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The opening demonstration closed with the message 'Change starts with us'. (Image source: ACP)

Volvo Construction Equipment has unveiled an ambitious product line-up in a bid to drive the construction and mining industry forward, empowering it to take a leading role in meeting the societal challenges of the future

This impressive launch was revealed at the company’s major showcase, Volvo Days, which is being held in Eskilstuna, Sweden. As the first event held here since the company officially moved its headquarters to the location outside Stockholm, the leading manufacturer of equipment in construction and related industries invited members of the international press to kick-off its flagship customer event.

Before the official press event and demonstrations on 29 May, the reporters in attendance – including African Review’s Robert Daniels – were treated to dinner at the birthplace of Volvo CE, the Munktell Museum. This presented the opportunity to learn about the landmark innovations that have been in its journey since its conception in 1832, before a lively dinner presided over by live music and introductory comments by members of the Volvo CE family.

The next morning, the showcase at Volvo CE headquarters began in earnest with a remarkable spectacle of operational excellence. On the field, drivers pirouetted a range of the latest company machinery in front of the on-looking crowd, performing tricks from synchronised excavations to an articulated hauler driving on its side. It was a display that demonstrated both the incredible skillset of the operators, and the versatility of the machinery in a bid to convey the message that was pushed at the presentations finale: ‘change starts with us’.

A Volvo CE articulated hauler riding on its side wheels with help from an excavator.

A new line-up launched

After heart rates returned to normal, the visitors were invited to a press conference hosted by senior company executives who outlined the innovations that are entering the market. This line-up, described as probably the most ambitious in the company’s history, comes off the back of an incredibly “strong” 2023 – Volvo Group as a whole marked a record year in its annual report and defined the period as one of ‘growth and improved profitability’. Further, as explained by Melker Jernberg, President of Volvo Construction Equipment, the revamped portfolio is being released as part of the company’s investment to be ready for change, contending with the various political, economic, social and technological drivers that are shaping the global business landscape (a particular emphasis was placed on the increasingly influential environmental playing field, with more and more companies committing to science-based targets to cut emissions). As such the company is executing a strategy – in collaboration with its partners which stretch across the value chain – to introduce new technologies, sustainable powered models and smarter solutions in order to remain competitive in the ever-evolving global playing field and ‘perform to transform the future’.

The pursuit of this ambition has led to the design and release of an exciting line-up. This included a new generation of excavators in the form of the Volvo EC500, EC400 and EC230; the launch of the R60 and R70 rigid haulers; a selection of new battery electric equipment such as the EWR150 Electric wheeled excavator, alongside the L90 Electric and L120 Electric wheel loaders; and the launch of the PU40 mobile power unit, an additional charging solution helping to support the company’s growing electric portfolio.

Those in attendance were also treated to a look at the new A40 articulated hauler arriving later this year, not to mention an overview of the company’s blossoming digital support which has been expanded through the release of the new My Equipment web-based app.

At home in Africa

A big focus of the reveal was the development of electrical machinery and equipment that was being delivered, in part, in line with net zero ambitions. With this representing a relatively nascent market on the African continent, African Review sat down with Joakim Arndorw, head of sales region international, to explore how Volvo CE is bringing together the ambition of having 35% of machines sales electric by 2030 with the reality of meeting African demands.

“I think there is a lot of development going on in Africa,” Arndorw remarked. “The whole green transition demands more minerals (amongst others demands) which are available in Africa, making the continent important for us going forward. We are strong in traditional mining income countries in Africa and, through our retail partners, our intention is to develop further. There is a perception that sustainability is not so interesting for Africa. I would disagree. Big mining companies, for example, are definitely on decarbonisation journeys and they are asking us how we can help them to do so, including in Africa.

“Volvo’s vision – the wider group’s vision – is that everything we sell should be net zero by 2040. A big part of that will be an electrified produce range through battery electric, fuel cell electric and grid-connected electric equipment. But we also understand that will not work for all markets, so we are also looking at other solutions with conventional combustion engines; with fuel that allows us to achieve that net zero ambition.”

Arndorw continued by noting that while battery electric machinery might be more limited in Africa and the challenge of weak grids is more pertinent on the continent, they are continuously working with companies there (especially in mining) to develop feasible solutions to ensure the green transition. Arndorw also nodded here to the potential of hydrogen-powered equipment which could have a big future in Africa if the production of this is ramped up here, as many commentators are expecting.

Overall, Arndorw made clear that Africa had played an important part in Volvo CE’s aforementioned success thus far (despite the number of machines sold being somewhat limited in relation to the European business for example) and it would remain a critical part of its (net-zero compliant) business plans going forward.

New generations for modern operations

As such, Arndorw pointed to features of the launch that would be particularly exciting for African customers. At the top of this list was the new range of Volvo CE excavators – the EC500, EC400 and EC230 – which boast a modern makeover and design to be more spacious, ergonomic and help customers achieve the best results at the lowest user cost possible. First introduced in Europe and Turkey, the machines have a range of cabin features to enhance operator experience ranging from a cool box to store items to a keyless engine start and always-on camera. Safety has been prioritised through the ability to pre-set limits on the boom’s depth, height and swing, alongside 360° visibility provided by Volvo Smart View with Obstacle clarification. Volvo CE has further highlighted the superior serviceability, enhanced precision and productivity, and improved fuel efficiency and total cost of ownership that makes the new machines a formidable new offering.

In discussing the excavators, Arndorw explained that this represented a two generation step for African users from the D series which is being sold in the region currently. “This next generation will have the option of either having a high-regulated market spec or a less-regulated market spec. It is important to note that this new generation will enable it with all the digital services and support that we have in Europe today.”

The new Volvo CE EC500 excavator on the top of a hill.

At the behest of Arndorw, African Review also paid a special visit to the all-new, 100% HVO compatible A40 articulated hauler that was on display and would be released soon. The new machine is being delivered to continue Volvo CE’s legacy as an industry pioneer of articulated haulers and was accompanied by company specialists at Volvo Days. These personnel explained that one of the fundamental advancements in the model is a new design with features a new entrance on the side rather than in the back corner (as sported by the A40G) and a more heavily-sloped hood to ensure far greater visibility and – therefore – safety in operations. This is also aided by the addition of extra lighting around the machine, which provide the dual benefit of also enabling the ability to perform maintenance in the dark. Further, in performing such activities, users will appreciate the gathering of features into service centres around the vehicle and easy access under the hood (where all filters are in front of the engine).

As the on-site specialist explained, every change to the A40 has been implemented with “serviceability and safety in mind”, a message that could certainly be applied to all of the new solutions unveiled in Sweden. The new ranges which incorporate such considerations in their product design while ensuring maximum performance, “prove that Volvo CE is well-equipped to respond to the different needs of our customers in both regulated and less regulated markets, leveraging our strength to implement meaningful innovation across all our offerings as we move closer towards our ambition for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040,” as Arndorw stated in the company’s accompanying press release.

A behind the cab image of the new Volvo CE A40.

Bobcat Demo Days invite guests to gain insights into the manufacturer’s latest advancements through hands-on interaction with machines and detailed factory tours. (Image source: Bobcat)

More than 700 customers, dealers, suppliers, and journalists from across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) are converging at Doosan Bobcat EMEA’s campus in Dobříš, Czechia, for Bobcat Demo Days 2024 

From 21 May to 5 June, attendees will enjoy unprecedented access to the organisation’s comprehensive equipment lineup during ten intensive full-day experiences.

Bobcat Demo Days 2024 provides participants the chance to closely examine several of the manufacturer’s cutting-edge innovations, including the TL25.60e electric telehandler concept, the RogueX2 concept loader, Operator Presence technology, the Pedestrian Detection Camera, and next-generation Digital Access software.

Launched in the EMEA region in 2011, Bobcat Demo Days invite guests to gain insights into the manufacturer’s latest advancements through hands-on interaction with machines and detailed factory tours. This year’s edition showcases over 90 demo models, featuring Bobcat’s newest lineup of material handling units, skid-steer loaders, compact track loaders, compact wheel loaders, mini-excavators, telehandlers, ground maintenance equipment, light compaction models, and more.

Jan Moravec, vice-president of Product at Bobcat EMEA, stated, “Bobcat Demo Days 2024 will allow visitors to gain firsthand experience of our latest innovations, products, attachments, and services, while providing a golden opportunity for our team members to engage with Bobcat’s community from all over the EMEA region. These invitation-only events are among the most anticipated fixtures in our annual calendar, and we can’t wait to give this year’s guests some hands-on time with our full equipment lineup.”

A suite of industry-leading innovations

Bobcat Demo Days 2024 is showcasing several cutting-edge, industry-leading innovations, including the TL25.60e electric telehandler concept. This model, still in development and not yet commercially available, features a rated capacity of 2.5 tonnes and a lifting height of almost 6 m, matching the performance of its diesel-powered equivalent. Equipped with three separate electric motors designed for maximum efficiency, a hydrostatic transmission to enhance performance, a top speed of 25 km/h, and the same compact dimensions as the conventional Bobcat TL25.60, this innovative electric concept offers low noise levels, minimal operating costs, and impressive versatility. This marks the first time Bobcat has allowed customers and partners to interact with the TL25.60e concept.

Attendees will also experience Bobcat’s transparent OLED (T-OLED) screen technology, developed in collaboration with LG and BSI Research. T-OLED enables operators to access various functionalities without diverting their eyes from the worksite, providing unparalleled clarity, responsiveness, and visibility. It also supports advanced applications like real-time virtual reality (VR) simulations for utility line mapping.

Another innovation on display is the RogueX2 concept skid-steer loader, although attendees won’t be able to enter the machine’s cab as it doesn’t have one. This autonomous, all-electric model serves as a proving ground for technologies within Bobcat’s innovation roadmap, offering a glimpse into future loaders designed to facilitate a new work experience for users.

Vijay Nerva, innovation lead at Bobcat EMEA, commented, “The RogueX2 produces zero emissions thanks to its lithium-ion battery, electric drive system, and electric-actuated lift and tilt kinematics with no hydraulics. A follow-up to the RogueX introduced at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, the RogueX2 is a skid-steer version with wheels instead of tracks to optimise its electric battery runtime, and its axial flux motors deliver incredible tractive effort.”

Bobcat will also showcase its Operator Presence technology, a concept currently in development for excavator models. Operator Presence uses a 3D time-of-flight (ToF) camera—advanced technology typically found in autonomous vehicles, robotics, gesture recognition, and VR—to enhance safety by monitoring users’ movements and the cabin environment. By actively tracking the operator's presence and interactions within the cabin, the system can prevent unintended machine actions, ensuring a safer work environment, especially in close quarters. It can detect multiple occupants, instantly disable workgroups to avoid accidents, and recognise when a joystick is released, deactivating the associated workgroup while maintaining drive. These proactive safety measures aim to minimize the risk of accidents, improve operator control, and enhance overall worksite efficiency.

Guests at Bobcat Demo Days 2024 will also witness the Pedestrian Detection Camera in action. The device’s software can differentiate between humans and their surroundings using AI-enabled processing capabilities, reducing unnecessary operator alerts. The innovation’s database can identify humans in various postures and positions, including standing, kneeling, crouching, sitting, with their backs turned, and even when they are only partially visible.

Bobcat will also demonstrate its Digital Access software, an advanced system allowing operators to use smartphones as ‘keys’ to specific machines. This provides an alternative to existing passcode entry functionality and ensures units understand user preferences before work begins. This innovation also enables fleet owners to lock out certain functionalities or attachments according to employees’ skill sets.

These six innovations are the latest in a series of advanced solutions Bobcat has developed to help customers achieve more.

Hands-on time with Bobcat’s latest machines

Bobcat Demo Days 2024 will feature several newly introduced machines, including the M-Series S630 and S650 Stage V skid-steer loaders designed for European markets. These models’ D24 engines, with Bosch fuel-injection systems, deliver superior performance while meeting strict emission regulations, showcasing Bobcat’s commitment to sustainable operations.

This year’s event also features Bobcat’s new lineup of rotary telehandlers, offering unmatched visibility with the manufacturer’s patented panoramic cab. The latest range includes nine Stage V models with lifting heights from 18 to 39 m for European markets, and four Stage IIIA machines with lifting heights from 18 to 26 m for the Middle East and Africa.

Bobcat’s PG40 and PG50 generators will be showcased this year in Dobříš. These units represent a leap in portable power solutions, offering advantages like optional running gear for easy transportation and ‘Liquid Heat,’ a low-load management system designed to reduce downtime and provide peace of mind. Powered by Stage V HDI D24 engines, these eco-conscious models combine increased power with lower fuel consumption.

The PA12.7v compressor will also be featured at Bobcat Demo Days 2024. This portable variable pressure compressor uses a FlexAir system, allowing it to operate between 5.5 to 12.1 bar and offering free air deliveries from 5.2 to 7 m3 per minute. This versatility makes the PA12.7v suitable for a wide range of applications.

Additionally, Bobcat is demonstrating how its construction lineup is achieving greater sustainability. The manufacturer’s mini-excavators, skid-steer loaders, compact track loaders, compact wheel loaders, telehandlers, rotary telehandlers, mini track loaders, and forklifts are approved for use with HVO biofuel and other EN 15940 standard paraffinic fuels.

Bobcat’s entire range in a single location

Bobcat Demo Days 2024 offers attendees an unprecedented opportunity to experience the company’s full equipment lineup in one location.

“We are immensely excited to welcome our guests to Dobříš this year, as they will have an unprecedented opportunity to get hands-on time with Bobcat’s newly expanded range,” Jan Moravec added. “Our team has introduced a diverse selection of models over the past 12 months, and we are looking forward to giving our customers and partners the chance to try out Bobcat’s latest advancements in person.

The AfDB is supporting the federal and state governments to improve the national and states’ infrastructure. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced an investment of US$1.44bn to redress the infrastructure deficit currently strangling the West African country

This was disclosed at the Nasarawa Investment Summit 2024 by AfDB’s Nigeria Country Department director general, Lamin Barrow who explained that this deficit is restricting the country’s efforts to diversify its non-oil production and achieve international competitiveness for exports.

“To address this problem, the African Development Bank is supporting the federal and state governments to improve the national and states’ infrastructure. As of April 2024, 31% of the Bank’s active portfolio, valued at US$1.44bn, is supporting infrastructure development in Nigeria,” Barrow commented in a speech read on behalf of the group’s president, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. He added that, in order to achieve an industrial renaissance, Nasarawa State and Nigeria must accelerate domestic resource mobilisation; boost agriculture sector productivity; develop value chains and supportive infrastructure; enhance de-risk investments; prioritise natural resource value addition and beneficiation; strengthen institutional capacity and bridge the skills mismatch to enhance youth employability.

As such, the investment will be deployed to support the development of energy, transport, water and sanitation infrastructure in Nigeria.

Mantrac customers are presented with a range of repair options to suit their budget and requirements. (Image source: Mantrac)

As heavy machinery plays a vital role in various industries, ensuring optimal performance and longevity is paramount and no one understands this better than the Mantrac Group

Operating in 13 territories across East and West Africa and the Middle East, Mantrac is a leading distributor of best-in-class Cat equipment, power solutions, and microgrid solar and energy storage systems, all backed by its maintenance, repair and other support services. The dealer’s comprehensive inventory also includes parts and attachments as well as rental and used machines and power systems.

Offering the best industry equipment for a range of sectors including construction, mining, oil and gas, agriculture, quarrying and more, means also offering the best support. To help its customers maximise the value of their investments, Mantrac offers comprehensive repair and rebuild options.

Built to rebuild

Caterpillar machines are engineered for multiple rebuilds throughout their lifecycle, ensuring maximum performance and reliability. To make it easier for customers to take advantage of this special Caterpillar design, Mantrac has invested millions in its very own dedicated Certified Rebuild Centres (CRCs).

Spanning thousands of square metres and equipped with world-class tools, these facilities meet the same safety, quality and contamination standards as a Caterpillar factory. The rebuilding of all major components can be done quickly and tested to Caterpillar’s rigorous standards and backed by the same standard warranty for peace of mind by specialised teams of engineers and technicians trained to minimise costs while maximising component lifecycle.

Automated repairs

The importance of timely repairs cannot be overstated. Component failure can cause damage to other components, lead to increased downtime and increase repair costs by 2.5x.

Mantrac understands the impact of equipment failure on operations. That is why Mantrac offers predictive maintenance plans tailored to customers’ needs, considering key factors such as usage hours and cost-benefit analyses.

Customers are presented with a range of repair options to suit their budget and requirements. Basic covers rebearing and reseal with fixed, up-front costs, while Basic Plus includes additional parts and performance restoration, extending component life up to 50%. Then there are the Rebuild and Reman options. End-to-end rebuild gives components a second life with a 12-month warranty. Or replace it with Cat Reman products, offering genuine parts remanufactured to like-new quality and performance at a fraction of the cost of new parts. This flexibility extends to different levels of rebuilds, from component refurbishments to complete machine overhauls.

While Cat Certified Rebuilds adhere to factory standards, Mantrac also offers dealer rebuilds that provide customers with greater flexibility and alignment with their specific needs. Both options aim to restore equipment to optimal working condition, prolonging its operational lifespan and enhancing performance.

Dedicated facilities and support

With CRCs strategically located in Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania, Mantrac ensure prompt and efficient service to its customers across East and West Africa. With the use of sophisticated diagnostic tools, machines are disassembled and inspected, worn-out parts are replaced, and equipment is reassembled to like-new condition.

It is this thorough repair and rebuild process that Mantrac provides customers the assurance of maximum equipment performance and longevity. By leveraging Caterpillar’s expertise and industry-leading standards, Mantrac helps businesses both big and small minimise downtime, greatly reduce repair costs and optimise their operational efficiency.

This article is sponsored by Mantrac. Find out more about Mantrac’s Repair and Rebuild offering at https://www.mantracgroup.com/en-ng/services/

The new L110H and L120H provide a comprehensive upgrade over the F and Gz-generations. (Image source: Volvo CE)

Volvo CE, a global leader in construction solutions, has released the H-generation L110H and L120H wheel loaders to replace the F and Gz models

The new models are suited for rehandling, agriculture, waste handling, log handling and have been designed to boost productivity by 12%, fuel efficiency by 28% and to generally enhance operator performance. The 20 ton machines have a 5-6 ton lifting capacity and boast a number of new technology innovations including a new Volvo engine and electronic platform, as well as an optimised transmission and hydraulics system.

Volvo’s Torque Parallel linkage has always delivered high breakout torque and excellent parallel movement throughout the lifting range. Added to that, the new H-generation machines now have a higher tipping load – over 6% depending on the model. Thanks to a higher pin than on the outgoing Gz model, they can also tip higher, for example into taller-bodied trucks or in storage areas. The new engines deliver at least 5% more power, while other options include an automatic engine shutdown facility, which reduces fuel consumption when idling beyond a set time, and a delayed engine shutdown feature, which allows the turbocharger to cool, thereby reducing wear.

An upgraded cab with electric servo controls allow for a greater degree of control and customisation. These come as standard and are joined by boom and bucket levelling functions and a choice of three hydraulic response modes. The optional Comfort Drive Control enables the machine to be steered from a lever, particularly useful for fast-paced truck loading operations. Visibility and safety enhancing options abound, including a Collision Mitigation System and new LED lighting packages.

In regards to optimising load cycles, the Load Assist suite of apps is another option, powered by the Volvo Co-Pilot touchscreen. On-Board Weighing takes the guesswork out of loading the optimum amount of material, while Operator Coaching helps operators use their Volvo wheel loader to its full potential thanks to instant feedback and real-time on-screen guidance. And with the Tire Pressure Monitoring System, they can ensure that tires are operating within the correct parameters, and not causing unnecessary fuel consumption and wear.

Both Volvo wheel loaders feature an all-new ignition strategy, which is designed to make operators’ lives easier. The ignition key now activates and powers the machine, with no need to turn on the ground-level main switch at the start of shifts, before climbing into the cab. Quite apart from offering added convenience to operators on start-up and shutdown, it also removes the risk of the battery running flat overnight because the main switch has been left on.

The L110H and L120H offer grouped service points and unrestricted access to vital components. The engine hood opens electronically, while the tilting cab is operated hydraulically – to either a 30° or 70° angle, and the cooler installation slides out. Wear indicators placed by the wheels make it easy to check the condition of the brakes. The engine now features an electric pump for priming the fuel system, making the procedure quicker and more convenient than with a manual pump.

A feature also found on the L60H, L70, L90H, and L350H is now being introduced as standard on the L110/120H – a lockout-tagout. Known by its acronym ‘LOTO’, this feature makes it easier to lock the battery disconnect switch in the OFF-position – thereby preventing any unwelcome energy release when conducting maintenance work.

For extended service intervals, the axles, transmission, hydraulic tank, and fuel tank have replaceable breather filters – located remotely – to prevent them from dirt and moisture contamination. The brakes are outboard mounted, and the oil circulation cools the front and rear axles. The rear axle cradles contain greased-for-life bushings and bearings, and so are maintenance-free.

Volvo construction equipment has been playing a major role in the delivery of a megaproject in Egypt. Learn more at: https://africanreview.com/construction/volvo-ce-machines-hard-at-work-on-egypt-megaproject

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