Almost all types of building sites and construction projects utilize mechanical compaction techniques. With more than 60 per cent of the cargo movement being handled by the road network, the focus will naturally be on road infrastructure. Roads and Highways sector has been and continues to be one of the key drivers for growth for the infrastructure sector in India. India needs roads, both in rural and urban areas to progress. The government has shown significant focus on building a world-class road network. Thus, there is a substantial budget outlay in successive National Budgets towards this segment. Investments that have been earmarked for this sector present a great opportunity for the OEMs. According to Off-Highway Research, the growth rate of compaction equipment from 7.6 per cent in 2009-10 will reach to over 60 per cent by 2014. (The total volume of compaction equipment in 2009 was 2,787 units, which in 2010, crossed 3,000 units (a growth rate of 7.6 per cent) and the forecast is a growth in the volume of around 4,800 units by 2014, a growth rate of 60 percent.
The market for soil compactors in India has been growing at a steady pace. An estimated 3500 units of compactors were being sold in India annually in the recent few years, out of which roughly about 50% are soil compactors. Whether it is asphalt compactors or soil compactors, the thrust from manufacturers has been on machines that will achieve optimum compaction with the minimum number of passes.
Market leaders & Technology Innovation
The trend that has been witnessed in the Indian compaction market is the movement towards vibratory compaction from the earlier predominantly static rollers. The technology helps send pressure waves into the soil surface in different directions leading to the particles achieving a dense state of orientation. Just as in the case of the other types of construction equipment, contractors have realized that the initial higher capital investment is bound to pay off in the long run, given the cost savings achieved due to the lesser number of passes. Manufacturers are also focusing on coming out with machines that are fuel efficient and require minimal maintenance, all adding to the good news for contractors. With competition, intensifying suppliers are concentrating on coming out with machines that would ideally suit Indian working conditions, where typically these machines would be put through more number of work cycles, as compared to the developed world. Global players who have entered the fray in India have been getting feedback from end-users and have been focusing their R&D towards machines that are specifically suited for India.
The Wirtgen Group offers Hamm range of compactors which are Economical and Effective. The articulated tandem rollers like the compact line HD 12 VV are perfectly adapted to applications on smaller road construction or landscaping sites. They are highly maneuverable for smaller areas and offer economical compaction on small sites. The HD series rollers like the HD 99 tandem roller made in India are perfectly designed for road construction and paving of large asphalt surfaces. Vibration and oscillation make them suitable for a variety of applications. They offer benefit to an operator in terms of comfort and visibility. The 311 soil Compactors and the 3520 Padfoot compactors for earthwork applications are characterized by high degree of comfort, outstanding ergonomic design, excellent field of vision and extremely powerful gradeability. The rubber wheeled rollers GRW 15 are used to compact asphalt pavements.
With the knowledge gained from working with the Indian market for decades, Volvo CE designed a single drum compactor specifically to suit local industrial applications. The 11.0-tonne class SD110BA combines dynamic drum forces and a heavy drum weight to produce the energy necessary to achieve material target density in fewer passes. With the highest centrifugal force in its class, the SD110BA delivers unmatched performance, ease of operation and outstanding output. Besides this, the Volvo SD110BA also enables operators to access hard-to-reach areas of the job site thanks to the fully integrated traction control system. Preventing wheel slip provides stability when operating on steep inclines and slippery surfaces. Meanwhile, the tapered drum frame allows the machine to operate on slopes up to 35 degrees and provides greater clearance when loading and unloading for transport. Even in challenging environments, operators can count on the Volvo SD110BA to stand its ground. The well-balanced machine features a center joint with a +/-38 degree angle of articulation and +/-17 degree of oscillation, improving stability, maneuverability, and safety. In combination, these features provide customers with a means of achieving a greater volume of work at a higher quality and in less time.
JCB India offers a range of road compaction equipment with three world-class products – the VMT330 (a 3T Mini Tandem Roller), the VMT 860eco (a 9T Tandem Roller) and the latest JCB116 (a 11T Soil Compactor). The JCB116 Soil Compactor, a new world-class machine from JCB India comes with JCB Diesel Max engine, providing fuel savings of up to 6%. It is also equipped with proven German Vibration Technology and is designed to give more compaction per litre. It assures desired compaction density in a minimum number of passes.
BOMAG has a new soil compactor line-up from 11-26tonnes. Versatility is a key feature of the new Atlas Copco Dynapac CA1400 soil compactor. Designed for compaction operations in pipe trenches, compacting roads, streets, parking lots and pipe trenches. Due to its compact size and maneuverability, the model is suited for compaction in cramped spaces in connection with refilling work. Other benefits include maneuverability even on steep slopes. Versatility is a key feature of the new Atlas Copco Dynapac soil compactor. Compaction width is 1.676m while the static linear load is 20kg/cm, allowing compaction of sand and gravel down to 500mm. Two amplitudes are offered of 1.7mm and 0.8mm. The PD version can compact silt and clay to a depth of 450mm. Power for the machines comes from a Kubota Stage IIIB/Tier 4 Final engine delivering 55kW, with low exhaust emissions and fuel consumption. The engine is transversely mounted for ease of access.
HAMM’s latest compact soil compactor can be specified with both oscillation and vibration. The BW 213, 219 and 226 models are equipped with the firm’s Variocontrol (BVC) compaction system, with automatic compaction control. A new design is said to make this even easier to use of Variocontrol, with a single rotary switch integrated into the arm of the seat needed for all settings. In manual mode, the operator chooses the amplitude, while in automatic mode the operator can specify EVIB values with the Variocontrol package taking over control of amplitude. LiuGong has developed its B-series soil compactors. The H5 and H7 variants are said to offer precise operation as well as good traction and ground clearance due to the hydrostatic drive system.
A move towards operational safety:
An operator’s efficiency is paramount with regard to optimising the output. Comfort and safety of an operator are of paramount importance as it not only ensures safe operations at the construction site, but also increases the efficiency of the operator. JCB has taken special cognizance of this requirement and invested heavily in designing machines which offer the best-in-class operator environment. The latest Compactor from JCB India, the JCB116 has been designed keeping operator comfort in mind. Few key features are: The in-built Compaction Meter is placed ergonomically for operator comfort thereby, helping in achieving the desired output, The steering wheel and console are designed to ensure fatigue free operation and The cab platform is mounted on 4 viscous mounts, to isolate it from any vibrations and to make the operator feel comfortable even during high amplitude passes. JCB’s range of Compactors, vibrations, and heat levels are kept lowest to provide a comfortable work environment. Moreover, operator friendly and ergonomically located controls with joystick help in easy machine operation.
Hamm compactors are provided with isolated operator platform, there is no feeling of vibration of the machine. This improves the stress-free operation of the machine & improves the operator’s efficiency. Hamm soil compactors are built with patented design of three point pendulum articulated joint. The three point articulation joint connects the front & rear ends of the compactor & enables excellent directional stability and steerability & provides driver safety on difficult terrains and for the driver’s comfort. Operator efficiency is improved by the isolated operator platform, by providing comfortable seat 3 point articulation will help the better stability of the operator Operator safety and maintenance related features are in built design in Hamm compactors which include safety indication & alarms for any faulty conditions. In Hamm, machine Engine compartment is closed with FRP hood, which will reduce the noise levels by approx. 10 -12 DB , we can also provide the isolation foam as an option to reduce the noise levels further.
Similarly SD110BA, model of Volvo is one of the most popular compactors in the Indian market. A conveniently positioned control on the operational panel allows easy switching of work modes, depending on working conditions. The unit also offers variable drum vibration frequencies from 0-30 Hz, which is again easily adjusted from the operator’s console, allowing faster and easier reactions to changing soil types and conditions.
For over a decade, the road-building sector in India has offered major growth opportunities for the construction equipment industry. With more than 60 percent of the cargo movement being handled by the road network, the focus will naturally be on road infrastructure. According to Ramesh Palagiri, Managing Director and CEO, Wirtgen India, ‘The market for compactors for the past 8-10 years has been around 2500 units per year . However, with the infrastructure development projects planned by the government in the roads and highway sector, this demand has increased considerably’. The growth of this sector is interlinked with the growth of the Indian economy and indirectly, with the growth of infrastructure. Factors like slow land approvals, high-interest rates, a weak rupee and the slowdown in the mining industry have affected the market which registered an almost flat growth over the last few years.
There is huge growth potential for compactors in an India that is developing a lot in terms of infrastructure. While the construction equipment market looks challenging in the short term due to policy paralysis at the executive level of the government, the medium to long- term growth story of this industry seems intact.