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Crane Equipment Industry Poised for Great Heights


Along with earthmoving equipment, lifting equipment constitute one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian construction equipment industry. The market for cranes is on the rebound after the lull experienced during the time of global economic meltdown. The continued thrust on infrastructure development has been driving forward the market’s growth. With both the Central and state governments keen on providing impetus to development of the power sector, things have never looked better for lifting and material handling suppliers in the country.  Hogging the headlines in recent times in the power sector has been the slew of announcements with respect to nuclear power projects in the country. There are reportedly plans for establishing around 25 nuclear power plants in various parts of the country. Glad tidings for crane suppliers also came in the form of the thrust being provided to wind power generation in the country. The recent slowdown in China’s economy, with the Chinese government taking a series of measures to bring down inflation, has ensured that the focus has now shifted right onto India, as far as the Asian continent is concerned.

With the market for cranes maintaining a healthy growth rate of 25% to 30 %, several new models are expected to be on display during Excon 2011. Most of the global majors have their presence in the Indian market, either on their own or through tie-ups with domestic players. TIL for example, considered a market leader offers a comprehensive range of lifting equipment. The company’s range includes, rough terrain cranes from 20T -120 T, truck mounted cranes from 25 T  90 T, all terrain cranes from 35 T  450 T and crawler cranes from 80T  1300 T lifting capacities. TIL with its strong R & D focus has been continuously and successfully anticipating future needs of the industry and introducing products. This endeavour has meant that whenever there was a requirement for a new type of crane or new technology, the company has been a trendsetter.

Another company that will be displaying its latest cranes is Escorts Construction Equipment Limited (ECEL). Giving details about the reasons for the company’s continued success in this segment, as well as other types of construction equipment, Mr.K.K.Vij, CEO & Executive Director of the company remarked, “The critical factors for success in this industry lies in the overall value proposition that one is delivering to its customers, besides of course product features, pricing and service support delivery. Our focus is on innovative design, engineering, optimal design, productivity and efficiency for better products catering to customers’ current and future needs. We have been constantly introducing new technologies and services to meet changing customer needs. Our edge in this industry also comes from the pan-India presence of sales and support infrastructure that is immensely valued by our customers.” The company will be showcasing its Hydra 1665, a 16 T Hydra crane with hydrostatic trans-mission and Carraro make axle which can reach a height of 65 ft. and travel at 40 km/hr. According to the company the product will open an entire segment for ECEL. Escorts Construction Equipment Limited (ECEL), the construction and material handling equipment manufacturing arm of Escorts Limited, will be displaying a wide range of products in the forth-coming Excon 2011, construction equipment and technology trade fair. Besides this, the company will also be displaying TRX 1651, a 16 T crane which can reach a height of 51 feet.

Safari Construction Equipment’s Pvt Ltd will be putting up on display its mini crane. Speaking about the product, Mr.Jawahar Kapasi, Managing Director of the company said, “ As expected, we will definitely be exhibiting our indigenously designed JK Mini Crane. JK Mini Crane is an indigenously designed product especially for material handling for high rise buildings. Our JK Mini Cranes come with 2 to 4 Meter of boom length unmatched by anybody in the market. This makes it very safe to use. Two key features which sets it apart is its speed & safety. Our mini cranes have a smart counter weight system which eliminates chance of accident. We have also added auto mechanical brake system which are activated on power and/or drive failure. “Several other new models from leading players are expected to be showcased during the event.

 Continued Growth

One of the fastest growing segments among cranes is the mobile crane market. The market is was estimated to be growing at a rate of about 25 % till 2008 after which the rate declined in 2009 due to the global economic meltdown. With renewed focus on infrastructure projects, there are positive signs of growth for this segment, according to industry analysts. Then market has rebounded after the lull experienced a few years ago and is expected to maintain its rapid growth rate, what with the government envisaging US $ 1 trillion investment in infrastructure development during the 12th Five Year plan period ( 2012-17).

Another segment that has been performing really well is that of construction cranes that have been growing rapidly in recent times is that of crawler cranes. Industry analysts estimate the market to be growing at a rate of 20%-25% and predicted to double within five years. It is not surprising that a bevy of leading global, as well as domestic players are now offering crawler cranes in India. Some of the prominent names include, Manitowoc, Sany, Liebherr, Kobelco, terex Cranes, ACE, ECEL, Fushun , etc,who offer a wide variety of models in the country.

Along with the spurt in thermal and nuclear power projects, another factor that has been driving the demand for crawler cranes has been the demand from the wind energy sector. According to the Indian Wind Energy Association, the country has an installed capacity of 14518 MW as on March 31, 2011 and ranks 5th in the world, when it comes to wind power installed capacity. Industry experts however, believe that this is just   the tip of the iceberg. “Demand for wind power in India is still lagging behind other countries, as there is greater focus on more traditional methods of power generation. We expect demand for crawler cranes in wind power applications to increase in the coming years, “observed Mr. Raman Joshi, Managing Director, Manitowoc Cranes India, putting things into the right perspective. The power sector, with nuclear energy and wind energy projects, are expected to give fillip to the growth of this segment in the coming few years.

Towering Growth

Among all the different types of construction equipment, if there was one that has now become a common sight across city skylines, it has to be that of the tower cranes. The demand for tower cranes has been fuelled by virtually every sector including, aviation, metro rail, power and realty projects, especially high-rise projects. Apart from residential and commercial high-rise buildings in urban environs, the use of tower cranes is also increasing in the sphere of power projects, where erection of structural frame work and steel structures, with respect to tall RCC chimneys is another area where they play a key role. In fact, they have along with earthmoving equipment; become a common feature in almost every construction site in India. The market size for tower cranes is estimated to be around 1000 units per year, which is only a miniscule figure when compared to a country like China for example, but gives an idea about the huge potential of the Indian market.

The tower crane market has witnessed a perceptible shift and the trend is now towards the use of automated lifting solutions. While earlier it was felt that the human element was the all important role in lifting equipment, the situation has quite literally changed on its head now. The change in the trend can also be attributed to the increasing number of high-rise projects, for they demand tower cranes that can be remotely operated , since most of them are located in metros  , where space is a major issue dictating the use of cranes.

Consolidation Phase

In the wake of unprecedented growth in infrastructure development  activities, the construction crane market could be witnessing its best phase in the next five years. With projects becoming bigger and timelines getting shorter, there has also been a corresponding greater emphasis on factors such as safety and up time. With competition intensifying manufacturers are expected to increasingly rely on technology to give them the edge over competitors. The spurt in automated lifting solutions is a good example of competition leading to product innovations. The perceptible shift in buyer behaviour has meant that manufacturers are gearing themselves for offering value added propositions in the form of training and prompt after-sales support services. The market after a period of sustained growth, followed by a lull for a few years, has rebounded and is expected to reach a consolidation phase in the next few years. Excon 2011 is expected to offer a peep into the future trends of the construction crane market in India, with several new models, from almost every leading global player, on display.


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