India: Signs of improvement

By Partha Pratim Basistha23 April 2014

Chowgule truck mounted and tractor type cranes

Chowgule truck mounted and tractor type cranes

At least a dozen major crane companies were present at the seventh Excon, a construction equipment show held in late 2013 in Bangalore, in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Organised by Confederation of Indian Industry, the show boasted 715 exhibitors. It included international presence from Germany, Sweden, Italy, Japan, South Korea and China.

Crane companies exhibiting at Excon reported improved demand for cranes from commercial and residential real estate, industrial and core infrastructure projects. Crane manufacturers and distributors in India have been facing a shortage of orders in the last two years. Reasons include tardy environmental and regulatory clearances, and extended project closures in the power sector due to delayed fuel supply agreements. Retrograded demand from commercial and residential real estate was due to hardening of borrowing interest rates by India’s Central Reserve Bank in a bid to curb inflation.

A further dampener on demand has been the growing agitation by local farming communities under pressure to part with their land for real estate projects. It has been drawing attention in the law courts, where verdicts in favour of farming groups have been given in a large number of cases.

India’s Union government has resolved to fast track pending infrastructure projects, involving an investment of INR 1, 51,000 crores. New infrastructure projects have also been announced, further contributing to a renewed vigour among crane companies in India.

Fleet expansions
Indian crane rental heavy weight, Apollo Cranes, ordered two units each of Sany STC 750, 75 tonne capacity four axle truck cranes, STC 500, 50 tonne capacity truck cranes and 100 tonne capacity Sany SCC 1000 C lattice boom crawler cranes at Excon from the Chinese manufacturer. The cranes will be delivered to Apollo by Sany Heavy Industries India through 2014. Arun Mahajan, Apollo Cranes director, said, “competitive rates offered by Sany, efficient service track record and timely parts availability made us clinch the deal.” The new cranes are likely to be used at upcoming mega crude oil refinery, metro rail and cement plant projects in North India. Sany showed its hybrid truck Crane: HTC 750, reach stackers: SRSC45H and empty container handlers: SDCY90K8H at Excon.

Orders for twenty units of the 100 tonne capacity Kobelco CKL 1000 crawler crane from Reliance Industries for its mega refinery expansion project at Jamnagar in Western India were reported by Kobelco India. Two units have been delivered and the remainder were being supplied through to March 2014. Kobelco is also in talks for delivering an additional 250 tonne capacity CKL 2600 crawler crane to Reliance, also for the refinery expansion project. Kobelco India has delivered two CKL 1000 crawlers to S.B. Protech, civil contractor for Delhi Metro Rail’s third phase expansion. The company is looking forward towards upcoming metro and fertiliser projects in India for marketing its cranes.

Speaking at Excon, Nilesh Bhorkar, Kobelco India national manager for sales and marketing, said, “To ensure that we are able to expand and retain our presence in the growing but stiffly competitive Indian market, we will continue to emphasise a move towards indigenisation of our cranes. At present, our Japanese team is working towards increased local vendor development.” Car body, crawler frames, hydraulic cylinders and counterweight is locally sourced by Kobelco India. Kobelco manufactures 100, 150 and 250 tonne capacity lattice boom crawler cranes in India at its plant at Sri city, near Chennai in the south of the country.

Indigenisation, joint venture tie ups and technology collaborations is high on agenda with good numbers of Indian crane manufacturing companies to make products competitive, both cost- and technology-wise and also to counter exchange rate fluctuations. Indian industrial crane manufacturing major, Electromech Material Handling Systems, has entered into a joint venture with Chinese manufacturer Zoomlion. Under the agreement Electromech will produce popular models of 5 and 6 tonne capacity flat top tower cranes at its plant in Pune in Western India. Under the joint venture, it will offer hammer head cranes from 4 to 240 tonnes, flat top cranes from 4 to 50 tonnes and luffing jib tower cranes from 12 to 63 tonnes for the Indian construction market. Electromech displayed 5 tonne Zoomlion-Electromech tower crane at Excon.

In the towers
Indian tower and port crane manufacturing company, Anupam Industries informed has new self erecting tower cranes at the show. S.K. Malve, Anupam Industries director, said, “Our new A 213 self erecting tower crane, will be marketed to low cost housing projects.” The crane has a capacity of 1.5 tonnes at 14 metres working radius and 750 kg at 24 metres.” Anupam also manufactures 5 and 6 tonne hammer head tower cranes under tie up with Alfa from Italy. In addition, Malve said, “we have recently entered into a distribution agreement with Jaso Cranes for marketing its 16 tonne electric luffing cranes for the Indian market.”

Anupam has a technological alliance with Mitsubishi for manufacturing ship to shore (STS) container handling cranes. It has delivered one 40 tonne crane to (JNPT) Navasheva International Container Transhipment Terminal, India’s prime container port in Mumbai. It has booked an order for another new STS crane. Anupam, which sold 40 tower cranes in 2012-13. has a sales target of 80 units in 2013-14.

Liebherr India displayed its new flat top tower cranes for the Indian market at Excon 2013. Assembled at Liebherr’s Pune plant, the ECB 85 can lift 5 tonnes at 15.2 m working radius on four falls of rope. A minimum of 1.3 tonnes can be lifted at tip load of 50 m jib length. The crane has a free standing height of 45 m and first anchorage at 56 m. Liebherr has sold units to Godrej and L&T for housing projects.

Indian tower crane manufacturer Spartan India displayed its new 6 tonne flat top model at the show. Manufactured at Spartan’s state-of-the-art plant at Atgaon near Pune, in western India, the cranes were earlier manufactured at Spartan’s plant in China. Vikram Mehta, Spartan India managing director, said, “The cranes can be erected and dismantled faster. Besides, it is better off on safety as it is well equipped with gearboxes from Nord and Bonfiglioli.” There are more than 400 units of Spartan cranes working in India, Mehta said.

Rising value
Buoyed by growing opportunities in the commercial and residential real estate sectors in India, a number of construction equipment manufacturers and dealers have ventured into the tower crane sector. The value of private equity transactions in India’s real estate sector during the first nine months of 2013 was up 26 %, at INR 4,716 crores ($ XXXX), as compared to INR 3,750 crores ($ XXXX) in the first nine months of last year.

“We foresee growing business opportunities from real estate sector,” said, AD Bhosale, Universal Construction Machinery & Equipment vice president, material handling. The Indian concrete equipment manufacturing conglomerate has entered into a technological tie up with Uster for distributing and servicing its tower cranes in India. “Initially we will be marketing 5 tonne Chinese manufactured European cranes in India. In the next two years the cranes will be fully manufactured at our Shivare plant near Pune,” Bhosale explained. Universal will be looking to promote 5 to 30 tonne capacity electric luffing tower cranes from Uster in the near future.

Everest Engineering Equipment India mentioned about its exclusive marketing tie up with Finehope of China for marketing its 32 to 150 tonne electric luffing tower cranes in India. Everest has also entered into a marketing tie-up with Chinese manufacturers SYM, for 10 to 50 tonne saddle jib and luffing jib tower cranes, and GJJ for distributing its tower cranes and mast climbers in India. P.V. Ramdev, Everest Engineering managing director, said, “The high capacity electric luffing cranes, are most suitable in projects having space paucity is being used at cement plant, power projects, and precast buildings in India.” Everest has so far sold 100 tonne tower cranes to Wardha Power, 63 and 75 tonners to Essar Projects and four units of 75 tonne capacity tower cranes to Sterlite for erection of its captive power plants. The company has so far sold 22 units of Fine Hope’s tower cranes in India. Everest has also booked orders for four 10 tonne capacity tower cranes from Lodha Group. Ramdev said, “As a part of providing special solutions, we will be supplying 42 GJJ tower cranes with capacities between 6, 8 and 10 tonnes, to contractors BG Shirke for Delhi Development Authority housing project involving clusters of 1,000 buildings. The cranes for the project will be rail mounted. We are making certain modifications in the mechanisms and electrical components of the cranes, so as to make them suitable for Indian operations.”

Indian mobile crane manufacturer Tractors India Limited (TIL) has unveiled the Pixef 215, a new 15 tonne capacity hydraulic mobile pick and carry crane. Somnath Bhattacharjee, TIL president for material handling solutions in the equipment and project solutions business, said, “our new multi-utility slew crane comes with an advanced design over conventional pick and carry cranes available in India, built on tractor chassis, Which present serious risk to stability during load handling as well as exposing the operators to risk due to a dearth of safety devices and controls.”

The Pixef 215 has a three section telescopic boom that extends from 6 to 13 m. It is rated to lift 15 tonnes at a 2.5 m radius, 10 tonnes at 3.0 m radius on a boom length of 6.0 m. With the boom extended to 13 m it can lift 1.1 tonnes at a 12 m working radius. The crane has two front outriggers, forming a six square metre base to carry 4 tonnes of load. Pixef is powered by a water cooled turbocharged 4 cylinder diesel engine with a rated power output of 101 hp at 2,200 min-1. Bhattacharjee said, “The reason to enter the pick and carry segment is because it is growing at 15 to 20 percent.” The market volume of pick and carry cranes in India is estimated to be around 14,000 units a year.

TIL, one of India’s oldest crane makers, also manufactures, under licence from Grove (Manitowoc), rough terrain and truck cranes of 20, 30, 40, 55 and 75 tonnes capacity. It also distributes Grove wheeled mobile all terrain cranes above 100 tonnes capacity and Manitowoc crawler cranes in India. TIL has its manufacturing facilities at Kolkata and at a newly commissioned plant at Kharagpur in West Bengal, eastern India.

TIL also has a technical collaboration with Hyster of the USA for manufacturing reach stackers, Paceco Corp of US (part of Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding –Japan) and with Famak of Poland for manufacturing port cranes.

An indigenously manufactured, three section truck mounted, stiff boom telescopic crane was exhibited by Indian crane manufacturer Chowgule and Company. The truck cranes come in three models, CR-83, CR-123 and CR-173. CR-83 and CR-123 can lift 3 tonnes at 2.7 m and 4 m radius, respectively. The CR-173 lifts 4.2 tonnes at 5 m radius and 1.3 tonnes at 9.9 m working radius. The cranes are mounted on standard Indian Leyland and Tata trucks chassis. The truck and tractor cranes were earlier manufactured by Chowgule under technical collaboration with Furukawa of Japan.

Enhanced local manufacturing by crane companies in India is making business grow for component manufacturers. Mahendra Manohara, Wipro India senior sales engineer, said, “Demand for hydraulic cylinders from crane companies both domestic and foreign in India has been growing.” The Indian hydraulic cylinder manufacturer is a major supplier to, among others, Kobelco India, Escorts Construction Equipment and JCB.

Business is also increasing for Mahindra Heavy Engines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indian passenger and commercial vehicle manufacturer Mahindra Group. Senior company officials reported increasing demand of 230 hp Mahindra engines from Indian crane manufacturer ACE for its 70 tonne capacity crawler cranes.

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