Volvo excavator subsidiary digs talent contest

Updated: 2011-07-18 13:11

By Du Juan (China Daily)

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Hunt on to find most fuel-efficient operator in the digger business

BEIJING - Forget American Idol. Switch on to Operator Idol.

That at least is what Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), a subsidiary of Volvo Group, is hoping people will do in its own fiercely contested competition.

Volvo excavator subsidiary digs talent contest

An excavator in operation at a construction site. Volvo CE is looking to improve fuel efficiency in the industry. [Photo/China Daily]

The company said the challenge will last for six months, during which more than 6,200 excavator operators from 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions will be given free training provided by Volvo CE in operating their machines in a fuel-efficient way.

At the end of it the most energy-saving operator will be announced and feted.

The prize for the winner will be one year's free use of a specific model of a Volvo excavator, according to the company.

"Fuel consumption in the construction industry is taking a bigger share of national energy consumption," said Yang Tiesheng, deputy director of the energy conservation and resource utilization department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. "Although the excavator industry is developing rapidly, its energy efficiency is low because of limited operational skills, which is a challenge when the country is trying to reduce carbon emissions."

China has more than 1 million excavator operators with 800,000 excavators working every day across the country, according to statistics from the China Construction Machinery Association (CCMA).

Yang said the competition will help to train experienced fuel-efficient operators for the excavator industry, which aims to save up to 10 percent of fuel consumption during the operation.

Qi Jun, head of CCMA, said the excavator market has been booming in recent years because of the rapid growth in infrastructure construction across the country. It is therefore urgent to cultivate a large group of efficient operators.

"Volvo CE has trained our clients and we found that different operators have the potential to save 5 to 25 percent of their fuel through better operational skills," said Li Fangyu, general manager of the marketing and sales support department at Volvo CE China. "If all the excavator operators can save 5 percent of fuel during the operation, China will save 1.44 billion liters in fuel consumption and cut 3.76 million tons of carbon emissions annually."

"We might not be able to realize the target in one year, but we will continue with similar training and even expand it to other machine operators," Li said.

She said the company will hold the excavator Operator Idol contest for three years, and then decide whether to continue the competition and make it into a brand activity of Volvo CE.

President of Volvo CE's Sub-region China, Luo Dong, said the company has been making efforts to increase fuel efficiency and improve the natural environment at the same time.

According to Klas Magnusson, senior vice-president of corporate communications at Volvo CE, it is the biggest competition of its type in China and may also be the biggest in the world. Yang said more companies like Volvo CE are trying to follow a sustainable development path in China, which will attract the public to do more for energy conservation and environmental protection.

About 32,823 operators from more than 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have registered for the competition through various ways including a designated website, text messages and hotlines since the official launch, according to the company.

The online training courses will start on July 20 when the preliminary contests begin in different cities. The company opened its official micro blog to share technological skills about operating excavators and is advertising various activities with its followers.

Zhao Dapeng, 25, an excavator operator at a construction site in Beijing, said he had heard about the competition but he is not sure whether he will have the time to take part in it because "I think my boss won't let me if there is lots of work to do."

The young worker added: "I think energy conservation is a good thing, and I want to have better operating skills. I might not be able to take part in this year's competition, but I will follow its progress," he said.


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