New Ford Ranger Challenges the Toyota HiLux's Dominance in the Mining Sector
After dominating Australia’s ute sector for 35 years, Toyota’s HiLux is getting a run for its money by Ford’s newly introduced Ford Ranger. Targeting mining corporations as their prime demographic, Ford’s Ranger is flying high on the radar of large mining companies and government agencies, already doubling sales to private buyers so far in 2014. Designed and engineered in domestically in Australia, and priced reasonably in the $46,280 to $52,760 bracket, Ford’s Ranger 4x4 XL comes packed with a 3.2 litre turbo diesel engine, automatic transmission, locking rear diff and 3:5 tonne towbar.
In addition to the Ranger’s technical bells and whistles, the truck has also earned a 5-star ANCAP safety rating after surpassing the safety requirements for new vehicle purchases by large fleet companies. Australian Mining reports, “There is a range of factory features fitted to the donor XL model to better meet the needs of mining customers, and is designed to make the installation of commercial equipment simpler and more integrated for efficient transition from delivery to operation.”
These factory features that will better-serve Australia’s mining needs include: heavy duty canvas seat covers (which come standard to protect seats from mud and dirt while ensuring the seat mounted thorax airbags remain unobstructed), mountings for driving lights, antennas and flags, the provision of an expanded wiring harness, additional pre-wired electrical circuits and an auxiliary switch bezel (which facilitates the easy installation of electrical equipment such as light bars, driving lights and radios). Ford recently released a statement further describing its strategy for designing and manufacturing the 4x4 Ranger, stating, “[the Ranger is] designed to suit the needs of mining industries across Australia”, and is geared to be a lightweight vehicle capable of handling the harsh terrains and work environments that accompany mining activity.
When comparing the Toyota HiLux’s previously recorded mining-industry success to current sales of the Ford Ranger, the numbers speak for themselves. In 2013, Toyota sold 2,600 HiLuxes to state and federal governments compared to the 3,500 purchases of Rangers to the same organizations. This year, Ford’s Ranger is leading the way for the mining industry’s automotive needs with an astounding 800 reported sales in the first quarter of 2014 alone— putting Toyota HiLux’s 500 to shame. Taking it even a step further, industry analysts have reported that Ford may be closing in on Toyota’s lucrative mining contracts both domestically and abroad, making this rivalry even more cutthroat than it already is.
In lieu with the success of Ford in Australian markets, Ford Australia’s vice president of marketing, sales and service, Graeme Whickman, stated that Ford worked with the mining sector and government agencies to develop the Ranger XL Plus. "These industries have very specific demands on their vehicles so that's why we created the Ranger 4x4 XL Plus," said Mr Whickman, "It will be a popular addition to mining industry and business sector fleets but we also expect there to be strong support from private customers who have a particular need for this type of vehicle."
The company will be debuting and promoting the Ranger 4x4 XL May 6-8 at the Mining and Engineering Expo in Western Australia next week, and is set to stir quite a bit of interest for those active in cultivating a more safety-oriented mining culture; and with all the recent notoriety and mining-industry success, Ford could be moving closer and closer to ending the reign of Toyota HiLux by the end of 2014.
Coal India Secures First-Of-Its-Kind Digital Deal
Coal India Limited (CIL) has appointed Accenture Solutions to digitally transform seven of its open-cast mines as the company strives to improve performance and increase coal production. Accenture is due to lay down digitalisation groundwork until March 2022.
The deal aims to increase coal production by 100 million tonnes (MT) by the end of FY’23. Once the minimum quantity has been surpassed, an agreed sum will be paid to the consultant for every additional sum of coal produced. This success fee will only be paid on the procurement of the minimum assured quantity.
The move will see heavy earth moving machinery (HEMM) fitted with digital sensors to monitor performance efficiency at all levels. Additionally, modern data analytic techniques aim to increase mine productivity and project monitoring through functional system management and effective observation.
An Exciting Venture For Global Mining
CIL, which aims to provide energy security in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner, hopes the move will help transform the entire business of mining operations and ensure higher volumes of coal are acquired at a lower cost.
“This is a first of its kind initiative by the company utilising digitalisation to ramp up coal output,” CIL has said.
A Digital Step Towards Enhanced Performance
Digitalisation is expected to take place at open-cast mines in Kusmunda, Gevra, Dipka of Southern Eastern Coalfields (SECL), Migahi, Jayant, Dudhichua, and Khadia of Northern Coalfields (NCL). Nearly 32% (188 MT) of CIL’s 596 MT output in FY’21 was accounted for by the seven selected mines. However, this new deal is set to see a large increase following the subsequent digital changes due to be made.
“Learning from the outcome and success of this model, we may replicate it in our other large mines,” says CIL, optimistic about the future following the modernisation of their mining.
It is expected that the move will help address roadblocks and guarantee corrective measures are put into place, ensuring the company is able to move forward with its aim of increasing output whilst remaining sustainable and eco-friendly.