The tractors at the 2023 International Agricultural Machinery Exhibition are really different from before
From homogenization to multi-channel breakthroughThe domestic tractor industry, due to the strongest supporting system, lowest cost, and highest efficiency of the Shandong industrial cluster (the core of the Shandong industrial cluster is the Weifang area), has shown a trend of single technology route. In terms of jargon, everyone follows the technical route of the Lovol chassis, and the most common ones are tractors with TE, TB, TF, and TG chassis. Since they follow a single technology route, the difference between enterprises is mainly reflected in price, Homogenization and internal competition have become the main characteristics of industry competition, and the lack of differentiation is the biggest challenge faced by domestic tractors.
But things will turn around when they reach the extreme. Homogenization is an inevitable choice for enterprises. No one wants to live in pain in a world where stocks compete. Breaking through is an option that enterprises must make. The 2023 International Agricultural Machinery Exhibition has shown us the dawn of domestic tractors breaking through, and even the hope of changing lanes and overtaking.
Grass snake grey line, hidden veins for thousands of miles! The answer should be found in the new products exhibited by enterprises!
At this exhibition, visitors can see the most new tractor products, and even the most truly meaningful new products. In terms of classification, this year's new tractor products mainly have the following technical routes: synchronizer gear shifting, power shifting, CVT, hybrid oil electric, pure electric, and engineering machines. As a transitional synchronizer gear shifting technology, it is obviously not valued by enterprises, so it is destined not to become the mainstream technical route, and even power shifting is outdated, leading to a red trend The two leading companies in the Weichai Lewo industry are adopting a conventional power shift and CVT technology route, but both clearly value CVT more, which may be due to the higher requirements of stability and reliability for large enterprises.
But those who are barefoot are not afraid of wearing shoes, the proletariat will break the bottle and obtain a new world! So in domestic tractor second and third tier brands, as well as cross-border players and new forces in agricultural machinery, we see the power of "disruptive innovators" and the possibility of subverting the existing old order.
The most noteworthy is the leading layout of mainstream brands in oil electric hybrid and electric agricultural machinery. At this exhibition, at least four companies, including Dongfanghong, Wode, Yingxuan, and Liugong, adopted the jade diesel electric hybrid technology route, and were among the three strong factions with extraordinary strength and background. Wode's gasoline electric hybrid technology was DK2804, while Wode did not feel deliberately promoted or placed in a conspicuous location. Yingxuan Heavy Industry is YX3004-8HEV, Liugong should be LT3504, and the most famous is Dongfanghong's HB2204, This machine should have been developed last year, and it should be officially mass-produced and launched on the market this year.
Pure electric is a more noteworthy new trend. The electrification of the agricultural machinery industry lags far behind the commercial vehicle and construction machinery industries. From the 2023 BMW exhibition in Beijing, it can be seen that the construction machinery industry is fully switching to the electrification route. However, the electrification speed of the agricultural machinery industry is very slow. Although it is very slow, this exhibition also showed us some bright things in front of us.
For example, the Luoyang Lutong 80 Ma Li pure electric tractor uses battery cells from CATL, Zhongke Original Power 1404-ET/604-ET, Zhonglian Heavy Industry CA504ET, etc.
From leading by large enterprises to multipolarity
Domestic tractors seem to be showing a trend of oligopoly in the industry, but this process does not seem easy. It is evident that there is a trend of multipolarity in domestic tractors.
Firstly, the second tier camps such as Humvee, Junmadao, Sadin, Huaxia, Yingxuan, and Luzhong are already strong enough and have a more enterprising spirit under pressure. This can be seen from the new products launched at this year's exhibition. For example, Humvee's efforts to pursue a high-quality and high-end route in recent years have been initially successful, and it has been implementing a diversified strategy. In the past two years, financial and insurance tools have also been played well, It vaguely presents the image of a king.
Next is the entry of multinational giants such as construction machinery, food, real estate, and the internet. At this exhibition, the power of construction machinery giants such as LiuGong and Zoomlion Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. was clearly felt, as well as the unique competitive advantage of Xuzhou Kaier, which follows the route of construction machinery.
Overall, the pattern dominated by large enterprises in the domestic tractor industry will face strong resistance, and the industry seems to have a trend of multipolarity.
From Traditional Agricultural Machinery to Intelligence
Intelligence has always been a hot topic at exhibitions in recent years, and intelligent agricultural machinery is also a new product that everyone is very concerned about. In previous years, people were most concerned about unmanned tractors such as "Super 1". However, these concept machines can only attract everyone's attention, and there is still a long way to go before they truly enter the practical stage. But at this exhibition, intelligent agricultural machinery seems to have moved from concept to application, and intelligence is no longer just a concept but a function of agricultural machinery.
For example, the Dongfanghong LY1204, LX2004, and LX1504 series intelligent tractors are all equipped with intelligent modules before leaving the factory, which have intelligent navigation and cruise control functions. They are equipped with hydraulic and electronic control for lifting, and can achieve one click lifting and flipping functions for supporting equipment; Connecting to the mobile app allows for real-time viewing of tractor operation trajectory, positioning, recording of acres, settlement, and more.
The intelligent tractor T1054 from Dongfeng Jingguan has functions such as high-precision automatic driving, automatic operation, automatic adjustment of plowing depth, and automatic lifting of agricultural tools when turning. Weichai Lewo only showcases the P7000 series of high-end intelligent tractors this time, focusing on CVT and intelligence. It has also launched the first systematic smart agriculture application scenario solution in China, combining intelligent operation with continuously variable speed, both hard and soft.
The CA504ET pure electric tractor exhibited by Zoomlion Heavy Industries is claimed to be China's first new energy agricultural machinery to enter the practical application stage, and has obtained international advanced level certification. At the demonstration stage of the integration of intelligent agricultural machinery and smart agriculture at the exhibition site, the tractor of Zoomlion Heavy Industry Eqiao Smart Farm located in Wuhu, Anhui was remotely controlled to start unmanned operation throughout the entire process. From the large screen on site, not only can the real-time trajectory, speed, area, time and real-time image of the agricultural machinery operation be clearly seen, but also the agricultural machinery control console can be used for remote start stop control.
From plains to hilly and mountainous areas, models shine brightly
If the biggest difference between this exhibition and previous exhibitions is that the agricultural machinery in hilly and mountainous areas is shining brightly. If you look closely, you will find that there has been a significant increase in agricultural machinery manufacturers and products exhibited in hilly and mountainous areas this year, and several enterprises specializing in agricultural machinery in hilly and mountainous areas have emerged, which is extremely difficult.
Like the emerging Guangxi Huili. This company has a booth of several hundred square meters this year, showcasing over twenty agricultural machinery and tools specifically designed for hilly and mountainous areas. The mountain series tractors are divided into four sequences: Huili Mountain Ox, Huili Mountain Dragon, Huili Mountain Deer, and Huili Mountain Turtle. The turtle series includes walking belt tractors, track transfer vehicles, and other series models such as full track, triangular track, and half track, suitable for hilly and mountainous areas Various special operating conditions in paddy and dry fields.
Of note is the first performance of Weima Agricultural Machinery, the first stock in hilly and mountainous areas, at the national conference after its listing. Weima and all micro tiller enterprises in Chongqing are facing the problem of product upgrading. The WMG20 tracked rotary tiller (also known as tracked tractor) exhibited by Weima seems to be the upgrade direction of micro tillers. Firstly, the increase in horsepower, the improvement of operational efficiency, and the low efficiency are the most disadvantaged areas in the competition between micro tillers and tractors. WMG20 is already a small four-wheel power configuration, and secondly, it is a self-propelled and riding type, greatly reducing labor intensity, More suitable for the needs of elderly users.
In addition, we can also see the emergence of a large number of folding and articulated hilly and mountainous tractors, and even Yituo has exhibited specialized tractors for hilly and mountainous areas.
From wheeled domination to the sudden rise of tracked troops
In European and American countries, the ratio of wheeled tractors to tracked tractors is approximately 85:15. Tracked tractors play an irreplaceable role and have unique operational advantages. However, due to the increasing horsepower of tractors and the high efficiency of wheeled machines, tracked tractors have been neglected for a long time. In 2022, tracked tractors accounted for 1% of the overall tractor sales, indicating that the proportion of tracked tractors in China is abnormally low, In recent years, the overall subsidy policy for wheeled machines has been continuously decreasing in terms of subsidy amount and proportion. However, crawler tractors have remained stable, with one decrease and the other stable. As a result, tractor manufacturers have begun to pay attention to crawler tractors.
What is worth paying attention to at this exhibition is the tracked tractors of the Shandong Army Corps. Those familiar with the industry know that the ancestor of tracked tractors in China is China First Tractor (YTO), which has produced tens of thousands of tracked tractors. However, in recent years, the sales of heavy tracked tractors in northern arid areas have declined, and YTO's annual tracked tractors are only maintained at less than a thousand, no longer forming economies of scale. On the other hand, it is the rise of light tracked tractors represented by Hunan farmers in the south. This type of tracked tractor can be said to be a transformation of wheeled tractors, After a brand new design by the enterprise, a new category has been formed.
Light tracked tractors were originally mainly produced by a few Hunan based enterprises such as Nongfu and Wogong. At this year's exhibition, we saw a large number of invasions from Shandong Weifang Legion, such as Sading Jiaolong SD1002, Huaxia HXL1002, Sifang SF902, etc. There are about seven or eight companies, mainly producing 100 horsepower. It is said that the differential steering gearbox comes from a gearbox enterprise called Luyuan.
If a supply chain for tracked tractors can be established in the Weifang area, with the help of Weifang's strong supporting system, domestic tracked tractors are highly likely to accelerate development.
From inbreeding to injecting powerful functional groups into engineering machinery
From a global perspective, tractors have developed technology routes represented by chassis, such as gear shifting, shuttle shifting, synchronizer shifting, and power shifting. The four major components of power, transmission, transmission, and walking are connected and fixed in series with large screws. This technology route and manufacturing method have gone through more than 100 years, and after the route was solidified, later generations mainly focused on optimization and improvement, But few people in the agricultural machinery industry think of overthrowing and subverting it.
But subversion often comes from barbarians outside the door. The first truly barbarian in the domestic tractor industry is Xuzhou Kaier. The company uses a full frame chassis of engineering machinery to develop heavy-duty tractors, and surprisingly has embarked on a unique path. Currently, Kaier's high-power tractors are very popular in Xinjiang, Northeast China, and Inner Mongolia, and other barbarians are gradually arriving, such as Liugong.
At this year's exhibition, Liugong developed the LT3604 tractor using an engineering machinery chassis, with 12 tires, a folding steering, and a continuously variable transmission heavy-duty tractor with static hydraulic transmission. The agricultural machinery enthusiasts felt a deep shock from the engineering machinery experts: it turns out that tractors can still be built like this!
In addition to the LT3604, LT3504, LT2404, and LT2004 series tractors, they all carry strong genes and dominance of engineering machinery. Currently, large companies such as LiuGong and Xuzhou Kaier are developing agricultural machinery products based on the concept of engineering machinery. At the same time, there is also a force in the private sector to develop high-power tractors on the chassis of engineering machinery such as shovels, loaders, and bulldozers. Many of these types of tractors have also been sold to Russia and Central Asian countries.
Hybrid life is often more survivable and stronger. Agricultural machinery and engineering machinery have been in parallel for hundreds of years. Now, by hybridizing the powerful genes of engineering machinery with agricultural machinery, it is believed that products with these two genes will have better performance and lower costs. More importantly, agricultural machinery can leverage the powerful supply chain system of engineering machinery.