E-Series: Customer Driven from Start to Finish

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LiuGong unveils its new E-series excavator to world markets at INTERMAT 2012.

In the construction equipment industry where growing a new machine brand is measured in decades -- certainly not months nor even years -- LiuGong Machinery Corporation is moving pretty fast.     

No more so than with its relentless effort to offer the world a high value, high-quality excavator designed from the ground up with customers’ needs taking the front seat.

Now LiuGong unveils its new E-series excavator to world markets at INTERMAT 2012. With this new line, LiuGong is on its third generation machine geared for western markets, and the company believes it has hit the bullseye for productivity, efficiency, value and operator comfort.

“The E-series was designed and delivered in two phases – we rolled a portion of the machines’ improvements out two years ago at Bauma with an interim D-series, and have finished all the design improvements with this model being presented at INTERMAT,” said David Beatenbough, Vice President of Research & Development for LiuGong.

Beatenbough, who has directed LiuGong’s machine design for six years, said this machine is the culmination of a production process that has been retooled to begin with the needs of western customers in mind. It’s one of the biggest product development projects LiuGong has ever undertaken.
“We took our design and production process and turned it inside out. We always considered the customer in the past, but prior to becoming a global company, our customer was Chinese, we’ve known that market for 50 years,” said Beatenbough. “In this machine, we put aside what we thought we knew and got solid product market research to inform us what western customers really want and need.”

Productivity. Efficiency. Comfort.
“That’s what they told us,” elaborated Beatenbough. “I’m really excited about the result because I know how much of that information got into this machine.”
Once the rigorous product research was complete, design teams went to work.
“When I first came to China, 14 years ago, I could not sit in the cab of a Chinese-made machine for more than an hour. Operator comfort was simply not in demand back then,” Beatenbough recalled.
The new LiuGong E-series now has one of the widest cabs in the industry to accommodate western body types and desire for space. The cabin opens wide with 1.8 square meters of pure comfort.

The team also spent significant time refining the ergonomics of the controls.     
“Control location, where the switches are – making sure the operator doesn’t have to turn around to operate a switch, the feel and precision of the controls, and even the positioning of the A/C vents to optimize heating, cooling, defrosting, and cab comfort so the air is not blowing in the operators face -- all of these were scrutinized,” Beatenbough noted. “And I think we got it right. In our tests, customers rated this machine in the 95th percentile in terms of comfort and ergonomics.”
Aside from comfort, the E-series has leapfrogged in terms of productivity. It offers approximately 20% gains in both productivity and reduced fuel consumption.

“On the productivity end, efficiency is how good of a job we did matching the engine to the hydraulic pumps and the control interface. We used a 32-bit controller and spent the better part of a year fine tuning our software to optimize controllability,” Beatenbough said, adding the operator obtains tremendous accuracy with the bucket motion.

And of course, some things didn’t change about the excavator. Quality, intense durability, and excellent after-sale support are built right in.
And like a proud father, he points out the talents and precision of the new LiuGong machine.
“You might not need to, but you can pick up a pack of matches with the E-series.”

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Ryan Lineberry
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