Volvo CE continues to invest in India
The market for construction equipment in India is expanding by 12-15 per cent a year and it is being driven first and foremost by investments in the infrastructure. Volvo CE has been active in India for over 15 years and continues to invest in its ability to better serve its growing customer base.
In the coming years, planning is in place to connect fifty cities in India in a star-shaped road network to the five metropolises of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. This road network will be joined by underground railways in several cities and large-scale investments in the modernisation of the ports.
The modernisation of India is progressing rapidly. Not too long ago, women and men with simple tools, hacking and digging their way along the sides of the road to make room for the hypermodern rolls of broadband cables that were being laid through the country, were a frequent sight. Today, muscle power is replaced with machines and backhoe loaders are particularly effective when it comes to digging narrow ditches.
So, in 2007, it was only logical for Volvo CE to acquire Ingersoll-Rand’s road machinery division and bring into its fold soil and asphalt compactors, pneumatic tyre rollers and pavers. Since the annual market for excavators in India is around 15,000 units, Volvo CE also decided in 2010 to manufacture excavators in the factory in Bangalore and invested SEK 144 million to refurbish the existing facility.
The plant is producing excavators and road machinery of different kinds and has the capacity to roll out a total of 3,250 machines per year. Production right now comprises four road machines and four excavators a day. It has a semi-automatic feeder line that paints a finished component every 14 minutes and to make room for the production of excavators, the height of the plant was increased and a second storey was added.
Another local addition is the new test workshop for the large pneumatic tyre rollers that are used to shake and remove any cracks in the different layers of a newly laid surface, such as a newly asphalted road.
“The actual function of the machine is to create vibrations that are so powerful that they move the earth,” explains test manager Sanjay Raina. “So we have to isolate the machine in an environment that captures these vibrations, otherwise there is a risk that cracks will occur in both the buildings and flat surfaces on the site.”
In conjunction with the conversion and extension of the plant, the company took the opportunity to implement a number of environmentally oriented solutions. The day shift, for example, is operating using only daylight at the plant which enters through the transparent roof. The back up-generators are currently powered by Volvo Penta engines that consume 30 per cent less fuel and the amount of waste paint is reduced by 35 per cent, thanks to the new paintshop.
However, perhaps the most interesting investment relates to the collection of rainwater.
“As we step up production, we shall also need more water,” says Dharmendra Pandey, the project manager for the implementation of excavator production.
“In the space of just five years, the estimated consumption of water will increase from 11 million litres a year to 56 million litres. Groundwater isn’t free, either in terms of money or from an environmental angle.”
Using a collection system with large tanks that have been installed under the ground on the plant site, within the next three years, the plant will be totally self-sufficient when it comes to the water that circulates through the production chain and is used for outdoor irrigation.