Attachments are the wise choice to achieve economy and productivity in a project. However, choosing the right attachment for the right application is imperative for the successful and optimum utilisation.
If economy and productivity is the will, attachment is the way. Attachments are being used in an equipment to perform diverse range of secondary functions. With various attachments, a machine can perform multiple jobs, helping the customer to rely on one machine for multipurpose jobs. It helps the customers save cost and time. Majorly, earthmoving and material handling equipment use attachments to perform secondary functions at the work site. Excavators, backhoe loaders, skid-steer loaders, telehandlers, etc use attachments such as augers, backhoes, grader blades, grapples, hammers, and breakers to perform multiple functions in a machine.
Making machines versatile
Often an excavator is seen digging and excavating the earth at a construction or mining project site with the help of a bucket. But when there is a hard surface need to be excavated, it has to drill and break the hard surface with a suitable attachment and excavate the earth. The bucket is replaced with a drill or rock breaker for the job. Thus the excavator becomes a multi-purpose machine performing versatile functions. P Royston, Business Line Manager, Hydraulic Attachment Tools, Epiroc Mining India elaborates, "Attachment upgrades a hydraulic excavator into a hydraulic carrier that is a multitasking machine. It enables a hydraulic carrier to execute range of operations that is not possible only with a bucket. By converting an excavator into a multitasking machine, it enables the execution of jobs faster with least investment." "Attachments convert conventional construction equipment into multipurpose machines, making them more productive, thereby ensuring better utilisation and job site economy. The scope of attachments extends to practically all categories of plant and machinery," explains Pankaj Kumar, Vice President, DOZCO (India).
Bringing in economy and productivity
Construction sites vary in size and complexities. There are mega project sites where bigger special purpose machines are used. There are small and medium scale projects where utility machines can be used to perform multiple jobs with the help of various attachments. A skid-steer loader is considered as "jack-of-all-trades" with its myriad attachment options. From earthmoving on a building site to landscaping a park to cleaning stalls in a barn, skid-steer loaders can be found helping operators get the job done. Excavators and backhoe loaders are also being used to perform such multiple jobs at various project sites with suitable attachments.
Royston says, "With the same base carrier, a user can complete various jobs based on the segments and applications with different attachments thereby increasing the utilisation of machine with increase in productivity."
Kumar adds, "Just an attachment change can convert the machine into a different machine. So there are multiple advantages in terms of investment and maintenance of machines. There is no need to own, operate and maintain multiple machines and the manpower to operate and maintain them."
According to Piero Guizzetti, CEO, MB India, attachments provide on-site independence. "One may all of a sudden do crushing and screening operations in the remotest parts of the country without depending on expensive and time-consuming transportation costs.
They also eliminate a lot of labour issues when replacing manually executed jobs. This enhances consistency and efficiency." Attachments bring in economy to project execution by way of maximising equipment utilisation. Anish Modak, General Manager, Fine Equipments India, says, "Attachments play an important role in maximising the utilisation of capital equipment. Use of attachments definitely makes the machines versatile, which in turn serves the important purpose of controlling the economics of a project and managing the required pace of project completion."
While there are myriad attachments available in the market for various applications, one needs to have a clear understanding on the kind of attachments to be used with the carrier equipment. According to Royston, customer needs to make understand the applicability of the attachments and scope of work that can be done by these attachments to avoid misuse of the product. "The attachments need to be utilised with discipline and for the same, the customers/operators need to be trained specially."
According to Modak, the attachment industry is seen growing at a faster pace and so are the challenges. He adds, "Shortage of skilled manpower to optimise the utilisation of these attachments is a key challenge. Awareness of availability of various attachments creates a big gap between the supplier and the end-user. The prevailing finance mechanism for funding of attachments creates a challenge to execute a buying decision. Failures on the low cost products create a negative sentiment in the buyer's mind, thus creating a block in the maturing markets. We need to find quick solutions to these kinds of challenges."
According to Modak, Indian market is now witnessing new opportunities in the areas of demolition, recycling, forestry, optical fibre network etc. "These segments need mechanised solutions in the form of attachments which can help cater the growing demand,"he adds.
Growth in construction, reconstruction and maintenance activities will push the use of attachments in the coming years. According to Guizzetti, attachments are cost-effective and offer a unique bouquet of services, which helps convert an existing excavator/loader from a digging/earthmoving machine to a screener, a primary crusher and all sorts of other utilities. He adds, "We believe these unique features along with less environmental pollution, ease of undertaking work in the urban area, independence from electricity requirements, and increased efficiency in the output by reducing/eliminating the possibility of manually breaking the materials, are some of the key characteristics which are driving the demand for such attachments in the market."
Royston observes, "Urban development, infrastructure growth, roads and highways development, and demolition of old structures shall fuel the demand of attachments in coming time."
According to Kumar, the construction equipment industry is primarily driven by three key sectors of construction, mining and manufacturing. "With the increased construction and de-construction requirements, use of multiple attachments is widely increased that leads to term equipment as carrier. At construction/demolition sites, to avail and use carrier to the fullest and maintain the versatility of the carrier with space constraints, demand of attachment has increased. Also, attachment increases productivity with reduced number of equipment and increases overall efficiency which reduces overall project cost."
Modak also foresees a similar scenario as he says, ôIndian infrastructure development is expanding its dimensions, strong political will towards the need for increasing infrastructure network, focus on rural development, development on the agricultural industry, faster pace of projects, increasing safety standards and emerging applications are some of the key factors which will drive the demand of attachments in India."
Overall, the market outlook is positive for attachment segment considering the growing construction and infrastructure development activities.
Enables onsite multitasking
Reduces number of dedicated equipment
Reduced number of operators
Increases equipment utilisation time
Increases overall efficiency
Reduces overall project costs
Helps increase profitability
Less maintenance variables
Helps optimise equipment fleet size
Enables better material utilisation
Shortage of skilled manpower
Lack of awareness on right attachments for applications
Lack of clarity on financing to attachments