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Intermat review: Signs of recovery

Last month’s Intermat plant exhibition in Paris featured more than 1,350 exhibitors and attracted 200,000 visitors. Margo Cole spoke to the owner of the Case and New Holland brands looked at a range of new products from other manufacturers.

Recovery in the global construction equipment industry in 2011 was mainly driven from North America, Latin America and other areas outside Western Europe. But sales in China have fallen considerably since the government there started trying to control inflation.

This was the view expressed by new Case and New Holland (CNH) president Mario Gasparri, speaking exclusively to NCE at the recent Intermat plant exhibition in Paris.

Gasparri became president in April 2012, and is responsible for Case Construction, New Holland Construction and Kobelco. Much of his career has been spent working in emerging markets in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the CIS.

Places where we are strong, we should maintain our strength

Mario Gasparri, CNH

Gasparri says the Chinese market is “still very slow”, but he expects it to pick up again over the next 12 months.

“One of the positives in 2012 has been North American market, where growth was quite significant in the first three months,” he says. “Housing and some government funding of infrastructure and energy is driving that.”

Brazil boom?

Like all equipment suppliers, CNH has big expectations in Latin America – particularly Brazil, where massive construction projects are anticipated for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

“There is some worry, because the government has not yet opened up funding. But there is a sense that it is now or never, because it has to happen,” says Gasparri.

He predicts that, globally, the construction equipment market will grow between 15% and 20% during 2012, and he expects CNH “to do better than that in overall performance”.

“Places where we are strong, we should maintain our strength,” he says, “But we are also picking up share in North America and Latin America, and we expect to improve our position in Europe.”

We’ve renewed most of our product offering in the last year, and we’ve had a very good response from the first customers using Tier 4i

Mario Gasparri, CNH

This confidence stems in part from the successful of new Tier 4i/Stage IIIB-compliant products across the range. “We’ve renewed most of our product offering in the last year, and we’ve had a very good response from the first customers using Tier 4i,” says Gasparri. “Our expectation is that should give us an edge moving forward to Tier 4 final [Stage IV].

Case and New Holland had a large presence at Intermat. Case was celebrating its 170th anniversary and the introduction of Stage IIIB-compliant engines in 90% of its models. CNH vice president, construction equipment Europe, Henrik Starup says: “We have spent the last 12 months renewing the whole range.”

New machines included six C-series crawler excavators – all offering fuel savings over their predecessors of between 5% and 17.5% – and F-series wheeled loaders, all equipped with Stage IIIB engines that use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with AdBlue to achieve up to 15% lower fuel consumption.


Among the new machines on the Cat stand was a wheel loader that is 25% more fuel efficient than its predecessor.

Savings on the 966K XE are achieved by a new continuously variable transmission system, which replaces the torque converter.

“We’ve saved the loss of torque that you get with the converter, which can make the machine quite inefficient,” explains Caterpillar wheel loader specialist Thierry Brasseur.

“Typically you would be burning 240kW, but this only uses 70kW, so you need one third as much engine power to produce the same torque.”

The fact that the engine runs at the most efficient speed for every operation should also mean a longer engine life. The 966K XE will be available in the UK in the fourth quarter of 2012, and similar technology may soon be introduced to Cat’s 972L motor graders.

Caterpillar sees Russia as an important market. The company sold 40,000 machines there in 2011 – up from 23,000 in 2010 – and expects that to grow by around 20% this year.

966K wheel loader

The 966K wheel loader is 25% more fuel efficient than its predecessor


Looming large over the outside exhibition space at Intermat was Liebherr’s latest flat-top crane, the 380EC-B 16. It is the largest in the 15-model series, and has a maximum radius of 75m, and lift capacity of up to 3.4t at the end of the jib.

The crane can be mounted on Leibherr’s IC or HC tower systems, with the HC system enabling it to reach up to 85m in height. It has been designed for fast erection and easy transportation, with sections able to fit on standard trucks.

Also making its debut at Intermat was Liebherr’s new R924 24t Stage IIIB-compliant crawler excavator.

It supersedes the R916, and comes with a 115W engine that uses a diesel particulate filter (DPF) with active regeneration to comply with emission standards.

Liebherr has opted for DPF for its smaller machines and SCR with AdBlue for the bigger models.

Liebherr crane

Liebherr: Flat top crane has a maximum radius of 75m


JCB continued its major launch programme by giving its customers the first chance to see the machines it revealed to the press earlier this year and unveiling a few more.

In what JCB chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope described as “the most exciting product innovation phase in JCB’s history”, the firm has so far launched 33 new products in 2012, and is set to launch another 33 by the year end.

Among the new machines revealed at Intermat in Paris were two additions to the wheel loader range. These were the 427 and 437 – both of which are Stage IIIB-compliant without
using either a DPF or SCR.

Instead, the Cummins engine incorporates a high-pressure fuel injection system, plus an exhaust gas recirculation system and a diesel oxidation catalyst.

JCB also used the show to unveil the final five models to its 17-strong range of skid steer loaders, all featuring JCB’s distinctive single boom design and side entrance cab.

The firm also launched its largest ever telehandler, and its first with a five-stage telescopic boom.

The 540-200 has a maximum capacity of 4t and a maximum reach of 20m.

JCB telehandler

JCB: New telehandler


Hyundai had the biggest machine on display indoors as it took the wraps off its brand new 120t crawler excavator, the R1200. The launch came three years after the firm unveiled its 800t model, which has sold at a rate of around five machines a year in Europe.

The firm anticipates similar sales potential for the R1200, which has been in development since 2009.

The first machine was delivered to a Russian customer in 2011, and orders are already in from New Zealand, Indonesia, Burma, South Africa and Mongolia.

European customers also got their first chance to see Hyundai’s R220 hybrid crawler excavator. It has an internal generator that converts surplus mechanical energy generated by the diesel engine into electricity, which is then stored in capacitors. When the hydraulic pumps or swing motor need more power, the electricity stored in these capacitors kicks in to provide assistance.

Hyundai says the machine is around 25% more fuel efficient than an equivalent diesel excavator. It will be available in Europe next year, and Hyundai is already looking at including hybrid technology in more of its excavators and wheel loaders.

The firm has clearly set out its growth plans: sales manager Alan Worp said: “In Europe we’re not a big player yet, but Hyundai is one of the global leaders, and there are 11 countries where we are number one in market share.”

Global sales last year were $43.7bn (£27bn), and Hyundai Heavy Industries Europe managing director SG Rhee says the firm is determined to become the global market leader.

R1200 excavator

Hyundai: R1200 excavator has been in development since 2009


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