A world without concrete is unimaginable in today’s context. As a building material concrete still rules the roost and while it has been existence for quite some time now, the way it is processed and used has undergone a sea change. Gone are the days of manual processing of concrete. The advent of concrete handling and processing equipment has been one of the most important happenings of the recent few decades. If today, virtually no engineering feat is considered impossible, a lot of credit should go to the concrete handling and processing equipment. India, which is in the midst of its biggest ever infrastructure building spree, finds itself being one of the key markets for concrete batching plants. Literally every global player in the domain, worth its name has set shop in the country. Some of the leading names in the fray include, Schwing Stetter, Aquarius Engineers, Ajax Fiori, Gamzen, Singh Construction, Apollo Infratech, REL-Construction Equipment Division, etc to mention only a few.
The gradual growth of the RMC industry from the 1990s to the present decade is another factor behind the rise in the number of concrete batching plants in the country. The gradual increase in project sizes along with other key factors such as greater emphasis on quality and increasing pressure to stick to project schedules has meant boom time for concrete batching equipment suppliers in recent times. Except for a brief period of lull experienced during the global economic slowdown, the market for concrete batching plants is estimated to be growing at an estimated 25%-30%, according to industry analysts and expected to more than double in another five years time, during the 12th Five Year Plan period during which investments to the tune of US $ 1 trillion is expected to be pumped into infrastructure development in the country. The good showing of the realty sector, although amidst certain intermittent hiccups, has also come as good news for the segment. It is not surprising then that a series of new models of concrete batch plants are to be showcased during Excon 2011.
One of the key shifts that have taken place in recent times has been in the ingredients that go into making concrete nowadays. From silica fumes to fly ash, chemical admixtures and a variety of other construction chemicals means that concrete batching plants have become imperative for attaining that “optimum mix”. Whether it is “special” or “lean” mix that clients demand, the contractor of today is dependent on the concrete batching plant to fulfil it. Adding to their popularity is the fact that most of the latest models feature modular design, which enables relatively easy installation. Many leading players are expected to showcase their range of latest concrete batching plants during Excon 2011.
Schwing Stetter India, an industry leader in the field is showcasing its CP 30 concrete batching plant model. Giving details about the product, Mr.Anand Sundaresan, Managing Director of the company said,” Pre-casting in India is still in a nascent stage and shall increase in the coming years, so Schwing Stetter has launched the CP30 with a planetary mixer to cater to this segment. The CP30 is one of India’s favourite batching plants and has been tested in the most rugged conditions. The addition of the planetary pan mixture shall increase the value of this plant. Now optional galvanizing is also available, the galvanized structure reduces corrosion and wear and tear of the plant increasing its life.”
Similarly, commenting on the USP of its range of concrete batching plants, Mr.Mitul Patel, MD, Apollo Infratech, Pvt Ltd, said, “Features such as inline aggregate bins, planetary mixers, and Command Alkon control system make our concrete batching plants different from others.” The company is an acknowledged leader in the segment.
A leading name in the industry, which has lined up a launch, is Aquarius Engineers, which will be launching its MP 21, a mobile concrete batching plant. Giving an outline of its salient features, Mr.A.V.Dikshit, the company’s Technical Director, said, “This is a specially developed plant for contractors. It is a plant with belt weighing & equipped with skip loading. The aggregates can be stored in the bins provided. This is a very compact plant, easy for assembly and dismantling & can be transported from one site to another using minimum number of trucks.”
Intense competition among various players has meant that companies have been banking on a mix of product innovations, reliable technology and after-sales service backup to win customers trust. A good example for all these aspects is available in the form of Ajax Fiori’s range of concrete batching plant. The company was in the news earlier this year for the launch of its dragline type batching plant, to add to its comprehensive range of concrete batching plants. Giving details about the dragline batching plant, Mr.Debasis Bhattacharya, Head Marketing, Ajax Fiori, had said, “The USP of our dragline type batching plant DLP 30 is the planetary mixer and the customized control system which differentiates our plants from other standard plants available in the market today. Since inception, Ajax Fiori has always focused on bringing the latest technology to Indian customers. Accordingly, our dragline type and compartment bin type batching plants of 30 cu.m/hr capacity are supplied standard with planetary mixers.” These mixers are manufactured in-house under strict quality control procedures, in technical collaboration with Eurostar, Italy. According to Mr.Bhattacharya, world over planetary mixers have replaced the turbo mixers for most applications. In planetary mixers, the reversible mixing blade provide a highly efficient mixing action, reduces the mixing time and gives high mix composition with low power consumption. This ensures a good quality product, higher productivity, and lower operating cost.
Safari Construction Equipment Pvt Ltd, another well-known name will be displaying its Mini Batching Plant during the event. Explaining the salient features of the machine, Mr.Jawahar Kapasi, Managing Director of the company said, “These machines are used for mass concreting on construction sites. The batching plant has three hoppers wherein sand, cement & other aggregates are digitally weighed and loaded in its heavy duty mixer drum. In this drum, the concrete is mixed in forward rotation and discharged in reverse rotation. The Safari Feeding System is used to feed the hoppers of the reversible drum mixer with sand and other aggregates as per required amount. Hence, labour is not required to load the hopper of the mixer. “The bins of the feeding system are controlled by gates and weighing of the material is done using load cells. The bins of the feeder are loaded using a loader.
Singh Construction Equipments is another leading name, which will be displaying its range during the event. Speaking about the product, Mr.Sunny Singh, Director of the company said, “We are launching our new 25 cu.m plant with Pan Mixer and Reversible Drum Type. It’s a vey compact, portable design and requires just few hrs for commissioning. “
REL-Construction Equipment Division is one more name that offers a range of concrete batching plants. Giving insights into the technology behind their range of concrete batching plants, Mr.M.Sunil, Associate Vice-President, REL-Construction Equipment Division said that the plants are manufactured as per the Wiggert Gmbh design, combining productivity and safety features.” We have the range, technology and features, Indian contractors / clients would like as a value for money proposition.” The key features of the concrete batching plants offered by the company include, ‘the mechanical interlocking system’, which prevents the skip bucket from falling in the event of a rope failure, the safety fencing with limit switches, the separate hydraulic power-pack for discharge gate operation, the ‘top mounted’ mixer motor for easy maintenance, etc. Several new models of concrete batching plants are expected to be launched during Excon 2011.
Fast growing market
The market for concrete batching plants has rebounded after the lull experienced during the global economic recession and is now growing at a healthy pace. The continued demand from IT parks and SEZs are adding to the demand. The fact that the RMC consumption in the country is just about 7 % a miniscule figure compared to the average of around 70 % in developed countries, points out to the huge potential for concrete batching plants in the country. The recent impetus being given to precast construction methods by various sectors is another encouraging trend that is expected to boost sales of concrete batching plants. The real challenge before manufacturers today lies in establishing new technology quickly; apart from bring it in to the market. Suppliers are also focussing more on creation of value propositions, a key aspect in the highly competitive market for concrete batching plants. All these factors add to a fascinating growth pattern for concrete batching plants in the near future that will be keenly watched by all the stakeholders in the construction industry.