With the fuel prices continuously growing up and our surrounding increasingly being adversely affected by the amount of pollution that is generated by the heavy Construction Equipment (CE) like Backhoe Loaders (BHLs), opting for environment-friendly and fuel-efficient machines is the need of the hour.

In fact, fuel efficiency has taken centre stage in the business of CE. More and more manufacturers are now focussing on new technologies that can cut the fuel consumption to a very large extent. Particularly, the backhoe loader manufacturers have taken up this task sincerely. Now, they are increasingly targeting to make BHLs which emit far lesser amount of smoke and offer great fuel efficiency. This is because BHLs are one of the leading contributors to dangerous diesel pollution.

Why a hoopla about fuel-efficient BHL?

Well, fuel costs of CE like BHLs can be as high as 50 per cent of the operating cost. Hence, it has a major impact on the customer’s profitability. For a BHL to be best-in-class, fuel efficiency is the primary requirement.

Simply put, fuel efficiency measures the amount of work you can do with every litre. A fuel-efficient BHL can offer two major benefits to its users.

1. Reduced costs: It is a known fact that construction industry requires huge sums of money for smooth running of the business. From small developers to big giants in infrastructure segment, everyone is always on the lookout for various ways to reduce the costs incurred and make more profit. In such a scenario, BHL, which is counted as the basic need at any jobsite, can only add up to the cost as it needs a lot of money for fuel and maintenance. If fuel-efficient BHL is employed, then the cost can reduce drastically.

2. Reduced waste of energy: Fuel-efficient Backhoe Loader often emit far lesser amount of smoke, reduce the waste of energy and thus, save the environment from pollution. Fuel-efficient BHLs are not only beneficial for the eco-system, but also for the users companies as they can reduce the overall cost of maintenance of the equipment.

Boosting fuel efficiency in BHLs

1. To determine fuel efficiency of Backhoe Loaders, it can be tracked, either manually through maintaining the fuel bills or with on-board machine or off-machine telematics.

2. Efficient hydraulic system can also help improve performance of the equipment and its fuel efficiency.

3. Fuel efficiency can also be achieved by building in more efficient systems around the engine.

4. Variable-displacement pumps can also help. Unlike a fixed pump which pumps oil at all times, creating energy waste and fuel loss; variable-displacement pumps do not pump oil until a load is sensed. Backhoes can achieve 7 to 8 per cent fuel savings by adopting this technology.

Mahindra EarthMaster VX model: The real fuel-efficient equipment

Given the need and demand from end-users for fuel-efficient equipment, more and more BHL manufactures have started working on technology which consumes less fuel, give higher productivity and profitability. In fact, many companies have come up with different innovative solutions to meet the customers’ expectations. Among such pioneering Indian companies is Mahindra Construction Equipment (MCE) and its Mahindra EarthMaster VX backhoe model which is substantially a superior machine with a phenomenal fuel efficiency that saves at least a litre per hour.

The main features of Mahindra EarthMaster VX model which make it highly fuel-efficient include:

1. It has the proven Mahindra DITEC engine.

2. It comes with 4 compact cylinders and engine of 3532cc.

3. The engine is compact type but can deliver more power and achieve high torque at low RPM. It is very effective for loading, dozing, levelling and cutting applications. Torque remains constant even if the RPM drops down to the range of 1300-1700. This is not with other machines, where torque drops with the drop in RPM.

4. The equipment incorporates fixed displacement gear pump with the pump capacity of 115 LPM @ 2350 RPM and system pressure of 250 Bars.

5. It has turbocharged intercooled engine air + fuel mixture optimised to ensure better combustion.

6. It offers best-in-class fuel efficiency of 4.5* litres per hour.

7. With flat torque curve, it provides savings of 10 per cent in standard evacuation cycle.

8. It is also BS III pollution compliant.

9. It can work for 21 hours continuously even at high temperatures such as deserts, industrial furnaces etc., without any breaks.

10. The equipment has lower lubricant refilling requirement. In fact, the equipment requires 50 litres of hydraulic oil only with 2000 hours change interval.

11. The engine oil requirement is 14 litres with 500 hours change interval and the transmission oil requirement is 8 litres with 1000 hours change interval.

In a nutshell

Fuel costs are one of the heaviest line items in the construction company’s budget. In such a case, usage of fuel-efficient BHL can help in ensuring greater productivity and lesser time in refuelling and acquiring fuel, thereby, reducing total operating including fuel costs.