Developing innovations to meet the growing demand
All predictions point towards another year of robust growth in the off-highway and industrial market this year, with around 3-5% growth expected by many within the industry – not quite reaching the spike levels of 2018, but still showing a buoyant market which continues to be driven by global construction, mining, and agriculture activity.
Despite continued political uncertainty in Europe and the USA in particular, major infrastructure projects continue to gain traction due to urbanization and the global construction market is set to continue its growth of recent years. In fact, the Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) has predicted average growth of 3.6% per year for the period 2018-2022.
Elsewhere the global mining sector remains strong, driven by China in particular, and continues the recent upturn which saw the world’s top 40 mining companies report unprecedented collective revenue rises of 23% in 2017. The rise in agriculture mechanization in developing countries is also showing no sign of tailing off.
All of this bodes well of course for the off-highway and industrial sectors, which rely so heavily on construction, mining and agriculture productivity to maintain demand, and global sales of construction equipment are predicted to grow to almost 1.5billion products this year as a result.
Manufacturers are responding with a series of technological innovations and product features which are helping operators to meet increasing demands across safety, convenience and regulations. Here we examine two of the most significant drivers.
Implications of continued engine development
In Europe, the introduction of ‘stage V standards’, the EU’s new stage V non-road emission standards, will set the world’s toughest emission standards for off-highway vehicles.
With a phased introduction across different engine types until January 2020, the changes will tighten restrictions on non-road engines and equipment, whilst setting stricter limits on emissions of particulate matter (PM). This is already having an impact on the types of products being installed into equipment inside the EU, with manufacturers having to take into account the effects on emissions in order to support global initiatives to improve air quality. This mirrors similar considerations that have been forced upon automotive manufacturers in recent years too.
Reducing noise and vibration levels
Another area in which learnings can be made from the consumer automotive market is in noise. As construction output levels continue to rise again, machine noise is a hot topic in key markets such as the USA with much of the focus being placed on cabs, in line with the standards set by automotive manufacturers.
The introduction of ‘decibel reduction levels’ stickers on the cab of construction plant, which display in cab and bystander noise levels, will give purchasers the information they need to make a more informed decision based on noise output.
Such information was previously only known by manufacturers and resellers, but by making it clearly available to the operator and any passers-by, it can improve site safety, enhance communication and improve operator comfort too.
Not forgetting vibration, which remains a critical issue for any operator. There is now a greater emphasis on minimizing operator exposure to vibrations for maximum comfort, made possible by innovative antivibration mounts like those in the Trelleborg range for off-highway vehicles.
For more information visit Trelleborg’s innovative solutions for the off-highway and industrial