Here go the predictions. The potential demand for concrete equipment in India over the next few years will be quite substantial and the RMC industry will witness a steady growth; the conversion factor for cement to RMC will soon exceed ten per cent. This is mainly due to factors like focus on urban development, infrastructure projects in power, road, ports, railways, irrigation, etc, and also the emergence of activities in the Tier II and III cities. Equipment India finds out details about the solutions offered by various players in the market.The potential for concrete equipment in India over the next few years will be quite substantial and the RMC industry will witness a steady growth; the conversion factor for cement to RMC will soon exceed ten per cent. This is mainly due to factors like focus on urban development, infrastructure projects in power, road, ports, railways, irrigation, etc, and also the emergence of activities in the Tier II and III cities. Rural development and mechanisation is helping the concrete equipment industry immensely. The requirement for smaller capacity batching plants and concrete pumps are on the rise in this market.The growing demand for ready-mix concrete and the growing need for a range of batching plants to choose from, both these requisites can and are solved by Schwing Stetter India, the leader in the manufacturing of ready-mix construction equipment in India. From residential, roads, dams, bridges, canals to nuclear projects, Schwing Stetter equipment has widespread applications and is considered the first and the best choice of the RMC industry. This equipment has played a vital role in the fabrication of precast barriers for Metro Rail and airport projects across the country. Schwing Stetter batching plants also produce temperature-controlled concrete for nuclear power plant applications, says VG Sakthikumar, Chief Operating Officer, Schwing Stetter India.“There are many suppliers for smaller capacity/standard design plants. However, there is a pressing demand for custom designed/automated plants for the bigger requirements in the market, with a precise design and quality commitments. Aquarius is manufacturing plants from 21 cu m/hr up to 240 cu m/hr. There is good competition in the lower segment of the equipment range. However, there are only a couple of players other than Aquarius in the high technology and sophisticated product range for the RMC market,” says AV Dikshit, Technical Director, Aquarius Engineers.“The demand drivers for batching plants will definitely be the investment proposed in infrastructure, urban development and the housing sector. We anticipate good growth in the lower capacity batching plants in Tier II and III cities, while commercial ready-mix in major cities and major infrastructure projects will push the growth of bigger capacity batching plants,” says M Sunil, Associate Vice President – Marketing, Construction Equipment Division, Revathi Equipment.KK Taparia, Deputy Managing Director, Universal Construction Machinery & Equipment, says “The demand of batching plants is picking up day by day as massive construction activity is going on in India and majority of the infrastructure projects in all segments are executing in PPP, BOT, DFBOT policy; every company wants to be self-reliant and with very little dependency on others, so that they can complete projects on time with the desired quality and earn profits. Universal is coming up with variety of batching plants based on their capacity, from 8 to 30 cu m/hr. Due to this, every site becomes self-reliant for produce and consumption of concrete as per requirement in quality and quantity. As the batching plant deployed on site reduces the transport cost along with savings of Rs 500-1,000 per cu m of concrete over commercial RMC, with improved quality of concrete.”GrowthSpeaking about the product range, K Vijay, Director, Ajax Fiori, says, “We offer a range of concrete equipment such as self-loading mobile concrete mixers up to 14 cu m/hr, radius lift arm batching plants of 20 and 30 cu m/hr, bin type batching plants from 30-120 cu m/hr, transit mixers of 4 and 6 cu m and articulated site dumpers of two tone weightage. Our focus has been infrastructure, RMC and the builder segment. The potential in each of these segments look very promising over the next 10-15 years.” Pointing out the burgeoning demand-supply scenario, Vijay adds, “The demand-supply scenario is always dynamic. From our perspective, the demand for batching plants appears to be more promising, since the market acceptance is for a good engineered product backed by an efficient after-sales-service support, which has been our strong point.Our self-loading mixers are powered by the latest environment-friendly diesel engines and we continue to upgrade them as per latest emission standards. In batching plants of 30 cu m/hr capacity, our RLA series plant consumes just 35 per cent of the power consumed by conventional star type batching plants. Customers buy our product because we are able to offer the right product or solution for a particular application and that is our USP.”Talking of the market potential for small capacity batching plants, Sarat Kumar Swain, Chief Executive Officer, Deccan Construction Equipment & Machinery, says, “The market potential is quite huge. The response from the market for our small capacity batching plants is excellent. In India, 70 per cent of the projects are completed by groups of contractors. That’s why this segment of plants is more popular on-site to save investment cost and fulfill the requirements. Considering our all range of products, we control over 27 per cent of the market.” He adds, “Deccan is manufacturing machinery which is most suitable for medium and lower segment projects. Batching plants of 13 cu m, 18 cu m, 22 cu m and 30 cu m are the most popular models. These models are very suitable for Indian site conditions. Considering the quality parameters in concrete, these machines are more than capable of satisfying the clients’ requirements, and are famous for less electricity consumption, easy mobility (commissioning time within 24 hours), user friendliness and cost-effectiveness. Most of the machines are motor-driven, which reduce pollution. For safety, machines are designed by specific protected panels. All the prime movers are perfectly calculated by our R&D team to save energy and fuel consumption. Recently we have introduced a bag concrete mixer with 5 hp diesel engines which is hydraulically operated to save fuel consumption. It is efficient, and also user-friendly.”Says Sakthikumar, “The small and medium segments are all relative terms and there is a process where the customer starts growing and begins to invest in concrete machinery. As a responsive organisation, we provide solutions for concreting companies which just start mechanisation, and also to the construction majors in India who have already become multi-national giants, all as per their requirements.”Conmat is one of the fastest growing equipment manufacturers in India making fully automatic concrete batching plants, truck mixers, concrete pumps and concrete paving machines for canals and roads apart from automated material handling equipment and storage systems. These systems are manufactured in collaboration with leading European and American firms. Such collaboration has enabled the firm to provide the requisite state-of-the-art technology for products like automatic concrete batching plant with 20-120 cu m/hr. The crucial feature of Conmat batching plants is faster and easy erection and dismantling at the site. It has an all-welded frame structure and comes fully assembled from the factory in three parts. It can be installed with ordinary pick and carry cranes requiring a few hours of installation and hence enabling the mobility while ensuring the performance of a stationary plant. While Conmat batching plants require minimum maintenance, they are sleekly designed to occupy minimum installation area. The deep bucket conveyor in Conmat plants makes them compact and maintenance-free thus making the product ideal for heavy-duty applications. Mixer shafts are equipped with axial face seal, labyrinth seal and radial seal, providing triple security while preventing the leakage of slurry from the mixer, reducing wastage and increasing the bearing life. Conmat batching plants are equipped and controlled by state-of-the-art intelligent PLC based automatic controls with SCADA.Skyline Millars (formerly Millars India) offers the finest, most flexible and economical range of concrete batching and mixing plants of various capacities. The reliable method of operation, outstanding mixing action, high output per hour, low power consumption, minimum wear, are all guarantees for the most economical production of concrete. Millars’ concrete batching and mixing plants are available with various options like types of mixers, reversible discharge drum mixers and high-speed pan mixers, material storage systems, for which Millars offers with 3/4/5 star bin types, in-line bin feeder systems and dragline scrappers whichever is selected by the client according to space availability and production capacity at various project sites. They also offer a choice of combined or separate weighing systems for cement and fly ash. Millars plants are available with microprocessor-based as well as PLC-based control systems, for perfect batching and controlling of operation which are easy to use by barely trained operators. Their plants are easy for erection, commission and maintenance and can be shifted easily from one project site to another. The foundation is also small in size and the entire plant can be erected in three days. These plants are manufactured in pre-assembled conditions of heavy steels and are easy to load, unload, transport and erect without damaging any machines components. Millars plants are so sturdy that you can produce concrete year-on- year with minimum wear-and-tear.Speaking about the mixer technology, Dikshit says “There are many types of concrete mixers available as on date, like the tilting drum mixer, reversible drum mixer, single shaft mixer, pan mixer, planetary or the sun mixer, and twin shaft mixer. These mixers are put in the hierarchy of their performance and mixing quality achieved in the specified time duration. We use the latest technology in our batching plants. In smaller batching plants with the compacted concrete output of up to 0.75 cu m/batch, we use planetary or the sun mixer technology. In the bigger batching plants, we use twin-shaft technology.”Sakthi says, “Wherever construction sites have to the supplied for any length of time with larger quantities of high-quality concrete, mobile mixing plants from Stetter provides special efficiency. It does not matter whether they are used for the construction of traffic routes, dams, landfills or airports, the M series plants have been designed to handle the task. They can be quickly moved, transported on low-bed semi-trailers and quickly set up again, thanks to the fully installed, pre-assembled compact units. The current development status of the M1 plant has benefitted from our experience with more than 500 mobile plants worldwide. The proven basic concept of mobility has not changed. The M1 is equipped with pan mixer and 1.25/2/2.25 is with twin shaft mixer. The output ranges from 56 cu m to 100 cu m per hour thus making it comparable with medium sized stationary plants.”Pan mixers allow you to produce quality concrete of all consistencies within a short mixing time and with low energy input, as they mix intensively due to short mixing paths both horizontally and vertically. The spring mounted mixing arms are protected against wear by means of polyurethane sleeves. Instead of the standard mixing paddles made of special chilled casting you can also use, if desired, our mixers with paddles made of a synthetic material that have an especially long tool life. The mixing trough is lined with replaceable inner wall, outer wall and floor wearing plates. You can lay out the mixer floor wearing plates. You can lay out the mixer floor with regular wearing plates made of special steel or special chilled cast tiles. You can turn over the wall wearing plates.Millars drum mixers consist of mixing blades and discharges in anti-clockwise blades which move in clockwise rotation and discharges in rotation. The mixer’s inside portion is fitted with liners which can be easily replaced upon wear-and-tear and thus, protects the mixing drum for decades. Millars concrete batching and mixing plant in MRS (non-titling reversible discharge drum mixer) series are available in capacities ranging from 8 cu m/hr to 80 cu m/hr of which 30 cu m/hr capacity plant is the regular and fast moving product. They are specially suited for irrigation projects, hydropower projects, highways and bridges where high volume concrete involved. Millars MRS series plants are precisely built for excellent concrete production for aggregate size up to 12-20 mm. One can depend on Millars plants where quality and quantity both are prime requisites of the project.Millars high-speed pan mixers are annular pan mixers of a particular low line and compact design. The mixing arms consist of round steel that is fitted with mixing paddles of a special hydraulic design from NI hard steel as well as scrapers that rotate in the annular mixing chamber. The material to be mixed is moved quickly from the internal and external zone to the central zone and is turned around in an intensive manner, in a continuously changing direction from the pan bottom upwards. The mix is thus in continuous motion which results in faster homogenisation in short mixing times. The discharge door is hydraulically operated. Millars concrete batching and mixing plants THZ series are ideally suitable for airports, highways, port buildings and power projects where high grade, consistent concrete production is essential. These mixers are also used for concrete pipe-making and for the brick industry where the water-cement ratio is less.Sakthikumar adds, “The production of concrete requires more than just a simple control system for the mixing plant. The complete stage of expansion of our software for the control system comprises the preparation of quotations, the planning of orders, production of concrete, fleet management and invoicing. Different statistical evaluations are required to control production and turnover. If several concrete mixing plants are part of the total production turnover, networking, a common data stock and a transparent control are the most important factors. All this is offered by Stetter, customised to client specification. Setter horizontal concrete mixing plants HN 1.25 to HN 6 incorporate the experience of over 45 years in mixing plant technology. Depending on the requirements, the HN-type series is equipped with a pan mixer or a twin-shaft mixer. While designing the plant, high importance was attached to the access thereby facilitating maintenance. In addition, the generously dimensioned space allows this plant to be offered in a wide variety which can be taken from a modular system. H 5 H 6 are plants are for mass requirements, which can be suited to the individual demands by adapting the design.”The CP30 concrete mixing plant from Stetter has now proven its abilities at more than 1,500 locations in India as well on countless sites across the globe. The plant design fully meets the requirements as a mixing plant for ready-mix concrete or as a plant at building site. Other areas of use include the precast factories and concrete product industries. Additionally, it is also used for mortar manufacturing.TrainingIncreasing productivity with the use of skilled manpower is critical to the success of not only a manufacturing set-up but also the timely completion of a quality project. This is an issue in our country today, which has seen a major growth in the infrastructure segment in the last few years. Apart from the growing number of equipment, many new products and concepts have also come in to speed up the various projects. This has created a void in terms of qualified operators and maintenance staff. The spread of mechanisation to the Tier II and III cities also created a demand for skilled operators. Trained employees are always in demand as they are technically sound and operationally better. They can operate machines with highest efficiency and least impediment of work. Especially, for equipment like batching plants, reversible mixers training should be made compulsory. Batching is not an ordinary mixing process but a complex activity with various ingredients and attachments for generation of required quality and quantity of concrete.Today, it is a very advanced technology with SCADA and PLC controls being used to control the entire batch process. Batching plant operators necessarily require an electrical background, which will help in troubleshooting as the equipment has a lot of electrical components and software. “Operators of batching plants require a special set of skills. Schwing Stetter India along with Confederation of Indian Industry and City & Guilds, UK, has launched three-month training courses/programmes titled, ‘Batching Plant Operator’ and ‘Concrete Pump Operator’ to benefit IE/construction companies. It is a three-month course conducted at the SSI Operator Training school and it includes classroom sessions, shopfloor sessions and sessions at the service centre,” points out Sakthikumar. “Today customers look to the dealer to help them with skilled operators as they can enhance the productivity and minimise the wear-and-tear on the equipment. Providing skilled operators as well as providing training to customer operators, will definitely be a major value addition to the customer. This not only addresses the question of availability of personnel but more importantly, helps the customer in fully utilising the capability, productivity and safe operation of the machines.”“Our clients see significant value in skilled operators being made available. As a standard practice, we also approach our customers/clients on a regular basis to get their feedback on the expertise of the skilled manpower that we supply, and incorporate critical course-corrections in training, as suggested by them,” Sakthikumar further adds.Says Dikshit, “Knowledge transfer is the focus area in Aquarius. The training courses conducted by Aquarius provide all the basic skills required for operation and maintenance of various equipment dealt by the company. Aquarius has carefully structured the programmes with classroom sessions as well as hands-on training through site visits. The training is suitable for those who are responsible for the equipment operation, routine maintenance and safety. Various customised courses have been introduced to meet customer requirement. These are conducted in-house as well as at the customer site.”Sunil says, “The need to improve the skill level of our staff and the equipment operators is increasing with the increase in demand. The success and improved market share depends on the uptime of the equipment, which in turn depends on the response time and the after sales back-up infrastructure. We have set up a state-of-the-art training centre in Gummidipoondi to impart training to our own service team, apart from training client’s operators and other maintenance staff.” Says Rajesh Kawoor, Vice President, (Sales) Sany Heavy Industry India, “We are facing an acute shortage of skilled manpower in the last several years. With regard to this issue, we have started recruiting unskilled as well as inexperienced persons and training them for future skilled manpower requirements. We have already started in-house training programmes for various proficiency levels and are in the process of setting up an independent training facility at our plant in Chakan, Pune.”“We strongly feel that training is very important to ensure smooth functioning of any concrete equipment. We have a monthly schedule of operator training at our factory and at other places close to customer sites, specifically for operators,” says Vijay of Ajax Fiori.Dikshit sums it up, “There has been a spurt of plant orders since the start of this financial year. However, the last two months have shown consistent figures, without the earlier recorded increase. The movement in the market although, indicates a good ending to this financial year.”
Major cities also give the obstacles to independence work of concrete maker due to space problem and these cities far away from our batching plant.