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Shantui broadening operations

First Publishedon www.DailyNews-Online.com/Bauma-China
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Shantui bulldozer plant
High production efficiency at the Shantui bulldozer plant ensures continuous throughput

Chinese firm Shantui is best known for its well-proven bulldozer range, which it started manufacturing 30 years ago, although the company has since diversified its product line.

The company is China’s leading producer of bulldozers and claims around 70% of the home market for these machines although it also exports a significant percentage of its production run.

Shantui’s senior consultant for Global Marcoms, David Lightle said, “We’ve been exporting for 25 years.”

Exports form an important part of the company’s strategy and Lightle said, “We want to be the number one non-Western construction machine brand in the developing world.”

With the recent lull in demand for machines in the Chinese market the company has already increased its exports from 20% of production a year ago to the present 30%. Lightle said, “The reason we’re growing exports is that customers are figuring out they can get a good new Chinese machine for the price of a used Western brand.”

There is a healthy trade in used Caterpillar and Komatsu bulldozers in countries in South East Asia such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as nations in the Middle East and Latin America. But with the low emission Tier 4 Interim/Stage IIIB engines being fitted to machines for sale in Europe and the US, the trade in used bulldozers from Europe or the US into developing countries may well be affected. The low emission engines require high quality, low sulphur fuels that are not available in many developing nations. This presents a major sales opportunity for Shantui as the majority of the company’s production run is for units complying with the Chinese Tier 2/Stage II requirements, and which have good tolerance for the high sulphur fuels. It is worth noting though that both Caterpillar and Komatsu have recognised this factor and are increasing their efforts with Tier 2/Stage II compliant machines.

The change in Shantui’s export profile also marks a major change in its operations. In the past the company emphasised its exports on supplying machines to contractors carrying out work overseas. However Shantui is now developing an extensive distribution chain around the globe. The export focus is on developing markets, although the company has also supplied bulldozers to European customers in several countries including Germany and Sweden.

Quality forms a major focus for Shantui’s production operations, while efficiency is crucial to its high volume output. When the bulldozers are on the Shantui production line the units spend 14 minutes at each work station before moving to the next. The bulldozer production facility in Jining is new and modern, with operations designed to ensure flow is maintained along the assembly lines. At the peak of demand, the plant built over 10,000 bulldozers in one year, or around 30/day. This pushed it ahead of its rivals in the global bulldozer market in terms of numbers, although rivals Caterpillar and Komatsu do build significantly larger models and a true comparison would be to compare the total value of the units produced/year.

The bulldozer range is offered with a wide array of options. Shantui machines can be offered with various specifications to suit customer needs, such as the SDG variant for use in cold climates and other versions for hot climates or high altitude operation.

The parts business is an important one for Shantui, a side-effect of the bulldozer market where there is a need to supply customers with undercarriage components on a regular basis as these are wear items. What is of note is that Shantui also supplies parts to other manufacturers, including Komatsu and Volvo CE, which highlights the quality of its components. A significant percentage of its turnover comes from the parts business and growing this side of its operation is a key strategy for the future. The company makes all its own wearparts, although it does not make engines or hydraulics. The engines are bought in and suppliers include Shangchai, Weichai, Cummins and Yangchai. Utilisation of the plant is also maximised and the facility also manufactures components for other machines in the Shantui line such as wheeled loaders and pneumatic tyred compactors.

The company has other plans in hand too. Shantui is planning a major launch for bauma China 2012, hinting that the new machine will be a huge surprise. In addition, Shantui will exhibit a host of new products recently added to the range as part of its key strategy for diversification. These include a fully hydrostatic bulldozer, the SD10YS, which is certified for import into Europe and the United States under Tier 3/Stage IIIA emission standards, and the firm’s biggest ever wheeled loader, the SL80W. This last takes over from the successful SL60W as Shantui’s top-of-the range wheeled loader. Other products being displayed at bauma 2012 in Shanghai include the SR12-5 single drum compactor, which is also Euro compliant with its Cummins Tier 3 engine, and the new SR13D roller.

In addition, Shantui’s newest truck-mounted concrete pump, the HJC5121THB-18I will debut at the show, along with the firm’s longest boom pump, the the HJC5410THB, which will make its debut. Also being seen for the first time at a show will be the latest asphalt (bitumen) plant, the JLB3000.

Other products being introduced are the DG54 fire truck, from the newly acquired Fu Shun operations in north-east China, and the QLYH20/60 bridge truss inspection machine. In the interior display (E4 Hall, #E410), Shantui will display a full line-up of newly introduced forklifts, including the top-of-the-range SF160, as well as the SF80, SF45T, SF50X, SF30C, SF25S, SF20QS and the Q60S. During 2012, Shantui is almost doubling its product offering in the forklift segment.

Looking further ahead bauma Africa in 2013 will also be a major event for the firm’s export focus. The firm is also using the down period in Chinese demand to retool, retrain its factory workers and service personnel and also to increase the finish quality of the machines.
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