It’s time to pump up the volume in the concrete boom pump market, writes CHARU BAHRIThe boom pumps market is a small one in India, populated by no more than a handful of providers and buyers who are construction companies to reckon with. Demand has been fairly mild in recent months, no thanks to the slowdown in the award of infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, the construction of real-estate towers, power plants and metro rail projects are keeping the market alive while some players are taking comfort from the growth in export orders. As Sudhakar Waggh, Country Manager Service, Aquarius, tells us, “The market is dull; however, there is a steady flow of orders. Most large players have invested in machines in the past several years.”
“The market for boom pumps is growing gradually,” opines Rajesh Kawoor, Vice-President (Concrete Business), Universal Construction Machinery & Equipment Ltd. “The year 2013 witnessed a slowdown in new infrastructure projects, which has adversely affected the growth of the boom pump market. Metro projects and technological upgrade in the RMC sector have kept things moving,” says Parminder Gabri, Sales Director, Putzmeister Concrete Machinery Pvt. Ltd. To further increase its market share, Putzmeister is ensuring customers get added value at each point of their investments through its unique technology and engineering. “We design machines from the perspective of easy maintenance, never from the ease of manufacturing point of view,” he adds.
Major trendsMid-segment concrete pumps for use at 30-40 floor high-rise project sites, where concrete needs to be pumped 1-1.5 km, constitute 50-60 per cent of the Indian market for boom pumps. “Concrete pumps are a preferred, cost-effective solution for concreting within the reach of the boom; they provide better quality compared to placement by means of a tower crane,” observes BV Raisinghani, President (Purchase), Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. In some pockets, however, demand is growing for high-performance pumps. “Manpower shortages at concreting sites are increasing and time deadlines are a major concern for contractors,” says VG Sakthikumar, Whole Time Director - Operations, Schwing Stetter India. “Boom pumps can make a huge difference.”“We use boom pumps on most of our larger construction projects as they are capable of pumping at very high volumes and because of the labour-saving nature of the placing boom,” says S Ghoshdastidar, Technical Director, Simplex Infrastructures Ltd. “They are a revolutionary alternative to truck-mounted concrete pumps. Boom placers are also in demand for concreting work in piles foundation, raft foundation and other concreting works within moderate height.”Emerging opportunities“Most construction projects are time-bound and can be completed faster with boom pumps,” says Kawoor. “Also, the many mega cities coming up are growing prospects for boom pumps.” To this, Ghoshdastidar adds, “Demand is also emerging for floor-mounted placer booms and tower-mounted placer booms that have been introduced to overcome the height constraint of the tractor-mounted placer boom, which has a maximum length of 70 m. Floor-mounted and tower-mounted placer booms can reach any height with the support of building/structures.”Where type is concerned, Ghoshdastidar observes that Z-fold placer booms are gaining ground as they are more stable during concreting and suitable for executing higher capacity projects even though they need more space. RZ fold boom placers can be conveniently rolled and folded in low height-restricted areas; however, they lack stability.Another key variable to consider is money. The more advanced the technical specifications, the higher the cost. “Still, the higher cost of 43-m concrete boom pumps vis-à-vis 36-m models is justified where customers require better area coverage. Selecting a less expensive chassis for mounting the pump can help reduce the cost differential to some extent,” suggests Raisinghani. Evidently, cost-consciousness is spurring the use of boom pumps. And it appears construction companies are growing wise to ways to maximise the output from minimum spend on boom pumps.Trouble-free pumping“For trouble-free performance of concrete boom pumps and to avoid choking, keep a close watch on the quality of the mix,” advises BV Raisinghani, President (Purchase), Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. “To achieve high quality of mix, in turn, keep a close watch on the slump, on the harmoniousness of the mixing process and on the cement content in the concrete. Also, concrete pumps should preferably be fed with transit mixers; dumping by trucks should be avoided.”CASE STUDY 1
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