Sachin Nijhawan elaborates on the need for construction equipment companies in India to adopt the latest technologies.
Technological advancement is the need of every sector, and this holds true for the construction equipment sector as well. So how are Indian construction equipment manufacturers are gearing up for the change?
Demand for construction equipment is likely to rise as a result of growth in traditional end-user industries, including construction and mining. If numbers are anything to go by, the earthmoving and construction equipment market in India is expected to grow by a healthy 20-25 per cent over the next few years to reach 330,000-450,000 units sold in 2020, from the current levels of about 76,000 units. This would imply a $16-21 billion market, up from today's $3 billion.
However, if such numbers are to be maintained and expectations are to be lived up to, what is needed is adoption of the latest technology by the construction equipment companies in India. Realising this importance of technological upgradation and innovation, construction equipment companies in India are increasingly taking action and are producing fast and efficient equipment.
Factors leading to technological advancements
With growing awareness, end users are becoming smart and are demanding world-class technology for better fuel efficiency, higher productivity and profitability, thus motivating the construction equipment manufacturers to come up with innovative solutions to meet the customers' expectations.
Further, the entry of global OEMs is also leading to upgradation in technology-driven product features such as remote access devices, automatic controls to manoeuvre machines, more efficient (Tier-III) engines and cabin air-conditioning. These features are gaining popularity among customers also, thus attracting the attention of construction equipment manufacturers as well.
As a result, some recent product launches in excavators and backhoe loaders are featuring several additional functionalities, including service enablers such as the capability to send problem logs by SMS to the nearest service point and downloading historical data regarding engine status, hydraulic systems, fuel consumption and the expected life of critical components.
Customers are also realising that increased productivity and reliability of construction equipment ultimately translates into higher profitability from fewer defect-related claims and the avoidance of death penalties. This is also one of the reasons that end users are demanding highly productive and technologically advanced machines.
Future technology trends
Productivity and uptime are crucial drivers in the construction equipment industry, where machine downtime can cost more than Rs 5 crore per day. Hence, what will define a bright future of construction equipment would be the adoption of newer intelligent features and increased sophistication by manufacturers.
In addition, the Internet of Things (IoT) will also impact the construction equipment sector considerably in the future. IoT describes a system in which objects can communicate internally or with outside entities. According to AEC Big Data, equipment repairs represent the third largest operating cost in the construction industry. IoT can help reduce this cost by enabling machinery to self-detect the imminent need for repair before it becomes a bigger problem. It is believed that in the future, many construction equipment manufacturers will adopt this technology for manufacturing better equipment.
Experts believe that increased flexibility and advanced technology of construction equipment will decide their future, and they are not wrong. An increasingly volatile and unpredictable Indian economy will require construction equipment manufacturers to build more flexible, efficient and technologically advanced operating machines.
Overall, by systematically developing technologically advanced products as well as by providing insights regarding emerging technologies, construction equipment manufacturers in India will gain a larger market share. Apart from technological upgradation, market players in the segment would also need to find new ways to maintain and acquire their leading edge. Collaborating with other equipment companies could be the key to success. Alliances across industry due to the entry of more diverse and technology-driven products into the marketplace will also help.