Our products command a premium as they offer latest technology with high reliability, safety and productivity. Escorts service back up is a major plus too, says Rajinder Raina, General Manager-Marketing, Escorts Construction Equipment. Excerpts from the interview...
Brief us on the JV that Escorts is into for the supply of tower cranes.
Escorts has the exclusive distribution agreement for entire India with Comansa of Spain. Comansa being a pioneer in the field of flat-top cranes called topless cranes offer in the range 6T-64T. We also offer luffing jib cranes in 12T-18T category. From a customer perspective, the tower cranes are differentiated on the basis of reliability and safety. The productivity is another factor that needs to be considered. Our products command a premium as they offer latest technology with high reliability, safety and productivity. Escorts service back up is a major plus too.
Could you brief us on the product and technology trends in various types of cranes?
On the technology front cranes are moving towards flat top and luffing cranes. The technology/reliability and ruggedness on the top luffing unit has to deliver the desired reliability. Safe load indicators and limits which is are fitted on all the cranes but it is the quality/reliability of these safety devices that sets two cranes apart.
Brief us on the major trends with regard to safety?
Since multiple top cranes get deployed on one building, anti collision device is gaining acceptance to avoid two cranes hitting each other. The safety of man and material is of paramount importance, therefore the focus on safety. The cranes need to be operator friendly with built in full proofing arrangements and SOS device for operator.
Which are the major demand drivers for tower cranes for different capacities?
High rise and realty have been the major contributors towards the development of crane market in India as the concept catches up it will inroads into other applications as well. Small movement of these machines for such applications like cooling towers, chimneys, industrial constructions etc. are the areas that are finding merit in deployment of these cranes. The announcement of 100 smart cities should be demand driver for such cranes.
Is there a shift towards higher capacity tower cranes above 10T?
There´s certainly shift in demand towards high tonnage because it gives versatility of application by way of offering longer reach as well as high ton age depending upon applications/need. Longer jibs would make high ton age cranes more versatile and value for money. This will ensure increased deployment of the equipment and reduced reliance on labour both of which are equally important given the vagaries of manpower availability during various seasons.
How do you assess the growth potential for tower cranes from the rental segment?
Globally, more than 60 per cent cranes are owned by rental companies/hirers, but in India this percentage is about 20 per cent. As is the case with other equipment´s, rental companies make the product more popular by delivering value for money on short term deployment basis and avoiding investment by the companies who core competence is other than running and maintaining plant and machinery. The rental market will grow as a percentage of total pie and also help grow the size of the pie.
What is your take on the non-availability of trained operators?
One of the major factors of any equipment and for that matter mechanisation is the machine delivering the designed output. This asks for the right kind of man/machine integration where in the operator can get the desired results from the machine. Skilled labour is one of the major challenges in India today. The problem has been identified by the industry and steps are being taken to address this particular problem, year 2015 will see skilled development taking the first formal step wherein Escorts will play the role of a responsible company.
How important do you think is the presence of an ´equipment consultant´?
As of today, it is incumbent upon the seller to sell the right equipment to the customer. The supplier needs to play the role of a consultant/solution provider for it to be a long term player in the industry. The buyers also need to buy horses for courses.