Concrete Gaps
Concrete Gaps
Equipment

Concrete Gaps

CW identifies concrete equipment that is missing as well as machines that should be more widely deployed. Concrete equipment spanning concrete mixers, batching plants, concrete pumps, boom pumps, shotcrete and fixed-form pavers jointly recorded a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in FY2...

CW identifies concrete equipment that is missing as well as machines that should be more widely deployed. Concrete equipment spanning concrete mixers, batching plants, concrete pumps, boom pumps, shotcrete and fixed-form pavers jointly recorded a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in FY24, according to the Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association (ICEMA). Of the 14,034 units sold, concrete mixers accounted for 58 per cent, followed at a distance by stationary concrete pumps, with an 18 per cent share, and batching plants at 10 per cent. Infrastructure projects are the key driver of this appreciable growth. That said, CW explores whether adding options to the existing portfolio of concrete equipment used to construct roads and buildings would drive the segment to new heights. Also, is there scope to increase the adoption of certain readily available concrete equipment? Missing technologies While a wide variety of state-of-the-art road concreting equipment is available in India, we could still do with covered tippers having higher suspensions, according to Shrinath Rao, Senior Vice President & Head - Transportation Infrastructure, L&T Construction. “Currently available tippers are unsuitable to transport pavement concrete because their rigid leaf springs often cause the consolidation of concrete during transport, affecting the homogeneity of the mix and risking partial separation of water and fines upon dumping.” “Another welcome equipment would be a concrete transporter,” he adds. “The current practice of dumping concrete in front of the paver can damage the base. Using a concrete transporter with a mechanised conveyor, the mix will be spread uniformly without damaging the base, ensuring better pavement quality and longevity.” “Rapid infrastructure expansion presents the need for slipform pavers capable of paving PQC [pavement quality concrete] around 18-20 m width in one go, with minimal maintenance needs,” says Atasi Das, Assistant Vice President, GR Infraprojects. “At present, the wide-width pavers available for laying PQC and DLC [dry lean concrete] lay at one go but these heavy-duty machines require frequent maintenance, hampering the progress of the project and bringing productivity to the same level as with normal pavers.” “We need continuously reinforced concrete pavement for our heavy-duty corridors,” continues Das. “But, for this, we need state-of-the-art equipment and construction techniques. Manually laying the steel reinforcement cannot meet a 24 to 30-month project timeline. In such situations, we need reinforcing carpets for auto-laying. Reinforcing steel carpets are rolled up for transport and, onsite, lifted into place and unrolled onto continuous bar chairs, improving speed, quality and safety. Besides, we need a full train of equipment for paving including placer-spreader (leading the train), slipform paver followed by auto-texturing and curing equipment with stringless technology and auto-pilot.” Rao points out that 3D machine-controlled paving, also known as stringless paving, can significantly boost precise paving to improve overall accuracy and efficiency in road construction. The present practice is to manually maintain data pertaining to the laying and compaction of layers and measure the compaction of different layers after the layer work is completed, adds Das. “Also, it isn’t the practice to measure the real-time temperature and compaction measurement of different pavement layers, including earthwork.” If advanced infrared equipment, which can measure the real-time temperature of any surface, and GPS, which can capture the location of any object, were to be integrated with smart compaction-enabled advanced rollers along with digitisation systems, we could measure compaction in the run, suggests Das. Coming to the construction of buildings, while India has access to a broad range of concreting equipment, there is a gap in locally produced advanced robotics and automation systems for concrete placement, which are more commonly available in markets like Europe and the US, shares Vaibhav Kulkarni, General Manager, Projects, Aaryan Devcon. “Integrating such technologies could enhance precision and efficiency in high-rise constructions.” Pending adoption While India has access to many types of concreting equipment, some technologies haven’t made it to the mainstream as yet. “Advanced pavers, like slipform pavers, can make concrete paving more efficient and continuous, but aren’t being used as often as they should,” observes Kamlesh Gupta, Senior Manager, Pavements, Cube Highways Technologies. “Also, concrete mixers, especially high-capacity ones, can help produce and transport large amounts of concrete quickly, reducing waiting times, and concrete vibrators, both internal and external, help improve the quality of the concrete by reducing air void and distress. Mobile batching plants are another helpful tool, offering flexibility and efficiency in making concrete at site. The availability of a chilling plant can significantly impact temperature control in hot weather.” In building construction technology, while India has made significant advancements, as far as the construction of tall buildings is concerned, Kulkarni sees a need for the more widespread adoption of self-climbing formwork systems, which reduce the need for crane time and can enhance safety and efficiency onsite. “Integrating more advanced real-time concrete monitoring systems could further optimise the construction process for high-rise structures,” he says. It would help if automated road paver machines and automatic concrete paving machines are used in small-scale installations such as parking lots and similar places, in the view of TV Ganesh, Director & National Head - Technical, Shriram Properties. “High-capacity (above 8 cu m) concrete mixers play a pivotal role in meeting the substantial volume demands of megastructures, ensuring efficient and timely construction operations. Additionally, the temperature of the concrete must be monitored through thermostats during the time of setting.” Clearly, there are many gaps for the industry to fill. - Charu Bahri

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