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Paving way for the future

PMV, Products & Services, Comment

Road building equipment manufacturers say they are ready to take up the challenge of executing India’s huge road building projects, says Syed Ameen Kader

India is taking up massive road building exercise throughout the country. The sector has received good momentum and it has opened up new opportunities for equipment manufacturers.

With lots of catching up to be done, India is putting a much needed thrust on building good quality roads in much quicker time space. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has intensified its award activity from just 850 km during FY2009 to 6,500 km during last one year since end-FY2009. The government has ambitious plan of building 20 km of national highways a day. It has taken up the task of construction and improvement of about 54,000 kms of national highways under the NHDP (National Highways Development Project), spending about US$80 billion in the next four years. To achieve that target, India not only needs quicker mechanism and award process but also advanced technology which can expedite the project execution. Thanks to a strong presence of international players through local tie-ups, India today has got access to high-end technology. With the emergence of BOT projects, contractors are now emphasising on quality of roads as they are the one who would be responsible for maintenance.
Some of the key players such as L&T-Case; JCB, Caterpillar, Greaves Cotton, Escorts, Liugong, Volvo, Telcon and Proman besides others are very active in India. They say technology is not an issue for India.
“Indian companies already use the latest technology for the road projects in NHAI. Hot Mix Plants, Pavers, Vibratory Compactors are all used extensively in India. The machines used by the Indian companies will compare with the best in the world,” says Jaikumar Kamath D, Head – Sales Development, L&T-CASE, Powai.
His company has invested Rs400 million in setting up a new assembly line at Pithampur where Loader Backhoes and Compactors are assembled. “All our products are powder coated to offer a superior and durable finish. We have on offer a 3 Tonne Tandem Compactor the L&T-CASE 450 DX which was designed and developed entirely by L&T-CASE. This machine has features which compare with the best in the world,” he adds.
Escorts Construction Equipment Limited (ECEL) is another key player in the Indian market with wide range of product offerings such as Tandem Vibratory Roller and Vibratory Soil Compactors besides cranes and material handling equipments. The company has a highly ambitious plan for India. It launched 12 T Soil Vibratory Roller and 3 T Mini Tandem Vibratory Roller during the EXCON in 2005. The company also has a marketing tie-up with Singapore Technology Kinetics (STK) to market ‘LeeBoy’ brand of equipment for road construction and maintenance purpose which includes motor graders, hydrostatic pavers and pothole patchers.
The pioneer of recycling technology, Wirtgen India’s CEO and MD Ramesh Palagiri says there is no shortcoming in regards to availability of technology but one needs to adopt that technology and use it for projects. “Now with the volume of road jobs going up, I think, it is the right time to introduce new technology. We have already been successful in introducing some technology like cold milling, and in the future, it will be the recycling machine,” he adds.

Another new technology that Wirtgen sees has a huge potential in India is recycling which comes in two types— hot recycling and cold recycling. Palagiri says this technology does not add to cost factor, rather reduce the cost. “In case of recycling, saving can be anywhere between 15-30% compared to conventional way of doing the roads. Recycling is very successful worldwide. The real breakthrough I would say is the recycling where tremendous saving of money and natural resources,” Ramesh adds.
A relatively new entrant to the Indian market, JCB had launched its compaction range in 2008. “With great focus especially on roads, technological improvements will prove beneficial for the sector both from productivity and quality perspective. We at JCB are well aware and continue to launch India specific products. However, there is still a gap in the market in requirement and availability of technology which we are trying to reduce,” says Amit Gossain, AVP-Marketing & Business Development, JCB India Ltd.
JCB says its 11.5 tonne roller has very prominent compaction boosting parameters like very high amplitude of 1.95 mm. It is equipped with 4 cylinder water cooled engine and latest world class hydraulics. Another JCB offering is the VMT 850 which is an 8.5 tonner with innovative features like dual amplitude and dual frequency to meet most of the requirements of asphalt and soil compaction, dual drum–both driven by hydraulic motors for superior traction and reduced rolling resistance for a perfect finish.
RS Raghavan, MD, Proman, says that earlier a lot of road equipments were being imported but now, we have many Indian manufacturers across various equipment range who make world class products in India. “As regards to crushing and screening, Proman is one of the few crushing equipment manufacturers who can offer international quality equipment (under manufacturing licenses from the world’s best) that are totally manufactured in India to cater to the road building and infrastructure industry,” he adds.
The Bangalore based company is involved in manufacture and supply of crushing and screening equipment which includes Lippmann range of Heavy Duty Jaw crushers, PROcone–Cone crushers, REMco Vertical Shaft Impact (VSI) Crushers, Ortner sand washing systems, Finedoor screens and feeders.
Moving forward, these players see huge potential in Indian market and they are very much getting ready for it. Wirtgen India is coming up with its new plant in Pune where it will manufacture compactors. “We have taken 25 acre land in Pune. Initially, the plant will start with compactor and later on we will be adding new products. We will be rolling out our first machine by October this year. I think, next ten years there will be big boom in road building equipment market,” he adds.
Raghavan of Proman says the road building market is quite huge and after a lull period of one and half year there is increase in government spending on the road projects which will continue in the next couple of years. “We are geared up adequately to cater to all of this. We have some of the best crushing equipment in the world and are up for many challenges,” he adds.

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