The joy of crowds
When the organisers of bc India decided to move the trade fair to the India Expo Centre in Greater Noida this year, they couldn’t have taken a more wiser decision. The purpose-built India Expo Centre, the nip in the air and the cold Delhi weather, and the opportunity it offered most equipment manufacturers based out of north India to showcase their machines — all made the change desirable.
This year more than 635 exhibitors from 25 countries took part in the event, which covered 120,000m2 of exhibition space. Although some of the big players were missing due to reasons unknown, a vast majority of players ranging from construction machinery, building material machines, mining machines and construction vehicles, made their presence felt.
Igor Palka, CEO of bc Expo India, said, “We tried to be realistic this year. Moreover, although sentiments and morale in the market is better, our exhibitors are yet to see sales happening. We understand that the change of venue this year might cause some consternation for visitors based out of west and south India, but they will realise that they are also gathering a host of customers from an untapped market of north India.”
Considering that the structures at bc India 2012 were far from satisfactory, the well developed infrastructure at Greater Noida was also a relief. The organisers had to do little in terms of creating infrastructure from scratch.
The exhibitors also realise that the new government at the Centre is making new projects announcements and the organisers have constantly been encouraging prospective exhibitors their chance to be present at the fair. With most people expecting 2015 to pick up in terms of business, it was also necessary to most exhibitors that they offer solutions, if not new products, to visitors at the fair.
Arie van Ettekoven, senior advisor, Top-Werk Group, says, “This year we don’t have any new products but better technologies in terms of doing things better and faster. We now have side products that we were missing in our products line that have recently been added and now we can offer a complete product line. The benefit is that our customers will not have to talk to other companies and can come to us for everything.”
Most companies we spoke to at the trade fair either seemed disappointed with the market conditions while some complained that they have been ready with products last three years and are just waiting for the market to pick up. A chance talk with several vendors also brought to the fore that most of them have sought out newer markets or have reduced the number of shifts at plants to keep the factory running. Tushar Mehendale, managing director, ElectroMech, says, “We are already geared up for past three years. We are just waiting for things to move. We realised early on when the Indian market started going down (first of all the size of the Indian market is small) and started looking at other markets as well as well as other products.”
Ashok Chhajer, sr. DGM, OE-sales, BKT, says, "It’s been tough for vendors. For some time we have been waiting for business to pick up. Most of us are just looking at business trickling in, but not enough to create any excitement."
Prem Raj, managing director, KYB Conmat, says, “One has to constantly look at newer ways to sell. On our part, we have been continuously looking at launching new products that have some USP so as to offer a value-add to customers.”
The Expo saw a fair number of launches. Considering that events like these attract thousands of visitors, most of them come out of curiosity to see new equipment or technology, besides a chance to meet the vendor. It was not uncommon to find that vendors have preferred to launch products that are an extension to their existing range.
Most companies seemed content with the queries that came in or the leads they generated, there were some who sold most pieces of equipment they had brought to the fair. It was a little too overwhelming for them.
One exhibitor said that it’s now positively a buyers market. He also seemed pleased that while last four to five years buying was sparse despite the sentiments, his company did not lose much. This is because even the competitors did not sell much.
Rajesh Srivastava, general manager, marketing and dealer development, Terex Construction, says, "It’s well known that the market is seeing a huge cash crunch. Everyone is doing business on credit. In today’s market, it’s very important that contractors need a substantial cash flow."
Liugong India’s general manager for finance, Ashok Kumar said, “The previous government was not making any decisions about investment. However, the new government is setting up special departments to speed up the process. The next year should see a boom in construction and implementation.”
Blesson Varghese, MD of Marini, says, "As a company, Marini is more than 120 years old. While we are introducing new technologies in the Indian market, what we have this year are results. We are the only full liner in the road building equipment. We have solutions for anything to do with roads at any level."
In terms of group companies, Bomag is No 1 in the world for compaction. Marini excels in mixing plants, and Breining for micro surfacing and road maintenance.
"The response has been average. The government is talking a building vast stretches of roads. Although the big players are missing this year, the overall exhibition stand is well managed," he added.
Varghese would also like to think that the market will pick up around October-November this year. Projects will be announced. Equipment buying will take another five to six months after that, he ends.
Exhibitors also view the market in two ways. One optimistic and another not so optimistic. The optimistic ones expect contractors to pick up equipment in February-March. The less optimistic ones say that buying will only resume in October.
V G Sakthikumar, MD, Schwing Stetter India, says, "If you understand the market and know what vendors are going through, then you must also know that contractors, the project heads, equipment manufacturers are going through a severe finance crunch. Because the project owners (most of the time it’s the government) have little or no finance."
What’s making it worse is the contradicting directions to the finance regulations. While the government is keen that the infrastructure sector should all the support, banks are hesitant about lending easily to contractors. But with improved sentiments and contractors gearing up with quotations to buy, most of them are left wondering as to ways to source money.
Kapil Ghai, chairman & managing director, Ispat Infrastructure, says, "The credit flow in the market is huge. Project owners are seeking credit from contractors and contractors in turn are seeking credit from equipment manufacturers. The system has become so attuned to this that the 90-day credit system does not exist. It could go on for months and years too."
Meanwhile, the government acted. Road transport & highways minister Nitin Gadkari announced a quarter ago that awarding contracts to build roads through the EPC route would revive the confidence of private developers. Following this, he feels, the public-private partnership mode would gain currency automatically. "The road sector is distressed and has seen loss of confidence by concessionaires, bankers and people at large. My topmost priority is to bring the sector back on the path of recovery by building confidence among stakeholders," the minister is known to have said.
Under this new system, the project owner will ask the contractor to bring the equipment and offer a mobilisation advance which is then used to buy the machine. This way there’s money moving into the system.
In roads alone, the ministry is talking about creating Rs 32,000 crore worth of jobs from January onwards. The road transport ministry needs at least Rs two lakh crore for expanding at least 20,000 km national highways in the next few years on public funding mode. The road ministry has flagged the funding issue with finance ministry since there is no sign of private investment coming to this sector. One way of accruing finance is tying up with pension funds or source loans from countries that have a negative interest rate. They could then be persuaded to become owners of the project.
Equipment vendors are also happy that there are modifications being made to the tender documents that will encourage genuine players to bid and eliminate fly-by-night operators.
CHECK-LIST: WHAT SOME TOP COMPANIES HAD ON DISPLAY
Joseph Vögele AG is impressing users worldwide with pavers from the new Dash 3 generation. The two tracked models Super 1300-3 and Super 1800-3 were showcased at the bC India in Delhi. The SUPER 1300-3 is an extremely compact paver whose small size makes it ideal for a variety of different applications. With a wide range of pave widths extending from 0.75m to 5m, the Super 1300-3 copes effortlessly with combined pedestrian and cycle paths, farm tracks and minor roads and public spaces. The tracked paver is powered by a modern DEUTZ diesel engine rated at 74.4kW.
The new ErgoPlus 3 operating system for the Vögele paver covers a multitude of extra ergonomic and functional features. The paver operator’s console, for example, now comes with an extra-large colour screen which offers brilliant readability even in poor lighting conditions. The aAutoSet Basic function is useful if the machine needs to be repositioned frequently on site. The paver is combined with an AB 340 extending screed in TV version for superb compaction and – like all Vögele screeds – it is equipped with an electrical heating system that sets new standards in terms of performance and energy efficiency.
The Super 1800-3 has a maximum pave width of 10m and a machine length of just 6m. This innovative, environmentally-friendly and economical asphalt paver is based on user-friendly, cutting-edge technology. The " Vögele EcoPlus" package, for instance, significantly reduces both fuel consumption and noise levels. In addition, the “AutoSet Plus” and “PaveDock Assistant” functions make working with the SUPER 1800-3 even easier.
With the two cold milling machines W 100 H and W 130 H Wirtgen India is expanding the range of Wirtgen milling for the Indian market. The machines were developed according to the needs of the Chinese market and are assembled in serial production at the Chinese plant in Langfang in accordance with Wirtgen quality standards. Further developments in the W 100 cold milling machine, well-known in India, made a convincing impression in practice – especially with the hydraulic travel and milling drum drive. Among other things, it increases the speed of travel by 8km/h and provides a variable milling drum rotation speed – two of the local market’s primary requirements. Furthermore, the new cold milling machines are fit with an even more powerful engine – at a maximum milling width of 1,000mm or 1,300mm and a maximum milling depth of 180mm. The modern levelling system Level Pro ensures top-notch, precise milling results.
Concrete equipment manufacturer Schwing Stetter launched a range of tower cranes on the Indian market. The model on display at the show is designed by its parent company, XCMG.
Branded Schwing-XCMG, the saddle jib crane is designated XGT63YD (5013-5). It offers a capacity of five tonnes and can lift 1.3 tonnes at its maximum jib length of 50 metres. The maximum free standing height is 35 m on 1.2 x 1.2 m mast sections, and the company says a six tonne capacity version is also available.
V G Sakthikumar, MD, Schwing Stetter India, said, “This launch is important for us as it’s an extension to our existing business.”
The company took time to research the specifications that customers were looking for in terms of size and the features. In future, the tower crane will be made in India. Schwing Stetter plans to start making one component at a time beginning with mast and moving to the jib. It will use its current assembly line to make the tower crane.
The five tonne capacity class is the most popular size of tower crane in India. Chinese construction equipment manufacturer XCMG is a recent entrant to the tower crane sector.
Manitowoc launched two Potain flat top tower cranes for the Indian market at bC India 2014. Both the five tonne capacity MCT 85 and 10-tonne capacity MCT 205 are manufactured at its factory in Pune, India.
Thibault Le Besnerais, Manitowoc global product director for tower cranes, said of the MCT 85, “This size is by far the most popular in India.” It sits on 1.2 x 1.2 metre mast sections for a small footprint and the crane can lift 1.1 tonnes at the tip of its 52m maximum jib. Maximum freestanding height is 47m and it is available with a traditional DC hoist as standard or a smoother and faster variable frequency hoist as an option.
The MCT 205 meanwhile can be mounted on either 1.6 x 1.6 m or 2.0 x 2.0 m mast sections. The smaller masts permit a 60m maximum jib and 39m freestanding height, while the bigger units allow a 65m jib and 52m freestanding height.
Le Besnerais said, “We have seen demand in this market due to the pre-cast concrete building sector, which is growing in India.”
The company has gone to flat top cranes for the Indian market because it believes the easier erection and dismantling of this type of machine will be a key advantage. It also said the lower overall height compared to traditional saddle-jib designs was an advantage, particularly on multi-crane sites.
The five tonne class, however, is particularly competitive in India, and Manitowoc said among the other benefits it could offer to its customers was comprehensive aftermarket support. According to Jack Lee, vice-president for Manitowoc’s Crane Care service, the company has an unmatched presence in India, with technicians in seven major population centres.
Eric Etchart, Manitowoc Cranes president, added that the company’s long presence in India was an advantage. “We have an installed base of about 1,000 Potain tower cranes in India,” he said.
The company has manufactured tower cranes in Pune for seven years. The facility was acquired from a key distributor, which previously built Potain cranes under licence.
Raman Joshi, Manitowoc India president, said, “We are waiting for things to start happening. There is a new government in place and a lot of things have been talked about. Now we need to see them happening.”
Terex Construction launched three products – two wheel loaders and one backhoe loader (TLB740SE). Co-branded from Lonking China, the machines are in the five-tonne and three-tonne capacities. For the time being, Terex has imported the equipment into India and will use its distribution network to push it in the market. Terex will sell dual branded Terex-Lonking Chinese-made wheeled loaders through its distribution network in India. One of these machines will eventually be fitted with an Indian engine. The three tonne will be fitted with a Cummins engine. The company will manufacture the equipment in India in future. It wants to localise the three tonne machines first before focusing on the five tonne.
The two Lonking-made wheeled loaders were the three m3/5tonne capacity CDM 856 and 1.8 m3/3.5 tonne capacity CDM 835. They are branded in Terex-Lonking and are painted in yellow livery, as opposed to Terex’s characteristic white.
Rajesh Srivastava, general manager, marketing and dealer development, Terex Construction, said, “We import the crawler cranes. Most buyers who come here are the institutional buyers. There are few retail buyers. However, our loaders attracted a lot of interest from mining contractors. We sold both our loaders.”
Action Construction Equipment (ACE) is India’s leading material handling and construction equipment manufacturing company with a majority of market share in mobile cranes and tower cranes segment.
ACE displayed its entire range of equipment including tower cranes, mobile cranes, crawler cranes, lorry loaders, backhoe loaders/loaders, vibratory rollers, forklifts and other construction equipment.
ACE will display its newly launched new generation hydraulic truck cranes (14-20 tonne range). These cranes use industrial driveline from trucks resulting in improved gear shifting, better operator comfort and higher speeds. Cabin is in front and at lower height. Operator sits just like sitting in a car. He has excellent all round visibility. Overall machine height is much less as compared to present m/cs resulting in lower centre of gravity and hence improved stability and very low chances of m/c toppling. Less number of structural parts as front and rear frame are joined by pins having self aligning bearings providing flexibility in structure. Rear frame is connected to axle through leaf springs providing robust suspension and jerk free ride. ACE Cranes have a special feature that the full rated lifting capacity is available even in articulated/steered position.
Anil Mudgil, MD, ACE Cranes said, “Since we are into the business of material movement, movement and distribution of concrete also falls in the same line. Wherever we have a tower crane, placers are used. So it becomes relevant for us to have a focus on high rise building. This is a new line we are entering into where we will have not only hydraulic placing booms which can plank up the building but we are also going in for mechanical booms whose advantage is that cost can be realistic.”
The new range of oils and lubricants from SDLG are specially designed for its range of construction machines to protect them against wear and tear – and to enhance the performance of their components. India is the first market outside China to offer customers the range of engine, hydraulic and transmission oils and SDLG formally introduced them at bC India.
Following the launch of SDLG wheel loaders and road machinery in India in 2010, its manufacturer Shandong Lingong Machinery Co., Ltd. (known as Lingong) has identified the need for trusted maintenance products to support its growing machine population.
B Sridhar, head, SDLG business in India, says, “We have over 500 SDLG machines in action on job sites across India and at SDLG we are strengthening our aftermarket support to give customers the best possible service. Our customers are looking for a brand of lubricants they can trust to help maintain their machine performance. This launch will offer them a complete range of engine, hydraulic and transmission oils that are designed especially for SDLG machines. All SDLG lubricants are certified by us to give complete peace of mind.”
India became the first market outside of China to distribute SDLG’s range of oils and lubricants. The new products feature SDLG’s distinctive grey colouring on their packaging to identify them as official support products for the company’s range of equipment.
There are three products making up the SDLG oil and lubricants range. First is the SDLG Engine Oil which is blended with hydro-cracked base oils to deliver higher levels of engine cleanliness, which in turn leads to longer engine life, better output efficiency and lower maintenance costs. Second is the SDLG Hydraulic Oil, which is also made from hydro-cracked base oils and which offers better thermal stability to protect components from oxidation and sludge build up as they are exposed to the higher temperatures caused by working operations. Finally there is the SDLG Gear Oil, which is a lubricant to be used with a variety of transmission units.
The Zoomlion-ElectroMech JV launched two ‘Made for India’ models TC 5013-5 and TC 5013- 5G at the expo. These cranes are equipped with a quick change device that requires just a pin to be removed for rapid switching between wire rope falls. Their safety is addressed through features such as a self-climbing mechanism with anti-drop device, which ensures safety during jacking while erecting the crane and wire rope and axle breakage protection on the trolley for safe operations.
These models have been developed after consultation with several developers and contractors and take into account Zoomlion’s experience in the Indian market. The TC 5013-5G has a SWL of 5t and a tip load of 1.3t at 50m. The inner climbing model has a mast section which has been designed keeping in mind typical Indian lift shafts. This model can be accommodated in a lift shaft measuring 1.9m X 2.1 m or a floor cut out of 1.38 m x 1.5 m.
Amongst the host of features that make these cranes easy to use on sites is a quick change device which requires just a pin to be removed for rapid switching between wire rope falls. Safety is also addressed through various features such as a self-climbing mechanism with anti-drop device which ensures safety during jacking while erecting the crane and wire rope and axle breakage protection on the trolley for safe operations. Tushar Mehendale, MD, ElectroMech, said, "The real estate sector in India itself has seen a paradigm shift over the past decade with modern techniques of construction becoming more common across the sector. Not only metros, but tier II cities are witnessing previously unseen levels of development and the skylines of cities like Mumbai and Delhi are rapidly changing with skyscrapers becoming the norm. With these changes comes the demand for quicker time to market for projects, which is pushing the demand for related equipment such as tower cranes.
While a few years ago tower cranes were only considered to be a must for skyscraper construction, in today’s extremely competitive real estate market, developers and contractors are realising the economic and efficiency related benefits of mechanisation in their projects. This is causing a shift towards the use of tower cranes for all types of projects, driving up demand.
ElectroMech estimates the market size for tower cranes to be approximately 600 units per year, of which 400 units are required by the real estate sector alone.
Liugong launched the two tonne capacity CLG 818 wheeled loader onto the Indian equipment market at bC India. The company says it is targeting the utility market, which is currently dominated by backhoe loaders. The unit features a 50kW Kirloskar engine and has a 5.6 tonne operating weight. It can be fitted with a 0.8-1.2m3 bucket.
Liugong already sells five tonne and three tonne capacity loaders in the country, which are manufactured at its factory in Indore, India, along with graders. It claims a 40% market share in the five tonne loader class, and has hopes its two tonne model will have a similarly strong position.
Prateek Kumar Kashyap, executive, strategy development and marketing, Liugong India, said, “Currently, everyone is using backhoe loader and multi-utility machines. Next year we want to promote this loader as a utility machine. The market for backhoe loaders in India is 35,000 units. Of that 15-18% is used mainly for loading. And backhoe loaders are not the right solution for loading. That’s why we launched this two tonne loader. We can put nine different types of attachments on this machine for log handling, scrap handling, paper industry, RMC plant or crushers. We can offer customised machines also. We introduced the five tonne with a Mahindra engine. All our other products have Cummins engines.”
General manager for finance, Ashok Kumar added, “We will provide it with a range of buckets, plus we can provide forks for log handling and grapples for the scrap industry. We can also supply extended arms to target the sugar industry, where there is a need for extra dump height to load hoppers. That is seasonal work, so the quick hitch is important.”
PUTZMEISTER CONCRETE MACHINES
The new eSmart machines with HMI (Human Machine Interface) control panel have Ergonic Graphic Display (EGD), which allows determining the real time operating status of the machine and diagnosing faults. The EGD performance displays various parameters like pumping hours, concrete output, hydraulic oil temperature, fault diagnosis matrix, stroke counter, engine speed etc., which makes it possible to monitor the pump continuously. This system reduces the restrictions in hydraulic oil flow; and as a result, the heat generation in this hydraulic system is minimised.
These machines come with advanced safety features. The Emergency Switch on the control panel is easy to access. It stops the entire operation of the machine when pressed in an emergency.
The new Open Pump System (OPS) design will drastically reduce operational costs. The new version of BSA 1405D requires only 70 litres of hydraulic oil, which is almost up to 5 times less as compared to equivalent machines from other brands and since this oil needs to be changed every 500 pumping hours or 1500-2000 engine hours, it makes the eSmart machines very economical to run and environment friendly.
Wilfried Theissen, MD, Putzmeister Concrete Machines, said, “We are essentially a concrete and plastering company. We have numerous types of pumps. The full range will come to India in the next couple of months. We extended our concrete range because the customer demanded. Then we decided to develop the batching plant. It will be friendly to use and has lots of controls and features for the operators.”
Debatosh Roy, head, Innovative Infratech is proud of the VSS Macropaver. “This is the most unique machine you will see in this show. This machine is 100% green technology as it’s bitumen emulsion technology.”
He says that the technology doesn’t require any heat because it’s already liquid at ambient temperature. The machine can be used for maintenance purpose. The third feature is that it can lay and maintain a road at a speed at least 3-4 times of the conventional process.
John Birchall, sales manager, VSS Macropaver, says that when one talks about maintenance of the road, the current practice is to put an overlay which is hot. The minimum layer is 30mm as per the government rule. The VSS Macropaver allows one to deposit a thickness of 6-8mm.
The Macropaver can also increase the life of the road by 5-7 years. A structurally sound road whose surface has worn out doesn’t require much build up. So the alternative is to mill out and lay. So mill out 30mm and again lay 30mm. The Macropaver allows the contractor to lay 4- or 6- or 8mm and still not affect the curb height.
Prem Raj, MD of KYB Conmat is a down-to-earth person. Considering that he set up the company from scratch, innovation is constantly on his list. “Our partners, the Japanese company, are very simple people. They have the technology, but don’t understand India.”
He attributes the quality of developing teams to his partners. Considering the technology sharing between the two companies, only the transit mixer has been imported from Japan. The company recently launched a mobile plant and one transit mixer with PTO (power takeoff) akin to a Mercedes Benz.