZE3000E.
Besides these crowd-pleasers, there were some interesting developments among the more day-to-day construction machinery categories. One impact of the current downturn in the Chinese market seems to be an increased focus on efficiency and running costs among contractors. This was reflected at the show with several new liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered machines.
Chenggong, Liugong, Lovol, SDLG and XGMA all unveiled such machines at the show, highlighting lower emissions and greater fuel efficiency as key benefits.
Having launched an LNG-powered wheeled loader at Bauma China 2010, XGMA used this year’s show to take the wraps off a 21.5 tonne tracked excavator, the XG822CNG.
Lovol and Liugong’s new LNG machines are both wheeled loaders in the 191 kW class – the FL966F-EXT (LNG) and CLG-862 LNG respectively.
Ed Wagner, director of testing and advanced technology for Liugong said, “It makes a lot of sense. There are a lot of markets in the world where gas is significantly cheaper (than diesel). It is also a lower emission fuel because it is a simple molecule and it has been used in forklifts for years and years.”
Emphasising this point, SDLG said its 18.4 tonne LG968N wheeled loader offers fuel savings of up to 40% over traditional diesel machines.
Doosan meanwhile presented a 21.5 tonne prototype hybrid tracked excavator, a machine powered by a diesel engine with an electric motor and capable of producing 110 kW.
Doosan product manager Ye Bin said, “The diesel electric drive has been shown to produce fuel efficiency savings of up to 20%, depending on the application.”
Another machine designed to cut fuel costs is XCMG’s new DAE60 articulated dump truck. Unveiled for the first time at Bauma China, it is notable for several reasons. It is XCMG’s first foray into the ADT market. At 60 tonnes, its payload is higher than any other ADT on the market. Finally, it uses a diesel-electric drive system, which uses the on-board engine like a generator to power six individual electric motors in the wheels – a technology usually only found in the mining sector on much bigger rigid haulers.
Of course it is one thing to show a prototype at an exhibition, but another to make a machine a commercial success, so it will be interesting to see how well the hauler performs in real life. However, on paper it looks promising. XCMG says it has a 45 km/h top speed and a maximum gradeability of 45°.
According to XCMG, the diesel-electric drive on the DAE60 offers independent control of the six wheel motors. Anywhere between two and six motors can be engaged, depending on the operating conditions. The truck is also fitted with hydro-pneumatic suspension, while braking is handled by a hydraulic dry disc system.
Another key trend in the Chinese market is that overseas manufacturers are increasingly building models incorporating specific local requirements. These are not only built in China, but more and more manufacturers are doing the research and development in China too, using their local workforce.
A case in point is Sandvik Construction’s new DH350 down the hole (DTH) surface drill rig, which was designed and built at the company’s production facility near Shanghai. Pekka Nieminen, president of Sandvik’s surface drilling and tunnelling products said, “We supported the development from Tampere (Finland), but the drill was engineered in Shanghai.”
Similarly, Volvo Construction Equipment has broadened its product range in China with the launch of the new L105 wheeled loader, which will be manufactured in China and has been specifically developed to suit the demands of Chinese customers.
This is an interesting move, as Volvo already has a range of Chinese designed and built machines in its portfolio, which are manufactured by its majority-owned joint venture in Shandong province, SDLG.
Volvo CE president Pat Olney said, “The dual brand strategy helps us appeal to the largest customer base. In the fist 10 months of 2012 we sold 36,455 Volvo and SDLG wheeled loaders and excavators in China, meaning we hold the number one position in the market for these machines.”
He continued, “Volvo is positioned as a premium brand in China. The L105 has been designed to be a reliable machine, but the technology level of the product has been adapted to the market. It won’t be as fuel efficient as an L110 made in Sweden, for example, but it is still backed by Volvo’s full support and service network. It’s not just a streamlined version of a Volvo wheeled loader, and draws on the know-how and experience of both the Volvo and SDLG brands.”
Similar moves are afoot in the powered access sector, with both JLG and Terex now making simplified products in their Chinese factories for the local market and other developing countries.
The JLG 18RS and 24RS are 18 m and 24 m booms with basic specifications and lighter weights than JLG’s equivalent 600 Series and 800 Series booms made in the US.
“They have everything you need, and nothing you don’t”, said Jeff Ford, JLG global product director.
Both models have fixed axles, 360o rotation (not continuous), 4WD/2WS and a single 230 kg cage capacity. No jibs are available with the booms.
Meanwhile, Terex AWP has launched the first of a new range of low-cost aerial platforms designed and built in China and targeted at emerging markets. The first two models in the ‘Skysafe by Genie’ range are the 12 m V1200 telescopic boom and the PS500 electric powered, push-around scissor lift.
The two models were designed and built at Terex AWP’s Changzhou facility in China and will be targeted at emerging markets in China, wider Asia, India, Latin America and the Middle East, with some possibilities to sell the scissor lift in developed markets as well.
The V1200 will cost around half the price of the equivalent Genie S-40 self-propelled boom, while the scissor will be priced at around 30% of the cost of a conventional self-propelled scissor of the same height. That pricing will undercut similar sized models produced by Chinese manufacturers.
The powered access sector in China could be looking at a huge boom in activity as safety regulations change. As part of the country’s 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015), the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has set itself the target of reducing scaffold use by more than -50%, according to Li Shoulin, a research fellow at the China Academy of Building Research.
He said scaffolding collapses and falls from height are the cause of 62% of all work-related accidents in China.
A spokesman for Terex said the company expected the aerial work platform market to grow at an annual rate of between +25% and +50% in the years up to 2015, driven both by the growth of the equipment rental sector in the country and by Chinese government drives to improve worker safety, of which the scaffolding replacement programme is one example.
And for the international players, producing for the Chinese market in China is something that now goes beyond the machines themselves. Component suppliers are also adopting a similar model.
Dana’s Spicer Rui Ma line, for example, was launched at Bauma China and comprises three transmission and drivetrain products for loaders, forklifts and concrete pumps.
Paolo Negri, global platform lead for Dana Italy’s off-highway product group, said the Spicer Rui Ma products featured less automation than the transmissions Dana sells in Europe. “They are not fully automatic shifting transmissions, so there is some manual selection. The idea is to target customers in China that want to export their machines internationally,” he said.
Similarly, Perkins unveiled the first designs for a new, diesel engine that will be manufactured at its factory in Wuxi and supplied to Tier 3 markets around the world.
Perkins product marketing manager Simon Gray explained the engine was developed to meet the future needs of developing markets. “By 2016, we expect Brazil, China and India to have adopted Tier 3 emissions regulations,” he said. “The 1106D-E70TA is ready for this change – the first pilot engines are in production, and we expect to go to full production in the third quarter of 2013.”
The long haul
So while the Chinese market may be going through a relative lull – although it remains by far the largest construction equipment market in the world – this all suggests that manufacturers still believe in the country’s long-term potential for growth, and are prepared to invest in it.