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For a long time, demolition equipment has not commanded the largest market share in India. This, after all, is a region ripe for development. Its vast open spaces and growing cities tend to encourage construction, not deconstruction. In recent times, especially in Mumbai, scarcity of land has given way to redevelopment of existing buildings on a large scale. The redevelopment process entails reconstruction of residential or commercial buildings by demolition, if necessary, of the existing structure and construction of a new building. Most demolition tools purchased in India tend to be used to reshape the natural landscape as opposed to manmade structures.
Dimitrov Krishnan, vice-president, Volvo Construction Equipment India, says, “Most places where demolition equipment is used are basically highly crowded places or residential areas or inside a factory. If it’s a residential area, then ensuring safety is of prime importance. A thought to keep in mind when demolishing is that the debris should not be allowed to fall outside the designated area.”For instance, when demolishing a factory, it’s possible that the facade will be covered with a barrier so as to avoid accidents.
Shyam Raghunandan, director, marketing, Hilti, believes that the right tool must be used for the right application. “We need to move out from applying one breaker for all breaking applications. The tool should be selected based on the amount of breaking to be done and the level of breaking (waist above or waist below) and we need to treat light chipping of concrete (plaster removal) different from heavy duty breaking like slab breaking.”

However, most of the demolition equipment that customers buy today are mainly in areas where one cannot do any blasting (there are small types of blasting done to make the building collapse). “It’s not possible for contractors to work in residential areas and complete the demolition in a short span of time. Especially in residential areas where, ideally, contractors shouldn’t be employing more than 100 manpower just to destroy a building. Instead they need to deploy ultra high reach demolition equipment and use cutters and pulverisers used for cutting the building and pillars,” says Krishnan. It’s a common leaning in India to employ manpower of up to 100 persons when the same can be done using machinery and one operator and 3-4 supervisors, he adds.
Vijay Pandey, vice-president, Bosch Power Tools, says, “Health, safety and ergonomics are important factors to keep in mind while using demolition equipment. Since a lot of vibration occurs while using such equipment, this can affect users with problems such as hand arm vibration syndrome.”
Another important aspect is the insulation of demolition hammers. If the tool does not have proper insulation and it comes in contact with live wires at a construction site, there are chances of operators suffering an electric shock. Hence, only hammers which have safety features like anti-vibration control and double insulation must be used by operators.
Raghunandan of Hilti says that using the right voltage will enhance the life of the breaker, keeps repair costs down and finishes the job faster. “Contractors or those working at the site must ensure that no other equipment is plugged into the same socket. This will lower the risk of voltage fluctuations particularly the peaks when welding machines are plugged in. This also increases the life of the machine and keeps the repair costs down. Users should be wary of the vibration levels of the tool. Higher vibrations and prolonged use without sufficient breaks can lead to hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS – Pins & Needles). Our breakers come with AVR (Active Vibration Reduction) which is quite different from the competition as we use the sub-chassis system to reduce vibration,” he adds.
Harinder Jit Singh, vice-president, Sandvik Construction, says, “Customers today prefer and demand to choose powerful and efficient breakers for any kind of application. What matters to them is that the job is completed in lesser time and bigger saving can be made in time and fuel. Customers need to look for input energy of breakers which is easily measurable and trust manufacturing companies for their design expertise.”
The demolition world today does not have a common reliable output energy certifying body. Hence, customers need to look for weight of the breaker, input energy, tool diameter & efficient breaker technology. Sandvik has over 38 years of expertise in manufacturing of breaker and is the original designer of pure oil based breaker technology contributing to global demolition industry efficiency. More than 100 patented technologies are incorporated which shall benefit our customers in improving their efficiency, Singh adds.

In addition to hydraulic breakers, grapples or pulverisers are finding increasing application. Rotating grapples mounted on excavator booms have made demolition jobs a lot simpler. Similarly, pile cutters are also in demand. They have gradually replaced the earlier jack hammers that were earlier being used for such jobs in the country.
There is a lot of scope for work on
the power to weight ratio of the
demolition hammers. The need of the hour is less weight and more power so the user can easily handle the tool and there are less chances of a strain on the user, says Pandey.
Sandvik has been setting high standards for breaking for over three decades. Some of the technologies introduced are:
Data Recorder for breaker operation: Today no breakers measure actual breaking hours and how the breaker is used for a period. Ramdata II installed on all our large series Rammer Breaker as standard and optional on few more models. It records tamperproof data in electronic form and is downloadable from time to time. The analysis shall help to carry out required changes in excavator settings, operational improvements, application improvements, etc and increased productivity.
Overflow protection: Many major items are broken due to excess oil flow from excavator due to operation ignorance or technical reason. Sandvik’s Ramvalve protects hydraulic breakers from excess flow for sure.
TS Bushings: Customers can avail of benefits by replacing only sleeves instead of complete lower bush. Additionally the sleeves also prevent failure of tools due to operational issues. Our big Rammer Breaker series have retrofit option on
TS Bushings.
Some of the advancements Hilti has brought into the Indian market are:
Hi-Drive: High efficiency motor which delivers higher output for lower input; demolition tools – TE 1000 and TE800.
Carbon brush less motor: This does not require a carbon brush to operate and thus reduces the running cost of the tool.
Wave chisel: Speeds up breaking by aiding faster development of cracks in concrete. This reduces the power required as well as the vibration exposure of the operator.
In terms of market, Volvo decided the equipment to bring and its options and based on that they decide on the machine. “When we bring in the machine we discuss with the customer the height he has to reach and the material he has to demolish. Based on that we decide the class of the equipment he should buy and what are the options he should use in that machine. We have brought Ultra High Reach around two or two-and-a-half years back and it’s going fine. Last one year we have not brought any new type of attachments. The same type is sold on a regular basis,” says Krishnan.

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