As per Off-Highway Research, the grader market is expected to grow from 750 units in 2016 to 850 units by 2020. Well, the facts clearly state that the Indian grader industry is going through a phenomenal phase and its future also seems to be very bright owing to the major reason i.e., spurt in road construction activities through up-gradation of National highways and various special expressway projects, connectivity projects like bypasses and ring roads around major cities contributing towards the Smart Cities project and development of rural roads. Thus, indeed the future of mini graders, a sub-segment of the overall grader market in the road Construction Equipment (CE) segment also looks bright. In fact, it is estimated that the demand of mini graders will increase by 15-20 per cent in the next 4-5 years.

Decoding mini-graders

Simply put, mini graders are compact and lightweight equipment and essentially a miniaturised version of the full size graders. They are usually self-propelled machines with an adjustable blade. Typical mini grader models have three axles with the engine and cab situated above the rear axles at one end of the vehicle and a third axle at the front end of the vehicle with the blade in between.

Like the larger graders, the mini graders are also used for making smoother surfaces, fine grade, levelling soil and shifting small amounts of dirt. The most traditional use of this CE is in the construction and maintenance of roads with its main function being preparing the topmost layer for laying asphalt on top of it. In simple terms, mini graders are used to finish grade (refine, set precisely) the rough grading performed by the heavy CE such as scrapers and bulldozers.

Graders, both the large and mini ones are an integral part of the road maintenance fleets across the country. Though small in size, mini grader are power-packed and their size helps the machine operate successfully in small spaces.

Tips for buying new mini grader

Before making any purchase decision, you need to think about your exact requirement and available fleet. Since buying mini grader is a costly affair, you need to have a clear understanding of what it can and cannot do and whether it is the right equipment for the job that you are planning to perform with it. Also, take into account, factors such as storage space, maintenance, fuel and repair costs. After giving a serious thought, if you really feel the need for mini grader, then go for it. You can study the equipment online or ask for a demo from the identified brand dealer. Decide upon the brand and specific model depending on your requirement. Always pay heed to the guarantees and warrantees.

One of the last but most important things to be kept in mind while purchasing a mini grader is price consideration. Well, most of the rates at which the mini graders are available on purchase are highly competitive, yet you need to ensure that you buy the mini grader which fits well within your budget and does all the tasks that you want it to do. Further, it is also important to know about the maintenance cost as the equipment is highly subjective to wear and tear. If the maintenance is done properly, then the component lifecycle is extended, resale value remains high and downtime is rarely a concern. So, if you want to know the total operating cost of the equipment, you need to take all the costs into consideration.

Tips for buying a used mini grader

If you are thinking to buy a used mini grader, you need to check it thoroughly. The insurance, guarantees and warranties should be checked as should be the past work and maintenance log of the machine for any anomalies.

1. Pay attention to the frame: Always check the frame and make note of any metal reinforcements placed over or even behind a repaired crack.

2. Look for wear in the articulation point: The amount of wear will depend on the type of environment in which the mini grader was operated.

3. Study the hydraulics, cylinders, lines and hoses carefully: Check the hydraulics of the machine thoroughly and for that look at the ground beneath the machine. This way, if there are any fluid leaks, you can find them there. Take a good look around the machine. Observe the cylinders, lines and hoses closely within the engine compartment, circle drive housing, etc.

Look before you leap

So, before making the final purchase decision, look at the machine’s capabilities to perform the task you wish it to perform. Always remember that an undersized grader will not perform effectively and efficiently. At the same time, a bigger machine may also not be able to achieve efficiency of work and may lead to unnecessary consumption of fuel and money. So, look before you leap to buy the mini grader for your jobsite.