The newly announced infrastructure development programmes require adequate technology to be used in the process and equipment utilised. VG Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter Sales and Services, and Chairman of Mechanisation Committee, Builders Association of India, elaborates more.
Infrastructure 2.0 is a movement to address issues with today's core network infrastructure in a customer's construction site to address the dynamic, automated nature of operation models like cloud computing, data center visualisation, IoT and usage of drones to keep site operations safe, secure, highly productive and efficiently managed. This development has made the revival easier in the infrastructure sector.
Construction equipment sales have seen a higher growth trend from all the initiatives taken by the government in initiating, reviving and executing large infrastructure projects in sectors of roads, RMC, ports, railways, metro rail, power (wind, thermal, nuclear, hydro, gas based and solar), airports, water supply, sanitation, irrigation, real estate and in power transmission.
GST, RERA, and demonetisation have paved way for many infrastructure projects to get to the stage of execution. The Government of India is keen on simplifying the infra development right from the grassroots level.
New push in infra development
The Government of India has announced the Rs 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala Pariyojana to construct 34,800 km of highways. Sagarmala is announced with an investment of 8,000,000 million investment that entails setting up of more than six mega ports, modernisation of several dozen more ports, development of more than 14 coastal economic zones and at least 29 coastal economic units, development of mines, industrial corridors, rail, road and airport linkages with these water ports. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to undertake new development works at Lucknow, Deoghar, Rajkot, and Allahabad airports to improve the airport infrastructure in the country and will also develop a greenfield airport at Hirasar, Rajkot.
Usage of drones to monitor safety at construction site, construction project management systems like lean, agile, scrum, etc, are many of the new approaches in project execution.
Innovations in CE
Sustainability, adaptability, flexibility, disaster resiliency and affordability are the various factors that have brought in innovations in the construction equipment. Schwing Stetter India has made several innovations in its equipment to meet varied customer requirements. Now one of the challenges that the company faced in current industrial revolution is in digitalising the supplied equipment for the customer to attain the Industry 4.0 concept. The key motto behind this project is to get the performance detail in dashboard at anytime and anywhere to gauge the machine efficiency, utilisation and case study, the cycle time and also to avoid major breakdowns.
InfaIot is a combination of both hardware and software. As described in introduction, the technology is being adopted in all the equipment (batching plant and concrete pumps). In batching plant a service tool was developed using '.net' to share the required data into the cloud integrated with Microsoft Azure (Azure was an initiation from the customer side).
For concrete boom placer pumps, Schwing Stetter India has developed a device which can handle up to 10 analogue/digital IOs and also supports RS485 interface with dedicated protocol and Modbus protocol. Apart from these two features, it also supports CAN to interface with the truck engine parameters in which the boom placers are mounted.
Another example is, with higher fuel emissions, the weight of the machines had to be brought completely down. So Schwing Stetter has a technology to bring transit mixer that are lighter in weight. Similarly on concrete pumps the company has brought in pumping technology where customers are able to use the truck mounted concrete boom pump in a narrow space for construction with one sided outriggers. Also, its stationary batching plants are used for mobile applications like dam and is more popular where the time is short and customer wants to save on foundation cost.
Safety at job site, time available for project execution, skilled labour, quality of equipment used, and productivity of the equipment are the elements that define the project to be executed in the construction sector. Availability of skilled operator is definitely an issue. In order to address this issue, Schwing Stetter has a training school where a two-month full-fledged batching plant operator's course is being offered.
The company has now training centres in Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune. All these training centres are certified and accredited by IESC, the infrastructure equipment skill council. Besides this, it also provides training at customer job site. Despite these, still getting skilled operator is an issue, due to various reasons. IESC is working very hard to improve the situation. We not only need the support of equipment manufacturers, but also the support of the end-user in deputing their operators for scientific training/skilling.
It gives an opportunity for better management of site, increase the productivity and complete the operation in a safe and secure way. We can expect the future of the industry to leapfrog and absorb more modern technologies in project execution.