Growth in various sectors such as power, infrastructure, construction and heavy engineering will drive the growth of the Indian cranes industry, says Tushar Mehendale, Managing Director, ElectroMech Material Handling Systems. Excerpts from the interview...
What is the overall demand-supply scenario for industrial cranes?
India has emerged as a manufacturing hub with several major global companies spanning a wide range of industry verticals setting up shop here. Although the automobile market has been in a slowdown over the past few years, there are signs of recovery now with several new OEM plants are expected to be set up in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. This will create the need for vendor parks and thus hundreds of more ancillary units being set up.
How do you look at the growth potential?
With the new government in place, a renewed push is expected in infrastructure projects and other related areas. We at ElectroMech are expecting an upswing in infrastructure and industry in the coming months. Infrastructure construction industry, which was very dormant, is now waking up again and ´quick delivery´ orders are becoming a norm once again. The trend of increase in demand will become more pronounced in the next six months and we are eagerly looking forward to it. As the infrastructure sector begins to grow, construction equipment manufacturing would be a natural beneficiary. The construction equipment industry´s revenues are estimated to reach $22.7 billion by FY20 from $5.1 billion in FY12. Unit sales of construction equipment are expected to grow to 82,000 units by FY16 from 61,745 units in FY12. With rising infrastructure investments, we see a tremendous growth potential in the CEM sector in the near future.
The trend is changing, but slowly. The Indian material handling equipment (MHE) market is estimated to witness a CAGR of between 15 to 20 per cent for the next five years. Estimated annual demand for industrial cranes in 2013 was 10,000 units and it should touch 12,000 units by 2015.
What are the latest technology trends in industrial cranes?
In the past few years, the Indian crane industry has observed a lot of changes in trends with a number of acquisitions and joint ventures. Several international tie-ups with Indian companies have resulted in considerable global influence in terms of quality and practice of applying enhanced technology in the industry.
In terms of technology, the past few years have seen more influence from international markets. As a result, direct drive motors and VFDs have become more common and customers are accepting and asking for this technology, moving away from what was the norm for decades.
On the industrial front, the focus is on automation of material movements, both raw material and finished goods, as availability of manpower is becoming a major challenge. The Indian industrial cranes industry is almost completely indigenised, since the majority of the cranes are fabricated. Very few parts need to be imported and most new technology components such as VFDs and direct drive motors are now being made in India. For other MHE equipment, perhaps the primary hurdle to attaining indigenisation is the lack of volumes.
The construction industry is shifting towards becoming a more customer-oriented market. Today, the consumers expect a complete package to the product with the overall features of customer service. Resultant to this fact, manufacturers today as a rule are turning towards following competent work structure to ensure zero customer complaints.
Tell us about the range of systems offered by ElectroMech.
ElectroMech has a wide product range that is designed to suit its customers´ applications, working environment and usage cycles. ElectroMech offers precise material handling solutions for wide-ranging applications in manufacturing plants and infrastructure projects. The company´s product portfolio includes electric wire rope hoists, single-girder and double-girder electric overhead travelling (EOT) cranes, gantry and semi-gantry cranes, jib cranes, wall travelling cranes, goliath cranes, underslung cranes, as well as special-purpose cranes such as stacker cranes and tunnel mucking systems. Our cranes and hoists are supplied to diverse industries including automobile, construction, general engineering, heavy engineering, oil and gas, power, railways, shipbuilding and steel.
Each of ElectroMech´s cranes undergoes design validation to make sure the right motors, gearboxes and electrical components for the application are selected. To improve the energy efficiency of the entire transmission system in our cranes and make the overall product less energy-consuming, the company uses geared motors for most of its cranes instead of the traditional motor, gearbox and coupling combinations. VFD drives installed in ElectroMech´s cranes give an added feature of micro speeds wherever required. This, in turn, negates the need for repeated starts on a motor when precise control is needed in an operation.
What is the current demand-supply scenario for tower cranes?
The 12th Five Year Plan is expected to bring about a healthy growth of allied industries along with an increase in demand for cranes. Residential and commercial real estate projects will also drive the demand for tower cranes. Since high-rises have become a trend not only in metros, but also in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, the residential and commercial real estate sectors will demand more tower cranes in the coming years. The demand is warming up in expectations of industry-friendly policies from the new government.
Has the realty sector come out of woods? What sort of growth are you expecting from this?
Commercial real estate sector should start looking up once industrial growth picks up. The rising trend of precast technology for real estate construction is another factor that will drive demand for higher capacity tower cranes. Currently, the TC 5013 is the most commonly used tower crane by this sector, accounting for close to 70 per cent of total volume. However, as precast technology becomes more common, higher capacity tower cranes, in the range of 8-20T will be required. Precast construction will also create a demand for gantry cranes in the casting yard, which will be an entirely new segment that we will be able to cater to with our existing product range.
What are the tower crane models offered by ElectroMech from Zoomlion´s stable?
Zoomlion offers over 42 models of tower cranes ranging from 4T to 240T. Flat-top cranes ranging from 4T to 20T: These are designed for safe and reliable performance while ensuring high cost-efficiency. These cranes are efficient, quick to erect, can self-dismantle and have low operational costs. The flat-top design is most suited where multiple cranes are being used in close proximity. Hammer-head cranes ranging from 5T to 240T: The cranes from this series satisfy diverse construction requirements of different users. Safety devices, robust structure and specially developed PLC electronic control technology enable the tower cranes to be safer and more reliable. Cost-effective and highly profitable, they offer very good value for money.
Luffing jib tower cranes ranging from 8T to 63T: The technical parameters and performance of these cranes are ideal for special construction requirements. They feature large lifting capacity, derricking with load, small swing radius and require little operating room. Especially suitable for narrow spaces in urban areas and multiple tower project construction, they are the best choice for high-rise projects in crowded cities.