Construction equipment is continuously evolving as manufacturers incorporate new technologies & telematics to increase efficiency, productivity, reliability, safety & return on investment. Some emerging trends within the construction equipment market are:
- Higher Expectations from Users
Construction is now a key project activity and is getting more complex and at the same time completion schedules are tighter. Hence users are seeking equipment that is faster with minimal operational & maintenance costs. Costs are monitored more closely than ever with as little downtime as possible. In most construction equipment, tyres represent 2nd highest operating cost (after fuel) thus tyre performance is a key imperative. As a result, tyres are being developed for specific applications keeping in mind the above user demands.
- Increased acceptance of Solid Tyres
Tyre are generally ignored until failure or downtime causing damage or a safety incident occurs. Solid tyres are 100% puncture proof have long service life (3 to 5 times that of pneumatic tyres) and are ideally suited for low speed, short haul distance, high load applications in confined work areas. While the use of solid tyres in material handling equipment such as forklifts is common, solid tyres are finding acceptance on compact construction equipment used in puncture-prone and severe or environmentally-challenging applications, such as waste, demolition and paving. Hence solid tyres are now available for skid steer loaders, telehandlers, wheel loaders, boom lifts etc. Semi-Solid tyres with sidewall apertures that improve ride quality are changing customer notions regarding comfort.
Initial costs of solid tyres are now comparable with foam filled tyres but as service life is 3 to 5X, the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is significantly lower.
- Renting Vs Owning
The advent of hybrid & electric equipment as well stricter emission (for IC engines) & safety standards has significantly increased the equipment cost. As project timelines are tighter, there is an increased demand for specialized machines for executing specific tasks. Renting thus offers greater flexibility with reduced capital outlays. E.g. it makes more sense for a company to hire
powered access platforms for a construction project than buying it outright.
This has led to an emergence of organized rental companies even in developing markets for whom machine reliability & uptime are of paramount importance.
- Use of telematics
On board equipment telematics provide real-time performance information of critical systems such engine, hydraulics, tyres etc. & can assist in timely preventive maintenance to ensure minimum downtime. Performance monitoring systems now available for even for solid tyres where a user can access the information related to temperature, distance covered, etc.
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