Today, wind power is one of the fastest-growing business sectors of industry and has presented crane manufacturers with a number of challenges, too. For a 3-MW wind turbine installation, a contractor needs to lift loads of 120T to heights of 70 – 100 m. Currently, lifting contractors opt for high-capacity cranes with large component sizes that help customers increase revenue at a faster pace, and the trend is for bigger cranes with state- of- the- art engineering. In view of India being projected as the next global wind investment destination with a projected potential of 5000MW by 2015, this sector may offer good opportunity for crawler cranes in the capacity range of 400T to 600T and above, in the coming years.
However, the data collected by EQUIPMENT INDIA throws up interesting facts. Out of the total market for mobile cranes, crawler cranes constitute just three per cent; and out of this 70T -80T is the most popular, and dominates around 40-45 per cent of the total crawler market. The market for FY 2010-11 is estimated at around 270 units valued at around Rs 700 crore, and expected to grow at the rate of 15-20 per cent CAGR for the next five years.
The new kid on the block is the duty cycle crane but as of now, the concept has not found much favour in the country, even as demand is gradually climbing. Most of the customers use the normal crawler crane with attachments. The difference between the crawler crane and duty cycle crane is simple - the duty cycle crane requires higher horsepower engine, higher hydraulic capacity and higher winch capacity. And these are, as per industry inputs, ideal machines for general construction, which can be used for easing oscillator, drag line application, diaphragm wall application, etc; but higher cost and lack of awareness seems to be deterrents.
As lifts are getting heavier and the requirement for bigger modules and machines are on the rise, safety becomes one of the most challenging aspects. Safety awareness is spreading fast among users because of accidents caused by used crawler cranes and less reliable machines. Today, most of the OEMs are providing innumerable in-built safety devices, and also spending time and energy on operator training. The onus seems be on the job executing agencies, the rules and regulation needs to be complied with, and the implementation of safety parameters strictly needs to be monitored.
India has become a place for high-tech and high-value equipment. The growth has taken a steep upcurve; and the industry expects the growth story will continue, for years to come.