During the company’s nearly hour-long briefing at Bauma 2016 in Munich, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) President Martin Weissburg underscored how the company remains committed to being a customer-focused global player while unveiling some of the most ambitious new product introductions Volvo CE has seen in a decade. This included the largest excavator and articulated hauler the company has produced, as well as an advanced suite of machine control systems.
“We continue to expand our product offering, and some of the best introductions we’ve had in almost a generation,” Weissburg said at the briefing. “We continue to invest in the future, in technology, advanced engineering, product development, market development, relationship management into our communities, be it connectivity, big data management, and things of this nature.”
Weissburg chronicled how Volvo CE is responding to the industry’s growing preference for higher capacity products in the general-purpose machine segment, launching its largest ever excavator and articulated hauler, the 99-ton (90-t) EC950E and 60-ton (55-t) A60H, respectively. At the other end of the product spectrum, Weissburg offered that Volvo CE was responding to the long-term global growth of the compact machine segment with a host of new products, including the L45H wheel loader and EC35D compact excavator. He also renewed Volvo CE’s commitment to providing a competitive offering in the road segment, evidenced by the launch at the show of the P4820D paver and SD135B soil compactor.
“With our strong product lineup we are well positioned to continue to serve customers in our traditional premium segment, as well as meet the needs of the growing value segment,” said Weissburg. “As always, innovation will drive our thinking and we will continue to be leaders in the fields of integrated offerings, connectivity, and electromobility.”
From a connectivity standpoint, Weissburg had some specific thoughts he shared: “When we talk about connectivity—Trucks, Penta, Buses, Volvo CE—it’s about the IoT (Internet of Things) and how we continue to invest on a connected basis so that our base products have real-time data extraction which we then provide for real-time monitoring, preventative data that comes to our customers. As we look at our technological advances and how we spend our R&D monies, increasingly a piece of this is not just on the big iron you see outside, but it’s on the interconnectivity and the connectivity of data to the machine and back to the customer so they can drive efficiency.”
Weissburg expanded on the timing of the introduction of new large machines. “The big machines we are launching is our core. It’s been our core for generations. Even as you look here in Europe, Volvo CE has an industry-leading position in articulated haulers, wheel loaders, and excavators. I think its public information that over the last year and a half we’ve gained impressive market share on these larger machines. This is very good business for us, for our dealers…not just the sale of the equipment which carries inherently higher margins, but also on the aftermarket, because the larger the machine, the more aftermarket activity there is.”
The new A60H is Volvo CE’s largest articulated hauler to date and was designed for heavy hauling in severe off-road operations, including quarries, opencast mines, and large earth-moving operations. It is powered by a 16-L Volvo engine, delivering max power of 382 kW (512 hp) and 495 N·m (365 lb·ft) of torque.
With intelligent systems from Volvo, such as MATRIS, CareTrack, and the On Board Weighing system, customers can optimize production and minimize operational costs, the company claims. The On Board Weighing System, which signals the optimal load every cycle, attempts to maximize production, boost fuel efficiency, and reduce machine wear in all site conditions and operations.
Volvo CE says the A60H delivers up to 40% more productivity than Volvo’s previous largest hauler.
The A60H features a matched drivetrain, automatic drive combinations, including 100% differential locks, all terrain bogie, hydro-mechanical steering, and active suspension. Fitted with an active hydraulic front suspension for higher hauling speeds in tough conditions, the A60H optimizes operator comfort and stability during travel.
The A60H’s dump support system, Hill Assist, and load and dump brake all help the operator to enhance productivity and safety.
Engineers focused on providing easy access for servicing the machine. The front grill swings down, acting as a service platform with anti-slip steps. The electric hood opens to 90°, combined with electric belly plate, allowing full access to the engine compartment.
Volvo’s largest crawler excavator, the EC950E, is available in less regulated markets. The 99-ton class crawler excavator delivers more tons per hour due to its high bucket capacity, powerful performance, and high durability. The EC950E has a bucket breakout force of 424 kN (95,300 lbf) and an arm tearout force of 408 kN (91,700 lbf).
Constant high hydraulic pressure delivers power to the machine when needed. For increased versatility, the attachment management system enables the use of various attachments, allowing the operator to pre-set hydraulic flow and pressure inside the cab through the monitor.
The 606-hp (452-kW) Volvo D16 engine teams with the newly developed, fully electrohydraulic system to improve performance and efficiency. The enhanced hydraulic system increases pump power and uses intelligent technology to control on-demand flow and reduce internal losses in the hydraulic circuit. Combined with Volvo’s ECO Mode, the hydraulic system reduces loss of flow and pressure to achieve enhanced fuel efficiency, the company claims.
The integrated work mode allows operators to choose the best work mode for the task at hand, from I (Idle), F(Fine), G (General), H (Heavy), and P (Power max).
Thoughts on China
Weissburg also shared his perspective on the difficult business conditions in the Chinese market, its impact on their dealer network, and how Volvo CE is assisting business owners, dealers, and customers based in China.
“Having been through many business cycles in many parts of the world, this one is different because it’s such a severe drop,” he said. “The Chinese marketplace was less accustomed to business cycle management because there were so many years of very strong growth...But Volvo CE is very accustomed to business cycle management. We faced it in Europe, we faced it in North America, we faced it in Latin America, so we come in with our expertise and our patience, and our capital to continue to support those dealers that have been good partners and that we want to have remain as good partners.
“The stresses in that marketplace are significant, but I’ve been very impressed with the resilience and the strength of these business owners, our customers, and our dealers to really stay in there. And we stand up right next to them, provide a variety of tools, depending on the situation and the dealers, to help them get through this downturn. And it is part of our very strong commitment to the important Chinese marketplace.”