Industrial crane manufacturers are focusing on emerging markets for expansion and product launches. Euan Youdale reports
So attractive is the growth of markets like China, Brazil and India that some Western companies are looking to transfer considerable sections of their business to these areas.
Demag Cranes in Germany will set its sights on the emerging markets in 2012. "We set ourselves a goal of generating more than 40% of our revenue in these markets by 2015," said a company spokesman.
Rather than demand just for premium products in these regions, according to Demag Cranes, there is a notable interest in the mid-range price bracket.
The launch of the DC-Bas chain hoist, based on European standards, in China and India in 2011 was part of this strategy. During the 2011/2012 financial year there will be additional launches: the DR-Bas rope hoist, the LC-Bas light crane system, drive components, crane sets and complete cranes in a range of designs. They will also be launched in Southest Asia.
The last year has seen a transfer of ownership at Demag Cranes, with Terex Corporation acquiring 81.83 % of the company's shares. Following that the parties are set to sign a domination and profit transfer agreement at Demag Cranes' annual general meeting in February.
Demag Cranes, however, has stressed that it will remain a separate operating segment in the Terex group. "Strategic and operating responsibility for the business will remain within the Demag Cranes AG Management Board. Terex fully supports the Demag Cranes strategy."
This includes an agreement by Terex not to impose any redundancies for three years in direct connection with the takeover and Terex has given a five year protection to its German production facilities.
Konecranes has also been busy in emerging markets. It will supply a goliath gantry crane to Brazilian shipyard Ecovix-Engevix Construcões Oceanicas. The shipyard, located in Rio Grande do Sul, builds drill ships for the oil and gas industry. The goliath gantry crane will be the biggest of its kind in the world, says Konecranes. Delivery is in October.
With a lifting capacity of 2,000 tonnes and a span of 210 metres, the crane will be able to handle considerably larger blocks than before, shortening dry dock time for vessels at the port.
In Spain, Jaso Industrial has been focusing on emerging regions too, namely Brazil, India, Mexico, Argentina, North Africa and the Middle East. "The new centres of steel making are now in India, Brazil, Iran, Middle East, Russia and Latin America," says a company spokesperson, "The technology developments in steel making plants has increased the capacity of the plants and the capacity of the equipments."
In 2012 Jaso will launch a new hoist series. The new range will offer safe, high performance, says the company. It includes single girder, 1 to 80 tonne capacity double girder, gantry, semi-gantry, jib crane and cantilever cranes. By the middle of 2012 Jaso also aims to have new production facilities in Brazil and India.
In the compact crawler crane sector, GGR Group, based in the UK, is also experiencing interest from the emerging nations. "As the official Unic mini crane dealers for Europe, Africa and the Middle East," says Graeme Riley, GGR CEO, "Demand for mini cranes is highest in France, Germany and Italy, whereas the market is not as healthy in Portugal, Spain and Greece."
"The market in the Gulf region has been going from strength to strength recently and the fleet of lifting equipment from the hire and service depot in Dubai has grown considerably so we can now fulfil the lifting needs of the UAE better than ever," adds Riley. The company has also noted interest from South America and Russia.
New in the GGR range is the GK20 pick and carry crane from Italian manufacturer Galizia, an updated version of the G20. The latest addition is another pick and carry, the Galizia Multis 636, which can be transformed into a telehandler with fork and operator platform attachments. The multi-functional Multis 636 fits into the growing requirement for flexible cranes. It measures 1.73 m wide and 2 m tall, with no need for outriggers to lift up to 6 tonne loads or a maximum 3.5 tonnes with fork attachment.
Another concern is the environment. "Customers have become more environmentally aware," says Riley, "The cranes can be supplied with an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) power option which only emits non-toxic fumes and filtration systems can also be fitted to the crane's diesel engine. Battery-powered Galizia mini cranes are ideal for industrial lifting in confined areas such as power stations because they don't emit any fumes."
UK-based Street Cranes is also advancing in to the UAE. Its advanced specification factory cranes will now be available there, following an agreement between Dubai Cranes LLC. Dubai Crane will carry stock of Street Crane kits, providing express delivery to local manufacturers and industrial investors.
Under the agreement Street Crane will share technical expertise with Dubai Crane to allow major crane structures, such as gantries and crane beams, to be fabricated in Dubai.
The structures will then be mated to the electro-mechanical components - end carriages, carriages, hoists, controls, electrical gear and so on, supplied by Street Crane.
"Industrial development in the UAE is such that there will be huge demand for high specification industrial cranes for the foreseeable future," says Andy Kay, Dubai Crane general manager. "This is especially true of the mid- and downstream cluster businesses capitalising on developments at Kalifa Port and the aluminium industry. We are able to meet demands for cranes of up to 300 tonnes safe working load."
Despite the continued downturn, there are still developments in Western Europe. For example, The Mechanical Drives division of Siemens Industry Automation and Drive Technologies has turned to Street Crane Company for crane systems at its Leeds, UK facility. They include six 1 tonne light crane systems, with up to 6 m span. For heavier lifts in the heavy assembly bay, Street Crane has installed a three semi-goliath gantry crane system without rails. All of these cranes have a safe working load of 12.5 tonnes. The heavy assembly bay is also serviced by a 25 tonne double girder overhead crane spanning the full 24.5 m width of the bay.
In Norway, GGR Group has appointed new Unic dealers to strengthen its presence. It also extended it dealership in Israel.
Konecranes has invested substantially in its Hyvinkää, Finland factory in recent years, which manufactures components for heavy cranes. The main aim it to increase heavy gear manufacturing. However, the company initiated actions in the fourth quarter to lower the cost base in Europe.
Operations will be restructured in a number of European countries, closing down unprofitable units, merging operations, personnel reductions and streamlining of administration. It will affect about 125 employees within the Konecranes Group. With these planned actions, Konecranes targets annual cost savings of about €9 million (US$11.7 million) in total. "We forecast the 2011 operating profit, excluding possible restructuring costs, to be approximately on the same level as in 2010," said company spokesman.