Charu Bahri presents the latest trends of the cranes industry and an overview of a handful of top notch cranes.
With construction spending expected to increase to $ 370 billion by the end of 2013 representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3 per cent, the industry is fuelling the growth of numerous allied sectors. Construction equipment is one such beneficiary of double-digit growth rates; and within it, sales of equipment that has the potential to be extensively used such as cranes - are also registering healthy growth.
Estimates put the value of the electric overhead travelling (EOT) crane market in India (2008-09) at around $ 400 million, or around 10,000 cranes. This market is projected to expand at 15 to 20 per cent during favourable times with the 10 to 15 national players registering the highest growth followed by regional and specialist crane companies. These projections do not come across as overly ambitious if the manifold opportunities presenting in the sector are factored into potential sale figures.
For his part, Subhamoy Ghosh, Managing Director, Palfinger Cranes India Pvt Ltd, sees scope for the use of cranes to increase in the general cargo handling, building materials (concrete block) handling, municipal waste and hazardous materials handling, recycling scrap, and log handling sectors. He also foresees establishments like power generation and distribution companies, cement and concrete manufacturing companies, coal and other mineral companies, defence, and the railways using self-loading and unloading cranes to a greater extent.
Of the total projected construction spending of $ 370 billion, the residential sector is expected to account for $ 63 billion and the non-residential sector $ 307 billion. This suggests greater acquisition of construction assets, including cranes, for infrastructural projects being executed by construction companies across the country. Further, the greatest demand for cranes comes from the private sector with the public sector accounting for no more than 30 per cent of all cranes sold. Though a healthy chunk of the demand of the private sector is being met at present by unorganised fabricators that are not geared up to produce standard equipment, the entry of multinational companies in recent years may help turn this tide. Estimates put the demand for standardised world-class cranes at more than 1,000 cranes a year. This figure is likely to rapidly increase, as construction companies grow more aware of the cost and operational benefits of high-end cranes. The sector is undoubtedly looking up, a fact that is ratified by reports of leading players.
“We recorded the highest ever sales during the last quarter of FY 2009-10,” reveals Rajesh Sharma, Vice-President and Head–Sales & Marketing, Escorts Construction Equipment Ltd. “And while the comparative figures for the first quarter of this year are lower, we have still registered a 15 per cent growth in month-on-month sales in May vis-à-vis the previous year. Overall, the industry is witnessing robust demand from the construction sector.”
“The infrastructure industry is going through what is possibly the best time the Indian construction industry has ever seen,” says Raman Joshi, Vice-President, Manitowoc Cranes India. As a result, the demand for cranes and hoists from the power plant and other sectors is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, Joshi observes that the scenario in the real-estate sector is not all that positive, where he cites a lack of confidence and cautious approach that are spoiling the market for crane vendors. He adds. “Awareness of the benefits of modern cranes and the interest to improve productivity is there. But as 30 to 40 per cent of projects are taken up on speculation, this is not translating into cash.”
“The acceptance of load-handling devices by the construction and building material delivery sectors would increase if the government implemented legislation prescribing safety measures, such as limiting manual loading to only lightweight objects and supporting the use of truck-mounted cranes that are more stable and safer on the road than conventional cranes,” opines Madhusudan V Shetty, Manager-Marketing, Cargotec India Private Ltd. “As things stand, the acceptance and usage of truck-mounted cranes is lower in India than in other developing countries like Sri Lanka and Thailand. The fact that labour is not as freely available in these countries compared to India could also be a contributing factor.”
Ghosh believes that while futuristic EPC project and construction companies are using innovative productivity-enhancing products like truck-mounted cranes, the hiring and transportation segments have yet to show an interest in time and cost-saving technologies. “It’s time these industries realised the benefits of moving from conventional pick ‘n’ carry cranes mounted on trucks to self-loading and unloading units,” he observes.
Indigenous vs imported
Reducing price points would enhance the acceptability and usage of cranes. So companies would benefit from packaging useful features with acceptable prices. Judging by the experience of ABG Cranes Pvt Ltd, indigenous design and manufacturing do pay off. According to Ravindra Bhushan Pandey, General Manager, ABG Cranes Pvt Ltd, the company started out marketing imported crawler, truck and tower cranes in the range of 18 mt to 250 mt and sold around 370 cranes. The positive response led ABG Cranes to take a strategic initiative in 2006 to set up a modern manufacturing facility to design and manufacture cranes comparable with the best in the industry. Since then, the company’s indigenously designed and manufactured model 1080-80 mt capacity hydraulic crawler crane has sold well. ABG Cranes is now in process of adding 160 mt and 35 mt models to its product range. Pandey believes the government should introduce age restrictions on the import and usage of old, worthless cranes to enhance safety at work sites.
At the same time, Manitowoc is looking to push sales of its standardised imported models—crawler cranes manufactured in the US and mobile cranes manufactured in the US and Germany. According to Joshi, “These products can immediately meet the shift in demand that has taken place in the Indian market over the past two years to higher capacity (200 tonne and above), automated, high-end models improving productivity and offering greater cost savings.”
Speaking about means to improve usage of cranes, Sharma cites the initiative of Escorts to launch training and skill upgrading courses in equipment usage in partnership with the Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC), a body established by the Planning Commission, as paving the way forward. “Our joint certification programme with CIDC is helping address the growing demand for trained manpower in the infrastructure industry,” he says. “Our training school in Bengaluru has hostel and training facilities for 200 professionals at a time. Besides, we have partnered with MITCON, a leading organisation in skill development, to provide training to ITIs and diploma holders in the operation and maintenance of equipment. The first such programme has been launched in Delhi after signing an MoU with the Delhi Government. We need many more such initiatives, both in the private and public sectors, to ensure that the country has sufficient skilled manpower.”
Sharma also believes that the usage of cranes would become easier if the free flow of mobile cranes is allowed across states. “Pick-n-carry cranes are surprisingly being classified as transport vehicles by RTOs and sales tax check posts across the country whereas it is construction and material handling equipment,” he adds. “The present set up creates difficulties in registering cranes and hampers interstate movement as well as usage of cranes.”
If these issues are taken care of, the crane industry is bound to grow from strength to strength.
To read a crane expert’s opinion on how to avert crane mishaps, refer CW Aug 2009 issue. For online version: http://www.ezinemart.com/construction/01082009/home.aspx?pgno=1&mode=2
Cranes of substance
Vendor: ElectroMechCapacity: A Goliath crane can hoist loads from 50 tonne to about 250 tonneWho's using it: Soma Enterprises Ltd has used it for its Bangalore Elevated Highway Project and is using it for its Kochi road project and Panipat-Jalandhar BOT projects; L&T ECC is using it for its Pimple Nalakh project in Nashik.
BenefitsMaintenance: ElectroMech has launched Cranedge, an initiative dedicated to offer total support for cranes of all types and makes.Versatile: Used mainly for activities in steel stock yards, pre-cast segment yards and other outdoor applications. Convenience: These are self-propelled cranes running on rails installed at the ground level and do not require any supporting structures. Control can be either through a pendant push button station or a radio remote control (optional) or through a control cabin (optional). Options: These cranes can be supplied in the single girder or double girder options depending on requirements of safe working load, speeds, heights of lift and other characteristics.
Grove GMK6300 all-terrain crane
Vendor: Manitowoc Cranes IndiaCapacity: 300 mtBoom: 60 m main boom. Maximum available tip height for the six-axle crane is 113 m.Who's using it: BMM Ispat Ltd (metal fabrication company), at its plant in Hospet, Karnataka to erect heavy structures and equipment for its expansion project.BenefitsMaintenance: All Manitowoc Crane Care parts, service and training are supplied by Tractors India Ltd. According to Mrutyunjaya Senapati, director of corporate planning and development, BMM: "We had extensive discussions with Tractors India Ltd as well as representatives of Manitowoc and are happy that they can give us the support we need to run a crane during the operation period." Megatrak is a reliable, patented independent suspension and all-wheel steer system that comes in all Manitowoc all terrain reduces maintenance needs. Versatility: The GMK 6300 is being used to lift all types of structures used in steel plants, such as furnace structures of about 40 t at 10 m radius and 8 to 16 t channels and columns at a height of 56 m.
HIAB XS 122 CLX crane with brick and block attachment
Vendor: Cargotec IndiaCapacity: 12 tonne mBoom: Foldable boom system with a column, boom and one hydraulic extension providing outreach from 4.4 m to 6.3 mWho's using it: Sobha Developers, Bengaluru; APCO, Bengaluru; Super Tiles, Mumbai BenefitsMaintenance: Only the hydraulic oil and oil filter needs to be changed once a yearSpeed: It takes a crew of six labourers three hours to load (unload) solid concrete blocks onto (from) a truck. Safe work sites: Besides speeding up operations and increasing efficiency, the attachment ensures safety at work sites and reduces breakage and damage to bricks and blocks as the operator has a variety of clasps to choose from.Greater reach: The extension system has its cylinder layout prepared for an additional boom extension, including a mounting bracket for the next cylinder. There is a hook attachment at the last extension.
Vendor: Escorts Construction EquipmentCapacity: 23 tonneReach in terms of height: 22 m with full boom and jibType: Articulated, hydraulic mobile pick-and-carry crane with hydrostatic transmissionWho's using it: Reliance Infra, PCP Infrastructure, NCC, Delhi Cranex, BSBK, ACC, GAC Shipping, CPRI, Waterway Shipyard BenefitsMaintenance: The provider offers maintenance through its all-India network of 104 offices and sales dealers with work-shop facilities.Cost-effective option: In terms of performing tasks at a project erection site or loading yard/warehouse, this crane can perform about 80 per cent of the tasks of a large telescopic slewing crane. Considering that it is priced at 1/4th of the price of a telescopic slew crane, it proves to be a far more cost-effective option.Long-distance travel-worthy crane: The crane has hydrostatic transmission and can travel at a maximum speed of 40 km per hour. It is capable of travelling long distances on its own power.
Hydraulic Crawler Crane Model 1080
Vendor: ABG Cranes Pvt LtdCapacity: 80 mtBoom: Maximum boom length of 58 m and jib length of 18 m make it useful at greater height and working radiusCrane base: Crawler typeWho's using it: KCS Engineering Industries at a steel plant in Rourkela; SP Singla Constructions Pvt Ltd for handling/erection of concrete structures at a highway bridge project, Mathura, UP; Express Equipment Rental & Logistics Pvt Ltd, which has given its machine on hire to a power project at Busawal, Maharashtra and a power project at Anpara, Uttar PradeshBenefitsCost savings: The manufacturer suggests hiring the machine if it is needed for less than three years; otherwise buying works out more profitable. Hiring costs per month are about 3 per cent of the landed cost of the crane. This cost is usually recovered within three to four years when the crane is purchased.Power: A reliable and indigenously made 242 kw @ 2000 rpm, Caterpillar 3306B engine provides high power-to-weight ratio.Safety: The crane offers full safety devices such as safe load indicator, motion cut equipment, non-spin hoist rope, lock valves, etc.
PK 15500 multifunctional work tool
Vendor: Palfinger Cranes India Capacity: 4,500 kgBoom: 12.2 m maximum outreach Who's using it: New productBenefitsMaintenance: It has a long product life owing to high quality materials, design and manufacturing standards. Multi-purpose: It helps in lifting, loading, unloading and transporting. It is useful for on-site erection jobs.Efficiency: The crane works fast and accurately and can lift light machinery and heavy structural components with ease.Manoeuvrability: Truck-mounted cranes provide quick and precise movement of material even in congested areas.Attachments• Workman basket (load capacity of 280 kg or two people and tools) is useful for vertical operations such as repairing electric poles, building construction, etc.• Clamshell bucket (load capacity up to 3 tonne) is designed to efficiently handle loose materials like sand, gravel, soil.• Brick grab handles concrete bricks.• Polly grab (capacity 2 tonne) handles bulky scrap, gravel, loose soil, rubbish, waste paper, car bodies.
“The demand for cranes and hoists from power plants and other sectors is at an all time high.”- Raman Joshi, Vice President, MANITOWOC CRANES, INDIA
“The acceptance and usage of truck mounted cranes is lower in Indian than in other developing countries like Sri Lanka and Thailand.”- Madhusudan V Shetty, Manager-Marketing, CARGOTEC INDIA PVT LTD
“ABG Cranes is now in the process of adding 160 mt and 35 mt models to its product range.”- Ravindra Bhushan Pandey, General Manager, ABG CRANES PVT LTD
“Our joint certification programme with CIDC is helping address the demand for trained manpower.”-Rajesh Sharma, VP & Head - Sales and Marketing, ESCORTS CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT LTD
• Estimates put the value of the EOT crane market in India (2008-09) at around $400 million, or around 10,000 cranes.• The greatest demand for cranes comes from the private sector with the public sector accounting for no more than 30 per cent of all cranes sold.• The acceptance and usage of truck-mounted cranes is lower in India than in other developing countries.