LiuGong, China’s premier construction equipment manufacturer, is preparing to launch its innovative new Global Research and Development Center in June of this year – a facility in Liuzhou, China, that will help to accelerate the technological proficiency in its machines.
With R&D and continual product improvement considered fundamental to its business activity, LiuGong is confident the new Development Center will help establish it as one of the world’s leading companies in the construction equipment industry. LiuGong currently inputs close to 5% of its total sales revenue into R&D year-on-year, with an investment of over €61 million in 2014 alone.
“For LiuGong to continue our growth path, we need facilities that enable our gifted design and engineering teams to innovate and utilize the technologies that will drive the future of our machines,” says David Beatenbough, Vice President of LiuGong and project lead for the new Development Center. “We are excited that the new Global Research and Development Center will provide us with all the tools to realize our technological ambitions.”
Based in Liuzhou – which is also home to the company’s Global Headquarters – the complex will be the new hub that influences LiuGong’s three other world-class R&D facilities in India, Poland and the United Kingdom. Its initial focus will be to undertake major research, development and testing for LiuGong’s lines of wheel loaders, excavators and graders. One of the first projects will be the completion of research and development, as well as testing the 2nd phase models of H Series wheel loaders.
Alongside this, its comprehensive range of laboratories will develop sophisticated measures to test and optimize all aspects of machine performance, such as structural design, materials science, electronic and hydraulic efficiency, cooling, vibration and noise. The laboratories will allow accelerated endurance testing as well as a wide variety of performance testing.
One benefit the new 1,200 seat office brings to LiuGong is the ability to bring expert minds from different fields together, under one roof. The new center will be the focal point for technical training within LiuGong. Development of engineers’ talent is a key target at LiuGong, and the new Global R&D Center has several specialized training laboratories. Better training facilities lead to more efficient and complete learning. Co-locating experts from many disciplines allows better exchange of ideas, and helps with one of the new design center’s primary missions – that of evaluating future technologies, and future trends within the industry thus setting the technical direction for LiuGong’s future.
In furthering the globalization of the organization, the Development Center project has been at the forefront of LiuGong’s strategy. Development began in Liuzhou in 2013 and the accumulated investment in the project since then has reached €40 million. The modern facility spans 110,000m² and includes an office complex, a test centre, a prototype centre, seven laboratories, and three design studios. The facility is further enhanced with state-of-the-art technological equipment and a virtual reality studio.
“By virtue of the world-class hardware that the LiuGong Global Research and Development Centre is equipped with, there will be a fundamental change for the better in how we approach R&D,” say6s Zeng Guang’an, Chairman of the LiuGong. “There is no doubt that once the facility is operational, it will improve our experimental and research abilities, while enabling us to incorporate key technological advancements into our products.”
“One of the biggest objectives of the new Development Center will be to encourage greater interaction between our R&D facilities worldwide: expert teams exchanging information and better utilizing resources, and a more efficient process in turning technological development into application,” adds Guang’an. “I am positive this will increase our leverage in becoming a world-class construction equipment manufacturer.”
Speaking about the expectations for the research center, Beatenbough adds, “First and foremost, we want to ensure we do things right. We always focus on building a strong foundation, driving forward step-by-step The stronger that foundation becomes, the faster we can move forward with advanced and even, in some cases, revolutionary technologies. Having a research facility that is able to meet the demands our scientists and engineers place on it allows us to focus on advancing our capabilities. Within just a few months of moving into the new center our customers will begin to feel the impact of optimized R&D, and I can confidently say that within a very few years there will be technologies and products from LiuGong that will advance the industry.”
“From a personal point-of-view, it is the most complete facility that I have had the opportunity to work in,” continues Beatenbough. “It gives us the platform to be competitive with any construction equipment manufacturer in the world.”
The Global Research and Development Center will be housed by a team of LiuGong employees, each of whom share the company’s collective approach to design and manufacturing. The company has built a team of over 1,000 engineers with expertise spanning every key element of construction machinery.
“We want to bring highly-skilled people to LiuGong whose primary outlook is to teach and inspire their colleagues in their specialities,” says Beatenbough. “I am not interested in bringing in an engineer just to design a better excavator; I want to hire an engineer that designs a better excavator in a way that educates and hones the skills of their fellow employees.”
It is this unique approach to employee development that has helped LiuGong gather exceptional, cultivated talent that continues to inspire future generations of its R&D team.
With the combination of unparalleled commitment in its staff and the pure technological sophistication of the new Global Research and Development Center, LiuGong is expecting huge worldwide success in the forthcoming years.