Tata Motors bullish on tipper market prospects


Launches country’s first heavy-duty tipper with ULTIMAAX suspension

Tata Motors launched the country’s first-ever heavy-duty tipper fitted with a game-changing ULTIMAAX suspension, signaling its efforts to raise the performance and comfort levels of its Construck range to a whole-new level. The first-of-its-kind 4th generation ULTIMAAX suspension system for heavy-duty tippers has been jointly developed by Tata Motors along with Hendrickson, a world leader in suspension systems for commercial vehicles, and a joint venture partner of Tata AutoComp Ltd.

Mr. Rajesh Kaul, Head, Sales and Marketing, Medium & Heavy Commercial Vehicles, (left) and Dr. A.K. Jindal, Head – Electric Vehicles & Defence Vehicles, Commercial Vehicle Engineering, Tata Motors

The PRIMA LX 2525.K 16 cu. m. box tipper was the vehicle equipped with the radical new suspension, apart from which five other models from the Tata Construck range were showcased – PRIMA LX 3130.K 19 cu. m. scoop tipper, PRIMA LX 3125.K 23 cu. m. box tipper, SIGNA 3718.TK 24 cu. m. box tipper, SIGNA 2518.K 7 cu. m. Transit Mixer with Bogie suspension and SIGNA 4923.S 14X2 cu. m. double-sideway tip trailer.

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Rajesh Kaul, Head, Sales and Marketing, Medium & Heavy Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors, said: “We at Tata Motors are delighted to showcase some of our new construction and mining vehicles for the first time here at Excon 2017. This year, our focus is on mining and road construction industry as there is a positive movement in macro-economic indicators in these segments. The products on display are equipped with globally-renowned Cummins SCR technology, heavy-duty ULTIMAAX suspension system, factory-fitted highly-comfortable, air-conditioned SIGNA cabins and light-weight but stronger tipper bodies. We are also working on introducing various aggregates like engines, axles and suspension systems to reduce maintenance costs and provide a long-lasting trouble-free operation for our customers. We will shortly introduce two of our new vehicles in the market, designed to offer maximum vehicle uptime and enhanced driver comfort at a lowest cost of ownership.”

The ULTIMAAX Rear Suspension consists of a heavy-duty beam with central pivot and combination of shear springs and progressive springs, which are the main load carrying components and are made of special proprietary rubber material. Progressive main springs carry greater portion of the load in the vehicle. Its stiffness increases as the load increases without causing an abrupt change in ride characteristics, thereby providing a unique balance of empty ride quality and loaded stability. The use of rubber bushes in the front and rear eliminates the need for periodic lubrication, thereby ensuring total peace of mind for the customer, without the need for periodic visits to the workshop or for using expensive chassis greasing system. The unique design provides long service life and easy replacement of rubber springs to reduce down time.

Dr. A.K. Jindal, Head – Electric Vehicles & Defence Vehicles, Commercial Vehicle Engineering, Tata Motors, said: “For the first time in India, heavy-duty tipper applications have been developed with rubber bushings as against metal bushings used in the conventional suspension. This will reduce road shocks and improve driver comfort thereby enhancing productivity. Additionally, the Ultimaax suspension system will offer advantage of higher payload of approximately 250 kg due to low weight of the system over standard bogie suspension. Taking into consideration customer feedback and expectations, our teams worked extensively to tailor make this suspension suitable for the Indian off-road terrains. State-of-the-art techniques were deployed during the development stage by collecting field data on loading conditions and the terrain of the vehicle.”

The Tata Construck range consists of tippers, transit mixers, truck mounted cranes & concrete boom pumps, engineered to address tough conditions and endure heavy-duty cycles of the construction and mining industry, with higher productivity and profitability. Pioneers in product innovations, Tata Construck Tippers cater to the widest range of applications like road construction, irrigation, coal, iron ore, marble, stone mining, and bulk material handling at port, limestone, concrete mixture and municipal applications.

MOTORINDIA had an opportunity to talk to Mr. Rajesh Kaul and Dr. A.K. Jindal at Excon, to find out more about how Tata Motors is raising the bar across levels – be it product upgradation, technology enhancement, service support and more. We bring you excerpts from the interaction.

While the PRIMA 2525.K tipper with the ULTIMAAX suspension has been a show-stopper here for Tata Motors, could you give us details about the other five vehicles you have on display?

Rajesh Kaul (RK): Yes, the PRIMA 2525.K tipper with the first-of-its-kind ULTIMAAX suspension in India will be a game-changing product for us. The second product we have showcased is the SIGNA 3718.TK 24 cu. m. box tipper. This is a 37-ton haulage tipper and is the first time we are moving from 31-ton to 37-ton in this segment. The vehicle comes with a SIGNA cabin that offers better driver comfort thanks to the improved seat and provision of air-conditioning and has in-built telematics. With asset utilization and lead distances increasing in the haulage tipper space, we expect the shift towards higher tonnage vehicles growing very rapidly as they offer lowest cost per ton per km. We are confident our new product will perform very well and further boost our market share in the segment.

We then have two PRIMA tippers – PRIMA LX 3130.K 19 cu. m. scoop tipper and PRIMA LX 3125.K 23 cu. m. box tipper – both with higher hp engines. Earlier we were offering PRIMA tippers with 230 hp and 280 hp; now 250 hp is the lowest version while we also offer a 300 hp model. We see the power requirement increasing because customers want to make more trips, the promise to deliver on time is better and driver comfort is superior in these vehicles.

Our fifth product is the SIGNA 4923.S 14X2 cu. m. double-sideway 49-ton tip trailer. As lead distances keep getting longer and with states becoming border-less post GST implementation, such products would be very efficient for road construction as they can carry more load and for longer distances.

Lastly, we have the SIGNA 2518.K 7 cu. m. Transit Mixer with Bogie suspension which is our first RMC application vehicle fitted with a bogie suspension, coming with an air-conditioned SIGNA cabin.

Across all our products, we have ensured the driver comfort is best-n-class so that the driver is able to deliver maximum productivity using the vehicle. It also reflects the fact that driver comfort is virtually a part of the Tata Motors DNA.

What other enhancements do your latest products come with? What is Tata Motors trying to communicate to customers with these upgradations?

A.K. Jindal (AKJ): It is a very powerful statement to make that we have a tipper that does not need any maintenance for four years or for four thousand hours. It’s not because of only the suspension; we have also done a lot of light-weighting in the product. The tipper body has been designed with HSS, achieving a curb weight reduction of 700 kg to 1500 kg from the conventional tipper, which is a big enabler for customers to improve productivity and profitability.

When we first launched the PRIMA, the frames in some of the models were made of imported HSS. We have now locally developed the HSS and are using the same across all our products. Apart from offering the ULTIMAAX suspension on new vehicles, we are also providing the option of retrofitting it on existing vehicles without even modifying the frame of the vehicle, thereby making it a very attractive proposition for our customers.

Our design has been on a modular platform over the last few years and we are now taking modularization to the next level by giving customers the option to select their choice of aggregates based on his preference and type of application.

Any new developments on the transmission and axle front?

AKJ: We offer an AMT option on both 6-speed and 9-speed transmission. Our G950 6-speed gearbox with high torque capacity is a very interesting development. When we migrated from engines with high torque to engines with 180 hp and above, our standard option was the G1150 9-speed transmission which was very common worldwide. But when we came to know that the drivers were struggling to get the right gear shifting strategy on the 9-speed transmission, owing to they being accustomed to the 6-speed transmission, we decided to move back to our 6-speed transmission which is today one of the most unique transmissions in the world, delivering very high torque, having a very big centre distance and still with a 6-speed configuration. The results have been proved on the field with fuel economy improving a lot and drivers manoeuvring through the gears much more comfortably.

On the axle side, we have upgraded our axles to heavy-duty ones with our crown wheel pinion sizes going up to 440 mm. We have started using Single Reduction (SRT) axles instead of hub reduction axles due to the better fuel efficiency performance of the former.

The capacity of our propeller shafts has been enhanced and our clutches come with 380 mm and 430 mm diaphragm plates. On the whole, the entire driveline has been reinforced to become more rugged and a lot more reliable than before. As a result of such improvements across our plant quality, supplier quality and design quality, today we boast of all-time low Incidences Per Thousand Vehicles (IPTV) rates.

Turning our attention to the current market developments, do you think we are going through one of the most active growth phases in road construction & infrastructure development in our country in the last many years?

RK: I would say yes. The last financial year (FY17) we saw a peak in the commercial tipper market – around 55,000-odd units – which was a 24 per cent growth over the previous year. This year (FY18) we will see another peak in tipper sales thanks to all the road construction and infrastructure projects underway.

How do you see the industry growing from here and what are Tata Motors’ prospects of growing in sync with the market?

RK: We expect the growth story, driven by the government’s initiatives towards road construction such as Bharatmala Pariyojana, to continue for around two and a half years. The tipper market size for the first eight months of FY18 has been around 30,000 units, of which the last two months alone have accounted for over 5,000 units per month, which goes to show the kind of growth we are talking about.

We at Tata Motors are very bullish about our role in this growth story and are betting big on our tipper range. Our new products would give added thrust to our plans and further strengthen our leadership position in the market. We currently have around 50 per cent share in tippers and are confident of further growth. The ecosystem we have created through our extensive network and the various service initiatives we have introduced to offer value-added service to our customers would further support our market ambitions.

We continue to challenge ourselves to remain the market leader and continue growing strong, backed by the sheer strength of our existing products, new launches and service support network.









Feb18 Dec17