Restrictions on quarrying in certain regions have made other quarry operators look for higher capacity crushers to enhance production in order to meet increasing demand for aggregates.
With infrastructure and construction sector on fast-track, especially road sector, aggregate processing has become essential to support the construction activities with a matching pace. Although the exact estimate of crushed and screened aggregate required is not possible, it will be in excess of a billion tonnes per annum, for the next decade, which calls for increased requirement of crushers and screens. At the same time, restriction on sand mining has opened new opportunities for manufactured sand, which will directly enhance the prospects of crushing and screening equipment market. Overall, the demand for crushers and screens is at peak.
Crushing plants are broadly classified into stationary and mobile. Every classification has its group of buyers. According to Onkar Sapre, Country Head - Sales & Marketing, Taurian Engineering Pvt Ltd, the track-mounted plants are primarily used in mining. However these are also used by road contractors for making granular sub-base (GSB). Sapre informs, 'Road contractors are mainly using wheel-mounted plants because of their mobility to move from place to place. Stationary plants are being used by those who have quarries which have a longer period of yield.'
He further adds, 'A new type coming in is skid-mounted plants, which can move as fast as mobile plants. This type is now eating the share of stationary plants in the market. Nowadays, people go for skid-mounted crushing plants because they are faster to erect, with the same strength, and civil work is also lower compared to stationary plants.'
Pinaki Niyogy, Vice President - Manufacturing & Engineering, TIL Ltd, says, 'Earlier, the demand for stationary and skid-mounted crushers was higher than that of track-mounted mobile plants due to low operating and running costs. Last year, sales of mobile track plants were almost one-fifth that of stationary and wheeled plants put together. However, the present market scenario is different. Track-mounted crushing and screening plants are increasingly finding precedence with road contractors, who dominate the market, owing to a range of advantages, such as instant off-the-shelf deployment, mobility and superior quality of aggregates produced.'
According to Niyogy, the initial investment and running cost are higher for a mobile track plant in comparison to its stationary counterpart of the same capacity.
Stationary plants find favour with quarry owners because of their cost-effectiveness, stationary operations and aggregate output. For captive use, road contractors are generally inclined more towards the mobile crushing and screening plants, primarily due to their mobility advantage, which becomes a necessity at the time of meeting time multiple deadlines at multiple working sites.
Sapre terms screens as the heart of crushers. 'If you don't screen well, crusher will be re-circulating the material. There are different range of screens, such as horizontal screens, inclined screens, track-mounted screens, and stationary screens.'
According to him, in a national highway project, the common combination is 250 TPH three-stage plant. For other roads, it can be 250 TPH two-stage plant. NHAI has restricted the elongation and flakiness index at 30 per cent. To achieve this, there is no other way but to use vertical shaft impactor (VSI). Also, using VSI generates more sand.
With construction activities are up, aggregate demand is rising in almost all construction activities. Mining, especially iron ore, also sees demand, though slow. Says Ramesh Palagiri, Managing Director & CEO, Wirtgen India, 'The road segment is driving the demand currently. The market is now predominantly in the roads sector and there is very good demand for crushing and screening plants. The mining sector is slowly picking up.'
According to Piero Guizzetti, CEO, MB India, at the macro level, crushing and screening solutions are driven by the construction, mining and demolition industries. 'Crushing and screening is primarily considered in procurement decisions for requirements related to drainage or base materials for foundations and roads,' he adds.
Sapre informs that road, railway and airport projects are mainly driving the demand for crushers and screens. He says, 'In smart city projects, the greenfield projects will see a lot of crushers in use. The demand for roads is from across the country as new projects are being announced in all over the country. Also, development of existing road network is happening. The metro projects coming up will also drive demand for crushers and screens.'
Sivasubramanian Natarajan, Managing Director, thyssenkrupp Industries India, also sees road sector as the most demanding for crushers, while other construction segments follow. He comments, 'Increased thrust on road building (40 km/day) is a major opportunity for the crushing business. Due to added focus on urban infrastructural development such as smart cities, metro projects and mega power projects, we are seeing financial institutions coming forward to refinance stalled projects, which is a big positive for this sector. Power plants, coal mining and such sectors have also shown tremendous potential for growth.'
Niyogy says, 'There is a growing demand for bituminous aggregates, driven by the revival of road construction projects, which opens up the Indian market for three-stage portable track and stationary plants. Enhanced public spending in infrastructure, increased private participation, ambitious production targets in the coal mining sector, Smart City initiative, urban infrastructure renewal and continued inflow of FDI are expected to boost execution of road projects and create robust opportunities for crushing and screening equipment.'
In terms of demand type, representing two-fifths of all aggregates sales in India, crushed stone is the most commonly utilised type of construction aggregate, followed by sand and gravel. The requirement for aggregates is at its peak now as a lot of construction and infrastructure projects are now at execution stage while many are in the pipeline. Says Sapre, 'The market for aggregates is booming, which is at the peak that we have seen in the last 10 years. In fact, the demand is more and supply is less. The price of aggregates has gone up because of the demand-supply gap. Government is coming with a lot of projects which has driven the demand for aggregates. The demand is high in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karantaka, Uttar Pradesh, etc, but phenomenally high in Mumbai.'
Mumbai market is phenomenal for aggregates due to projects such as Metro, coastal roads, highways and many urban infrastructure projects. The Mumbai market is sourcing aggregates mostly from the nearby quarries in Turbhe. Sapre elaborates, 'The major zones of quarry operations in Mumbai region are Turbhe, Panvel,Wada, Kalyan and Badlapur. Recently, the government has put restrictions on quarrying in Turbhe due to environmental reasons, which has affected supply of aggregates to projects in Mumbai. Turbhe was catering to 60 per cent of the aggregate business for Mumbai, as the lead distance was very low.' Now the Mumbai projects will have to depend on quarries that are far away from the project site. As per the recent reports, due to the scarcity of aggregates, the Mumbai metro project work has slowed down, temporarily. Aggregates is a necessity for any construction project. So if one quarry is closed due to environmental concerns, alternate option is necessary for the projects to have on track. Sapre opines, 'government just cannot stop quarrying, because you need aggregates to make roads, bridges, buildings and such projects. So if there is a ban on certain location, definitely there will be a rise in demand in quarries working at other locations. Government is coming up with more and more projects, infrastructure development, and various other programmes such as Bharat Vikas, DFCC etc. So the demand for aggregates is here to stay, at least for the next 3-4 years. During this period, the aggregate demand can go up to 1.7 times that of the current demand.'
Natarajan says, 'The Indian market for construction aggregates is considered to be the second largest worldwide, after China. However, with the current muted growth phase in China, the Indian market is looked upon as the major growth driver for this industry. As against 22.3 km per day in the last financial year, the pace of building highways nationwide has accelerated to 30 km/day-mark in May 2017. This pace of highway construction is phenomenal and will lead to higher growth for the aggregates market nationwide.'
River sand has traditionally been an important building material in India. The extensive usage of river sand has made it scarce and limited. The indiscriminate mining of sand from river beds causes soil erosion and ecological damage, which later reduces groundwater level and results in loss of agricultural productivity. This also causes a change in the river's course, and destroys the local flora and fauna. Hence, it is the need of the hour to replace natural sand in concrete with alternative materials such as manufactured sand (M-sand).
Says Natarajan, 'Sand shortage had affected the industry earlier. However, now most contractors have shifted to manufactured sand, realising its multiple benefits. Contractors have realised that manufactured sand generally costs 30-40 per cent lower than river sand. Additionally, it can be produced in areas closer to construction sites, thereby reducing the cost of transportation. Apart from the economic viability of manufactured sand, it also has fewer impurities and is free from clay particle. It does not disrupt the natural riverine ecological systems.'
Sapre explains, 'There is a ban on sand mining in most parts of the country, with the recent ban in Madhya Pradesh.This has driven the demand for manufactured sand, helping the crusher market to grow.'
According to him, the government's initiative to ban sand mining is a welcome move for the benefit of the environment we live in. But as the same time, the government has to make alternate arrangements for the availability of sand and other aggregates to meet the increasing demand from the construction sector. These market scenarios will create a push in the market, as it will be good for contractors, crusher manufacturers, and the country.
Says Niyogy, 'Going forward, M-sand will drive the demand for crushing and screening solutions in a big way. The sand manufacturing process from aggregate involves all three stages of crushing - primary, secondary and tertiary - apart from some special fine screening application as well. The increasing popularity of M-sand will definitely give a boost to the demand for crushing and screening equipment.'
According to Sapre, the market for M-sand is progressing and demand for VSI is also going up. New players are coming up including entrepreneurs who are not traditionally into this business. Earlier, this business was restricted to only quarry owners who were traditionally doing rock crushing manually. Now many technocrats are coming into crushing and screening, who understand the technology behind crushing.
Sapre elaborates, 'The market is booming now as we have enquiries from all over the country. With the government working on so many road projects, the adjoining area will also be developed. The crushing and screening equipment will go not only into road projects but also into building materials and other suppliers also.'
The shortage of aggregates due to restrictions on certain quarry operations has put pressure on other quarries to increase aggregate output.So the demand for higher capacity crushers is also increasing. Says Sapre, 'In the last three months, the surge in demand for crushers is absolutely phenomenal as many customers are investing in new crushers. Earlier the market was going for 100 TPH, 150 TPH, up to maximum 200 TPH crushers. Now the demand is graduating towards higher capacity crushers of 250 TPH, 300 TPH, etc. We are targeting for 300 TPH and 400 TPH crushers.'
Currently, the customers are preferring jaw and cone combination crushers as quality of aggregates has come into play majorly, especially in urban projects. Also, for quality aggregates, customers are using VSI. Earlier, VSIs were being used only in 2-3 states. But now the quality consciousness of customers are driving the quarry owners to put up VSI for quality aggregates. In many government projects like the NHAI projects, use of VSI has made mandatory.'
According to Guizzetti, there is still a low level of mechanisation in crushing industry, but there are signs of rapid changes. He adds, 'As we go forward, we are confident that mobile crushing and screening solutions will continue to make inroads in new application areas. It will also start to replace traditional crushing solutions in some cases, whereby the added utility of the products provides additional revenue streams to the client and decreases idle time of the investment.'
Says Palagiri, 'The market is moving from stationary/tyre-mounted plants to track-mounted plants. The main advantage with track-mounted crushers is ease of mobility and flexibility, to move into a quarry and start crushing immediately and move out as soon as the job is done or if there are some delays to the next project site. No special clearances are required to start operations and finally, no foundation costs.'
According to Natarajan, mobile crushers preferably find demand in the mining sector as the need to move the crusher is frequent. It has limited demand in road construction, where contractors have been awarded long stretches for constructing roads. Stationary crushers are more popular in commercial projects, where contractors deal in supplying crushed products.
On sales trend, Natarajan says, 'Considering growth in demand and shorter span of project completion, trend in crushing capacity demand has moved upwards. Typically, 150 TPH which was earlier, the demand is now moving towards 250 TPH. Contractors currently seek increased pace of production in terms of capacity.'
Niyogy informs, 'The estimated sales of crushing and screening equipment in the last fiscal year was around Rs 1500 crore. It's expected that in the ongoing fiscal and beyond the market will expand substantially. Previously, in the stationary/wheeled segment, 150-200 TPH plants were the highest selling models in the market. However, lately clients have become inclined towards higher TPH models to reduce overall operating costs.
The 250-300 TPH range is now the highest selling category for stationary plants. In mobile plants, 200 TPH plants are still the highest selling models in the market. However, to cater bigger requirements, clients are showing interest in larger capacity plants as well.'
Products and technologies
Taurian has always focused on continuous upgradation of products and technology. He explains, 'We have been continuously launching crushers of various capacities. Recently we have launched three new range of cone crushers into this market, a 250 TPH, a 300 TPH and a 350 TPH cone crusher. We have also launched a fixed shaft cone crusher range. Now we have a complete range of floating shaft and fixed shaft cone crushers. We have jaw crushers ranging up to feed intake of 1,000 mm boulder size. We are amongst few players in this industry who can cater to a vast range of requirements starting from 100 TPH up to 500 TPH. We can offer jaw crushers of up to 1,000 TPH in a single-jaw crushing mode.'
Palagiri elaborates on Kleemann range, 'Crushing and screening plants from Kleemann GmbH are characterised by their excellent customer benefits. The decisive elements for success such as technology, innovation, quality and service combine to make Kleemann like no other company. Its decade-long competence in the construction of stationary plants ensures an excellent position on the market for mobile plants. The plants are distinguished mainly by their sophisticated and detailed solutions which keep constant track of the entire process. We offer the complete range of track-mounted crushers from 150 TPH to 1,500 TPH in jaw, cone, impactor and screens.'
Natarajan elaborates on his company's initiatives towards technology development and innovations, 'Research and development (R&D) and innovation play an essential role at thyssenkrupp. Our team continuously strives to introduce the latest technological features for our machines. Currently, a fully mobile crawler mounted solution for crushing and screening is under development.' On the products and solutions on offer, he adds, 'thyssenkrupp offers complete range of crushing and screening equipment.
Our widest range includes jaw crusher, cone crusher, vertical shaft impactor, roll sizer, horizontal shaft impactor, hammer mills, and circular motion vibrating screens. All these machines are proven and very popular in the mining and crushing industry segments worldwide. These machines based on German design are now completely manufactured in India and are offered to the Indian market in the mining and aggregate crushing segment.'
TIL has a strategic alliance with the Astec Aggregate and Mining Group (AAMG), USA, and offers a range of globally acclaimed crushing and screening solutions from its Kharagpur works in West Bengal. Niyogy elaborates on the new range of products, 'Several new products are on the anvil, including a new indigenised H3244 jaw crusher and a K300 Plus fixed shaft 300 TPH cone crusher, and mobile track plants with new aggregates.'
He further adds, 'Our new technologies on offer include hydraulic jaw crushers with hydraulically operated toggle and CSS setting with very low set-up time that provides for high equipment uptime. These are used in both our portable plants and stationary applications. We also offer high frequency screens with efficient separation and mechanism for dry processing of M-sand. Bag house provided at the engine suction of the FT300DF track plant prevents contamination of the engine air Intake and in turn enhances performance of the engine.'
The GST factor
After the rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the construction equipment industry is still studying the impact on the market. In general, the industry is positive towards the simplified one-time taxation. Says Sapre, 'GST is a welcome move for all the industry. Earlier, it was complicated as the price used to vary from customer to customer and state to state because of the numerous tax components. Now the customer has to pay only one tax and take the delivery of the machine. Secondly, with GST coming in, we are getting out of complicated paper works such as Form C. GST will not have the implication of increasing or decreasing the market. Also, the full GST component can be rebated.'
Palagiri terms GST as a game changer for Indian economy. He elaborates, 'GST is India's biggest tax reform to date and is expected to improve compliance levels, increase governmental revenue, and bridge the divide between small and large businesses by amalgamating a host of central and local taxes. Over all, the industry looks forward for GST roll out as in medium and long term, it will benefit government as well as industry. However, initially a lot of teething problem is expected, which is always case for any changes.'
Says Natarajan, 'Prima-facie, specific to aggregate and mining crushers and screens, GST has an additional impact of approximately 4 per cent compared to the earlier taxation structure. As the transactions progress in post-GST era, we will get a better clarity on actual commercial impact.'
Niyogy comments, 'GST will bring homogeneity and standardisation to the taxation structure and in the medium to long term bring about stabilisation and enhanced efficiency to the Industry. For crushing and screening equipment, which come under HSN code 8474, the implementation of GST is expected to have less of an impact. Previously, our products were taxed at 12.5 per cent excise and either two per cent CST or five per cent VAT. Under GST, they will be taxed at 18 per cent, which is marginally higher. Although the initial capital investment will go up slightly, the purchaser can still avail of input tax credit. However, the taxation structure is definitely simpler and more transparent post GST.
Guizzetti informs, 'We expect the mobile crushing and screening market to continue making inroads in application areas where traditional static or other mobile crushing solutions have been successful.'
Says Natarajan, 'With strong focus on infrastructure spending by the Government of India and the state governments, we are confident that the market will witness a healthy growth going forward.'
As informed by the industry leaders, there is an increased requirement of construction aggregates and there is a demand-supply gap (more demand, less supply) existing due to more construction activity and environment-related restriction on quarrying and such activities. This has necessitated quarry operators and aggregate manufacturers to install bigger capacity machines to have more output. In this scenario, there is an overall growth prospect for crushing and screening equipment market in the coming years.
- Sudheer Vathiyath