Mini construction equipment have become an important category in the present construction market with a lot of equipment minis performing in the last mile activities and in difficult to reach areas.
Construction minis contribute to mechanisation of the last miles of various construction activities. These can be grouped under concrete, compaction, finishing and many other similar sections. Paucity of available skills in the construction sector is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the industry. As such, there are practically no workers available for such small jobs compelling the industry to mechanise these activities. From another standpoint: Space constraints in some work locations, even in mega projects and congested urban areas also require the minis to be used. Similarly many city municipalities are mechanising their operations. Overall there is a huge growth potential in India, for mini equipment.
Making it big Light equipment is a basic necessity in construction sites. In every construction activity, these mini equipment go to the last mile. Says S Kumar, Business Line Manager, Atlas Copco (India) Ltd, Portable Energy Division, 'The mini construction equipment category, which consists of light compaction equipment and concrete equipment, is today a high potential segment and has over the last decade seen a major change in technology, product offerings and applications for product usage. We have been able to cater to these application requirements with a portfolio, which has been growing in terms of number of products as well as value to the customer.'
Kumar Mangalam Mehta, Director, Jaypee India Ltd, elaborates,'Construction industry today has changed a lot what it had been in the past. There has been remarkable changes not only in the structures being erected, but also in the techniques and methods being used for civil constructions.'
Market trends The market trend for mini equipment is related to how many manual jobs are being replaced with mechanical means. Says Kumar, 'What is noticeable is not only the infrastructure boom, but also how local contractors are scaling up their operations and expanding into new territories to meet the increasing demand. With the smart city concept, there is a further boost to the already escalating demand for light construction equipment.'
Light construction equipment offers the ideal solutions for various construction segments. For road and infrastructure projects, plate compactors, screeds, pokers and rollers find a fit while in warehouse construction flooring equipment like laser levelling systems are in demand. For quarry application, surface equipment is in high demand and in quarries jack hammers and rock drills are the preferred choice. High visibility projects such as dams require pokers with frequency converters, while metro projects require plate compactors and pokers.
Mehta sees rentals a new opportunity as many firms are entering into tie-ups for equipment rental and leasing business. This is expected to drive sales of equipment in future. 'With easy availability of equipment purchase financing at competitive rates, mini construction equipment sales volumes are expected to achieve good growth in the coming years. There is also an increasing demand for customised niche application requirements at a premium price. Construction equipment manufacturers have started providing end-to-end solutions to their clients,' he says.
Product range & features Atlas Copco offers a complete range of light compaction equipment: from rammers, forward plates, forward and reversible plates to the heavier double-drum rollers and trench compactors. 'Our light compaction equipment offers outstanding compaction efficiency which is achieved through superior compaction technology and the high-speed of our rammers, plates and rollers, enable one to get the job done faster and squeeze more into his daily schedule. We also provide the tools that makes concrete strong, all the way through with our concrete vibration equipment and concrete surface equipment,' says Kumar.
He adds, 'Atlas Copco's concrete equipment range from pokers, pneumatic and electric vibrators to screeds and trowels. Be it the requirement for drive units for perfect thin layers, engine-driven generators when working in remote locations, portable electric frequency converters to supply power to several pokers simultaneously, we provide the best solutions for creating long lasting concrete surfaces.'
Atlas Copco offers solutions in concreting jobs with its dedicated product portfolio. Says Kumar, 'We have been able to cater to these application requirements with a portfolio, which has been growing in terms of number of products as well as value to the customer. We have grown our light construction equipment business and we aim to double business in the next three years. We are market leaders in the premium segment and have aggressive plans to grow in the value segment.'
Kumar feels that localisation in this product category will be the game changer. 'We promote the 'Make in India' concept actively. Our state-of-the-art Nashik factory is the foundation for mapping Atlas Copco global technology and introducing the latest trends from our global portfolio in India. It also serves as a great platform to drive local innovation where products not only meet the Indian customer demands but are also exported to other countries,' he states.
Jaypee India manufactures and market a range of mini equipment in rebar and concreting segments. Mehta elaborates, 'We manufacture and market equipment related to TMT rebar, concrete, compaction and vertical man and material handling equipment. These include TMT rebar ending, cutting, decoiling, stirrup bender equipment; concrete mixers; reversible mixers; automatic batching plants; vibratory rollers; plate compactors; builder hoist; material hoist; suspended platform; passenger hoist etc.'
Atlas Copco offers distinguished features in its range of light construction equipment. ôWe offer a host of smart engineering solutions and a user-friendly designs to increase efficiency. Common features include: Low vibration levels - All our models have a handle that helps reduce hand/arm vibrations; Easy to transport - To prevent unnecessary wear to the shock absorbers, an integral lock is activated during lifting and transport; and Low maintenance requirements,' Kumar adds.
He further elaborates on the product features, 'The compact design of our tandem rollers with high curb clearance, no overhang and sleek sides allows you to go close to walls, posts or edges - basically anywhere your work may take you. In our rammer, the new blue tooth remote control system keeps you out of harms.
Thanks to individually paired units, there is no risk of electromagnetic disturbance between the control and receiver. In our plate compactors, the almost maintenance-free water distribution system prevents asphalt from sticking to the plate. In concrete vibrators, vibration increases the density and makes the finished concrete stronger. Great visibility in our ride on power trowels both day and night makes work safer and helps you deliver more quality in shorter time.'
Mehta elaborates on the features incorporated with Jaypee range of equipment, ôAll our manufactured equipment are provided with the latest operating digital panels etc, which make the machines easy to operate. Certain equipment viz, concrete mixer, reversible concrete mixer, and vibratory rollers are provided with diesel engine option in case of non-availability of suitable electrical power supply at remote sites. All equipment can be operated using diesel generator also.'
On ease of maintenance, he adds, 'Easy access is provided for all equipment parts with respect to maintenance, changing parts etc. Detailed operation and maintenance manual is provided with all supplied equipment. Our countrywide network of offices, dealers, personnel etc provide clients with easy availability of parts and service personnel.'
Future outlook Says Kumar, 'Customers need equipment built to last longer and with longer service intervals. Our innovative designs come from long experience in the industry and from keeping close ties with our customers. We cannot ignore that customers are also scaling up in terms of quality and service expectations. With time-tested Atlas Copco technology, we are leaders in innovation in India for both light compaction and concrete equipment. Our products strive to meet the requirements of the industrial and freight corridor project where the best quality concrete flooring equipment is required.'
On the emerging industry trends, he adds, 'With the implementation of GST, warehousing projects will increase while the infrastructure boom will bring in flooring, metro and road projects which will also boost the building of flyovers and toll booths. Here the BT90 screed is a perfect fit for the required applications. Atlas Copco is also the benchmark on quality for pokers in India. We were the first to introduce SMART pokers in India and today the poker range of offerings is unparallelled in terms of quality and reliability.'
Looking at the future Kumar says, 'As we stand at the threshold of a new era, we will continue to educate the market through timely and relevant demos where the customer experiences our solutions first hand rather than just our products and therefore accepts technological advancements and embraces the paradigm shift in the true sense.'
Looking at the emerging industry trends, Mehta says, 'With lack of skilled manpower, labour and shorter project completion schedules, as also extremely tight margins available in the Indian construction equipment sector, it is imperative that we will witness rapid growth in usage of mini construction equipment in the coming years.'
Jaypee India is looking ahead to increase the market share and product volumes in mini construction equipment. 'At present we hold about 40 per cent of the total mini construction equipment market in India and are planning to reach out in a major way to the rural market for increasing market share and volumes within the next 2-3 years,' Mehta states.
Going forward, demand for mini equipment will further go up owing to more construction activities in both city and rural areas.
- Sudheer Vathiyath