EQUIPMENT ANALYSIS - INDIA: SKID STEER LOADERS (June 2015)
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This report examines the market for skid-steer loaders in India, and is an update of the subject last analysed by Off-Highway Research in June 2013. It assesses the current trends in the market, examines the operations of the main suppliers, and forecasts likely developments over the next five years.
The skid-steer loader is a small, compact four wheel drive machine that first originated in the USA, and is designed to operate in restricted areas. It is distinguished by its steering system – the machine’s movement is controlled by varying the speed and direction of the two sets of wheels on each side independently. The loading is done by a bucket lifted by two arms (some machines feature only one arm) which are pivoted from the rear of the machine to reduce the space required.
Tracked skid-steer loaders, often referred to as compact tracked loaders, are generally equipped with a rubber track undercarriage. These are seldom sold in the country and are not included in this report.
Although there are no recognised weight or horsepower categories for classifying skid-steer loaders, the machine is rated according to its operating capacity, which is classified as being half of the minimum load in the bucket which would cause the machine to tip forward. This is measured according to an SAE formula and is expressed in kilograms.
The smallest skid-steer loaders have engines of 20-25 horsepower, low lift capacities and are primarily used in farming. At the other end of the market, large machines with operating capacity range of 900-1,750 kilograms now carry 60-100 horsepower engines and so have much greater hydraulic power. They can load trucks in a manner comparable to articulated wheeled loaders, and some have a special geometry in the loader arms to achieve a greater dump height.
This highly versatile machine, complete with a quick-hitch attachment system and a wide array of compatible attachments, makes it suitable for a wide range of applications such as agriculture, industry, construction, demolition, material handling and maintenance. Furthermore, its tight turning radius makes it especially suitable for use in confined areas with limited access. Despite being very useful in a wide range of application, the market for skid-steer loaders in the country is still very small.
The findings in this report are based on Off-Highway Research’s database and on information collected during an interview programme undertaken in April and May 2015, which included all leading manufacturers and importers.