Whole Loader Love

PMV discovers what customers are looking for from wheel loaders

While wheel loader sales fell slightly in 2013, JCB managed to increase its overall market share.
While wheel loader sales fell slightly in 2013, JCB managed to increase its overall market share.

PMV speaks to three of the biggest players in the Middle East’s wheel loader market to find out what the region’s customers are looking for from their machines.

Wheel loaders are essential when you want to move large quantities of raw material from point A to point B. Indeed, without access to reliable loaders, most projects would never get off the ground.

However, the advantages offered by these machines stretch far beyond the boundaries of construction. Wheel loaders are also invaluable when it comes to the clear-up operations that must take place after extreme weather events and natural disasters.

As you might expect, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model when it comes to the wheel loader. For instance, a machine equipped to clear snow from access roads in deepest Siberia probably wouldn’t be the first choice of a contractor looking to shift asphalt in Riyadh. Like any construction machine, wheel loaders operating in the Middle East must be able to deal with high temperatures and challenging desert terrain.

With this in mind, manufacturers need to stay focused as many commentators predict that regional demand for wheel loaders – and for construction equipment in general – is set to rise in the near future.

Flagship events such as Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup and the United Arab Emirates’ Expo 2020 are expected to result in a slew of major new initiatives. Moreover, megaprojects across other parts of the Middle East, such as KSA’s Kingdom Tower, are sure to necessitate plenty of new wheel loaders.

So, what are manufacturers doing to ensure that their machines appeal to customers in the Middle East? PMV speaks to three of the sector’s biggest players to find out.

Preparing for growth
Mike Yates explains the measures that JCB is taking to meet increased demand for wheel loaders in the Middle East

At bauma Africa 2013, UK-based construction equipment manufacturer JCB released its latest in a long line of flagship wheel loaders. The JCB 467 is the company’s largest wheel loader to date, and builds on a 45-year history of producing wheeled loading shovels.

Two of the key markets for the new model are the Middle East and Africa. Indeed, with structures designed to last in excess of 20,000 service hours, the JCB 467 has been built to deal with tough conditions prevalent across the region.

To find out more about the British firm’s approach to the region’s wheel loader market, PMV spoke to Mike Yates, JCB’s product manager for the Middle East.

“If we compare the latest Middle East statistics with those from the same period during 2012, we see that the wheel loading shovel market has actually fallen by around 7.7%, or approximately 200 units,” he began.

“Whilst sanctions relating to Iran account for the majority of those units, countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia have also slipped slightly. However, JCB is pleased to say that it has improved its market share over the same period.”

Despite mixed fortunes for JCB wheel loader sales in 2013, Yates is confident that the new model is well equipped to cater to the requirements of customers across the Middle East.

“More than anything, we feel that customers are looking for durability, reliability, efficiency and productivity in wheel loading shovels,” he told PMV.

“JCB continues to invest substantially to ensure that its range of products meet those criteria. In addition, we are proud of our large and spacious cab areas that provide users with unrivalled comfort and visibility during long hours of operation in harsh conditions.”

At present, JCB’s most popular wheel loader models in the region are the 150HP 426 and the 205HP 456. However, Yates expects sales of JCB’s 467 model to be driven by upcoming projects across the region.

“With large infrastructure work expected in the Middle East – such as metro projects in Riyadh and Doha – and events such as Expo 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we are very optimistic about business over the coming years.

“JCB will continue to invest heavily in new factories and products,” Yates concluded. “Our priority will be to ensure that we carry on strengthening our dealer network across the region so that our customers enjoy the best possible products and after-sales support.”

JCB 467
The JCB 467 has been designed to offer improved traction, transmission and digging ability in comparison to the JCB 456.

Engine: Cummins QSB
Power: 290HP
Maximum lift: 15,300kg
Breakout force: 199kN
Standard bucket capacity: 4m3

The art of refinement
Case CE’s Alain de Nanteuil explains why there is no such thing as too much optimisation when it comes to wheel loader development in the Middle East.

Case Construction Equipment is one of the most well-established machinery manufacturers in the industry, with origins dating back to the 19th Century. With the launch of its most recent F Series wheel loaders, the US-based firm has continued to cement its reputation in the Middle East.

The region represents big business for Case’s wheel loader range. It is estimated that these units account for approximately a third of heavy machinery sold in the Middle East, second only crawler excavators.

“Customers in the Middle East look for high productivity, low operating costs and increased reliability,” explained Alain de Nanteuil, product marketing manager at Case CE.

“Case’s F Series wheel loaders deliver on all counts. The better weight distribution resulting from their rear mounted engines translates into higher payloads at every loading cycle.

This optimised productivity, coupled with exceptional fuel efficiency and serviceability, results in the reduced operating costs and high reliability that our customers across the region are looking for.”

During the last 12 months, Case has continued to tweak its F Series wheel loaders to boost productivity, maximise reliability, increase comfort and safety, and simplify maintenance.

“Our second-generation common rail engines, together with multiple-injection technology, ensure optimum combustion control to deliver best-in-class torque performance,” said de Nanteuil.

“All of the available torque is fully transmitted to the wheels to provide massive pushing power. Moreover, Case’s proprietary cooling box and heavy-duty axles help to improve reliability and maximise uptime. We have also simplified maintenance with ground-level access.”

Market trends already underway will contribute to significant growth in the Middle East’s wheel loader market during 2014, according to de Nanteuil.

“The aggregate and construction sectors in this region have the highest demand for wheel loaders, and are undergoing a period of expansion,” he said.

“For example, in Saudi Arabia, the government’s heavy investment in construction projects has had a pronounced impact on the local industry. Construction in KSA is undergoing massive expansion, and with many projects currently in the phases of design, bidding and early construction, we expect the region’s equipment market to continue to grow in 2014.

“Case has a strong history in the Middle East’s construction arena,” de Nanteuil continued. “We have a wide offering of industry-leading wheel loaders and we are confident that we will make the most of the great opportunities that the region’s construction markets have to offer. Case will continue to develop its business by meeting the requirements of its customers in the Middle East.”

Case’s main priority for the coming year, however, will be to collaborate with its regional partners and customers.

“We want to perform customer tests to discern exactly how powerful and efficient Case wheel loaders are in the field,” concluded de Nanteuil. “For this reason, we intend to conduct demonstration events in strategic markets. Customers will be given the opportunity to test our machines and to discuss their performance with product experts. With this approach, we will be able to identify the best solutions for their job requirements.”

Case 821F
Engine: FPT F4HFE613X
Power: 211HP
Maximum lift: 12,349kg
Breakout force: 157.1kN
Standard bucket capacity: 3.17m3

Tough and tailored
York Liang explains why China’s construction market has helped LiuGong to produce wheel loaders ideal for the Middle East.

Headquartered in Liuzhou, China, equipment manufacturer LiuGong offers a full line of machines to the global construction market. In addition to wheel loaders, the firm produces excavators, truck-mounted cranes, crawler cranes, bulldozers, rollers, motor graders, forklifts, dump trucks and concrete equipment.

The firm is confident that its line of wheel loaders is well equipped to cater to emerging markets such as those of the Middle East.

“LiuGong is not only a world-class wheel loader manufacturer,” explained York Liang, president of LiuGong Machinery Middle East FZE. “We provide a full line of equipment in the construction machinery field. All demonstration models offer exactly what customers need in the region. They are highly productive, fuel efficient machines.”

Wheel loader exports rank high on LiuGong’s list of global priorities. The manufacturer expects regional demand for these products to increase by between 10% and 15% during 2014.

“There are a lot of projects in the Middle East that require the loading and unloading of materials,” Liang told PMV. “LiuGong’s tough machines are capable of running in dusty environments without overheating. Their design makes them well suited to the region.”

The Chinese manufacturer began its Middle East and North Africa operation 10 years ago, and now has 20 dealers operating across the region. In 2011, LiuGong opened its Middle East headquarters in Jebel Ali, Dubai. The facility serves as the firm’s sales hub and parts distribution centre for its MENA customers.

“We have almost doubled our number of regional dealers during the last 12 months,” said Liang. “There is no doubt that LiuGong will continue to strengthen its presence in the Middle East in the future. We expect many more projects connected to construction and infrastructure – such as those related to the GCC rail network – to be announced during the coming years.

There are also some big events, such as Expo 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will precipitate countless connected projects. The need to rebuild certain areas of Iraq is also cause for optimism when it comes to wheel loader demand.”

The manufacturer’s immediate priority will be to maintain and expand regional sales levels with its customer-focused approach.

“LiuGong always puts its customers first,” said Liang. “We will continue to provide new facilities to satisfy our clients’ needs. We have a network of qualified and professional partners across the MENA region, and indeed, the world. Essentially, LiuGong will continue to offer affordable wheel loaders that offer maximum returns on our customers’ investments.”

LiuGong CLG 856
Engine: Cummins Tier 2/Stage II
Power: 220HP
Breakout force: 158kN
Standard bucket capacity: 3m3
Operating weight: 17,100kg

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