ACE is a dominant player in the cranes market having introduced innovative crane solutions/products from time to time.
¨The growth of the Indian construction equipment (CE) industry is dependent on three factors: the first being the focus on infrastructure investments in terms of roads, ports, power, housing and real estate construction. The second is industrial production and capacity expansion by manufacturers in terms of new facilities and up-gradation of existing facilities to meet the ever-increasing demand. The third is seeking the emerging growth areas in terms of leasing and rental of equipment, exports, increasing the use of refurbished equipment, and most importantly, providing timely service to the clients,¨ says Pradeep Sharma, President, Action Construction Equipment. According to him, the key success factors for the future depends on innovative financing and value-added services where the focus is on increased penetration of financing leasing and rental services, providing adequate maintenance to equipment and training to crew, and facilitating immediate repair and refurbishing of equipment. The study also points out the importance of R&D and innovation in terms of appropriate product technology and pricing, product customisation for different applications, product reliability and ease of use, and last but not the least, post-sales support in terms of service and training infrastructure, focus on maintenance of equipment, ensuring the availability of spare parts and widening the distribution network to service the client better.
ACE has come out with new-generation truck cranes in 14-20 tonne range which have many distinct features. These cranes use industrial driveline from trucks resulting in improved gear shifting, better operator comfort and higher speed. Cabin is in front and at lower height, which helps the operator sit comfortably just like sitting in a car and has excellent all-round visibility. Overall machine height is much lesser as compared to present machines resulting in lower centre of gravity and hence improved stability and very low chances of machine toppling. Less number of structural parts as front and rear frame are joined by pins having self-aligning bearings providing flexibility in structure. Rear frame is connected to axle through leaf springs providing robust suspension and jerk-free ride. Luff cylinders are positioned in a way that the cylinders move away from load when the boom is lifted, ensuring safer operation. Wheel steering is standard just like cars, hence operator-friendly and facilitates easy manoeuvering of crane.
Highlighting the growth potential in the tower cranes segment Sharma says, ¨Tower cranes segment has great potential for Indian market. Usage of tower crane saves manpower and accelerates project to a larger extent. It is because of tower crane and other similar mechanisations that some of the contractors are able to finish one floor in 8-10 days and project can be completed in 15-20 months period. Benefits and savings by use of tower crane easily surpass the cost parameters.¨ According to him, demand for tower crane is mainly driven by growth in real estate and infrastructure sector. ¨With the new government coming in, the sentiments are improving but the impact of this change is still not visible on the ground. We feel it will take some more time to see visible changes in the demand pattern. The demand for tower cranes is likely to grow from November/December 2014 onwards. We expect the demand for tower cranes to grow by approximately 15-20 per cent next year.¨
The demand is still mainly for tower cranes of 5 to 6T category. With builders going for prefab buildings, the demand for 10-12T category tower cranes is growing steadily. With the growth in infra projects expected next year, the demand for bigger tower cranes of 10-20T category is likely to grow further. ¨We are fully prepared to indigenously supply any tower crane from 1.6T to 20T capacity. In order to drive the demand for tower cranes, we also offer tower cranes on rental basis, which helps a contractor to utilise tower crane without getting into hassles of fixed cost. Customers need not bother about operations and maintenance or availability/uptime issues. We provide the complete package which enables customers to work with tower cranes without owning them,¨ Sharma says. ACE also offers self-erecting mobile tower cranes. These are of smaller capacities and work for buildings up to 10-12 floors. These cranes are very good for smaller projects and are in great demand for Tier 2 cities.
ACE is a dominant player in the crane market having introduced from time-to-time innovative crane solutions/products. Recently, the company unveiled its new generation pick-n-carry cranes. Highlighting the features, Sharma says, ¨These cranes use industrial driveline from trucks resulting in improved gear shifting, better operator comfort and higher speeds. Cabin is in front and at lower height providing operator excellent all-round visibility. Overall machine height is much lesser as compared to present machines resulting in lower centre of gravity and hence improved stability and very low chances of machine toppling.
There are less number of structural parts as front and rear frame are joined by pins having self-aligning bearings providing flexibility in structure. Rear frame is connected to axle through leaf springs providing robust suspension and jerk-free ride. Luff cylinders are positioned in a way that the cylinders move away from load when the boom is lifted, ensuring safer operation. Wheel steering is standard just like cars and hence operator-friendly and facilitates easy manoeuvering of crane.¨
Road construction equipment
According to Sharma, the market is set to boom for road construction equipment, once the government policies are in place and the effect is visible in the market. Road construction equipment division of ACE has several quality products to offer: like soil and tandem compactors, motor graders, backhoe loaders and wheel loaders. Sharma says, ¨Our backhoe loaders have evolved over a period and our customers have been successfully using the same in the difficult terrains of the Himalayas with the rock breakers installed on them. They are very happy and satisfied with the quality and performance of the machines.This clearly shows the superior quality of our backhoe loader AX-130.¨ He adds, ¨Our compactors have several advantages over the competition and are cost-effective equipment due to lesser fuel consumption, which is also a feature in our backhoe loaders. We have a separate manufacturing facility for these products and are ready to enhance our production as and when the market improves.¨
ACE is today established as one of the largest manufacturers of forklifts in India. The range includes electric forklift (1T to 3T), diesel forklift (1.5T to 35T), and LPG forklift (3T). ACE forklifts are known to be cost-effective, durable and high-performance. ACE also offers wide range of attachments like paper roll clamp, bale clamp, fork rotator, cranes, drum handling attachment, side shifter, fork positioner, furnace kit, all-weather cabins etc, to meet varied and versatile industry-specific applications. ¨ACE forklifts are registered with relevant government agencies and defence sector and have received some of the prestigious bulk orders from government and public sector agencies like Railways and Defence,¨ Sharma explains.
Speaking about the growth prospects of the company, Sharma says, ¨The policy of responding with speed and expertise has been rewarded over the years in the form of repeat business resulting in constant growth making us the leading company in the mobile cranes, tower cranes and construction equipment sector in the country. Another factor driving our growth has been the versatility of our equipment to satisfy a vast range of possible applications. Our equipment has been successfully used in many sectors like infrastructure construction, power projects, ports and shipyards, dams, metro rail, roads, mining, steel industry, engineering industry, railways, cement, petroleum, defence, chemical and fertiliser plants, warehousing, logistics, building construction etc, to name a few.¨
Sharma sums up on a positive note. ¨Though an immediate turnaround is not yet visible, the same will happen from the next financial year when the implementation of policies is felt on ground and the market sentiment improves. Interest rates and other policy initiatives shall encourage people to invest in India including FDIs. That is the time when the infra companies will return to the road and related sectors. Looking at the present pace of work, we shall have to wait for few months.¨