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The grape-vine belt of Nashik, Maharashtra, is globally renowned for its high-quality produce. Over the years, the farmers, particularly with small land holdings have been increasingly facing the uphill task of converting their larger part of farmland that is barren and rocky into tillable, fertile land. This is necessary to meet the growing needs of their expanding families and cost of living. Considering the fact that agriculture contributes to nearly 14% of India's GDP and employs an estimated 42% of the nation's working community (1), a swift resolution has been a priority.
Hitachi Social Innovation Business has always strived to realize society's challenges into opportunities to co-create innovative solutions that are scalable along with being ecologically and economically viable. Responding to the concern, Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery Company Private Limited, a Hitachi Group Company conducted a survey. The observations revealed critical insight - the present set of excavators were either beyond the farmer's economic means or were inadequate to meet the desired proficiency and durability that the rugged terrain demanded.
Tata Hitachi determined that a fuel efficient and structurally robust medium-sized excavator were the pressing priority.
Evaluating the existing design and the pattern of structural failures in the available machine, Tata Hitachi engaged with customers to comprehend the myriad applications of the machines, and to get a first-hand feel of customer's requirements and working cycle. The company also collaborated with the Application Engineering team at Hitachi Tsuchiura plant at Japan to analyse failure pattern and assimilate improvement ideas, and subsequently applied them to the machine.
Additionally, to address the concern of overheating, Hitachi collaborated with its efficient partner ecosystem to economically achieve the desired results and conducted multiple testing sessions at various locations such as Kharagpur (plains), Dharwad (hilly region) and Kochi (sea-coast), to ensure the machine does not over-heat in any location or condition.
By deeply understanding the need of the marginal farmers and the work to be accomplished, the company leveraged its vast R&D and globally recognized OT (Operational Technology) X IT capability to developed the revolutionary ZX140H, a 14-Ton state-of-the art highly fuel-efficient excavator. Launched in December 2017, ZX1400H soon proved its mettle by converting 2 acres of barren field into fertile land for grape-vine cultivation. Enduring 500 hours of continuous grind in 3 months, the machine performed optimally providing the farmer with an opportunity of sowing approximately 2,000 grape-vines additionally. Hence, the project has not only enhanced the economic position of the farmers, it has accelerated the growth of the region through an innovative solution, which was made possible because of a technologically superior product.
Successful conversion projects have inspired many farmers of the region, who now have a hope of transforming their lives by their own hard-work and grit coupled with reliable solutions. Rural youth are getting employment due to these conversion projects and is also ensuring safety from disasters like rockslides which are a common phenomenon in the region during rainy season. It has also generated new economic channels, not only benefits the cultivator, but also the entire value chain from producers to consumers.
Thus, by providing a robust solution, the innovation contributed to enhancing the Quality of Life of the farmers and their families by empowering them to eradicate poverty, generate sustainable employment and increase the green cover and helping in achieving nation's Sustainable Development Goals.
Moreover, now, as Brand Hitachi not only represents a product, but a cherished vision of trust, reliability and secured future for the farmers, the innovation has emerged as a stellar example of how Hitachi Social Innovation Business is contributing towards enhancing customers' and its own Social, Environmental and Economic values through collaborative creation.