Sin­grauli hosts Volvo Fuel­watch Chal­lenge

Volvo Trucks hosted the eighth edi­tion of Volvo Fuel­watch Chal­lenge at Sin­grauli.

Commercial Vehicle - - WHAT'S INSIDE - Story by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

Volvo Trucks hosted the eighth edi­tion of Volvo Fuel­watch Chal­lenge at Sin­graulli.

The eighth edi­tion of Volvo Trucks In­dia ‘Fuel­watch Chal­lenge’ was held at Sin­grauli, Mad­hya Pradesh. Home to five ther­mal power gen­er­a­tion plants with an es­ti­mated power gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity of 13295 mega-watt, Sin­grauli, saw 29 top con­tenders – win­ners of re­gional rounds, from 29 dif­fer­ent Volvo Trucks cus­tomers, pi­lot the new BSIV Volvo FMX 460 8x4 min­ing tip­per on a 3.4 km track in the Dud­hichua coal mine. The Dud­hichua mine is one of the largest mines among the 10 mines that North­ern Coal­fields Lim­ited (NCL) op­er­ates in the Sin­grauli re­gion. With rich coal de­posits spread over an area of 2,200 sq. km, Sin­grauli has 15 Volvo Trucks cus­tomers, in­clud­ing its big­gest cus­tomer BGR Min­ing & In­fra. To­gether they op­er­ate 850 FMX trucks. Given the need of the op­er­a­tions, Sin­grauli has no 8x4 Volvo FMX trucks. All the trucks that op­er­ate there are 10x4 FMX 520 and FMX 480. A to­tal of 273 trucks out of the BGR’s fleet of over 500 trucks op­er­ate at Sin­grauli. The mines of Sin­grauli have 85 FMX 480 trucks, and 30 FMX 520 10x4 trucks. Re­plac­ing the mighty dump trucks, the 850 Volvo min­ing trucks at Sin­grauli have come to earn the re­spect of their driv­ers. They are ably sup­ported by the Volvo ser­vice struc­ture.

Choos­ing to hold the chal­lenge at the Dud­hichua coal mine to sim­u­late the ex­act con­di­tions un­der which its min­ing trucks ply, Volvo Trucks got a 3.4 km track, lead­ing up to a dis­carded dump­ing site, built. With tight cor­ners and loose sur­faces thrown in for good mea­sure, the track, 1.7 km oneway, saw each of the 29 driv­ers drive with load and with­out

load. Aimed at en­hanc­ing driver ef­fi­ciency and skills, which would in-turn help to el­e­vate the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of Volvo trucks that they drive, the eighth ‘Fuel­watch Chal­lenge’ paid par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to how a Volvo min­ing truck driver planned his drive; em­ployed his skills, and drove safely. In the des­o­late land­scape of a coal mine, one er­ror can lead to costly ac­ci­dents and dam­age.

Held over three days, the ‘Fuel­watch Chal­lenge’ saw the 29 driv­ers try all the tricks un­der the sun to en­sure that their’s was the most fru­gal drive. The most tricky part of the chal­lenge was per­haps the turn at the half-way mark, which re­quired the driver to make a three-point turn­ing ma­neou­vre. Also chal­leng­ing proved to be the loose soil sur­face. It called for the right use of trac­tion. The weather was not the most pleas­ant dur­ing the three days of the chal­lenge. B Di­nakar, Vice Pres­i­dent, Sales & Mar­ket­ing, Volvo Trucks, ex­pressed that the event is not a com­pe­ti­tion. It is a cul­ture.

Volvo’s telem­at­ics plat­form, Dy­nafleet, was pressed into ser­vice to record the per­for­mance of each and ev­ery driver. With the new 8x4 Volvo FMX 460 BSIV (with I-Shift au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion) as the ba­sis, Ap­pana Babu of BGR Min­ing and In­fra man­aged to be the most fru­gal and dis­ci­plined. Ra­jkaran Kush­waha of Baghel In­fras­truc­tures (Sin­grauli) came sec­ond, and Bablu Ghat­wal of Coal Mines

As­so­ci­ated Traders came third. Said Di­nakar, that none of the 29 driv­ers that par­tic­i­pated in this edi­tion of the Fuel watch Chal­lenge has ever par­tic­i­pated in this event. He drew at­ten­tion to a rule that re­stricts en­try for three years to those who have par­tic­i­pated. Ex­pressed Di­nakar, “Since its in­au­gu­ral event in 2010, more than 20,000 par­tic­i­pants have be­come am­bas­sadors of the Fuel­watch com­mu­nity. They share their skills and knowl­edge to pro­mote a more fuel-ef­fi­cient in­dus­try.” Stat­ing that it takes more than driv­ing for the driv­ers to go fur­ther, Di­nakar said that they are work­ing to­wards a model where the ‘Fuel­watch Chal­lenge’ turns out driv­ers that be­come train­ers for other driv­ers in the fleet.

To rep­re­sent In­dia in the fi­nals held at Swe­den, Babu ex­pressed that it is not just about driv­ing, but is also about un­der­stand­ing the ter­rain, the ve­hi­cle, and to move in har­mony. Laud­ing the ef­forts put in by the driv­ers, and their abil­ity to think quickly, Di­nakar men­tioned, “This also helps us to relook at the tech­nol­ogy we of­fer, and im­prove upon it.” This edi­tion of Fuel­watch saw an in­creased par­tic­i­pa­tion from over 400 driv­ers of 29 cus­tomers. “The fuel-ef­fi­ciency mar­gins clocked by the win­ners have achieved new tar­gets for pos­si­ble sav­ings in a real-world con­text, which is tes­ti­mony of the fact that driver train­ing is piv­otal to en­sure in­creased fuel ef­fi­ciency,” ex­pressed Di­nakar. Claim­ing to spear­head the Fuel­watch mis­sion in the in­dus­try, Di­nakar ex­plained that they have trained over 55,000 truck driv­ers na­tion­wide. Stress­ing upon driv­ers achiev­ing up to 30 per cent bet­ter fuel ef­fi­ciency over av­er­age driv­ers with reg­u­lar driver en­gage­ment through driver train­ing pro­grams, Di­nakar con­cluded that In­dian truck driv­ers are prov­ing to be top con­tenders. They are mak­ing their mark in the global Fuel­watch Chal­lenge, he averred. If Babu wins the fi­nals at Swe­den, his ef­forts will bring fame to his friends, fam­ily and the en­ergy gen­er­at­ing re­gion of Sin­grauli. It will also in­spire oth­ers to fol­low in his foot­steps.

(L to R) Mo­han Iyen­gar, Head – Af­ter­mar­ket, Volvo Trucks In­dia, and B Di­nakar, Vice Pres­i­dent – Sales & Mar­ket­ing, Volvo Trucks In­dia.

⇧ 29 Volvo min­ing truck driver from 29 cus­tomers at the 8th Volvo Fuel­watch Chal­lenge at Sin­grauli.

ØThe Dud­hichua coal mine.

⇨ Win­ner of the chal­lenge, Ap­panna Babu (cen­tre) with sec­ond placed Ra­jkaran Kush­waha, and third placed Bablu Ghat­wal.

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