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In the current tight economic environment, improving productivity in civil engineering construction works is vital. Due to its versatility and operability, hydraulic excavators currently dominate construction equipment fleets operating at most civil engineering work sites.
The requirements on greenhouse gas emission reduction have become more stringent to suppress global warming, and improvement in fuel economy is now an important issue also for hydraulic excavators.
Excavator sales are often used to analyze construction activity in a country. Sales of excavators are also a reflection of the country’s economic growth momentum, with infrastructure projects playing an important part in GDP growth.
In the next 1-2 years, excavators will be widely used in construction work, including both traditional infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges, and new-model infrastructure programs such as 5G signal towers, charging stations for electric vehicles and urban renewal.
Further, Major players export excavators to the Middle East and Africa as well as other countries with a key global trend being modern machines and connectivity. About 30 percent of the machines are fitted with telematics on site that could ascertain fuel efficiency, health check of the engine, transmission, how the machine has worked, and access all information online. This telematics trend is set to capture the Indian market in a couple of years giving competition to Europe and Japan.
The construction equipment manufacturers make use of diesel as a fuel for the majority of excavators for use in the industrial sector. To limit the use of natural resources and emissions in the air due to the ignition of engines in heavy equipment such as excavators, governments across the world are incorporating emission regulations and norms.
The Global Technical Regulations provide a worldwide standardised method to determine the emission of gaseous compounds, particle emission and number, fuel consumption, energy consumption as well as a range of electric equipment vehicles. The regulatory authorities have been under scrutiny mainly in Europe, Japan and USA from equipment manufacturers to harmonise the emission standard which will streamline the development of engines and equipment. The European Commission has proposed the most stringent emission standards for non-road machinery, making it difficult for manufacturers to meet the standards.
Hyundai Construction Equipment in collaboration with Cummins Incorporation has announced the development of a 100% electric excavator prototype which is set to utilise the company’s latest technologies such as the Li-ion technology for the manufacture of mini excavators.
The company C. Bamford excavators announced the development of a fully electric 1.9-ton mini excavator named 19C-1 E-Tec. The machine will consist of three lithium-ion battery packs as well as an electric motor.
Caterpillar incorporation announced the incorporation of the company’s latest Cat Connect Technology in the design of the next generation 20-ton series of excavators, the 320 GC, 320 and 323 which will inhibit improved efficiency, reducing operating costs and improved productivity.
Doosan Group’s subsidiary Bobcat, announced the launch of its new excavator named E85 which is the largest machinery launch by the company. The new addition is set to expand the company’s portfolio of R-series compact excavators. The machine weighs 8.5-ton with enhanced performance, uptime protection features and operator comfort, with estimation to establish a stronger uphold in the North American market.
Hitachi Construction announced the launch of the company’s new generation mining excavators named the EX 7 series with which the company has plans to introduce the Internet of Things for the mining industry. The series is set to include excavators from a size range of 100-tons to 800-tons. The excavators will also include features such as connectivity, safety and productivity suiting mining-specific applications.
Kato Works, which is a Japanese construction equipment manufacturer, launched new conventional excavators as well as compact tail excavators. The machines are integrated with environment-friendly EU Stage 4/ EPA Tier 4 compliant engines. The company has launched these new models with environment-friendly features and enhanced performance to expand its business.
Liebherr launched Electric Excavators for Quarry Work. The R 976-E electric crawler excavator, along with the R 980 SME-E, replace the ER 974 B for mine and quarry extraction. The electric excavators are produced by Liebherr-France SAS. Both the excavators and their electric power system were designed and produced entirely by Liebherr.
Volvo Construction Equipment launched Volvo Active Control, an automated grading machine control system for its EC220E, EC250E and EC300E crawler excavators. The system allows operators to get the right depth and angle, reducing grading times by up to 45 percent.
The new EC300E Hybrid hydraulic excavator from Volvo Construction Equipment has the new hybrid system, takes load off the engine, and in the process, delivers up to 15 percent lower fuel consumption and 12 percent less carbon dioxide emissions, compared with a conventional machine.
The three Hyundai entities have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop hydrogen-powered medium and large hydrogen-powered excavators, with a 2023 mass production and distribution target deadline. Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis will design and manufacture hydrogen fuel cell systems, including power packs, and Hyundai Construction Equipment will design, manufacture and evaluate the performance of excavators.
With the world moving towards electric mobility, the leading developers of excavators and construction equipment are trying to develop technologies to reduce carbon footprint by launching electric excavators which meet with the customer requirements as well as abide by the evolving regulations delivering machines with higher efficiency, reduced costs, lower noise as well as low/zero emissions.
Volvo Construction Equipment announced the use of a cable connected and dual powered 70-ton excavator prototype named EX1 for the company’s electric site research project. It is estimated to reduce carbon emission by 98%, operational costs by 40% and energy costs by 70%. The company is working on the experiment along with a Swedish construction as well as a development company, Skanska AB.
Hitachi Construction Machinery announced the adoption of strategies in the company’s business model which will multiply the production of electric construction machinery across the European Union. The company is implementing these strategies with a strategic agreement with KTEG Kiesel Technologie Entwicklung GmbH which is a technology company based in Germany.
Hitachi Construction Machinery invested in an Australian startup named Baraja where the company is set to make use of Baraja’s spectrum scan LiDAR technology to accelerate the development of the autonomous haulage system for dump trucks and autonomous operation of ultra-large hydraulic excavators.
Liebherr announced the development of an advanced driver assistance system and on-board analytics solution to assist site operations to achieve higher safety, maintenance and overall efficiency and effectiveness.
John Deere recently introduced factory-integrated 2D and 3D Grade Guidance as an option on the 470G LC excavator, The largest excavator to feature this solution The system provides operators with the elevation and position of the bucket cutting edge relative to the target plane with 2D, or to the design surface with 3D. Grade Guidance is ideal for precision excavation projects, such as digging trenches for pipes, shaping ditches or slopes or digging structural foundations.
Komatsu’s new large excavators, the PC1250SP-11 and PC1250LC-11, feature a 13 percent boost in horsepower to 758 and deliver a 9 percent increase in production. The PC1250SP-11 has a shorter carriage and arm. Komtrax Plus is standard on both, and the Iridium Communications platform provides richer information.
Wacker Neuson’s ET145 conventional tail-swing model has operating weights in excess of 16 metric tons, depending on the configuration. It retains some features of a compact machine, including a swing boom, switchable ISO and SAE control patterns and a standard dozer blade. But it also has features found in larger excavators, such as a standard cab with heating and air conditioning and dual variable hydraulic pumps
SmartGrade delivers the highest level of technology, which John Deere currently offers on its excavators. The other choices include SmartGrade-Ready with 2D, 3D Grade Guidance, and 2D Grade Guidance. With four levels of technology, contractors can choose the one that makes sense for their operations. And upgrade kits are available for each option. SmartGrade operators can set parameters that amount to a virtual protective cube: limits are set in two different ways using Deere’s Virtual Front, Ceiling, Floor, Wall and Swing features.
The Global Excavator market is estimated at $XX Billion in 2020, growing at XX% CAGR till 2026.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the economic conditions of countries across the globe as several industries suffered due to lockdowns and low demands for non-essential commodities. The construction industry has also been impacted severely by the pandemic which includes the contractors, manufacturers of equipment, developers as well as supply chain vendors who supply raw materials.
The degree of impact on the construction industry varies according to the infrastructure projects and the region of development. Some important construction projects were not put on hold during the lockdown and some countries allowed the projects to continue with a 50% workforce. However, the demand for new construction equipment was low during the year 2020 due to the pandemic.
Governments across the world are implementing strategies to uplift the sector with significant investments and incentives to be levied in the future and help the market recover. However, the sales of some manufacturers did not plummet, rather their sales increased globally. For instance, Sany, which is a leading manufacturer of construction equipment, became the world’s leading company in excavator sales by selling 98,705 excavators in the year 2020.
Deere & Company, which is the leading manufacturer of construction equipment in America, announced a supplier partnership with Wacker Neuson, which is a supplier and distributor of construction equipment based in Germany. The company has plans to provide the Asian market with compact excavators to capitalize on the lucrative business opportunities in China, Oceania as well as Southeast Asia.
Caterpillar recently announced the financial results for the second quarter of the year 2021 with sales and revenue worth $12.9 billion which was an increase by 29% from the revenue of the same term last year which reported $10 billion.
Hitachi Construction Machinery announced in August 2021, that they have dissolved the joint venture alliance with Deere, the construction machinery giant. Upon the dissolution of the agreement from March 2022, the company will be able to provide new products and technologies directly to customers through an independent dealer network across north, central and south America. The company recently announced the financial results for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2022 with revenue worth $2.08 billion which was a 34.1% increase from the revenue recorded for the same term last year worth $1.5 billion.
Doosan Heavy Industries and construction has entered a contract with X-energy based in the US, which is developing a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor. The agreement is set to perform engineering service for manufacturing study of the equipment. The company will support the agreement by performing a study for optimum design. The company has also signed a contract with China Technology company which is a subsidiary of the state-owned energy corporation CGN. According to the agreement, the company will supply industrial anti-seismic protection systems that will be installed at Tianwan units 7&8.
Liebherr, which is the largest company manufacturing construction and mining equipment, has entered into an agreement with ABB, the leader of automation and electrification. The two companies have signed a memorandum of agreement according to which they will develop solutions for the electrification of construction and mining equipment to reduce greenhouse gases and emissions associated with using heavy machines. The company has also partnered with Hexagon to deliver the next generation software and autonomous technology for construction and mine automation.
The company released its report for the fiscal year 2021 which reported a total sales of EUR 10,341 million which was a decline of 12% representing EUR 1,409 million declines for the sales reported for the fiscal year 2020. The company also invested about EUR 512 million in the research and development department with the main focus on the development of new products and technologies.
Komatsu and Honda have reached a basic joint-development agreement to electrify Komatsu’s micro excavators, which use the swappable Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP), and establish a battery-sharing system, which uses the Honda MPP and enables mutual use of MPPs among different construction equipment and other equipment.
Caterpillar 302.7 CR, Cat 303 CR, and Cat 303.5 CR mini excavators are built on the company’s Next Generation platform and replace existing models 302.7D, 303E, and 303.5E2. Operating weights are in the 2.7-to-3.5-tonne range, and the mini excavators are powered by 24.7-horsepower engines. Dig depths range from 96.5 inches to 110.6 inches.
Komatsu has signed a collaboration agreement with Proterra to receive the supply of Proterra’s battery systems with the aim of having Komatsu electrify its small and medium-sized hydraulic excavators. Through its Proterra Powered program, the company delivers its battery systems and electrification solutions to help heavy-duty and commercial vehicle manufacturers around the world electrify their vehicles.
JCB North America has been awarded another contract to supply the U.S. military with a fleet of specialized high-speed excavators. JCB will supply High Mobility Engineer Excavators (HMEEs) for the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps over the next eight years. The contract could garner up to $269 million.
The 18-metric-ton JCB 150X features the spacious CommandPlus cab and a fully welded X-frame undercarriage. The most popular configuration has 24-inch steel tracks, a 9-foot-10-inch thumb-ready mono boom and a 109-hp engine.
John Deere has chosen two of its most popular excavator models – the 210G and 350G – to receive its top-of-the-line SmartGrade technology option, expanding the range of grade-control choices for contractors. Using GNSS positioning technology, SmartGrade accurately guides the horizontal and vertical position of the boom and bucket to a precise 3D design target. Operators can then concentrate on controlling the arm while the system raises and lowers the boom to maintain grade.
Cat’s 349 and 352 excavators offer up to 45 percent more operating efficiency, up to 10 percent more fuel efficiency, and up to 15 percent less maintenance costs compared with previous F series models of the two machines, according to Caterpillar.
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