Visitors and exhibitors were sweltering in unusually hot September temperatures during the 15th edition of BICES just outside the Chinese capital Beijing.
The four-day event - the China Beijing International Construction Machinery, Building Material Machines and Mining Machines Exhibition & Seminar - was held at the New Beijing International Exhibition Centre in weather conditions perfect for machine demonstrations and new launches. Meanwhile, inside the four main exhibition halls and convention centre, an efficient air conditioning system meant temperatures thankfully were lowered.
What hadn’t been lowered were equipment sales within the domestic Chinese market; the outlook remains optimistic, as well.
The BICES organisers are the China Construction Machinery Association, the China Construction Machinery Company and the China Council for the promotion of International Trade Machinery Sub-Council. The international partner is Association of Equipment Manufacturers, based in Milwaukee in the US state of Wisconsin.
Earlier this year at a pre-BICES event, Qi Jun, chairman of China Construction Machinery Association, reviewed the state of the Chinese construction equipment manufacturing market. Last year saw, he said, a “sustained and healthy development”. Sales of nine major products increased by 25.5% year-on-year. Among them, the sales of excavators which exceeded 200,000 units, surpassing the previous sales peak and becoming a new record.
Export growth, too, was good in 2018, said Qi. Total exports of nine major products increased by just over 34% year-on-year. It is expected that the whole industry will maintain sustained growth in 2019 of about 10% - higher than China’s GDP growth.
Given such optimism about the market, the atmosphere was predictably upbeat among exhibitors. Luigong chose BICES 2019 to unveil the first prototypes of the manufacturer’s all-electric machines. On the first morning of the event, a massive red sheet that was covering several machines was pulled away to reveal the three machines in gleaming white livery. The 5,900kg CLG906E-EV crawler excavator, the 18,500kg CLG856H-EV loader and the CLG922F-EV crawler excavator are the first examples of what the company believes will be the future.
China has one of the world’s most advanced and ambitious battery development sectors which is ensuring that the price of batteries is dropping fast, said David Beatenbough, vice president of research and development at Liugong. Even so, around 75% of the purchase cost of a new machine could be in the battery system, said Beatenbough, who has worked 20 years in China, including the past 15 years with Liugong.
What is important is to consider the life-time operating cost of an electric machine. He says the real take-off point for electric construction vehicles will be when there is enough data collected over several years to show total running costs are lower than for an internal combustion engine machine.
There is no firm schedule for the sale of the EV series, he says. “We will have some units in customers’ hands for field test work in 2020 with the actual product launch, of course depending on the test results, will likely be within two years.”
Shantui had on its stand the company’s newest and what it calls the world’s most portable concrete batching test plant, the SjHS100-I. Aggregate, powder and water are automatically measured and weighed by microcomputer control in the modular-designed laboratory that is easily dismantled for travel to other sites.
The SjHS100-I lab’s aggregate capacity is five bins of 0.5m³ while the water tank capacity is 0.2m³. The powder weighing system is four bins of 0.5m³ capacity. A twin-shaft mixing system has a feeding capacity of 160 litres and discharge capacity of 100 litres.
Shantui also was displaying an SD20-5 dozer, powered by LNG (liquified natural gas. The mostly methane-powered machine is a nod in the direction of environmental sophistication, although not a new technology and fuel. It was, however, sporting position and grading technology from MOBA - Mobile Automation. The MOBA equipment was a showpiece, according to one sales person, as an example of optional technological sophistication if the customer wishes it. But in truth, he said, the domestic market is not there yet, as well as the Belt and Road market. Shantui will, however, be there for its customers should they want MOBA equipment in the near future.
It’s a gas
Also displaying a natural gas-powered machine was XCMG - the company’s LW500KV-LNG wheel loader with rear-mounted gas cylinder and accessories. XCMG says that its overfilling safety control technology prevents accidental overfilling of the LNG cylinder. There is also a “COOL” pressurisation system for the pressurisation of the gas cylinder that ensures a balanced supply pressure, often a problem with traditional pressurisation methods. The company says that that the LNG machine can save up to 30% of the fuel cost of internal combustion engine machines.
Also on display in XCMG’s wheel loader range was the LW600FV. It comes with the Weichai engine, electronic control transmission and the XCMG-patented automatic power distribution hydraulic system. Thanks to a 38° steering angle and a 3,350mm wheelbase, it is well suited to narrow worksites, according to the company.
In its outdoor areas, Sany was showcasing its SSP Series Multifunctional Pavers, including the SSP90C-8. It comes as standard with an SE570 expansion screed that has a basic length of 3-5.7m. However, a 9.2m option is available. Maximum paving capacity is 1,000 tonnes per hour with a maximum paving thickness of 50cm. The hopper capacity is around 8.5m³. It has a top paving speed of 16m/hour and a traveling speed of 2.8kph.
Sany says that with the 50cm paving thickness the SSP90C-8 can pave and mold two layers of stable soils at one time, which can boost working efficiency by 50%. In addition, to prolong wear life by 30%, the conveying channel is made of thickened steel plate.
Sany also displayed an SSR260AC-8H compactor, the ‘H’ standing for high performance. The 26-tonne hydraulic single-drum machine is the largest of the SSR compactors; the others are an SSR200AC-8H at 20 tonnes and the 22-tonne SR220AC-8H. The WeiChai WP6G200E331 engine provides 147kW of power to greatly improve the gradeability, according to the company.
On the Zoomlion stand, small was beautiful as depicted by the company’s ZE60E-10 mini excavator. The machine has an operational weight of 6,050kg and a bucket capacity of 0.23m³ and bucket force of 28.5kN. The machine’s Stage III Yanmar engine is best suited for work in countries that are taking up Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.
CRCHI - China Railway Construction Heavy Industry – had on display what it claims is the world’s only two-boom shotcreting system – the just-launched HPS55016G.
The unit has a maximum injection speed of 50m³ per hour. It has, according to the manufacturer, “double pump, double boom and double pump additives for the first time in the industry”. Apart from doing duty inside tunnels, the HPS55016G can tackle culvert construction for railway lines, highways and water projects.
Under normal circumstances the two injection booms can work at the same time. But if one boom injection system is blocked, normal operation of the other boom is not be affected, noted Liu Jinshu, deputy director of the CRCHI’s special equipment research institute. She said concrete rebound is low and is controlled within 15%. Compared with the single-boom shotcreting machine with the spraying speed of 30m³ per hour, the spraying efficiency of the two-boom shotcreting machine is increased by 60%.