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Inspired by the Future: Q&A with Develon

Develon’s flagship crawler excavator – the DX1000LC-7
Develon’s flagship crawler excavator – the DX1000LC-7

First published in the November 2023 issue of Quarry Management 

In a recent Q&A session with Quarry Management, South Korean OEM giants Develon explain how they are helping quarry operators and customers to see the bigger picture with autonomous construction equipment, electrification, and digital innovations 

QM: Earlier this year, Hyundai Doosan Infracore announced a new brand identity for Doosan Construction Equipment – rebranding the business to become ‘Develon’. It’s been almost a year since the brand revamp, how have customers, partners, dealers etc. reacted to the new branding and the company’s growth and evolution?

Develon: Overall, our dealers and customers have welcomed the new brand name Develon. This has been perceived as a more modern name which is derived from the words ‘develop’ and ‘onwards’, that represents our will to work tirelessly to change the world with smart innovative solutions.

They are also happy with the fact that there is virtually no change in our core values, sales network, products, and technologies, which remain the same. For example, they see continuity in our products, where the same nomenclature is still being used (DX, DL) with the same distinct orange colour. 

That said, the new brand name is also the beginning of a new era in the company’s history with a promise to our customers to create added value for them through advanced technologies and innovation. Many of our partners are actively leading the way in this new beginning, so the basic idea of the brand is very well received. 

Moreover, we have been working hard with our dealers to rebrand their facilities, locations and vehicles and this process is now almost complete at many dealerships throughout Europe and will be finalized by year end.

 

QM: During the pandemic reports of a global semiconductor shortage were widespread, with nearly every facet of the construction industry affected. What recent changes and developments have Develon seen in the construction equipment supply chain and heavy machinery market?

Develon: During Covid, there were shortages of certain raw materials and big supply chain issues which affected all manufacturers in our industry. Now it is more normalized, we are catching up and overall there are now no real supply chain issues, but competition is getting fiercer with price wars developing in certain sectors.

QM: Develon have a strong and long-standing commitment to the EMEA market – what is the company’s strategy and approach to this key region? 

Develon: Customers are looking at every technological feature that could bring them increased productivity, improved safety, more comfort, and better reliability. So, these elements are key in our approach towards the market in terms of both product development and essentially providing value beyond products by creating smart construction solutions to meet these needs.

Continuous R&D based on Korean engineering in addition to the European VOC influences a major part of our technology roadmap for the construction and quarrying industries, with a particular focus on offering the highest levels of safety and technology.

We are focusing heavily on productivity, whilst at the same time drastically lowering fuel consumption with our D-ECOPOWER Virtual Bleed Off (VBO) and Full Electric Hydraulic (FEH) systems in our excavator products and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) technology in our wheel loader models.

Develon’s D-ECOPOWER technology, for example, utilizes an electronic pressure-controlled pump within a closed centre hydraulic system to accomplish increases of up to 26% in productivity and a 7% improvement in fuel consumption, depending on the mode selected. A closed-centred main control valve minimizes pressure loss, whilst the electric pressure-controlled pump manages and optimizes engine power more effectively.

Improved feedback to the operator through the joystick results in improved machine control and less operator fatigue. The acceleration/deceleration of the excavator workgroup functions are smoother, allowing operators to perform repetitive swinging and digging motions with less jerking movements.

FEH technology is similar to our D-ECOPOWER VBO system. Effectively, the FEH is a VBO system without pilot pressure lines. The joysticks and pedals are fully electric but give the operator the same feeling as hydraulic joysticks. In FEH systems, an electric signal is sent to the central controller and as such is more precise and provides faster information. 

Back pressure and energy loss are, therefore, eliminated, by delivering the exact amount of oil needed. As the system does not utilize pilot pressure, energy is saved resulting in better fuel economy. In fact, the FEH system can offer a significant 8% less fuel burn, compared with the D-ECOPOWER VBO system.

For site efficiency Develon have created a range of smart technology solutions, including the new Quarry-X solution (currently in prototype stage), designed to integrate all the operational processes involved in running a quarry, from order taking to sales (using information and communications technology) to managing the site and increasing productivity with minimal cost and time.

The Quarry-X concept addresses various customer needs by reducing machinery downtime, improving the efficiency of load work management, and preventing unexpected accidents. It achieves this by providing services that support the shipment, production, safety, and fleet management of quarry sites via smart construction equipment features.

For increased occupational safety, there is the option of Develon’s patent-protected Transparent Bucket (the first safety system of its type in the industry), which has received many take-ups with positive feedback from quarry operators. The Transparent Bucket is a fully integrated system that allows a wheel loader operator to see the bucket blind spots on the machine through the in-cab monitor. We also have our 360° AVM (all-around view monitoring) camera system to further enhance operator safety. 

Another challenge we are seeing from the quarrying and wider construction industry is the requirement to reduce our machinery carbon footprint. We are happy to support the delivery of major reductions in carbon emissions and contribute to a more sustainable quarrying industry with the continuous development of cutting-edge technologies and service solutions that are central to achieving a low-carbon economy.   

The new Develon 4x4 DA45-7 ADT
The new Develon 4x4 DA45-7 ADT

QM: What new products and aftermarket services have Develon recently launched to satisfy customer demands and stay competitive in today’s heavy equipment market? 

Develon: For new products in the quarrying sector, we could start with our flagship crawler excavator – the DX1000LC-7. The machine has been specially engineered to offer huge fuel savings. Driven by the most powerful engine in the 100-tonne class, the DX1000LC-7 has the highest hydraulic flow for this size of excavator, providing best-in-class performance, with higher productivity, lower fuel consumption and smoother controls. 

Substantial fuel savings and all-round performance are also offered by the existing 80-tonne DX800LC-7 model and the rest of the ‘DX-7 range’ of crawler excavators from 14 to 53 tonnes.

In our articulated dumptruck (ADT) range, the new 4x4 DA45-7 is Develon’s first rigid dumptruck featuring a four-wheel drive concept. The new 4x4 version of the DA45-7 ADT is intended to challenge rigid haulers in  the 40-tonne class. With its 4x4 design, the new DA45-7 model is better at handling bad roads, smoother driving surfaces and steeper terrain than rigid dumptrucks. The 4x4 DA45-7 ADT also has a better turning radius than comparable rigids.

In addition, it is important to mention Develon’s award-winning ‘DL-7’ wheel loader range. In total, there are 11 models all driven by powerful new Stage V-compliant engines, and the units provide higher productivity, increased fuel efficiency and a low cost of ownership, coupled with a superior environment and experience for the operator.

Develon’s Transparent Bucket
Develon’s Transparent Bucket is a fully integrated safety system that allows a wheel loader operator to see the bucket blind spots on the machine through the in-cab monitor

Redesigned buckets offering up to 7% more capacity ensure the DL-7 wheel loaders provide easier and faster loading with maximum bucket capacities from 2.0m3 to 6.4m3, offering increased productivity for a broad range of material-handling applications. The loaders can also be equipped with our groundbreaking Transparent Bucket system to further improve work efficiency and safety. 

For general construction, we have recently launched the DX20ZE-7 compact excavator and DD130 dozer. The DX20ZE-7 mini-excavator is the first mass-produced, electric-powered excavator manufactured by Develon. It combines low-noise and zero emissions with key features and performance enhancements that are found on the next-generation DX-7 Series range of mini-excavators.

The new Develon DD130 dozer has some interesting features that will be attractive for new customers. It is the company’s first dozer model for the European market and one of the biggest differences between the DD130 and other dozers is the visibility it provides of the machine’s blade.

The front engine compartment offers a narrower design to make it easier for operators to see their work. Other benefits include advanced technologies in the DD130 dozer which deliver more precision to help operators meet exacting specifications. A 2D grading system (dozing assist), for example, makes precision grading easier, even for novice operators. The operator simply programs the needed inputs and the machine-controlled blade functions to finish the job faster and with better accuracy. 

The Develon DL420CVT-7 wheel loader features a fuel-saving continuously variable transmission system
The Develon DL420CVT-7 wheel loader features a fuel-saving continuously variable transmission system

QM: As quarry operators look to produce and supply aggregates in an eco-friendly manner – what is the business doing to enhance its sustainability, manufacturing processes, and technology to ensure customers of Develon equipment have a lower carbon footprint and reduced environmental impact?

Develon: Sustainability is a big issue for every manufacturer as our industry advances in a climate of eco-friendly equipment and digitalization in a very competitive environment. We are developing fully electric and hybrid machines as part of our excavator and wheel loader product offerings, using a combination of battery packs, fuel-cell systems, and hydrogen engine-based technology. 

The new DX20ZE-7 model, for example, is the first utilization of our battery pack technology in our excavator products. Continuous R&D for quality products, the development of advanced technologies, and an excellent dealer network for overall customer service and support all become vitally important factors in this respect.

Corporate wide, we are aiming to reduce carbon emissions to contribute significantly to the global eco-friendly movement. Our investment in electro-hydraulic technologies to reduce fuel consumption and other electrification projects (as mentioned above) are all examples of our efforts in this area.

As previously explained, Develon are dedicated to changing the future for customers and providing value beyond products by creating smart construction solutions to meet industry needs.

The development of electric machines remains one of our key priorities, having recently launched the new 2-tonne DX202E-7 electric mini-excavator, with more compact models due for release in 2024. Also, a prototype 14W extended range electric vehicle (EREV) has been developed and was showcased at bauma 2022. 

We are also presenting electric battery packs as part of the company’s strategy to expand its business, to one that is more complex and inclusive of electrification solutions. Through such efforts, Develon plan to make headway in the market where the expectation for eco-friendly equipment is high. In the next couple of years, we will see electrification expansion in our larger product ranges of heavy excavators and wheel loaders.

Furthermore, we must mention the evolution and the current status of autonomous technology that is a key aspect to remain competitive. The company sees five stages in this work, the first is the use of technology to increase safety, with the second the automation of processes such as auto digging. 

The third stage is to make tasks autonomous with the fourth stage being fully autonomous via an external control centre, before finally moving to stage five, which is full site automation. The company is currently between stages three and stage four, but as mentioned above, we are hoping to demonstrate a stage five solution in 2024.

QM: Looking ahead, are there any expansion plans for Develon? 

Develon: First, our core strategy is now focused on the advanced markets of the EU and North America as previously we were more reliant on China, where the market has declined in the last few years.

Secondly, we have a good presence in the heavy equipment sector, but our compact line-up has been somewhat limited, so an expansion in compact sales is another growth area within our strategy. We have recently completed the development of a new 1–10 tonne compact range, but there will be more work in this area by focusing on more models to fill any gaps across the range whilst developing a brand-new compact track loader model. 

Thirdly, we will be diversifying our customer base by covering more application areas. Previously, the company focused on general construction, but it now provides various options through its growing attachments business. We seek to expand in a wider range of market sectors, including demolition, waste-handling, mining, and forestry.

At the same time, Develon will continue to focus on innovative technologies (eg electric machines, autonomous machines, site solutions etc.). Finally, we will concentrate on offering the best aftermarket service possible, with machine monitoring, remote diagnostics, our Smart X Centre, preventative maintenance, oil sampling etc all contributing to ensuring we maintain premium standards across the board.

 

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