A slowdown notwithstanding, demand for crushing and screening equipment is growing on the back of emerging industry needs, writes Charu Bahri. No question - demand for crushing and screening equipment in India is steadily growing. But the slow off-take of infrastructure projects, sluggish economic growth and other factors are dampening near-term market sentiments.
First, the negatives. "At present, demand for crushing and screening equipment is only coming from the road and aggregate segment," says Sanjay Jadhav, Deputy General Manager-Crushing & Screening Business, Voltas Ltd M&CE Division. "Many road projects have been announced in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra. While these are currently under execution, local issues are delaying quarry leasing. The mining segment uptake looks tough for this year and the coming year too."
"Demand in the iron ore segment has dropped owing to the closure of some mines in Karnataka, Orissa and Goa," observes Rajen Khoda, Director-Sales, South Asia & Middle East, Powerscreen. "The slow progress of road projects because of various issues including availability of finance is also not helping."
Yet Khoda notes that demand for tracked equipment in the aggregates sector is growing owing to the penetration of tracked mobile crushers and screens into the aggregates sector, which is expanding. "Powerscreen's tracked mobile crushers and screens are flexible and versatile, making them a great investment," he says. "Our Powerscreen® XA400S jaw crusher, 1000 Maxtrak cone crusher and Chieftain 1700 triple-deck screen are most in demand." Consequently, Powerscreen is expecting healthy growth in India in the next five years with a strong focus on the aggregates sector, wherein crushing and screening are pivotal processes. The company's India base is also capitalising on other opportunities like increased exports to other countries in the region.
"The government is putting pressure on contractors to complete delayed projects," observes Jadhav. "With tracked equipment being a preferable option for BOT contractors keen to complete the job soon, the demand is growing."
Technological innovation furthering the optimum use of resources is a construction industry buzzword today. This is finding expression in the demand for different kinds of equipment. For instance, a clear preference can be seen for equipment, including crushing and screening machines, that boasts features ensuring operator comfort as this boosts productivity.
In this context, H Sankaranarayanan, Director-Operations, Taurian Engineering Pvt Ltd, says, "Demand for crushing and screening equipment is leaning towards models incorporating electronics like programmable logic controller and touch screen facility, both of which provide a good operating environment for the user. With an eye on productivity, bigger players are also demanding higher priced machines facilitating access to usage and output information by the quarry owner from afar. Such networked machines with in-built CCTV facility are in vogue."
Mining and infrastructure industry policies are having an impact on the demand for crushing and screening equipment as well. "We're seeing a consistent demand for high-quality aggregates and manufactured sand obtained from crushing rock and aggregate into the spec of sand," shares RS Raghavan, Managing Director, Proman Infrastructure Services Pvt Ltd. "Manufactured sand is slowly replacing traditionally used river sand owing to the ban on river sand mining and the government's continued emphasis on infrastructure projects and quality road-building projects respecting the environment. Consequently, the combination of our PROMAN-REMco vertical shaft impact (VSI) crushers and ORTNER sand washing systems is seeing more takers." Taurian is also finding greater takers for its high-performance auto cone for sand manufacturing because of the ban on river sand mining and other political activity. And Sankaranarayanan hopes that the streamlined mining policy will boost the infrastructure and mining sectors, which he describes as "dead" right now.
Indeed, reviving dead sectors is the key to high growth in the crusher and screen segment.
Case Study 1
Maximising safety and output at a sand manufacturing site
Equipment: High-performance auto cone and full 3 stage crushing and screening plant for sand manufacturing
Vendor: Taurian Engineering Pvt Ltd
User: Rashi Resources Pvt Ltd
Application: Manufacturing sand out of river gravel, black basalt, quartzite, etc.
Reason for choice: "Taurian has so far supplied eight crushing and screening plants for our different sites for various applications," share Atul Hirawat and Ashish Dandania, Directors, Rashi Resources Pvt Ltd. "All the plants have proven their stability and performance; the product quality is unmatched and accepted by all the leading ready-mix concrete companies we supply to, such as Lafarge, UltraTech, etc. Their response time to our need for service or spares is commendable. Our target is to order at least 10 plants every year. We will go for Taurian crushing and screening plants and strongly recommend the same."
Best practice tips: Well-maintained machines, well-maintained sites and adherence to industry safety practices help ensure better outcomes. Taurian recommends that every employee, worker and visitor on a crushing plant site should be provided a safety helmet, hand gloves and mask for protection from pollution and dust. Machines should be appropriately tagged to indicate a shutdown. Installing an automatic tripping facility in the electrical circuit helps avoid injuries owing to mishandling of equipment. Last, monthly safety audits ensure alertness.
Case Study 2
Turnkey crushing plant
Equipment: PROMAN turnkey crushing plant
Vendor: Proman Infrastructure Services Pvt Ltd
User: Bharathi Cement Corporation Pvt Ltd, supplier to projects like the Bangalore Airport and the Bangalore Metro project
Application: Production of high-quality 10 mm and 20 mm aggregate and manufactured sand equivalent to IS 383 Zone 2 Spec, which is used and recommended for large infrastructure projects.
Reason for choice: "Our association with PROMAN goes back three years," says Deepak Rajendran, Director-Aggregates and Concrete Business Units, Bharathi Cement Corporation Pvt Ltd. "We are satisfied with PROMAN crushing plants because their entire range incorporates state-of-the-art VSIs and they offer support. PROMAN has been good for our company; the quality of aggregates and sand produced is one of the best in the industry and we are one of the biggest players in the aggregates and sand market in Bengaluru."
Best practice tips: "When producing aggregates and manufactured sand, one should crush it right the first time," advises RS Raghavan, Managing Director, PROMAN. "The plant should be flexible enough to produce the products in demand. So the machine and the process should be matched. PROMAN takes it a step further by providing innovative crushing solutions."
Case Study 3
Time and service-conscious deployment
Equipment: Track mobile crushing and screening plants
User: Dilip Buildcon Ltd, Bhopal
Application: Manufacturing raw materials for road projects in Madhya Pradesh.
Reason for choice: "We have opted for this machine because it is faster to deploy," says Punit Gujral, Head-Maintenance, Plant & Machinery, Dilip Buildcon Ltd. "Track plant erection and commissioning is done in one day. In comparison, a wheel/static plant takes 25 days to install and commission. Granual sub-base (GSB) and wet-mix macadam (WMM) can be taken in one pass with required gradations,which helps save on fuel. Also, Voltas has taken responsibility for the annual maintenance contract and is helping us to optimise plant availability and output and achieve our target production levels."
Best practice tips: "Focus on plant availability and thereby the optimisation of productivity, replace wear and tear items on time, conduct periodic maintenance checks as per standard guidelines, schedule plant housekeeping, keep all the guards intact to ensure safe operations, adhere to safety instructions and use dust suppression systems," suggests Sanjay Jadhav, Deputy General Manager-Crushing & Screening Business, Voltas Ltd M&CE Division.
Case Study 4
Preference for Indian crushers/screens
Equipment: Crushing plants of 150- 250 tonne capacity and 40-120 tonne capacity
Vendor: Puzzolana, Nawa, Sayaji Iron, Proman and Torsha Machinery, etc
User: Simplex Infrastructures Ltd
Application: To meet the huge requirement of GSB, aggregates for road projects, ballasts for railway projects and aggregates and sand dust for dam, tunnel or other big civil projects.
Reason for choice: According to S Ghosh Dastidar, Technical Director, Simplex Infrastructures Ltd, "We generally use a three-stage crushing plant (jaw, cone and VSI combination) to match up aggregates quality as per MOST or other standards and the client's requirement. Most of our plants are stationary or semi-mobile. We prefer higher capacity plants based on the requirement, effective utilisation and cost optimisation. We own about 16 Puzzolana crushing plants of capacity ranging from 150 tonne to 250 tonne and about eight plants of other Indian makes, of capacity ranging from 40 tonne to 120 tonne. We prefer Indian plants as we prioritise easy and economical after-sales services and the local availability of spares. These spares are mostly very heavy and wear-and-tear losses are also very high, depending on the abrasive index of stones. We are satisfied with the service and performance of the Puzzolana crushing plant, as well as that of other manufacturers. We've faced no major problem with these plants in the past two decades."
Best practice tips: "Select a stone quarry of proper texture and strength, and one that isnÆt too abrasive to keep plant maintenance costs low," advises Ghoshdastidar. "Install the crushing plant near the quarry as the cost of transporting boulders is higher than the cost of transporting the finished product (aggregate) because of voids. Get a licensed manager/supervisor to oversee operations and an experienced, trained gang to operate the crushing plant. Ensure continuous power supply and back-up facilities and maintain sufficient stock of spares at site. Follow safety precautions concerning the storage and transportation of blasting explosives. Feed in boulders of proper size in the jaw crusher to avoid jamming related delays and stoppages of work. Proper graded feed material ensures optimum plant output. Consider the available feed material and type of product required when selecting a plant, else mismatches will reduce output and increase cost. Install metal detectors on the conveyors to avoid unnecessary damages to the plant."
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