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Fast-paced growth in the infrastructure sector and urbanisation are spurring demand for high-capacity cranes. So much so that Karan Gandhi, Executive Director, Express Equipment Rental & Logistics...

Fast-paced growth in the infrastructure sector and urbanisation are spurring demand for high-capacity cranes. So much so that Karan Gandhi, Executive Director, Express Equipment Rental & Logistics, believes that high-capacity cranes are the future of Indian markets. “The increasing complexity of construction and infrastructure projects will further increase the demand for specialised cranes with advanced capabilities, such as heavy lifting and precise positioning,” he says. “For instance, projects in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City drove demand for tower cranes and high-capacity crawler/mobile cranes to build and install tall structures.” The sort of infrastructure projects being executed in India today are demanding higher-capacity cranes, agrees Praveen Sharma, Managing Director, ABC Infra. For instance, he points out that a 1,200-t crawler crane was operated jointly with a 700-t model and several 100-t/80-t cranes to lift loads upwards of 1,150 t while setting up Pachpadra Oil Refinery in Rajasthan. Other refinery projects in Panipat and Paradip, petrochemical projects and steel plant projects are driving this demand. Additionally, the growing number of suppliers and crane models, their affordability and favourable credit terms and delivery timelines offered by Chinese players are also helping to boost demand for high-capacity cranes, says Sharma. “The Indian market is more spontaneous than other overseas markets; here, customers can’t really wait very long before taking delivery of a crane.” Super tonnage cranes The super tonnage 800-t crane segment market is expected to increase from about 10 units last year to 40+ units by the end of the ongoing year, observes Danish Kamal Lari, Business Director, Zoomlion India. “These models are typically imported.” Behind this increase in demand, as Lari explains, are renewable energy power projects aiming to create 500 gw capacity of non-fossil fuel-based electricity by 2030 and fast growth in the steel and cement sectors. “With the Government encouraging Navratna companies to buy electricity from renewable sources to lower their carbon footprint, the wind energy sector especially is attracting many large companies and hence boosting demand for large cranes.” At XCMG, 750 t is currently the highest selling model in the all-terrain crane category. But this will soon be superseded by higher-capacity cranes. In September 2023, XCMG will be introducing all-terrain cranes with higher capacities: 800 t, 1,750 t and 2,000 t. Some common applications for these higher models are expected to be the erection of windmills, the handling of waste in nuclear and atomic plants, and activities in thermal power plants. Mega crane rentals In particular, the crane rental business is rapidly increasing with most OEMs offering such services. “Renting cranes is a flexible proposition and more cost-effective than owning them outright,” says Gandhi. “We see the opportunities growing for both domestic and international crane rental companies. India’s top refineries are calling for super high-capacity cranes from abroad just to lift one single structure. This exercise helps reduce refinery downtime. A 5,000-mt crawler crane has been imported to India to carry out critical heavy lift operations. Demand for 750 mt and above all-terrain cranes and high-capacity tower cranes (16 mt and above) is growing.” Thus, rental players like ABC Infra are upgrading their fleet of cranes available for hire. “Whereas earlier our highest capacity tyre-mounted crane was 300 t, we now offer a 450-t tyre-mounted crane and 500-t crawler crane that was added to our fleet last month,” shares Sharma. The only way is up! Topless tower cranes construct India’s tallest cable-stayed road bridge Product: Topless tower cranes Make: Potain MCT 385 Capacity: 20 t can be lifted out to a 17-m radius. At the maximum jib length of up to 75 m, the maximum tip load is 2.7 t. User: Afcons Application: Afcons has been using four Potain MCT 385 topless tower cranes to construct the tallest cable-stayed road bridge in India. Afcons is the main contractor for the bridge build, which forms a crucial part of the Khopoli-Kusgaon Connector Project, commonly known as the Pune-Mumbai Missing Link. With pylons reaching 182 m, the cable-stayed bridge over Tiger Valley is India’s highest and forms a vital part of the Pune-Mumbai Missing Link Project. Reason for choice: First, the cranes were easy to transport. The slewing section was transported in just seven truckloads, which helped mitigate the difficult road conditions on the way to the site. Second, Afcons has a long relationship with Manitowoc to rely on. “We know we can count on Potain cranes for all our infrastructure work,” says Amol Kulkarni, Assistant General Manager, Procurement, Afcons. “Our reputation hinged on the successful outcome of this project, so Manitowoc was very helpful in ensuring we selected the right cranes to meet the technical and commercial requirements. And, of course, we knew we could rely on the excellent Potain service team to quickly resolve any issues and provide technical help.” All four cranes had jibs permanently configured to 50 m, handling loads up to 6.4 t. As accessing the remote jobsite was an obstacle, each crane was initially assembled on the valley floor to a starting height of 60 m, before being climbed throughout the project to reach a final working height of 181 m. Made in India cranes emerge winners Product: Truck crane Make: TIL TMS880M Capacity: 80 t User: Gajalakshmi Cranes, Mangalore Application: The crane is being used for day-to-day hiring jobs in erection and infrastructure contracts Reason for choice: Increasing demand for higher-capacity cranes in the rental/hiring segments. Gajalakshmi Cranes was looking for a high-capacity mobile crane that is robust, reliable and versatile with enhanced jobsite productivity. The Government's focus on Make in India made the indigenously manufactured 80-t crane by TIL Ltd a natural choice. “TIL provides reliable and enduring products that are truly Made in India,” says M Raghavendra Prabhu, Owner, Gajalakshmi Cranes. “TIL cranes are structurally strong, have great inter-site mobility, deliver excellent lifting performance and are backed by efficient after-sales service. The TMS880M suits our tough and versatile applications very well.” Using customised heavy lifting solutions Product: Crawler crane Make/model: Sany SCC8000C-8, SCC7500A Capacity: 800 t, 750 t User: Sanghvi Movers Ltd Application: “We’re using the crawler crane for the erection of windmills and infra projects,” says Rishi Sanghvi, Managing Director, Sanghvi Movers Ltd. Reason for choice: “We wanted crawler cranes with 800 t and 750 t capacity and long booms,” says Sanghvi. “Sany can provide customised lifting solutions suited to our specific requirements in terms of boom combinations, programming of the cranes and components. These two models from Sany come with a boom length of 197 m and have excellent lifting performance, high working efficiency, convenient assembly and disassembly features and a wide range of adaptability. Sany’s crane components are convenient for transport and storage. The cranes are delivered on time and associated with excellent after-sales service. A failure auto-diagnosis system and proactive safety control technology are helpful.” World-class multipurpose mega lifting capacity Product: All-terrain crane Capacity: 750 t User: JNK Lifters Application: “We’re using the all-terrain crane for various material handling jobs such as the construction of metros, the erection of windmills, oil refinery expansion projects, cement plants, power plants and other infrastructure projects,” says Kunal Gala, Director, JNK Lifters. Alternatives considered: “We considered Manitowoc, Demag, Liebherr, Sany and ZoomLion models too,” he shares. Reason for choice: “XCMG is the global leader in the high-capacity crane market and other construction equipment segments,” says Gala. “XCMG cranes combine best-in-class quality and reliability. They have a worldwide presence in the oil and gas, renewable energy, infrastructure, power and ports sectors.” Value for money, versatile heavy lifters Product: Crawler crane Make: ZoomLion ZCC9800W Capacity: 800 t User: Sumeet Trans Logistics Pvt Ltd Application: Sumeet Trans Logistics bought three of these crawler cranes earlier in 2023 for the erection of windmills for Senvion Wind Technology and ReNew Power. These crawler cranes are equally well suited to construction and industrial applications with different boom combinations. For instance, a shorter boom would make the crane suitable for the operations of TBMs. Alternatives considered: European-branded cranes would have been more expensive and therefore adversely impacted the contractors’ projected return on investment. Most contractors in India work on thin margins. They aim to deliver projects with the best available resources, and therefore they look to invest in products with good specifications. This creates space for Chinese manufacturers in the crane segment to position their products for such projects. Reason for choice: Sumeet Trans Logistics wanted cranes with a specific lifting capacity and features that made them easy to assemble and dismantle.

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