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Construction : Special Focus | February 2018 | Source : Equipment India

We are on track with our plans to build a new facility

Bonfiglioli has many unique solutions where electronic and hydraulic features are integrated in mechanical transmission systems to provide the right online feedback mechanism to equipment operators across applications, says Kennady V Kaippally, Country Manager - India, Bonfiglioli Transmissions Pvt Ltd. He shares more on the company's products and solutions.

Could you brief us the types of transmission system in a construction equipment?
Construction equipment use all types of transmission systems. These will include transmissions for traction of the construction equipment like wheel and track drives, in addition to transmissions that are used for operations like slewing, hoisting and other such critical functions. All these transmissions have completely different applications and design characteristics. It requires an in-depth knowledge of each of these applications to design and manufacture transmission systems for this market.
OEMs develop products with better efficiency, higher performance, higher durability and improved operator comfort. What is the role of transmission systems to achieve these in a construction equipment?
Market trends in transmission systems of construction equipment are driven by the ever-increasing expectations of the customer from their equipment. These will include expectations of better efficiency, enhanced performance, higher durability and improved operator comfort. Transmission systems play an important part in helping the equipment to achieve these desired deliverables. Design of a transmission plays a vital part in delivering better efficiency, its optimisation with other elements in the drivetrain enhances performance, right sizing of transmission gives higher durability and finally smooth operation and low noise levels improve operator comforts. All these objectives don't always run concurrent to each other and many a times achieving one, may lead to undoing of the other. The challenge in design and manufacturing of a transmission lies in coming up with innovative solutions that meet all these objectives. Bonfiglioli having worked with all major OEMs across the globe in construction equipment, has decades of experience that enables it to provide solutions meeting these diverse objectives.

What are the new technology developments in transmissions?
Digitisation is permeating all walks of industries and construction equipment is not immune to this disruptive phenomena. Electronic sensing and online feedback mechanism are becoming important for matching the ever-growing performance expectations of customers.

Bonfiglioli has many unique solutions where electronic and hydraulic features are integrated in mechanical transmission systems to provide the right online feedback mechanism to equipment operators across applications. One of our patented solutions is integration of load cell with the gearbox. This quickly and precisely measures torque and enables torque monitoring in real time. Through an external cable connection, the system provides an automatic engine shut¡down to protect the drive or reduce the capacity of the frequency converter, while providing information to the PLC. In addition, the system also has an anti-seize function, which prevents blockages. The evaluation of its data also facilitates the predictive maintenance. The new integrated
load bearing system allows Bonfiglioli for the first time in the market to deploy an intelligent solution combining our historic excellence in transmission manufacturing with new age digital tools. 

How are transmission systems getting ready to meet the new emission requirements?
It is our belief that with ever-stringent emission norms, infrastructure equipment will evolve to become more efficient than ever before and hybrid and electric technologies will come in for greater use as we move towards a greener economy. Bonfiglioli's commitment to the green economy is a strategic choice, whose roots run deep into the company's past, and has conditioned its entire organisational model, not only in the choice of markets, but in the development of new products. In the last decade, we have developed various products designed specifically for use with electric motors that offer a wide range of performance specifications. These include a series of drives for electric material handling equipment and drives with integrated electric motors for hybrid machines. These solutions have shown to deliver numerous benefits in terms of machine maneuverability, reliability, operating costs and sustainability, thanks to low emissions and low working noise levels.

Please elaborate on Bonfiglioli's range of transmission solutions for construction equipment. What are the distinguished features? Who are your major customers?
Since its inception in India, Bonfiglioli has produced a whole range of transmissions, that are rugged, efficient, easy to maintain and optimised to operate in difficult working environments. These features are highly prized by customers in India and this has resulted in our transmissions becoming the benchmark for the industry.
Bonfiglioli offers an unmatched range of drives and we are in the unique position to offer various type of geared drives ranging from a small 1,000 NM drive weighing as low as 20 kg to massive drives that deliver three million NM torque and weigh as much as 11 tons. This massive range of gear drives is offered under various configurations, each having its unique features. These would include highly robust 700 C Series with fail-safe parking brake compatible with the most cartridge type fixed or variable displacement motors for track drive and drum drive applications used widely in machines ranging from pavers, compactors, loaders to drilling equipment. Extremely compact 700 CK Series come with integrated motor and valves. Lightweight, efficiency and smooth operation are the key features of this new series and are widely used in excavators from 1.6 to 100 ton class range. Innovative 700T series that provides the safest and the most effective solution for all slew drive applications in excavators and cranes. Convenient 600 series wheel drives come with option of park brake disengagement for towing the vehicle during emergency. The absolutely dependable 500 series drum drives used for transit mixer applications are famous for their low maintenance. Versatile 300 series are used in concrete mixers, tower cranes and all other applications where shock loads are more a rule than exception. With the diverse range of drives, our customers are spread across construction equipment and will include all major manufacturers of earthmoving, construction, concrete, road building, mining and material handling.

What are your future plans of expanding your range of geared drives?
Our business philosophy has always been to partner with OEM who are leaders in their business and develop tailor-made, highly customised power transmission solutions catering to their requirements. This approach has made Bonfiglioli the largest producer of planetary drives for mobile equipment. Whenever our customers are looking to expand their range of equipment or bring out new models, that require us to design and produce specific solution. They have a partner in us that is ever eager to expand its range.

How do you look at the future of transmissions in construction equipment? What are the perceptible changes you expect in the short to medium term?
India with its growing infrastructure needs and low equipment density offers immense opportunities for growth of construction equipment. However, this growth is not going to be secular. Desire for higher productivity is going to drive the demand for more specialised equipment over general purpose equipment. There is a need for innovative transmission systems that have to meet specific local requirements of these specialised construction equipment. Challenge in such an environment remains in developing or adapting products and manufacturing capabilities that suit the specific demands of the Indian market. Bonfiglioli, with its local design centre and manufacturing facilities, being present for nearly two decades in India and having gained a deeper understanding of the market is well placed to take advantage of these opportunities.

What are your expansion plans in Indian market?
We are on track with our plans to build a new 140,000 sq ft facility, adjacent to the current plant at Thirumudivakkam, Chennai. It will house modern assembly lines, R&D Centre and test labs, all built with the highest standards of quality and safety, consistent with Bonfiglioli locations worldwide. This expansion will enable us to increase the production capacity to drastically reduce lead times to customers in India and other countries.
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