Tata Hitachi’s vision statement states the organisation focuses on mining in India. We have been working closely with mining companies, mine operators, etc., which has become our listening and learning tools for future development.

In a dynamic and ever-evolving mining equipment industry, innovations and commitments are essential driving forces that shape the path forward. This interview examines how Tata Hitachi, a dominant force in this market, leads the way in innovation and steadfast commitment.

How do you balance the incorporation of international technologies from Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan, with the localisation of manufacturing in India to cater to the specific needs of the Indian mining industry?

Tata Hitachi is a joint venture and a subsidiary of Tata Motors Ltd., India, and Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan. From a mining equipment point of view, the organisation produces excavators, dumpers, wheel loaders, and other attachments.

Tata Hitachi has manufacturing facilities in Kharagpur and Dharwad. Both plants have the latest technology in CNC machining centres, robotic centres, and a wide range of fixtures and manipulators for manufacturing world-class products. Tata Hitachi also has access to the product range of our parent company, Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan.

Tata Hitachi offers excavators from 0.02 CuM (TMX 20) bucket capacity to 6.5 CuM (EX 1200) bucket capacity in India, of which excavators from 3.0 CuM – 6.5 CuM bucket capacity are used in open-cast mines and are manufactured in India. Beyond 10 CuM (EX 1900) and up to 45 CuM (EX 8000), Tata Hitachi offers excavators imported from Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan. These excavators have the option of being diesel or electric-driven, depending on the requirements of customers.

Our range of Wheel Loaders comprising the country’s 1st hydrostatic transmission 3T WL (TL340H) & 5T (ZW 225) payload are being manufactured in India. Those beyond 5T, which are 7T (ZW 310 -5A), 9-10T (ZW 370 -5A), and 11-12T (ZW 550 -5A), are sourced from Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan.

As far as dumpers are concerned, Hitachi manufactures AC drive Dumpers of 190T (EH 3500 AC-3), 240T (EH 4000 AC-3) and 290T (EH 5000 AC-3) classes, which are sold and serviced in India by Tata Hitachi. We recently introduced EH 3500 AC-3 dumpers in coal mining applications.

How do you ensure that your equipment meets the safety standards?

Tata Hitachi has a dedicated research and development department primarily engaged with various government statutory bodies like the DGMS (Directorate General of Mines Safety) and others that frequently interact with safety standards and regulations changes.

Further, our industry association, iCEMA, also works with the government in framing the regulations & the same is available to us well in advance so that these regulations can be developed and incorporated into the equipment manufactured in India.

The Tata Hitachi team also constantly interacts with Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan, and communicates about the latest developments and changes in government regulations so that the same can be incorporated into the machines offered to Indian customers.

How do you ensure your products are environmentally sustainable and comply with environmental regulations?

Tata Hitachi has been developing products/features that can reduce environmental impact, like controlling hydraulic oil/exhaust gas waste from engines. The engines fitted on mining equipment comply with EPA tier I/II BS norms.

As these machines use hydraulic oils for operation, Tata Hitachi is currently using special hydraulic oils that come with extended changing intervals, resulting in a reduction in wastage during the life of the equipment.

Tata Hitachi typically uses advanced design principles and analytical tools to design and validate our structures, where the weight component is minimised using better materials without compromising the machine’s stability. Alternative materials other than steel are also practised wherever the application allows it.

For the effective use of resources, we promote a ‘circular economy’ through our Used Equipment business and Remanufacturing of the parts. Tata Hitachi Machines also come with Lead and Chrome-free paints and are highly fuel efficient.

Can you describe any special features or technologies that differentiate your mining equipment range in the market?

From a technology point of view, the recent past has witnessed a lot of development, especially in IoT, which is working towards remote monitoring and health monitoring of equipment.

Tata Hitachi uses Consite in the GI series of excavators to capture and send data on performance parameters like idle, operating, engine run hours, etc. It also sends alerts on any abnormal behaviour in the equipment’s health, like hydraulic oil temp going up, engine oil temp going up, etc., which helps the customers avoid failures on the engine/hydraulics.

Consite generates a monthly report and sends updates to customers. The analytics of the captured data help improve the machines’ operational efficiency. Consite can be accessed through the website or mobile app.

Sourced from Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan, Tata Hitachi offers a Fleet Management System by WENCO, which can improve the efficiency of the fleet working in Mines. WENCO can be integrated with excavators, dumpers, and other support equipment, where the operating equipment allocations can be monitored from a control room at the mine site. This assists in enhancing the utilisation of the fleet more efficiently.  

What challenges do you anticipate facing in the mining equipment market in India over the next few years?

Mining is a tough job, and the mine operators work under tremendous cost pressure. The mining project duration varies from 3-5 years (operating period). The economy’s volatility, whether in workforce or fuel costs going up drastically, also affects the mining operations. If these cost increases are not factored in when taking the contracts, the operating project cost may become unviable.

Therefore, we work closely with the customers at the bidding stage – wherever possible – to offer the most optimal machine combination. Further, the mining equipment market is cyclical & we closely follow emerging customer requirements to adjust our production to meet the required demand.

Tata Hitachi is part of various forums and industry associations where discussions on such changes in regulations and policies are held. There have been initiatives by the policymakers to involve the mining equipment manufacturers, which has also helped the organisation to be ready for the Indian market.

How does your company work with mining companies to ensure that your equipment is integrated effectively?

Tata Hitachi offers solutions like Full Maintenance Contracts/ Annual Maintenance Contracts. A competent crew is deployed at the site for a defined period and is responsible for ensuring the availability of working equipment.

The team also helps build competency at the customer site by way of handholding/training the operators and informing them about equipment maintenance. These activities start once the equipment reaches the site, which helps in effective operations at the customer end. 

How does integrating Fuel Consumption Optimisation technology and introducing battery-operated rigid dump trucks align with the organisation’s commitment to sustainability? 

Tata Hitachi’s vision statement states the organisation focuses on mining in India. We have been working very closely with mining companies, mine operators, etc., which has become our listening and learning tools for our future development. Also, by being a part of Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan, we get regular input on global developments in the mining equipment industry. These updates help us make ourselves future-ready.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. Ltd. and Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery Co.Pvt. Ltd. have always been forward-looking in drafting approaches to product design and consistently offering the latest innovations to valued customers. Electric mining excavators, ranging from 11CuM to 45CuM bucket capacities, have gained global recognition for their exceptional performance and reliability.

Also, recently introduced Fuel Consumption Optimisation (FCO) technology in mining excavators, such as the EX-7, aimed at improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. These machines are now available in the Indian sub-continent and have already found satisfied customers in India.

With the announcement of battery-operated rigid dump trucks, Hitachi Construction Machinery enters a space where a 190T dumper will be offered a battery option in days to come. The offered 190T dumpers model EH3500AC-3 comes with Electric drive technology using AC drive systems complemented by a battery option, which would be the optimum combination. Autonomous Haulage Solutions (AHS) on the dump trucks models EH3500AC-3, EH4000AC-3 & EH5000AC-3 will give a new dimension to mine as it would be a man-less driving.

Spokesperson – B K R Prasad, General Manager – Marketing, Tata Hitachi

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